Roman Reigns was slated to take the company’s top spot in 2015 when the year began. His in-ring attitude, however, did not succeed in winning the fans’ support. Vince McMahon’s hesitation to make Reigns the face of WWE like John Cena prevented him from turning heel for the longest time.
Reigns eventually turned into one of the most divisive personalities on WWE TV. Before The Big Dog was named the Tribal Chief in late 2020, fans refused to recognize him. Roman’s surprise move to the dark side saved his waning career. In 2020, The Head of the Table defeated Bray Wyatt and Braun Strowman in a triple-threat match to win the Universal Championship.
Since that time, the championship has remained in one person’s hands, and Reigns has maintained his position as the longest-reigning Universal Champion ever.
After defeating Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania 38 in a winner-take-all match and unifying the WWE Championship and the Universal Championship, the Bloodline leader solidified his status as the organization’s biggest heel.
Are Roman Reigns the Longest-Reigning Heel World Champion in WWE History?
It is obvious that WWE turned Roman into a heel champion in order to gain popularity with the audience. He may have held the title for the longest time in WWE history, but is he a heel?
Roman Reigns’ brutal defeat of Jey Uso at Hell in a Cell in 2020 is one of the most enduring images of his villain turn. Fans adore Reigns in spite of him being a heel. The Needle Mover has held the Universal Championship for more than 870 days and is on a never-ending winning streak. He is not the only heel in WWE history to hold the World Championship for an extended period of time, though.
A consummate showman,an influential trend-setter and a WWWF World Champion who was pure box-office at the gates during his reign:Superstar Billy Graham pic.twitter.com/bxtOemu8JO
Rasslin’ History 101 (@WrestlingIsKing) July 8, 2020
Fans from the 1970s will recall Superstar Billy Graham, a legendary wrestler. The notion that heel superstars were once the most hated performers in the organization is a well-known fact. So it was unusual to have a villain occupy the top position.
The Tribal Chief @WWERomanReigns has finally defeated @BrockLesnar on The Grandest Stage of Them All to become the Undisputed WWE Universal Champion.@HeymanHustle pic.twitter.com/9iR1O0ngc3
WWE (@WWE) April 4, 2022
Roman Reigns Breaks Gunther S Impressive Title Reign Record
However, Graham was able to enjoy a nearly 10-month run as the WWWF World Heavyweight Champion as a heel superstar during 1977 and 1978. Up until Roman Reigns debuted, that was the longest any evil superstar had ever held the company’s top title. Since The Tribal Chief has held the title of Universal Champion for more than two years, he long since eclipsed Graham’s stint as the heel World Champion.
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The Ring General Gunther, often known as Walter, enjoyed a storied reign as the top Champion in NXT UK. The SmackDown standout achieved an 870-day record while holding the NXT United Kingdom Championship from April 2019 until August 2021. After breaking the 870-day barrier with his reign as Universal Champion, The Tribal Chief recently surpassed Gunther’s reigns.
At 871+ days, Roman Reigns has officially been the Universal Champion longer than Walter held the NXT United Kingdom Championship.
Roman is officially the longest reigning champion of ANY KIND in WWE since Hulk Hogan s inaugural title reign almost 40 years ago! #AcknowledgeMe pic.twitter.com/rOGP01RyqE
Christian Maracle (@MaracleMan) January 18, 2023
Reigns will reportedly relinquish the WWE Championship at some point in 2023, according to speculations. He will continue to hold the title of Universal Champion despite this. It will be interesting to see if Roman Reigns is able to surpass Hulk Hogan’s incredible record of 1,474 days with the belt.