(NEXSTAR) – Universal Champion Roman Reigns defeated WWE Champion Brock Lesnar in a “Winner Take All” main event at WrestleMania in AT&T Stadium to become the sole heavyweight champion in WWE. The pair headlined two days of matches that saw more than 150,000 fans at the home of the Dallas Cowboys in Arlington, Texas.
The two titans battled back and forth crashing through ringside barricades and kicking out of each other’s signature moves. In the end, Reigns hit one last spear to take down “The Beast” and earn a pinfall victory.
Reigns and Lesnar had been on a collision course over the last year emerging as sports entertainment’s two top modern-day stars. Lesnar won the 2022 Royal Rumble and immediately selected Reigns at his WrestleMania opponent.
The duo previously met in main event matches at WrestleMania 31 and WrestleMania 34.
For the majority of Lesnar’s time in WWE, longtime advocate Paul Heyman had been in his corner. Heyman recently turned on his friend and client instead siding with the younger Reigns. Since that time, the former UFC champion became a fan favorite speaking for himself for the first time in his career.
On the other side of things, Reigns has been dominant since returning to the ring following a hiatus over health. The 36-year-old came back with a new attitude and look finally embracing a bad-guy persona as “The Tribal Chief.”
Going into WrestleMania, Reigns held the Universal Championship for more than 580 days. This was Reigns’ 6th WrestleMania main event.
Reigns’ rocky road to the top
Reigns debuted as part of a three-man group called The Shield in 2012. He set out on his own two years later and was quickly promoted as fan favorite and top act. In the years that followed, fans pushed back on Reigns often booing him when the WWE hoped fans would be in his corner.
Nevertheless, he found success in the ring winning five world championships and regularly having some of the company’s top matches. The last time WrestleMania was at AT&T Stadium in 2016, the event ended with Reigns defeating legendary champion Triple H.
Towards the end of 2018, Reigns revealed he was battling leukemia and would be leaving wrestling to concentrate on his health. This was the second time he battled blood cancer first beating it in 2007. He had been in remission ever since.
Reigns took the time off to get in the best shape of his career eventually returning in 2020 following an additional leave of absence during the pandemic due to his compromised health.
Lesnar’s success across sports
When Lesnar made his WWE debut in 2002, he was immediately labeled “The Next Big Thing” – which absolutely proved to be true. In the months that followed, the former NCAA wrestling champion became a top star winning the company’s biggest championships. It appeared he’d be a main event act for decades to come, but Lesnar had other plans. Citing the demands of the schedule, Lesnar left WWE in 2004 to try his hand in other sports.
Having not played organized football since high school, Lesnar tried out for the Minnesota Vikings and played a few preseason games before getting released.
He eventually tried his hand at mixed martial arts competing for UFC. After a handful of fights, he captured the UFC Heavyweight Championship showing he could be dominate across sports.
In 2012, he’d return to WWE and immediately spark a feud with John Cena. This time, Lesnar would stick around. Working a reduced schedule, “The Beast” would pop in and out of the title picture for the next decade – regularly appearing at WrestleMania and other big events.
Gallery: History of Reigns vs. Lesnar
WrestleMania Sunday notes
- Vince McMahon, 76, defeated Pat McAfee in an impromptu match following McAfee’s victory over Austin Theory.
- Edge defeated AJ Styles with a massive spear after Damian Priest provided a distraction at ringside.
- Randy Orton and Matt Riddle successfully defended their RAW tag team titles over Alpha Academy and the Street Profits. After the match, NCAA champion wrestler Gable Steveson confronted Chad Gable tossing him with an overhead belly-to-belly suplex.
- Former champion Bobby Lashley defeated the 7’3″ giant Omos after two spears.
- Sasha Banks and Naomi captured the Women’s Tag Team Championships in a fatal 4-way match.
WrestleMania Saturday notes
- Steve Austin made his long-awaited return to the ring defeating Kevin Owens in a no-holds barred match.
- Charlotte Flair defeated “The Baddest Woman on the Planet” Ronda Rousey by pinfall to retain her Smackdown Women’s Championship.
- YouTube superstar Logan Paul earned a WrestleMania win after his tag team partner The Miz pinned Rey Mysterio to defeat Rey and his son Dominik. After the victory, The Miz turned on Paul hitting the Skull-Crushing Finale and leaving him laying.
- Bianca Belair captured the RAW Women’s Championship defeating champ Becky Lynch.
- Rick Boogs suffered a serious leg injury in his WrestleMania debut. Boogs was unable to finish the match. The show’s announcers confirmed he’d need surgery.
- On Friday night, wrestling legend The Undertaker was inducted into WWE’s Hall of Fame as part of WrestleMania weekend. He appeared in front of the crowd on Saturday and received a standing ovation.