The final #AndNEW of our series involves the World Heavyweight Championship and the Universal Championship. Some may call it the other belt to the WWE Championship, however it has main evented it’s main share of WrestleMania‘s in the championships brief histories. Let’s take a look at the moments featuring a number of legends when it comes to the championships history at WrestleMania:
WrestleMania XX: Chris Benoit Defeats Triple H (c) and Shawn Michaels to Become New World Heavyweight Champion
The champion Triple H, the Heartbreak Kid Shawn Michaels, and the Rabid Wolverine Chris Benoit all battling it out in the main event of WrestleMania XX in Madison Square Garden in hopes of walking out as the World Heavyweight Champion. The three men would simply go to war, with their bodies being taxed as the match began to come to a close. Benoit, the Royal Rumble winner, would just barely kick out of Sweet Chin Music following a delayed pin as the crowd went wild for him. A bloodied Shawn would go for the Sweet Chin Music in which Benoit would have the wherewithal to dump him over the top rope. Yet, Triple H would get the upper hand by going for the Pedigree, however once again Benoit would reverse his opponent’s big move, locking in the Crippler Crossface which would get the champion to finally tap out and allow Chris Benoit to win the World Heavyweight Championship and finally reach the top of the mountain. This would lead to the forever remembered embrace between best friends Eddie Guerrero and Benoit as they were the two top champions in the biggest company in the world to end WrestleMania.
WrestleMania 21: Batista Defeats Triple H (c) to Become New World Heavyweight Champion
For the second straight year, Triple H would head into WrestleMania as the defending World Heavyweight Champion, but this time he would face protégé and fan favorite, Batista. This is the match that would build to the story of their current feud as we head into WrestleMania tonight, which is the fact that Triple H has certainly done everything… except beat Batista. Batista would win the Royal Rumble in 2005 to earn his shot at his former mentor for the championship that Triple H loved more than anything else in the world. Triple H would be beaten to hell in this one, as he was a bloody mess inside the squared circle that night. It would not keep him out, as “The Game” would manage to set up “The Animal” in the Pedigree, but he could not get Batista up. Batista would eventually overpower Triple H, lifting him up and planting him with an Air Raid Siren to free himself. He would pump the ropes and hit his signature “thumbs down” taunt as he would load up the champion into the Batista Bomb to become the new World Heavyweight Champion in the main event.
WrestleMania 22: Rey Mysterio Defeats Kurt Angle (c) and Randy Orton to Become New World Heavyweight Champion
“The Ultimate Underdog” shocked the world in 2006 when he lasted from the number two spot in the Royal Rumble to win it and confirm his shot at WrestleMania. And while Randy Orton would weasel his way into the matchup, the World Heavyweight Championship would be on the line when Kurt Angle would defend against Orton and Rey Mysterio. Mysterio was on the road to do it all for Eddie Guerrero. As he dawned the EG armband, Mysterio tried to shock the world once again as the underdog of the story who faced two all-around athletes who were simply favorited far more. With close fall after close fall in this one, it came down to the end when Orton would get caught by an Angle Slam for a close fall that many felt was the end. “The Wrestling Machine” Kurt Angle would then set his sites on Mysterio, going for the Angle Slam but being reversed and arm dragged out of the ring. Mysterio would then hit the 619 and pin Orton long enough to shock the world once again when he would win the World Heavyweight Championship on the grandest show of them all.
WrestleMania 23: The Undertaker Defeats Batista (c) to Become New World Heavyweight Champion
Once again, the Royal Rumble winner would challenge the World Heavyweight Champion at WrestleMania 23, when the Undertaker would choose Batista as the champion of his choosing to face at the “showcase of the immortals”. The two men would go to war at WrestleMania in one of the most underrated world championship matches in the history of the show. In the middle of it, Undertaker would hit is WrestleMania dive over the top rope taking out Batista in incredible fashion. Batista would, however, get the advantage in the match once again, even going for the Batista Bomb but Undertaker would have enough left in the tank to get out of it and get him up for the Tombstone Piledriver to put an end to “The Animal” and become the first wrestler to win both the WWE Championship and World Heavyweight Championship at WrestleMania, while also getting to a 15-0 in this one.
WrestleMania XXIV: The Undertaker Defeats Edge (c) to Become New World Heavyweight Champion
In the main event of WrestleMania 24, “The Rated R Superstar” Edge would put his championship on the line against one of his greatest rivals in the Undertaker. This would be the second straight year where Undertaker would look to become the new World Heavyweight Champion while also putting his streak on the line. The story between these two would go all the way back to May 8th of the previous year (2007) when Edge would cash-in Money in the Bank on the Undertaker to become the World Heavyweight Champion for the first time in his career. Undertaker was adamant on putting an end to Edge one and for all while taking back his championship in the process. These two would have one of the best main events in Mania history, as Undertaker would attempt lay his claim as #AndNEW once again when he would Tombstone Edge, but the ref would be out as one would have to run down the long aisle way which would allow Edge enough time to kick out. Curt Hawkins and Zack Ryder would come to the aid of Edge, distracting the Undertaker so that Edge could hit the Spear. Undertaker would kick out and get hit with another spear, yet he would lock in Hell’s Gates to make Edge tap and would once again become the World Heavyweight Champion as “The Phenom” would reign once again.
WrestleMania XXV: John Cena Defeats Edge (c) and The Big Show to Become New World Heavyweight Champion
John Cena competing at WrestleMania for a championship is something many became accustomed to, however, competing for the World Heavyweight Championship was not as much. Cena would head into battle as he was trying to get back the championship he lost a month prior in the Elimination Chamber at No Way Out when Edge would become the World Heavyweight Champion the same night he lost the WWE Championship. Big Show would also be placed into the match by Vickie Guerrero to make this a big-time triple threat for the “Big Gold Belt”. Big Show would look to be on his way to winning when he would go for a second rope elbow to Edge but this would be for not as Edge would roll out. As the match would come to a close, it seemed to be down to Cena and Edge when the men would team up to take out Show, but Show would come back to push Cena off the top rope into a big Spear by Edge. As Big Show and Edge would fight, Edge would go for the sleeper and this would allow Cena to show his greatest amount of strength yet, lifting up both men for the AA. He would plant Show, then lift up Edge once more and AA him onto Big Show, allowing him to pin Big Show and become the new World Heavyweight Champion.
WrestleMania XXVIII: Sheamus Defeats Daniel Bryan (c) to Become New World Heavyweight Champion
The World Heavyweight Championship match would kickoff WrestleMania 28, marking the second straight year that the major title would be contested in the first match of the main card. The Royal Rumble winner would once again contest for the championship as Sheamus would challenge the champion Daniel Bryan. As the “YES” finally became a mainstay for the heel champion, this match would end before you even knew it started. 18 seconds. That is something no one will forget as Daniel Bryan would ask AJ Lee to give him a good luck kiss as the match began, and he would turn into a Brogue Kick from Sheamus and the World Heavyweight Championship would change hands once again in one of the most shocking match outcomes in WrestleMania history.
WrestleMania 33: Brock Lesnar Defeats Goldberg (c) to Become New Universal Champion
In December 2013, the WWE Championship and World Heavyweight Championship would be unified which would mark the end of the “big gold belt”. In July of 2016 when the brand split would return and the WWE Championship would head over to SmackDown LIVE, Raw was left without a world championship. With that being said, they would introduce the Universal Championship that Brock Lesnar dawns currently as we head into the show of shows tonight. At WrestleMania 33, it would be defended for the first time as Goldberg would defend it against Brock Lesnar in the last match of their rivalry. This car crash, a superhero-like fight between these two was something to watch, as it may not have been long, but it was certainly fun to watch. 10 german suplexes for Suplex City, Jackhammers, Spears, and a final F5. As a fan you got everything you could wish for in a 5-minute fight to the finish. But Lesnar was the new Universal Champion, marking the expected end of Goldberg’s career and Lesnar’s long run as the Universal Champion.
Now the question that remains is simple. Can Seth Rollins slay the beast to become the new Universal Champion tonight? Or will Brock Lesnar rule over WWE for even longer?
We will certainly see soon enough.
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