Roman Reigns managed to narrowly escape with his Undisputed WWE Universal Championship after a wild fatal four way match that closed out WWE SmackDown’s New Year’s Revolution special. The main event saw Reigns defend against Randy Orton, AJ Styles and La Knight.
Lead Up To The Match
Heading into the New Year’s Revolution event, speculation was running rampant about who Roman Reigns might face at the upcoming Royal Rumble premium live event. Reigns has held the Undisputed WWE Universal Championship for over 800 days, having unified the titles at WrestleMania earlier last year.
Many expected Reigns to defend against arch rival Kevin Owens, or perhaps even YouTube star Logan Paul after their confrontation at Crown Jewel. However, a fatal four way number one contender’s match was announced for the New Year’s Revolution SmackDown special.
The contenders match would see former world champions Randy Orton and AJ Styles square off against hot newcomer La Knight. The winner would go on to challenge Roman Reigns for his titles at The Royal Rumble later this month.
Orton and Styles’ Issues Boil Over
Randy Orton and AJ Styles have had tensions brewing between them for months. Both veterans felt they were being overlooked at the expense of younger talent in WWE. This led to increasing aggression between the two on recent episodes of SmackDown.
After arguing over who deserved an opportunity against Reigns more, a match between them was set for New Year’s Revolution. But sneaky La Knight managed to get himself added to the bout as well, believing he also deserved a shot at The Tribal Chief after pinning Sami Zayn in a recent tag match.
The finalized Triple Threat rules stipulated that the first man to gain a pinfall or submission would become number one contender. The high stakes led to plenty of chaos…
The Fatal Four Way Sees Surprise Appearances
In a shock twist right before the scheduled Triple Threat, Butch ran down to the ring in street clothes claiming he should also be part of the match. Butch said he never got his owed rematch for the Intercontinental title that he lost months ago thanks to The Bloodline’s interference.
Adam Pearce reluctantly agreed and made it a Fatal Four Way under the same rules. This match was chaotic right from the opening bell, with all four Superstars desperate to earn a title opportunity.
The end came when Reigns himself invaded the match, looking to cost Orton the winning fall. This brought Kevin Owens storming down to ringside to even the odds. In the madness, a crafty AJ Styles countered La Knight’s BFT attempt into a rollup for the surprisevictory.
Styles To Challenge Reigns At Royal Rumble
AJ Styles winning means he will go on to challenge Roman Reigns for the Undisputed WWE Universal Championship at Royal Rumble on January 28th. This sets up a fresh matchup between the two, and offers Styles a chance to finally capture a world title in WWE after years of close calls.
For Reigns, having to defend against three challengers in San Antonio will be his biggest test yet during his record breaking title reign. But The Head of the Table remains confident as ever, while The Bloodline backs him fully even after the chaotic end to SmackDown.
Can AJ Styles shock the wrestling world by dethroning The Tribal Chief? Or will Reigns’ dominant reign march on as we head toward WrestleMania Hollywood? The road to Royal Rumble will surely feature plenty more fireworks between champion and challenger!
Here are the quick results from the rest of the action-packed New Year’s Revolution SmackDown special:
- IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship: Taiji Ishimori © def. Ricochet
- SmackDown Women’s Championship: Charlotte Flair © def. Sonya Deville
- WWE Intercontinental Championship Tournament Final: Santos Escobar def. Kevin Owens
Tables Comparing Recent Title Reign Lengths
Here is a table comparing Roman Reigns’ historic world title reign to some other lengthy title runs in WWE history:
And this table shows AJ Styles’ previous reigns as WWE Champion compared to Roman Reigns’ current Universal title run:
These help illustrate just how dominant of a champion Roman Reigns has been compared to the greats of WWE history. He looks to extend his run even further by beating back his latest challenger AJ Styles at Royal Rumble later this month!
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