At WrestleMania 33, Brock Lesnar defeated Bill Goldberg and became the new WWE Universal Champion. So when is he going to defend his title, and what are the company’s plans for the championship going forward?
According to Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer, Brock Lesnar is not currently expected to have a title defense at Payback, the next Raw branded pay-per-view which airs on April 30th.
Meltzer reports that Lesnar’s first title defense will come either at Extreme Rules, which takes place on June 4th, or at Bad Blood, which takes place on July 9th. This first title defense is expected to be against Braun Strowman.
First, though, Braun Strowman will reportedly face Roman Reigns at Payback; this will presumably establish him as the number one contender so he can go on to face Brock Lesnar for the Universal Championship.
The WWE started to put this plan into action this past week on Raw, when Braun Strowman confronted Brock Lesnar in the ring. Strowman said that in order to get Lesnar’s attention, he’s going to destroy Roman Reigns, at which point he’s coming for the Universal Championship title.
The larger plan is for Roman Reigns to fight Brock Lesnar for the Universal Championship, with this reportedly not happening until WrestleMania 34 next year. It’s unclear at this time whether Lesnar and Reigns will have a match at any point before then or if their in-ring confrontation will be saved for WrestleMania. This broader plan was discussed on Raw this past week, with Paul Heyman saying that the only two people who have defeated The Undertaker at WrestleMania should fight.
What’s also unclear is where Kevin Owens and Finn Balor factor into all of this. After all, both of them are technically owed Universal Championship rematches: Kevin Owens because he lost the title to Goldberg at Fastlane, and Finn Balor because he was forced to vacate the title due to injury.
Either way, it seems that WWE fans should get used to the idea of the top title on Raw not being present for every Raw-branded pay-per-view.