Roman Reigns retains Undisputed WWE Universal Championship with epic win over Cody Rhodes at WrestleMania 39
Roman Reigns entered WrestleMania 39 as the Undisputed WWE Universal Champion and on Sunday night he left as the champion after an epic battle with Cody Rhodes.
Rhodes was challenging for the top prize for the first time in his career but was going up against the top dog in the company that hasn’t relinquished his reign in nearly 1,000 days.
Rhodes came down the entrance ramp at SoFi Stadium to the tune of “Kingdom” and the crowd sang along as”The American Nightmare” walked down to the ring. Before he stepped in between the ropes, he embraced his wife Brandi Rhodes and their daughter Liberty.
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Reigns came out to a piano ensemble before his music hit and the pyrotechnics lit up the stadium. For 945 days, he reigned as champion and now had to put it up on the line against a performer with as deep as a wrestling legacy as Reigns. He came down to the ring flanked by Paul Heyman and Solo Sikoa.
As both competitors were announced, there was a palpable buzz in the air. Some of the 80,000 fans cheered for Rhodes as he was making his first-ever WrestleMania main event appearance. Others backed Reigns as they hoped his title streak could continue.
“WrestleMania! … Acknowledge me!” Reigns demanded of the SoFi crowd before the match began.
Rhodes gained the upper hand early in the match with a drop kick as he tried to isolate Reigns’ arms. Rhodes went off the middle rope and tried to kick Reigns but was caught and Reigns powerbombed him, changing the tide of the fight early.
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Rhodes kept on the attack after a near-fall. He suplexed Rhodes and tried to send him to the floor but it was Reigns who fell to the floor. The fight went to the entrance ramp and that’s where Rhodes inflicted most of his damage while trying to avoid the referee’s 10 count.
But Rhodes would get back into and body slam Reigns onto the ramp. The momentum changed in the favor of “The American Nightmare” for a few moments. But both competitors inflicted as much pain as possible. About halfway through the match, it was still anyone’s game.
Reigns distracted the referee and Sikoa would hit Rhodes with a chair shot. It allowed Reigns to hit a Driveby. He took control and went to work. Sikoa would interfere with Rhodes ahead allowing for a Reigns clothesline. The Bloodline’s impact on the match was clear and Rhodes had to figure out a way to get through it.
“The Head of the Table” went for the announcers’ table and ripped them a part to possibly set up a destructive finish on Rhodes. As Reigns tried to put Rhodes through the table, he countered and flipped Reigns through one of the tables. Advantage, Rhodes, for now.
Rhodes showed off his resolve and quickness back in the ring. He hit the Cody Cutter and nearly got the three count. Reigns kicked out. As the two got back up, Rhodes went through the ropes on a suicide dive as Reigns was on the outside of the ring.
Sikoa got involved in the match again to play the equalizer but he was ejected from the match.
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Reigns tried to use the weight belt to hit Rhodes but was hit with a superkick and then a Cross Rhodes. Reigns kicked out before the count of three again. But Reigns got back up and tried to gain some momentum. But even after a Rock Bottom, Rhodes still managed to kickout.
The fans were hanging on by the edge of their seats.
Reigns got ready for the Superman Punch but Rhodes countered and hit the Pedigree. Rhodes again nearly pinned Reigns but the champ kicked out. As Rhodes got back up, he tried for another mid-rope maneuver but was caught with a Superman Punch. Still, no pinfall.
In another chaotic moment, Rhodes put Reigns into the figure-four leglock in the center of the ring. Reigns would turnover and turn the tables on Rhodes but Rhodes grabbed the rope to break the hold.
Reigns even hit a spear late in the match that looked like it would’ve put Rhodes out – but still to no avail. What else could either competitor do?
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Reigns had Rhodes in the guillotine and tried to choke him out but Rhodes got out. Unfortunately, the referee would get caught up in the carnage. Everyone was down. It allowed The Usos to interfere in the match and take out Rhodes. But Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens came to the rescue to even the numbers.
The fight between The Usos and Zayn and Owens would continue in the stands.
Rhodes tried to go for the pin. The referee mustered enough energy to try and count – 1 … 2 … and Reigns kicked out.
The two traded punches. The two traded kicks. But as it looked like Rhodes would get the upper hand, Sikoa came back and hit the Samoan Spike on Rhodes.
Reigns picked up the win in what would be one of the most incredible WrestleMania matches in recent memory.
Fans held up a single finger to acknowledge Reigns as the champion.
Here’s how the rest of the card played out on the second night of WrestleMania 39.
- Brock Lesnar defeated Omos via pinfall in a singles match
- Ronda Rousey and Shayna Baszler defeated Liv Morgan and Raquel Rodriguez, Natalya and Shotzi and Chelsea Green via submission in the Women’s WrestleMania Showcase fatal four-way tag-team match.
- Gunther defeated Sheamus and Drew McIntyre in a triple-threat match to retain the Intercontinental Championship.
- Bianca Belair defeated Asuka via pinfall to retain the RAW Women’s Championship.
- Snoop Dogg with Shane McMahon defeated The Miz via pinfall in a singles match.
- Edge defeated Finn Balor in a Hell in a Cell match.
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