When we reach SummerSlam, Brock Lesnar‘s Universal championship reign will have surpassed 500 days, marking the longest world title reign in WWE since Hulk Hogan held the title for more than four years from 1984-88.
So how did we get to this point? Everyone probably remembers the title matches and big moments, but there have been many twists and turns along the way that helped shape the last three years of Lesnar’s career. We’re going to take it all the way back to the start of Lesnar’s tensions with Goldberg — the rivalry that started Lesnar’s current arc, from his lone major dip in the road all the way to his run of being an indestructible champion for almost a year-and-a-half running.
Oct. 3, 2016
In an appearance on SportsCenter to promote WWE 2K17, Goldberg teased his intention to make a comeback to pro wrestling. His last match was against Lesnar at WrestleMania XX in 2004, a match best remembered for its outright rejection from the MSG crowd.
Goldberg joins SportsCenter to discuss whether he’d consider making a return as an active wrestler and who he’d like to face if he did.
Oct. 10, 2016
Paul Heyman, advocate for Lesnar (not yet the reigning, defending, undisputed Universal champion), challenged Goldberg on Lesnar’s behalf, saying that the WrestleMania XX match was the only blemish on Lesnar’s resume.
Oct. 17, 2016
Goldberg, in his first time in a WWE ring since WrestleMania XX, accepted Lesnar’s challenge, ending his 12-year retirement.
Goldberg returns to the WWE to respond to the challenge from Brock Lesnar. He accepts, saying that not only is Lesnar next, but that Lesnar is the last person he’ll ever wrestle.
Oct. 24, 2016
Lesnar was back home in Minnesota for Monday Night Raw, and Heyman let the audience know that the Goldberg chants were “really starting to piss Brock Lesnar off.” The mixing of the hometown “Suplex City” with those “Goldberg” chants only fueled the flames in this budding rivalry.
Oct. 31, 2016
It was Halloween night at Monday Night Raw in Hartford, and things got physical with Goldberg. Except instead of striking out against Lesnar, Goldberg delivered a Jackhammer to Rusev, and a spear to Heyman.
Nov. 14, 2016
In the final Raw before Survivor Series, Heyman pushed all of Goldberg’s buttons, promising that Lesnar would beat Goldberg to the point that Goldberg’s son “will call Brock Lesnar, Daddy.” Goldberg then took out a number of security guards, only for Lesnar to step away after he teased getting back into the ring to confront Goldberg.
Nov. 20, 2016
Lesnar’s air of dominance in WWE was shattered for the first time since his second run with the company started, as he’s shocked in less than 90 seconds in a loss to Goldberg at Survivor Series in Toronto. It’s the first time Lesnar’s been pinned since April 2013, and the last time to date Lesnar lost a fall.
Take a look at how Goldberg was able to beat Brock Lesnar at WWE’s Survivor Series.
Nov. 28, 2016
In an interview with Michael Cole, Heyman admitted he and Lesnar took Goldberg lightly, but Heyman threw Lesnar’s name into the hat for the 2017 Royal Rumble — much like Goldberg did the night before.
Jan. 16, 2017
In some pre-Royal Rumble shenanigans, Lesnar got his licks in against a number of fellow Rumble participants on Raw. Lesnar clotheslined Seth Rollins, and suplexed Roman Reigns and Sami Zayn. A teased confrontation with Braun Strowman led to a momentary Reigns advantage before Lesnar caught Reigns with an F-5.
Jonathan Coachman looks back at the top moments from Monday Night Raw and SmackDown Live including Brock Lesnar laying havoc to mulitiple superstars and former WWE Women’s champion Mickie James making her return to the company.
Jan. 29, 2017
Jan. 30, 2017
After Goldberg got the better of him twice Lesnar, through the voice of Heyman, challenged Goldberg to one more match at WrestleMania on this edition Monday Night Raw. Goldberg accepted that challenge the following week.
Jonathan Coachman looks back at the best moments from Monday Night Raw and SmackDown Live, including Brock Lesnar and Paul Heyman delivering a powerful message to Goldberg, Lesnar’s WrestleMania opponent.
March 5, 2017
Goldberg and Lesnar’s WrestleMania rematch took on another layer after Goldberg defeated Kevin Owens to win the Universal championship at Fastlane.
March 6, 2017
Heyman interrupted Goldberg’s victory speech the night after Fastlane, and promised that Goldberg would become “Brock’s bitch” — causing a momentary lack in concentration which allowed Lesnar to pounce with an F-5.
March 13, 2017
With Lesnar bouncing in place, Heyman unveiled the “Theory of WrestleMania Relativity.” Simply put, F5 equals Lesnar goes up, down goes Goldberg.
March 27, 2017
In the final Raw before WrestleMania, Heyman referred to Goldberg as “The Man” and a “superhero.” But Heyman also promised that his Beast didn’t “fear the spear”, and that Goldberg will not “survive the F-5.” After it was advantage Lesnar two weeks prior, Goldberg quickly took down Lesnar outside the ring and stood tall.
April 2, 2017
After losing to Goldberg at Survivor Series, Lesnar finally got his revenge in the rematch, defeating Goldberg in a frenetically-paced, action-packed match that lasts less than five minutes to capture the Universal title at WrestleMania 33.
April 3, 2017
Lesnar, newly crowned Universal champion, stood in the ring as Heyman gloated and dressed down Reigns (who was booed for nearly 10 consecutive minutes), after Reigns had beaten The Undertaker the previous night. Heyman and Lesnar were interrupted by Strowman, though, who put Lesnar on notice.
June 12, 2017
One week after Samoa Joe won a Fatal 5-way to become No. 1 contender to the Universal championship, and put Heyman to sleep with the Coquina Clutch the following night on Raw, Joe headbutted Lesnar in the latter’s return to Raw. It took nearly the entire Raw roster to separate the two.
June 26, 2017
After Heyman introduced Lesnar, Samoa Joe attacked Lesnar from behind. Lesnar fought off the Coquina Clutch by driving Joe into the LED screens, but Joe eventually locked it in. Lesnar turned bright red before other wrestlers came out to help break the hold.
July 3, 2017
The final Raw before the Great Balls of Fire pay-per-view featured a split screen interview with Samoa Joe and Lesnar… until Joe left his half of the box to try to find Lesnar. Security held Joe back once he finally found Lesnar in the arena.
July 9, 2017
In his first match in the nearly five months since he captured the Universal title, Lesnar defeated Samoa Joe at Great Balls of Fire. Lesnar went on to pick up three more wins versus Joe at live events going into SummerSlam.
July 10, 2017
The night after Lesnar’s first successful defense, Reigns interrupted Kurt Angle as he spoke to Lesnar and Heyman. Angle set up a match between Reigns and Samoa Joe for the No. 1 contendership. That match, held the following week on Raw, ended in a no-contest after Strowman interfered.
July 31, 2017
Aug. 7, 2017
Lesnar was a special guest on MizTV, and Heyman did some role playing, giving The Miz, Curtis Axel and Bo Dallas each a role as Lesnar’s SummerSlam opponents. Predictably, a bevy of suplexes and F-5’s followed.
Aug. 14, 2017
A wild brawl highlighted the last Raw before SummerSlam, with Lesnar and Strowman creating the most intrigue. After Joe and Reigns were taken out, it took the full Raw roster to separate Lesnar and Strowman.
Aug. 20, 2017
In an exciting and chaotic 20-minute plus SummerSlam match, Lesnar retained his title. Strowman put Lesnar through two tables (and dumped a third on top of him), which forcing Lesnar to be taken to the back. But Lesnar battled back and reversed a spear attempt into an F-5 on Reigns for the win.
During the Fatal 4-Way Universal Championship match, Braun Strowman lifts up the announce table and flips it onto Brock Lesnar.
Aug. 21, 2017
Lesnar appeared on Monday Night Raw, and Heyman recapped his triumphant victory. He was interrupted by Strowman, who attacked Lesnar and hit him with consecutive running powerslams; Strowman than posed with the Universal Championship and asserted his dominance.
Aug. 28, 2017
Lesnar’s message to Strowman in his surprise Raw appearance was brief, but impactful. After Heyman built Strowman up, Lesnar summed up his feelings with a single sentence. “What he’s trying to say is, Suplex City, b—-.”
Sept. 11, 2017
Heyman admitted that the odds are against Lesnar in his match against Strowman. But with a UFC-style “Fighter, are you ready?”, Heyman lured Strowman out for a showdown with Lesnar. Lesnar eventually caught Strowman with a German suplex, but Strowman rolled through, got up, and left Lesnar laying.
Sept. 24, 2017
Lesnar successfully defended his Universal championship against Strowman at No Mercy. While some anticipated a passing of the torch to the red-hot Strowman, the challenger was done in by a single F-5, despite Lesnar surviving a pair of his running powerslams.
Oct. 23, 2017
A Survivor Series match with then-WWE champion Jinder Mahal was teased, but Heyman spent most of his promo questioning Mahal’s legitimacy as champion. The match ultimately didn’t happen, as Mahal lost the WWE championship to AJ Styles on an episode of SmackDown in the U.K.
Nov. 13, 2017
With one week left until a matchup with a new opponent in AJ Styles, Heyman laid out a five-point selling plan for Survivor Series. The final point, point F-5, was that, despite Styles’ abilities, Lesnar would still come out on top.
Nov. 19, 2017
At the Raw-versus-SmackDown-themed Survivor Series, Lesnar took on WWE champion AJ Styles. As with many of Styles’ matches, he got the best out of Lesnar — some would say one of Lesnar’s best matches ever — and made Lesnar look every bit the dominant champion. After Styles got his licks in, Lesnar was ultimately the victor, once again requiring just a single F-5.
Dec. 18, 2017
A triple threat match for the Universal title was set up for the Royal Rumble, with Strowman joined by Kane as the challengers. General Manager Kurt Angle left the ring before Lesnar got the better of his two opponents, although Kane eventually sat up despite taking an F-5.
Jan. 1, 2018
Heyman and Lesnar appeared on the New Year’s Day Raw and Heyman decried Lesnar’s multi-opponent matches. Kane came out and hit a chokeslam on Lesnar. Lesnar quickly sat up, and the two had to be separated by the Raw roster.
Jan. 8, 2018
Lesnar and Kane met again on Monday Night Raw, but this time it was Strowman putting on the show. He took down both of his Rumble opponents backstage, and then pulled part of the set down onto both of them using a grappling hook.
Jan. 22, 2018
In the final show before the Royal Rumble — Raw’s 25th anniversary show in Brooklyn and Manhattan — it was once again Strowman standing tall — planting Kane with an F-5, and driving Lesnar through the announce table with a powerslam.
Jan. 28, 2018
Strowman’s third shot at Lesnar and the Universal championship was unsuccessful at the Royal Rumble, though Kane would ultimately take the pinfall in a triple threat match where weapons came into play in a major way.
Feb. 26, 2018
Reigns, the winner of an Elimination Chamber match that made him the new No. 1 contender, called out Lesnar for failing to show up to Raw for a face-to-face with him. Reigns minced no words, calling Lesnar “an entitled piece of crap who hides behind his contract.”
March 12, 2018
Two weeks after Reigns called out Lesnar for a no-show, and one week after Heyman promised Lesnar would be at Raw the following week, Lesnar again failed to show. This time, Reigns namedropped Vince McMahon, got physical with Angle and called Lesnar “Vince’s Boy”, leading to a temporary suspension.
March 19, 2018
Lesnar returned to Raw and attacked Reigns, who had been handcuffed after he violated his suspension.
March 26, 2018
It’s advantage: Lesnar again on Raw, as a weakened Reigns, despite the use of a chair, was no match for the champ.
April 2, 2018
In a final face-to-face before WrestleMania, the roster stood between Lesnar and Reigns, trying to prevent a brawl. Reigns eventually convinced them all to stand aside instead of trying to protect a “part-timer,” and got the better of Lesnar.
April 8, 2018
In his first televised match in 70 days (although he had live event matches with Kane, The Miz, and a pair of triple threat Royal Rumble rematches), Lesnar scored a somewhat shocking victory over Reigns in the main event at WrestleMania 34 in New Orleans. It was shocking in that the Lesnar-to-UFC rumors were back in full force, as Heyman once again threatened that he and Lesnar would leave if he lost the title. It also appeared to be the moment for Reigns’ official coronation and redemption, three years after his first shot at Lesnar and a world title at WrestleMania 31 ended with Seth Rollins cashing in his Money in the Bank contract.
April 9, 2018
The night after WrestleMania, and in the face of UFC return rumors burning brightly, WWE announced Lesnar had re-signed with them, though the terms of the deal remained undisclosed.
April 27, 2018
In Lesnar’s most recent match to date, he defeated Reigns again in controversial fashion at the Greatest Royal Rumble in Saudi Arabia. The match ended with Reigns spearing Lesnar through a steel cage onto the floor; while Lesnar came down first, it was on top of the cage while Reigns rolled off and had his feet hit the floor first. That controversy has fueled Reigns’ case for another shot in the four months that followed.
June 25, 2018
One week after promising to select Lesnar’s next opponent via a multi-man match, Kurt Angle backed off those comments and said that match won’t happen after negotiations hit a “snag”, and that the next title defense was up in the air.
July 7, 2018
In an moment that felt more custom-fit for the WWE than the UFC, Lesnar entered the cage after the UFC 226 main event and challenged new UFC heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier to a fight. The next day, USADA confirmed that Lesnar had re-entered their drug-testing pool following his failed test the previous year.
July 15, 2018
Lesnar didn’t wrestle at Extreme Rules, but Angle issued an ultimatum to Lesnar at that event — show up at the following night’s Monday Night Raw, accept a match or be stripped of the title.
July 16, 2018
Angle opened Monday Night Raw by saying he was going to strip Lesnar of the title, but he was eventually interrupted by Heyman, telling him that Lesnar wants to represent WWE the same way Angle did — as a legit, two-sport athlete. The result was Angle proclaiming that Lesnar would defend the title at SummerSlam against one of six challengers.
July 23, 2018
In the culmination of two weeks’ worth of qualifying matches, Reigns once again emerged as Lesnar’s next challenger by defeating Bobby Lashley.
July 30, 2018
After refusing to come out to the ring for much of the night, Lesnar finally came down to close out Monday Night Raw and ostensibly save Paul Heyman’s job. He attacked Kurt Angle, who had called him the worst Universal champion in history (of the four to hold the title), and then he all but choked Heyman out in the ring as he held his face tightly.
Aug. 6, 2018
For the first time in years, Heyman alludes to a potential break from Lesnar in a tearful promo that continued the build for Lesnar-Reigns IV.
Aug. 19, 2018
In what could be a culmination of their years of battles, Lesnar will take on Reigns — his third straight one-on-one meeting with Reigns, in his only matches over the last four months in the main event of SummerSlam.