The Fiend Bray Wyatt brought nightmares to life at WWE Crown Jewel last week when he captured the Universal Championship. Before WWE Champion Brock Lesnar quit Friday Night SmackDown, that meant RAW didn’t have a reigning World Champion on its roster.
Create the Universal Championship
Randy Orton unified the World Heavyweight and WWE Championships in 2013. And for two and a half years, WWE had only one WWE Champion. But in 2016, RAW and SmackDown separated in a brand extension draft. Stephanie McMahon’s RAW opted to select Seth Rollins first overall, but he’s not the champion. So, the Shane McMahon lead blue brand scooped up the reigning WWE Champion, leaving RAW without a World title. However, this is what Stephanie and RAW Commissioner Mick Foley to create the Universal Championship. At SummerSlam, Finn Balor became the first superstar to capture the title.
Introducing the World Heavyweight title
In 2002, the undisputed champion was allowed to bounce between brands. So, when Brock Lesnar captured the title at SummerSlam 2002 by defeating The Rock, you’d assume he would appear on both shows. You would have assumed wrong. On the road after SummerSlam, Triple H defeated Undertaker to become Lesnar’s top contender. But after the match, SmackDown GM Stephanie revealed that she had signed Lesnar exclusively to her brand by asking Bischoff. The next week Erick Bischoff filled the void on RAW by introducing the World Heavyweight title.
A Mysterious SmackDown Championship
Mr. McMahon wanted to shake things up after a thrilling WrestleMania 21. That’s how rising stars John Cena and Batista captured their first World titles. It seemed like Cena would reign over SmackDown for years to come while Batista did the same on RAW. But with the first pick of 2005 Superstar Shakeup on June 6th, SmackDown’s WWE Champion stomped his way onto the RAW stage. RAW had all the titles, leaving Theodore Long to create a new mysterious SmackDown Championship, which JBL later won. But before the Texan could get the title around his waist, Long revealed that World Heavyweight Champion Batista was SmackDown’s final pick, restoring order to SmacDown.
A shocked Triple H
Reigning WWE Champion Triple H was completely stunned when he was revealed as the final pick of the 2008 draft. And The Game was right to be surprised because the draft came at a very complicated time. World Heavyweight Champion Edge won a Battle Royal to give SmackDown the final pick, which ended up being Triple H. So, SmackDown had both WWE and World Heavyweight champions, and RAW had none. Six days after the draft at Night of Champions 2008, both titleholders were set to defend their titles against RAW Superstars. And both SmackDown Superstars won. The next night on RAW, Batista assisted in a Money in the Bank cash in to once again give the red brand the world heavyweight champion.
A Last Man Standing Thriller
Triple H was once again the WWE Champion by the time of the 2009 draft on April 13th. And he was once again moved to a differed brand. The Game got drafted to RAW, bringing the WWE title with him to Monday Nights, which already had World Heavyweight Champion, John Cena. Two weeks later, at Backlash, Triple H lost the title to RAW’s Randy Orton, keeping the championship on the brand. Cena was also not so lucky when he faced Edge from SmackDown in the last man standing match. The two men put each other through hell, but when it seemed like Cena might prevail, Big Show interfered to chokeslam Cena into a light. Obviously, the Rated-R Superstar was the victor, bringing the title to SmackDown.