Acknowledgment is in order for the WWE Undisputed Universal Champion. Today officially marks Roman Reigns’ 871st day as the WWE Universal Champion, surpassing Gunther’s 870-day NXT UK title reign. This means that Roman Reigns has officially had the longest championship reign in WWE over the last 3+ decades.

Let’s take a moment to recognize what Reigns is doing right now. Not only is he on the run of his life as the Tribal Chief, but he is in the midst of one of the most historic runs in WWE history. Roman Reigns is doing things that legends like John Cena, Stone Cold Steve Austin, The Rock, Undertaker, and even Hulk Hogan have never done in their careers.

It’s very rare in the WWE for someone to be champion for as long as Reigns has. Modern-day fans are used to seeing championships swapped every few months and rarely see a lengthy title reign anymore. Roman’s run as champion has also felt historic because of his limited television appearances, and it feels like an old-school title reign. This is a sentiment unfamiliar to newer fans of the sport. We’ve seen CM Punk and Brock Lesnar hold world championships for a long period, but neither run felt nearly as important as Reigns’.

Is there hypocrisy?

Remember how upset fans were when Brock Lesnar was Universal Champion for 500+ days? He barely showed up or defended the title. Well, Reigns is doing something very similar to that now, but fans aren’t as nearly upset about it. The reason why is that this time around, the WWE is making the part-time champion angle work.

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The WWE has done such a great job with the Bloodline storyline that they don’t need Roman Reigns on weekly television. And because Reigns isn’t on weekly television, it makes each appearance feel much more special. Brock Lesnar’s appearances on Raw when he was the Universal Champion never felt special because fans were tired of him being champion. It speaks volumes how Reigns has been champion for 871 days, and fans haven’t been giving him that type of treatment. Reigns is a true part-timer, but he’s so essential to the product that it feels like he’s part of the show, even if he hasn’t made an appearance.

The only downside to Reigns’ run is that the WWE hasn’t had two world champions in almost a year. You can say that the WWE didn’t have to make Reigns the unified champion, but I believe it needed to be done to help build him up as one of the GOATS. The WWE needed Reigns to be that dominant champion that reigned over everybody. Reigns taking down the man who he could rarely ever beat to take the other top prize in the company cemented his spot as an all-time great.

When I watched Friday Night Smackdown a few weeks ago, I stopped what I was doing when Roman Reigns appeared on my television. It’s hard to ignore how important and must-see each Roman Reigns’ appearance feels. Reigns is on the run of his life, and we need to take the time to appreciate and acknowledge the work that he has put in over the last 871 days. He’s going down as this current generation’s GOAT, and who knows when we’ll see another championship reign like this again.

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