Sure, there have been long reigns, with Walter-now-Gunther holding the NXT UK Championship for over 900 days and both Chance and Carter and The Usos setting new records for the longest Women's Tag Team and Men's Tag Team Championship reigns, respectively, but no one but Reigns has surpassed that 1,000-day mark since Hulk Hogan accomplished the feat with the then-WWF title and that was back in the mid-1980s.
So naturally, when Reigns passed that mark at Night of Champions, a fate guaranteed since he was wrestling in a tag team match, it only made sense that Paul “Triple H” Levesque and company would find a way to celebrate their biggest star at his 1,000th-day championship celebration, especially since the mismatched blue and black belts no look rather pedestrian next to the WWE World Heavyweight Championship Seth Rollins will be defending on RAW against Damian Priest this week.
His solution? Bling it out in gold for the occasion.
“On rare occasions, an athlete comes along who is so dominant that they change the entire face of their chosen sport,” Levesque noted at the start of Reigns' celebration. “And when it happens, they will be talked about for generations to come. In boxing, it was ‘The Great One,' Muhammad Ali. In basketball, Michael Jordan. In the WWE right now, we have privilege of witnessing that greatness live. Believe me, you will talk about this for generations, so please, help me welcome a man right now who has passed 1,000 days as champion. Please help me welcome a man that you will tell your children and your grandchildren about. Please help me welcome the ‘Tribal Chief,' the Undisputed WWE Universal Champion Roman Reigns.”
On his command, Reigns, Solo Sikoa, and Paul Heyman walked down to the ring – notably without The Usos, at least initially – and without any further fanfare, Levesque got down to business to award the “Tribal Chief,” from one champion to another.
“Roman, on behalf of the WWE and on behalf of the entire WWE Universe, I would like to congratulate you on surpassing 1,000 days as champion,” Levesque said. “A feat that hasn't been accomplished in WWE in almost 40 years. It truly is epic. To congratulate you and to celebrate this historic achievement, it is my honor to present you with a new, Undisputed WWE Universal Championship.”
Does this mean Reigns is only going to wear and defend one belt moving forward, with the “WWE” part of the Undisputed WWE Universal Championship gradually falling out of favor now that RAW has a new belt that represents it? Only time will tell, but after going all out on a new design for the Red Brand, it's nice to see SmackDown‘s strap getting a little extra love, too, even if it still retains much of the previous belt's look, and therefore remains less flashy.
— WWE (@WWE) June 3, 2023
Paul Heyman celebrated Roman Reigns with a commemorative video package.
Not content to simply play “Wiseman” to the “Tribal Chief,” Paul Heyman decided to cut a promo to celebrate the accomplishments of Roman Reigns, too, assembling a video package for the opening segment of SmackDown to run through the 1,000 days and change that brought the WWE Universe to this point.
“Roman Reigns, your Undisputed WWE Universal Champion, stands at the apex of sports entertainment. Nearly three years ago, your ‘Tribal Chief' re-claimed his Universal Championship, and as time passed, Roman's title reign has surpassed legends, icons, Hall of Famers. On the grandest stage of them all, ‘The Head of the Table' smashed and stacked the competition. Then humbled a Hall of Famer and sent a 16-time World Champion into the Ocean of Obscurity. Every contender unable to withstand Roman's sheer dominance and forced to ”acknowledge me.'
“Challenger after challenger humbled at his feet, and at his second ‘Showcase of the Immortals,' your reigning champion Roman Reigns conquered “The Beast,' unifying the WWE and Universal Titles on his 581st day as the champion of WWE. His power? Persistent. His Bloodline strengthened. His legacy? Flourished. Greatness on a different level. And on his 945th day, the greatest champion of any era made history by retaining his championship for the third-straight WrestleMania. And now, it's time to acknowledge the longest reign in over 35 years, over 1,000 days: Roman Reigns.”
Alright, maybe Heyman didn't actually assemble the video package himself – that seems like a lot of work in Adobe Premiere for a very busy manager to the stars – but his unique way of mythologizing talent added even more grandiosity to the moment, which is important, since some fans may never see another 1,000-day reign again.