The short-life of the Universal Title has not been the best, from injuries to design the championship has come under scrutiny and its absence from WWE television may damage its prestige in the long-run.
When the belt was first introduced by Mick Foley and Stephanie McMahon at SummerSlam it received a rather unpleasant reaction from the Brooklyn crowd and what happened next was of similar negativity.
Its first champion Finn Balor had to relinquish the championship just one day after defeating Seth Rollins for the gold (red) as he suffered a serious shoulder injury that required many months of absence.
However, the downward spike quickly took an uphill turn as a returning Triple H helped Kevin Owens claim the belt during a fatal four-way on Monday Night Raw betraying Rollins in the process.
While The Prizefighter looked great in the gold, it often played second fiddle to the friendship between himself and Chris Jericho as the pair helped each other out often causing controversy during title matches.
Goldberg soon became the title-holder as he claimed the championship at Roadblock and he carried it directly into WrestleMania, before dropping it to current holder Brock Lesnar on The Grandest Stage of Them All.
This is where the negativity comes back into the picture. The Beast was absent from last week’s Raw with no advertised sign of return and given the ‘part-time’ basis that the former UFC fighter is known for, an appearance could be further down the line.
At Payback in two weeks time, the red brand event has already advertised a number of matches including:
Kevin Owens (c) vs. Chris Jericho United States Championship
The Hardy Boys (Jeff & Matt Hardy) vs. Cesaro & Sheamus Raw tag-team titles
Randy Orton (c) vs. Bray Wyatt WWE Championship House of Horrors match
Neville (c) vs. Austin Aries Cruiserweight Championship
There seems no real build towards a match containing the Universal championship and given that it is scheduled for April 30th the possibility of the belt not even featuring at the event is increasingly likely.
Braun Strowman vs. Roman Reigns is looking like the bout that is leading the way in terms of main-event status with a possible no.1 contender’s match a realistic scenario.