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The WWE Championship has never main evented a dual-brand PPV

WWE’s current brand split era began roughly two years ago, when the first episode of Raw with its own exclusive roster took place on July 25, 2016. There have been 30 pay-per-view (PPV) events (not including the Greatest Royal Rumble) since the brand split began on that date.

Conveniently enough, 10 of those PPVs have been Raw-exclusive events, 10 have been SmackDown-exclusive events, and 10 have been dual-brand events.

The next dual-branded PPV, Extreme Rules, is coming up on July 15, 2018 at the PPG Paints Arena in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. I’ve been thinking about the main event of this card and trying to figure out what match will headline the show.

The WWE Championship match between AJ Styles and Rusev doesn’t feel like a PPV main event match, mostly because Rusev doesn’t remotely have the credibility to be a main event star. The Bulgarian Brute hasn’t even won a match on any PPV since 2016.

It’s also no secret that AJ’s recent championship feud with Shinsuke Nakamura never headlined a PPV. So this got me thinking, when is the last time the WWE Champion actually closed out the card of a dual-branded event? Well, the disappointing answer is that it has never happened, not even once.

Here is the full list of all 10 dual-brand PPV events during this era. Each entry includes a listing of the main event match for that card, as well as the match that featured the WWE Champion.

SummerSlam 2016
Main event: Randy Orton vs. Brock Lesnar
WWE Champion: Dean Ambrose vs. Dolph Ziggler

Survivor Series 2016
Main event: Goldberg vs. Brock Lesnar
WWE Champion: Men’s 5-on-5 Survivor Series Tag Team Match (non-title)

Royal Rumble 2017
Main event: Royal Rumble match
WWE Champion: AJ Styles vs. John Cena

WrestleMania 33
Main event: Undertaker vs. Roman Reigns
WWE Champion: Bray Wyatt vs. Randy Orton

SummerSlam 2017
Main event: Lesnar vs. Reigns vs. Joe vs. Strowman (Universal Championship)
WWE Champion: Jinder Mahal vs. Shinsuke Nakamura

Survivor Series 2017
Main event: Men’s 5-on-5 Survivor Series Tag Team Match
WWE Champion: AJ Styles vs. Brock Lesnar (non-title)

Royal Rumble 2018
Main event: Women’s Royal Rumble Match
WWE Champion: AJ Styles vs. Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn

WrestleMania 34
Main event: Brock Lesnar vs. Roman Reigns (Universal Championship)
WWE Champion: AJ Styles vs. Shinsuke Nakamura

Backlash 2018
Main event: Roman Reigns vs. Samoa Joe
WWE Champion: AJ Styles vs. Shinsuke Nakamura

Money in the Bank 2018
Main event: Men’s Money in the Bank Ladder Match
WWE Champion: AJ Styles vs. Shinsuke Nakamura

There were also two other cards that weren’t really promoted as dual-brand events but did include stars from both brands, including the WWE Champion.

Payback 2017 was promoted as a Raw-exclusive event, yet it did include a non-title House of Horrors match between WWE Champion Randy Orton and Bray Wyatt. The Greatest Royal Rumble event included stars from both brands and included a WWE Championship match between AJ Styles and Shinsuke Nakamura. The WWE Champion did not main event either one of these cards.

However, Braun Strowman did walk out of the Greatest Royal Rumble with the Greatest Royal Rumble Championship around his waist, so it could be argued that the Greatest Royal Rumble Championship has main evented more dual-brand PPV events than the WWE Championship has over the last two years.

Now getting back to the official list of 10 dual-brand PPV events during the brand split era, AJ Styles was the WWE Champion heading into 7 of the 10 events from the above list, so this all can’t simply be thrown at the feet of Jinder Mahal’s out-of-nowhere reign as WWE Champion in 2017.

It’s also interesting to note that the Universal Championship was only defended in two of these 10 main event matches, so it’s not like the WWE Championship has been completely dominated by the other top belt when it comes to claiming these main event spots.

The 10 dual-branded main event matches can be classified as follows:

  • 4 PPV-specific gimmick matches (Royal Rumble, Money in the Bank, Survivor Series)
  • 2 Brock Lesnar non-title matches (vs. Orton, vs. Goldberg)
  • 2 Roman Reigns non-title matches (vs. Undertaker, vs. Joe)
  • 2 Universal Championship matches featuring both Brock Lesnar & Roman Reigns

So there you have it, Cagesiders. When it comes to dual-branded events, AJ Styles and the WWE Championship don’t quite measure up to Brock Lesnar, Roman Reigns, and PPV-specific gimmick matches. With that in mind, do you think another Roman Reigns non-title match will main event Extreme Rules over AJ Styles and the WWE Championship?

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