“The WWE Championship is coming to ‘Smackdown’!” were the words a delighted John Bradshaw Layfield shouted on commentary following Dean Ambrose retaining the title in a triple threat match against Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns at “Battleground” on July 24, 2016. The next night on “RAW,” commissioner Stephanie McMahon and general manager Mick Foley announced the creation of a new heavyweight championship for the “RAW” brand. Named after the “WWE Universe,” the new championship was called the WWE Universal Championship.
“Vince stole the Universal Championship,” said former WWE commentator Hugo Savinovich in an interview with Sportskeeda Wrestling. “It was the NWA World Champion Ric Flair against the then created World Wrestling Council and the winner will be legit the Universal Champion … and that was the creation of the Universal Championship … so way, way back we had that so it wasn’t like an invention of Vince.”
Originally named the Capitol Sports Promotions (CSP) World Championship, the title was introduced in June 1982 with the backstory that Abdullah the Butcher had defeated Antonio Inoki in Okinawa, Japan. One month later, Carlos Colon defeated Abdullah for the championship, which was renamed to the WWC World Heavyweight Championship.
In December 1983, Colon and Flair began a program over who was the “real world champion.” On December 18, 1983, Colon faced Flair in a Steel Cage match in Bayamon, Puerto Rico, to determine the “Undisputed Champion of the Universe.” Colon emerged victorious but the title change was not recognized by the NWA. As a result, the WWC World Heavyweight Championship was renamed as the WWC Universal Heavyweight Championship.
If you use any quotes from this article, please credit “Sportskeeda Wrestling” YouTube with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.