NEW YORK -- Let the WWE's self-proclaimed "new era" officially begin.
Former NXT champion Finn Balor, who made his main roster debut on July 25, defeated former WWE champion Seth Rollins by pinfall on Sunday to win the inaugural WWE Universal Championship at SummerSlam inside the Barclays Center.
Balor was drafted to Raw on July 19, when the WWE underwent a brand split for the first time since 2011, splitting the roster in half and separating the wrestlers exclusively on competing shows. The native of Ireland received a hotshot push on his first night on Raw, winning two matches -- including a clean pin of Roman Reigns -- to earn a spot in Sunday's title match.
The match was overshadowed in the early going by the Brooklyn crowd's vehement refusal to accept the red color and design of the new title belt, which was unveiled before the bout by Raw general manager Mick Foley and commissioner Stephanie McMahon.
Although they came short of equaling the match-of-the-year contender turned in by A.J. Styles and John Cena earlier on the card, Balor and Rollins meshed together perfectly from the early going.
Balor, nicknamed the "Demon King," unveiled his unique full-body makeup scheme and chilling entrance for the second time after debuting it earlier in the week on Raw. He set the tone on Sunday right off the opening bell with a missile drop kick to the face of Rollins, followed by a suicide dive to the floor after Rollins rolled out of the ring to seek shelter.
The physicality of the bout only increased from there, with Rollins routinely taunting Balor and slapping his face.
An exciting sequence of near falls led to the finish, including Balor kicking out of Rollins' finishing move, the Pedigree, which produced a huge reaction from the crowd.
Rollins then landed a superplex from the top rope, but Balor countered his follow-up move and landed a mini-Coup de Grace, his two-footed stomp-to-the-chest finisher, in the center of the ring. With Rollins down, Balor took to the top rope to land the real thing, getting the pin at 19 minutes, 24 seconds.
For recaps and ratings of all the SummerSlam matches, click here.