Samantha Irvin WWE Screen grab: WrestleOps on X

Cody Rhodes defeated Roman Reigns to win the Undisputed WWE Universal Championship in the main event of WrestleMania XL on Sunday night, capping the fan favorites’ year long pursuit of professional wrestling’s biggest prize.

To say that ring announcer Samantha Irvin’s call of the match’s winner met the moment would be an understatement.

As she proclaimed Rhodes the winner of the match, Irvin’s voice sounded noticeably choked up. Footage of the call confirmed as much, as the former America’s Got Talent contestant can be seen fighting back — and ultimately wiping away — tears during the announcement.

Since getting hired by WWE in 2021, Irvin has become a fan favorite thanks to her enthusiastic approach and incredible voice. She often shares footage of herself making ring announcements to social media and her excitement for such moments is always palpable.

But while Irvin has become well known for her enthusiasm, her excitement in announcing Rhodes as WWE’s new top champion took it to another level.

For the uninitiated, Rhodes is the son of professional wrestling legend Dusty Rhodes, who never held WWE’s top title. Upon returning to WWE in 2022, Cody Rhodes stated that it was his mission to win the WWE Championship in honor of his father, who passed away in 2015.

Rhodes faced Reigns in last year’s WrestleMania event and came up short — a booking decision that was polarizing for many fans. After winning this year’s men’s Royal Rumble match — and some creative booking involving Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson — Rhodes challenged Reigns to a rematch at WrestleMania XL, which he ultimately won thanks to some help from John Cena, Seth Rollins and The Undertaker.

For many wrestling fans, Rhodes “finishing his story” made for an emotional moment. Suffice to say, Irvin wasn’t the only one with tears in her eyes on Sunday night.

[WrestleOps on X]

About Ben Axelrod

Ben Axelrod is a veteran of the sports media landscape, having most recently worked for NBC's Cleveland affiliate, WKYC. Prior to his time in Cleveland, he covered Ohio State football and the Big Ten for outlets including Cox Media Group, Bleacher Report, Scout and Rivals.