One half of the finals were set in the opener, so when Intercontinental champion Kevin Owens and Dean Ambrose hit the ring at Phillips Arena in Atlanta, it was to determine who would face Roman Reigns for the WWE World Heavyweight championship.
Both men chatted with The Big Dog backstage to set up their semi-final encounter, which along with some shots of Triple H watching the action on a monitor in his office added fuel to the fire of fan speculation about one of the three men aligning with The Authority.
But by the time the bell rang, it was just a fight. Dean controlled the action early, but he got hung up on the top rope and KO cannonballed his way to an advantageous position. From there, the IC champ did his usual heelish best to slowly beat down the Lunatic Fringe while taunting the crowd (many of whom remained in support of him, regardless).
Ambrose tried to battle back, but wasn't able to get all the way there until Owens missed on a top rope moonsault attempt. An elbow drop from the former Shield member got a nearfall, but when he went back to up, a series of counters ended with Dean being suplexed from several feet up.
The former United States champ came back with his signature spots, but a second suicide dive attempt resulted in being dropped on the announce table. After a series of superkicks, KO was unable to hit his Pop-Up Powerbomb finisher, and Ambrose slipped into Dirty Deeds after reversing it.
He will face his brother in the finals later on tonight.