The Raw and SmackDown Live locker rooms were watching. The Commissioner and General Manager of each brand got an introduction.
You'd think a Triple Threat between one of the most popular factions in recent memory for the World title would have been enough. But with Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns drafter to Monday nights, and current champ Dean Ambrose on Tuesdays, WWE was using this bout to hype their brand split as much as the match itself.
After a quick "Roman sucks" chant, Seth tried to get his former brothers to fist bump, but the Big Dog wasn't having it. Understandable, considering how Rollins ran him down during his 30 day suspension. From there, it was standard Triple Threat format for a while - usually with the Architect being sent to the floor so the "brothers" could fight honorably, but with all combinations of one-on-one wrestling represented.
All three men got involved when action reached the announce area. Rollins sent he and Reigns into the timekeepers area, where Ambrose dove on them. Back in the ring, Roman Superman punched both his former teammates, but Seth & Dean countered a Spear and everyone was brawling for a time.
Ambrose & Rollins teamed up as they had on house shows, looking for the Powerbomb spot the Shield made famous. But Roman kicked Seth through the ropes, and it was dives to the outside from there - where Dean & Seth again teamed up. This time, the spot was successful, and Reigns went through the Spanish announce table!
In a callback to the break-up of the Hounds of Justice, Rollins grabbed a steel chair and laid out Ambrose - then added a couple shots to Roman for good measure. He rolled Dean back into the ring, but the Lunatic Finge countered the Buckle Bomb. He couldn't counter a Superplex that followed, and was rolled right into a Falcon Arrow, but he was able to kick out at two.
Seth went for a Pedigree, but Dean fought it off. They fought as Ambrose went for a Superplex, which gave Roman time to get back into the action. Powerbombs to both men, with a sitout version earning a nearfall on Rollins.
The Man rolled out, leaving the Guy and the Dude to fight it out. Ambrose ended up taking a Superman punch, and Reigns turned into a Pedigree, which he hit! The Big Dog kicked out at two, however.
Rollins returned for a Buckle Bomb, but that was immediately answered by another Superman Punch, and then the Spear. Before Roman could hook the leg, however, Ambrose returned. One Dirty Deeds later, Reigns was pinned and the WWE title is staying on SmackDown - something the announcers crowed about almost as much as Dean's win.
Not lost on many was Roman Reigns taking the pin - something he rarely did in any situation prior to his suspension. Fans will be watching how he's booked from here, especially since the brand split keeps him from feuding with the man who pinned him, to gauge Vince McMahon's commitment to his push.
For an update on all the results and happenings in D.C. tonight, click here.