His feud with Kevin Owens has been another hot angle for Universal champion Roman Reigns. Many fans believed their TLC match would main event the PPV of the same name on Sun., Dec. 20 - especially after the WWE title match opened the show at the ThunderDome.
Instead, Reigns and Owens were the fifth of six matches on the main card of TLC. It’s just as well, because KO barely managed to wait that long. As the Tribal Chief was staring at his belt above the ring, the challenger attacked!
His opening flurry ended with a Frog Splash to the floor, and the match might have ended there if it wasn’t for Roman’s cousin Jey Uso. Jey paid for his interference with a series of chair shots, then he got his ankle Pillman-ized.
It all gave Reigns a chance to recover, though. He flew in with a drop kick on the apron, then followed up by smashing KO with the ring steps. The beatdown was on, as the champ used all the plunder the match allowed to teach Owens about respect.
Of course, a man who said he would take the Universal title or die trying wasn’t going to fold just because of an asskicking.
Owens was all alone with the title in his grasp when Uso reemerged. Brawling on one leg, he bought time for Reigns again. A Superman punch put the Canadian down while the cousins set up tables on opposite sides of the ring. That took long too, though. KO recovered to stun the champ and put Jey through the announce table with a pop-up powerbomb.
But he couldn’t reach the strap before the Head of the Table climbed to meet him. What followed were two incredibly painful looking slams onto a ladder... then Reigns put Owens through two tables.
The champ started a slow climb, and could only laugh when KO crawled back into the ring. A spear through a table didn’t keep Owens down, but it did look to hurt Roman’s shoulder. Owens baited him into and then sidestepped another spear on the floor, and when the Chief went through the barricade it seemed he was hurt for sure.
After another confrontation atop the ladder, they traded finishers. It really, finally looked like Owens could win after her pop-up powerbombed Reigns through a table. But one last bit of interference from Uso stopped his climb, and gave the champ time to low blow his foe.
This was fantastic storytelling with brutal action. Make sure to check this one out as soon as possible, scripted fight fans.
Get complete TLC results and coverage of the entire show here.