We’re now over 12 hours removed from the events of Royal Rumble last night (Sat., Jan. 28, 2023) at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas, but I can’t stop thinking about everything that went down in the main event.
At a glance it was a night that went down not unlike so many others the past couple years. Roman Reigns successfully defended his WWE Universal championship, pinning Kevin Owens. But it was so much more than that.
He battered and bruised and belittled Owens, and he did it all in front of Sami Zayn. In fact, he forced Zayn to participate, to play an active role in it. Then, when it was finished, he made Zayn watch an even greater destruction of a man Sami has been close to for the majority of his life.
When it finally became too much, the weight of what he was witnessing too large to bear, Zayn stepped in. He threw away his dignity to plead with Reigns to stop. The Bloodline had done enough. Owens was finished.
Reigns did stop, but only so he could hand the chair to Zayn and demand he finish it himself.
Sami, of course, hesitated. You could see, but more importantly feel, just how torn apart he was. Owens is like a brother to him — through all the disagreements, all the insults, all the fights, all the backstabbing, all of it. And he spent months ignoring that, and even actively going against it, all in the name of courting favor with Reigns and his family.
He just wanted to be accepted. He so badly wanted to be one of them. When Owens would tell him that would never happen, that he was simply a pawn to be moved on the table by a greater power, a bullet to be fired and forgotten, Sami would push back against it. He would defend his position.
But how could he defend this?
So he didn’t.
And when he didn’t, an enraged Reigns pushed him in his face, screaming at him, humiliating him in front of over 50,000 people. Roman demanded he deliver the final blow. Zayn, still torn up, appeared to finally accept it. He looked at Reigns and nodded his head. Reigns turned and moved closer to Owens. Sami lifted the chair and made his decision, one that changed everything:
My god, listen to those people. It was so unbelievably cathartic, that chair connecting with Roman’s back and the entire arena exploding along with it. That was months in the making, and its impact will reverberate for months to come.
The chairshot of a lifetime.
There was a lot more to this, including Sami instantly looking to Jey Uso and apologizing for what he had done. It’s meaningful not just because of what those two went through with each other but because of Jey’s own past with Reigns. But that’s a story for another time.
For now, I just have to go back and watch that chairshot for the 678th time.