In his first title defense since controversially winning the WWE Universal Championship, Kevin Owens successfully retained against Seth Rollins at Clash of Champions on Sunday night with an assist from Chris Jericho.
After the in-ring official suffered an injury, Raw Commissioner Stephanie McMahon had to find a new referee for the end of the match, which Owens then won in short order.
WrestlingINC.com broke down the sequence of events that led to Owens' victory:
2nd official comes out. Pop-up Power Bomb from Owens and he retains. Evil glare from Steph at the ramp. Oddly booked ending. #WWEClash2016-9-26 03:07:44
WWE shared footage of Owens and Jericho celebrating after the win:
.@StephMcMahon sends another referee to the ring, and @FightOwensFight defeats @WWERollins with a Pop-Up Powerbomb!! #WWEClash https://t.co/43HbGNbvb02016-9-26 03:07:30
At one point, Jericho, who was wearing an Owens shirt, entered the ring to distract Rollins long enough for Owens to get a two-count, but he could not get the pin.
WWE Universe shared a video of Rollins' Pedigree on Owens:
WWE Universe @WWEUniverse
#PEDIGREE by @WWERollins!! But the referee is down and out!! #WWEClash #WWEUniversalTitle https://t.co/EOj1ZkQkhT2016-9-26 03:04:54
Later in the match, Rollins pinned Owens for longer than a three-count, but the ref was injured on the mat and did not see it as the match rolled on. Jericho then re-entered the ring, only to be taken out by Rollins.
Despite taking the loss, Rollins received a standing ovation from the crowd after the PPV show concluded:
SiriusXM's Sam Roberts noted how great Owens is when it comes to commentary during matches:
Sam Roberts @notsam
Kevin Owens doing Bobby Heenan level color commentary while wrestling simultaneously #WWEClash2016-9-26 02:52:25
Following Finn Balor's relinquishment of the Universal Championship because of a shoulder injury, McMahon and Raw general manager Mick Foley set up a Fatal 4-Way match between Owens, Rollins, Roman Reigns and Big Cass with the title on the line on the Aug. 29 episode of Raw.
During the latter stages of the bout, Triple H shocked the world by returning. After taking out Reigns with a Pedigree, The Game then turned on his former protege and Pedigreed Rollins as well to help Owens win his first world title in WWE.
An enraged Rollins later demanded a shot at the belt after The Cerebral Assassin had wronged him, and Foley granted his wish.
The title bout at Clash of Champions nearly became a Triple Threat match, however, as Reigns had an opportunity to earn a title shot if he could beat Owens in a non-title match. Due to interference from Rusev, though, Reigns lost, which set the stage for a singles encounter between The Architect and The Prizefighter.
Ever the antagonist, Owens didn't shy away from pushing Rollins' buttons during the buildup toward Clash of Champions, especially on the subject of Triple H, as WWE shared:
"You know who had your back more than anybody else? @TripleH. You're just really hurt..." - @FightOwensFight #RAW https://t.co/AkBrNil40p2016-9-13 02:36:37
Owens also prodded Rollins by ridiculing him and his catchphrase, per WWE Universe:
WWE Universe @WWEUniverse
"It's more like #RedesignRebuildReplaced!" - @FightOwensFight to @WWERollins #RAW https://t.co/u3qOaIAsdW2016-9-13 02:37:23
The heat between Rollins and Owens was immense, especially after Rollins attacked KO during his match against Reigns on Raw.
With both revenge and the Universal Championship on his mind, Rollins had everything to gain at the pay-per-view.
Despite his track record in WWE and status as Raw's No. 1 draft pick, Rollins had the feel of an underdog because Owens always has something up his sleeve.
That suspicion proved to be true as Owens found a way to escape with the title, extending Rollins' recent string of frustrating defeats.
While there is no guarantee that Rollins will get another crack at the Universal Championship, there is plenty of life left in his feud with Owens.
Rollins and Owens proved again at Clash of Champions that they are two of the best all-around performers in the world by putting on an excellent match, and the stage is set for them to produce more classic encounters moving forward.
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