Ryback seized the vacant WWE Intercontinental Championship and his first WWE singles title Sunday in an Elimination Chamber encounter with five other superstars.
After a Shellshock to Sheamus, Ryback stood alone with the strap, besting Sheamus, R-Truth, King Barrett, Mark Henry and Dolph Ziggler.
There were few better ways to decide a worthy Intercontinental Champion after Daniel Bryan relinquished the title due to injury. As WWE captures, he attended ringside to present the title to the eventual winner:
Going into the match, it was impossible to predict who would emerge the winner, especially with Rusev sidelined with an injury and the sixth slot given to a random superstar.
The random element turned out to be the World's Strongest Man, Mark Henry:
Surprises supposedly out of the way, two of the favorites—King Barrett and Dolph Ziggler—started the match off and put on a show.
As they always do, the two men wowed the crowd, but the 2015 King of the Ring made a major mistake by tossing Ziggler into a pod, knocking the glass out of the door's frame and unleashing Mark Henry, who used the no-disqualification rules to enter the match early.
WWE captured the mistake:
It cost King Barrett, too, as Ryback entered next, and he wound up as the first competitor eliminated, followed by R-Truth. In the meantime, a malfunction, purposeful or not on Sheamus' part, kept the Celtic Warrior locked in his pod despite the countdown buzzing.
When he emerged, Sheamus took complete control, eliminating Mark Henry with ease before turning his attention to Dolph Ziggler and Ryback. After an exchange of finishing moves, finalized by the Brogue Kick, he eliminated Dolph Ziggler with a three-count.
Sheamus wasn't done yet, either, next taking the beating to Ryback, highlighted by a White Noise on the hard steel outside the ring:
Believe it or not, it wasn't enough. The Big Guy recovered, hit an impressive counter right into a Shellshock and claimed his first singles title.
After his triumph, Ryback shared a touching moment with Daniel Bryan in the center of the ring:
It's a disappointing end for Sheamus, but there's little doubt with the heat he's gaining he will continue to be one of the top heels in the company gunning for the same title. Expect Dolph Ziggler to hang around contending for the strap as well, if not also taking up his personal issues with Sheamus or Rusev.
As for King Barrett, where he goes from here is tough to figure out. It's one thing to take a loss in such a star-studded event, but it was hard to see the King of the Ring being the first eliminated. It figures to be a tough road to contending for the title again.
While shocking, some of the biggest names in the company will now gun for Ryback, who will look to uphold the new-found prestige of the title Daniel Bryan earned at this year's WrestleMania.
The Big Guy earned a career first Sunday night, with the spotlight his for the foreseeable future.