The Roman Empire has begun.
Despite interferences from Vince McMahon, Alberto Del Rio and Rusev, Roman Reigns defeated Sheamus on Monday Night Raw to become the WWE World Heavyweight champion for a second time.
You can check out the highlights of the match by watching the video below:
WWE tweeted about Reigns' victory:
The new champ will be on SportsCenter on Tuesday, being interviewed by former WWE employee and current ESPN broadcaster Jonathan Coachman:
Reigns got a rematch with Sheamus one night after Del Rio and Rusev cost Roman the world title on Sunday night at the Tables, Ladders & Chairs pay-per-view. Reigns went into a frenzy and hit the three members of the League of Nations with a steel chair. He also took out WWE COO Triple H, hitting him with the same chair, putting him through the announce table and spearing him to the floor.
The COO was not at Raw on Monday night, but Stephanie McMahon's father, Vince, was.
Vince gave Reigns his rematch, but if he were to lose, he'd be fired.
Reigns delivered a Superman punch to Sheamus, and as the referee's hand was coming down for the three count, Vince pulled the official out of the ring, which then prompted Rusev and Del Rio to attack Reigns. After delivering a Superman punch to Rusev, Reigns hit Vince with one as well, which followed with a Brogue Kick by Sheamus, but only for a two count.
As Sheamus went for one more Brogue Kick, Reigns hit him with the spear and picked up the pinfall victory.
When Raw went off the air, new intercontinental champion Dean Ambrose, Jimmy and Jey Uso went to the ring to celebrate with Reigns:
Sheamus sent out this tweet after the loss:
WWE provided a GIF of the spear that gave Reigns the title:
WWE needed to put the belt on Reigns right now. With injuries to Seth Rollins and John Cena, as well as Brock Lesnar taking some time off, Sheamus holding the belt was not going to go over with fans as much as Reigns.
There may be one more rematch at the Royal Rumble, but it would not feel right to have the title go back to Sheamus at this point. Richard Deitsch from Sports Illustrated thinks the reasonable expectation is Reigns keeps the title heading into WrestleMania:
But it does beg the question of how Triple H fits into this equation. All signs pointed to a Reigns/HHH matchup at WrestleMania, and if it were to happen, it surely can't be for the title. But if Sheamus is out of the picture, then there's the uncertainty of who wins the Rumble. The next few months will be interesting.
Almost one year to the day that the Philadelphia crowd booed Reigns after winning the Royal Rumble, Reigns returned to Philadelphia and won the championship in front of a roaring crowd. Times have changed in WWE, and times may have changed on how WWE fans view Reigns.