Roman Reigns Beats The Fiend, Strowman; Wins Universal Title at WWE Payback 2020

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistAugust 31, 2020

Photo credit: WWE.com.

Roman Reigns beat "The Fiend" Bray Wyatt and Braun Strowman in a Triple Threat match at WWE Payback on Sunday to win the Universal Championship.

Wyatt and Strowman destroyed the ring with a superplex from the second rope midway through the match.

Reigns, who had waited to officially sign the contract for the match, decided that was the perfect time to make his arrival alongside Paul Heyman.

The Big Dog attacked Strowman with a steel chair and kicked Wyatt below the belt after The Fiend briefly locked in the Mandible Claw. With Wyatt on the outside, Reigns speared Strowman and pinned him for the victory.

After feuding for the past few months, The Fiend defeated Strowman in a Falls Count Anywhere match at SummerSlam last weekend to win the universal title, but that moment was overshadowed by the shocking return of Reigns.

The Big Dog had not been seen since just before WrestleMania 36. He was scheduled to face Goldberg for the Universal Championship at that show but pulled out because of concerns related to the COVID-19 pandemic and took the next five months off to be with his family.

There was no indication that Reigns was anywhere close to returning, but he made his presence felt in a big way at SummerSlam by laying out both The Fiend and Strowman with Spears to end the show. The lasting image as the pay-per-view went off the air was The Big Dog holding the universal title high in the air.

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With Reigns back in the fold, it was announced that The Fiend would defend the Universal Championship against both him and Strowman at Payback.

In addition to essentially kicking off Reigns' rivalry with both The Fiend and Strowman, Payback served as a vehicle to further or perhaps even end the feud between the former Wyatt Family members.

The issues between Wyatt and Strowman started shortly after WrestleMania when Wyatt made it clear he wanted the Universal Championship back after dropping it to Goldberg in February.

That led to a match between Strowman and the Firefly Fun House version of Wyatt at Money in the Bank. The Monster Among Men used his history with Wyatt to trick his rival and defeat him in the first match between them.

They did battle once again in a Wyatt Swamp Fight at Extreme Rules, and while there was no winner per se, Wyatt got the last laugh, as he pulled Strowman under the water to end the show before resurfacing as The Fiend.

After that, a darker and more sinister version of Strowman emerged, but he was unable to beat The Fiend at SummerSlam.

Reigns emerged as an even bigger threat to both men at SummerSlam, and now that he is universal champion, he is likely poised for a long-term feud with The Fiend over the title.

         

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