Roman Reigns beat Kevin Owens in a Tables, Ladders and Chairs match at the WWE TLC pay-per-view Sunday to retain the Universal Championship.
As expected, Jey Uso made his presence felt. KO had his hands on the title before Uso intervened to prevent the challenger from pulling the belt down.
Uso's attack bought Reigns enough time to recover. As Owens again attempted to retrieve the belt, The Tribal Chief scaled the ladder and delivered a low blow. He then applied a guillotine choke from atop the ladder.
After throwing KO down to the mat, Reigns was able to earn the victory.
Owens said he would throw everything he had at Reigns, and that's exactly what he did. Both stars absorbed a ton of punishment over the course of the match.
While Reigns has been dominant since returning to WWE at SummerSlam in August, KO showed no fear in standing up to him in the weeks leading up to TLC, which is what led to their match becoming official.
It started when Owens came to Daniel Bryan's aid after Uso attacked him backstage on Nov. 27. Uso's actions were a result of Reigns challenging him to prove he was worthy of being part of his family, and his cousin responded by targeting multiple Superstars that night.
Owens and Uso then faced each other in the main event of that SmackDown, and Jey attacked his rival with a steel chair. KO was able to gain the upper hand, though, by hitting him with a Stunner and then turning the chair on his opponent.
During the assault, Owens defiantly yelled into the camera at Reigns, who was watching on a monitor backstage. He even pulled a chair up to the announce table and declared himself the "head of the table," which was a direct shot at The Tribal Chief.
The following week, KO interrupted a Reigns promo and challenged him to a Tables, Ladders and Chairs match for the Universal Championship at TLC, and the titleholder accepted.
Later that night, Owens linked up with Otis to face Reigns and Uso in a tag team match. The Tribal Chief didn't show up until the middle of the contest, but it didn't take him long to make his presence felt.
Despite not being the legal man, Reigns entered the ring and put KO in a guillotine choke. When he refused to break the hold, the referee disqualified him and Uso, giving Owens and Otis the victory.
Reigns then attacked both Owens and Uso with a steel chair after the match to assert his dominance and make it clear he was ready for whatever challenge KO intended to throw his way.
While Reigns and Owens have an extensive history with each other, all of their previous singles matches came with The Big Dog as the babyface and KO as the heel.
The roles were reversed Sunday, and it made for an intriguing bout, as did the fact that both men tend to excel in a hardcore environment.
They did precisely that Sunday, but it was Reigns who prevailed and continues to impose his will on the entire SmackDown roster.
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