Roman Reigns Beats Kevin Owens, Retains Universal Title at WWE Royal Rumble 2021

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistFebruary 1, 2021

Photo credit: WWE.com.

Roman Reigns defeated Kevin Owens in a Last Man Standing match at the 2021 WWE Royal Rumble on Sunday to retain the Universal Championship.

The two men explored the entire Tropicana Field throughout the match, continually raising the stakes in order to put the other away. At one point, The Tribal Chief drove a golf cart into KO, who shortly after that delivered a Senton Bomb from a forklift.

Reigns was on the verge of defeat after Owens handcuffed him to the bottom of a lighting rig by the entrance. Before the referee could complete the 10-count, the champion slammed him into another rig. Paul Heyman also arrived to get the titleholder loose from the handcuffs.

Upon regaining his bearings, Reigns applied the Guillotine Choke to Owens. The challenger was taken out and unable to get to his feet.

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The pair have been at odds for some time, and Sunday's match marked the second consecutive pay-per-view in which they did battle with the title on the line.

The Tribal Chief beat KO back at TLC: Tables, Ladders & Chairs in December with some help from Jey Uso, but Owens didn't go quietly and continued to go after Reigns in pursuit of the belt.

That led to a rematch on SmackDown inside a steel cage on Christmas Day, but Reigns again came away victorious, which could have marked the end of their rivalry.

The passionate and driven KO continued to be a thorn in his side, though, which led to Reigns and Uso orchestrating a brutal beatdown of him the following week that resulted in him getting thrown off a platform and through some tables.

While KO was on the shelf, WWE official Adam Pearce set up a Gauntlet match to determine Reigns' opponent at the Royal Rumble. The Tribal Chief didn't like the decision being taken out of his hands, so he forced Pearce into the match.

The universal champion ensured the official would win by attacking Shinsuke Nakamura, which seemingly set the table for Reigns vs. Pearce at the Rumble.

However, after Pearce signed the contract for the match, he began limping and said he wouldn't be cleared to compete. He said he found a suitable replacement, which led to Owens returning and signing it instead.

Reigns made Pearce pay by attacking him during the January 22 edition of SmackDown, but KO made the save and put a hurting on the titleholder by hitting him with a Stunner and powerbombing him through the announce table.

Owens seemed to have a fighting chance entering the Royal Rumble since the Last Man Standing stipulation was right in his wheelhouse, but Reigns managed to pull through and is now in line to enter WrestleMania 37 on April 10-11 as the universal champion.

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