Roman Reigns’ run atop the WWE is still running strong despite a valiant effort from Sami Zayn in the Undisputed WWE Universal Championship match at the Elimination Chamber in his hometown of Montreal. Reigns made his way to the ring to a chorus of boos, followed by Zayn, who got a hero’s welcome.
Zayn and Reigns stood across from each other for first few minutes of the match, taking in the raucous atmosphere before locking up. When the action started, Reigns steamrolled Zayn, overpowering the challenger time and again.
Urged on by the crowd, Zayn found his confidence, tossing Reigns to the outside, flipping out onto the champ, and then taking the action to him inside the ring. As the momentum swung back to Reigns, he yelled out at Zayn’s family saying he wanted to provide for them.
Zayn and Reigns traded blows as the match went on before the champ set up for Superman Punch. Zayn reversed into an exploder suplex, but Reigns responded with a Superman Punch. Reigns went for the spear, but missed and Zayn rolled him up for a two count. Zayn hit another exploder suplex, then hit Reigns with a Superman Punch followed by the Helluva Kick, pinning Reigns for the two.
Reigns rolled out of the ring and Zayn attempted to jump through the ropes for a DDT, but Reigns stopped him with a punch. On the outside, Reigns attempted to spear Zayn through the barricade, but missed. Zayn hit the Blue Thunder Bomb for the two count.
Reigns knocked the referee out, attacking Zayn in the corner, who followed up with a Helluva Kick that could have ended the champ’s night. Jimmy Uso then ran to the ring and landed a slew of superkicks on Zayn before hitting the Uso Splash and pulling Reigns onto Zayn as a new official ran down and counted to two.
On their knees, Zayn and Reigns traded blows. After a distraction by Jimmy, Reigns hit a spear for the two count. Reigns went for another Superman Punch and took out the ref. Zayn and Reigns hit each other, and both fell to their backs in the middle of the ring. Reigns called for a chair, and Paul Heyman tossed it into the ring.
As Reigns lifted the chair, Jey Uso stepped into the ring between Reigns and Zayn. Reigns handed Jey the chair, putting him in the same spot Zayn was in with Kevin Owens. Jey took the chair before Reigns took it back and shoved his face twice, then Zayn went to attack Reigns and speared Jey. Reigns then took the chair to Zayn’s back over and over again.
Reigns then hit a spear on Zayn as the referee counted three.
After the match, Jimmy continued to beat down Zayn. Owens’ music hit as he made the save and attacked Jimmy up the ramp. Owens then attacked Reigns in the ring and hit a stunner. Owens hit a stunner to Jimmy in the ring, and then pop-up power bombed him through the announce table. Owens grabbed a chair and was attacked from behind by Heyman, eventually giving a stunner to Heyman. Owens set Reigns up in the corner, and Zayn followed it up with a Helluva Kick, laying out the champ.
Zayn’s story follows a near year-long integration into the Bloodline, aligning with Jimmy and Jey Uso, alongside Solo Sikoa and the Tribal Chief, Reigns. Over the year, Zayn was forced to constantly prove his allegiance to the Bloodline, eventually gaining the approval of Jey Uso by helping his team defeat Owens and Co. at War Games. After John Cena returned to team with Owens and defeat Reigns and Zayn, Reigns began to lose patience with Zayn, leading to their fallout at the Royal Rumble over Zayn’s refusal to clobber Owens with a chair.
With the win, Reigns is now squarely in the driver’s seat to face off against 2023 Royal Rumble winner Cody Rhodes at WrestleMania 39, but it’s difficult to imagine a world without Zayn involved in at least one major title match at WWE’s biggest show of the year.