Dean Ambrose is still the Intercontinental Champion, but just barely. Faced with a house-on-fire effort from Apollo Crews, The Lunatic Fringe did not so much win as survive against a Superstar who seemed hellbent on smashing through the glass ceiling at any cost.
Crews came out swinging — or rather kicking, blasting Dean with the double boots straight out of the bell and forcing the champion to go slightly dirty by throwing his foe into the steel steps. With Crews still smarting from the effects of the Battle Royal earlier in the night, that was enough to slow his momentum, but Ambrose couldn’t close, and the challenger slowly but surely crawled back to the advantage.
Now closing in on the title, Crews emptied his arsenal in lightning-quick fashion, from superkicks to suplexes to an astounding standing shooting star press. Ambrose narrowly escaped defeat by reaching the ropes following a standing sit-out powerbomb, but Crews continued to press until he made his only mistake of the match, whiffing on a frog splash when Ambrose rolled out of the way. The champion quickly pounced with Dirty Deeds to retain his title, and while this likely wasn’t the fresh start Apollo Crews wanted, he may well look back on this night as something just as valuable: a first step.