Consider the curse broken. Roman Reigns didn’t just score his first-ever singles win over Samoa Joe in their Intercontinental Title rematch, he got retribution for Dean Ambrose, defended the honor of The Shield and managed to navigate a stipulation that would have cost The Big Dog his title if he got himself disqualified.
That caveat was a result of the excessive aggression that both got Roman disqualified last week and earned him a $5,000 fine for shoving referee John Cone. This time around, The Big Dog had to toe a fine line when it came to carrying the flag for the injured Ambrose while also keeping his anger in check to retain his title (especially with Cone donning the stripes again), and Joe took advantage of Reigns’ hesitance early in the match. Even by his standards, The Samoan Submission Machine was in rare form, blistering Reigns with offense that left the champion out on his feet and searching wildly for an answer.
Even when Roman got himself back into the match, he flirted close enough with a disqualification on several occasions that the ref pulled him off and stopped his momentum cold, allowing Joe to reassert himself. And Joe seemed to successfully exploit the loophole when he shoved Reigns into Cone, setting off a confrontation that may have led to a disqualification if Joe hadn’t pressed his attack, landing a Uranage that continued the match. An irate Joe locked in the Coquina Clutch moments later, but Reigns had one move left in the tank, throwing Joe over his shoulder and pouncing with a sternum-shattering Spear to put the instant classic to a close.