TORONTO — KO won’t go.

In a match that would have either functioned as a humbling of Shane McMahon or sent Kevin Owens to the breadline, the former Universal Champion survived a career-risking stipulation to give “The Best in the World” the beating that Owens has long said he has coming to him. He did so despite a masterstroke of manipulation by Shane-O-Mac, who named frequent co-conspirator Elias as the bout’s “guest enforcer” and largely stood back as The Living Truth tried to rile up Owens to the point of a count-out or disqualification.

Shane McMahon tries to get Kevin Owens to use a chair: SummerSlam 2019 (WWE Network Exclusive)

Shane McMahon attempts to trick Kevin Owens into a disqualification loss by tempting him to use a chair at SummerSlam. Courtesy of WWE Network.

The strategy nearly worked. Owens has long been pushed to his limit by Shane’s tendency to elbow more deserving SmackDown Superstars out of the spotlight, and he struggled to keep his cool in the match — especially when Elias slid a chair into the ring, knowing that Owens may well use it and get disqualified. Shane-O-Mac stoked that fire as well, offering Owens his chin and daring him to strike with the steel, but Owens played it cool — until, thanks to a stroke of luck, he got to have his cake and eat it, too.

Following a scrap outside between Elias and the actual official, KO took off with a cannonball from the apron that was intended for The Living Truth but ended up leveling both zebras. With the ref incapacitated, Owens teed off mercilessly on Elias with the chair and would have done the same to Shane had the official not come to and stopped KO at the last second. As the ref turned his back to dispose of the implement, however, Owens uncorked a boot below the belt. A Stunner followed seconds later, and with it, the victory.

“Are you watching? Are you listening?” Owens snarled into the camera as he made his exit. Who his message was intended for, exactly, remains unclear. But it’s safe to say it was broadly received: The will of the WWE Universe won’t be steamrolled quite so easily. Underappreciated SmackDown Superstars won’t be kept down by divine right. And Shane McMahon will be stuck with Kevin Owens for a good, long time.

TORONTO — KO won’t go.

In a match that would have either functioned as a humbling of Shane McMahon or sent Kevin Owens to the breadline, the former Universal Champion survived a career-risking stipulation to give “The Best in the World” the beating that Owens has long said he has coming to him. He did so despite a masterstroke of manipulation by Shane-O-Mac, who named frequent co-conspirator Elias as the bout’s “guest enforcer” and largely stood back as The Living Truth tried to rile up Owens to the point of a count-out or disqualification.

Shane McMahon tries to get Kevin Owens to use a chair: SummerSlam 2019 (WWE Network Exclusive)

Shane McMahon attempts to trick Kevin Owens into a disqualification loss by tempting him to use a chair at SummerSlam. Courtesy of WWE Network.

The strategy nearly worked. Owens has long been pushed to his limit by Shane’s tendency to elbow more deserving SmackDown Superstars out of the spotlight, and he struggled to keep his cool in the match — especially when Elias slid a chair into the ring, knowing that Owens may well use it and get disqualified. Shane-O-Mac stoked that fire as well, offering Owens his chin and daring him to strike with the steel, but Owens played it cool — until, thanks to a stroke of luck, he got to have his cake and eat it, too.

Following a scrap outside between Elias and the actual official, KO took off with a cannonball from the apron that was intended for The Living Truth but ended up leveling both zebras. With the ref incapacitated, Owens teed off mercilessly on Elias with the chair and would have done the same to Shane had the official not come to and stopped KO at the last second. As the ref turned his back to dispose of the implement, however, Owens uncorked a boot below the belt. A Stunner followed seconds later, and with it, the victory.

“Are you watching? Are you listening?” Owens snarled into the camera as he made his exit. Who his message was intended for, exactly, remains unclear. But it’s safe to say it was broadly received: The will of the WWE Universe won’t be steamrolled quite so easily. Underappreciated SmackDown Superstars won’t be kept down by divine right. And Shane McMahon will be stuck with Kevin Owens for a good, long time.