CLEVELAND — Following a hard-fought battle that caps off an extraordinary series of matches between Intercontinental Champion Kevin Owens and Dolph Ziggler at WWE Fastlane 2016, Owens emerged victorious and successfully defended is coveted title.

Since the beginning of 2016, the bouts between The Showoff and Owens have presented a strong case for Rivalry of the Year. Owens reclaiming the Intercontinental Championship on Raw in a Fatal 5-Way Match added another competitive layer to this already intense and fan-favorite rivalry. Ziggler had claimed back-to-back victories heading into WWE Fastlane, and The Prizefighter was determined not to let history repeat.

Dolph Ziggler vs. Kevin Owens - Intercontinental Title Match: WWE Fastlane 2016

Dolph Ziggler and Kevin Owens fight tooth-and-nail for the Intercontinental Championship: Courtesy of the award-winning WWE Network.

Owens’ early strategy revolved around using his raw power to overwhelm his opponent and neutralize Ziggler’s agility and high-impact ability. The Prizefighter’s offense allowed him a significant advantage when he countered an Irish Whip and threw The Showoff into the corner with devastating force, potentially injuring Ziggler’s shoulder.

As the odds against him mounted, The Showoff’s resilience kicked into overdrive and he managed to absorb KO’s punishment and finally mount his own offense in an attempt to even the odds. Although Ziggler unleashed an impressive flurry of strikes as momentum shifted in his favor, the damage to his shoulder had been done and allowed Owens to overpower his opponent, once more resulting in a series of nail-biting near-falls.

Kevin Owens' surprising remark about Dolph Ziggler: WWE.com Exclusive, February 21, 2016

Doing his best to avoid WWE.com cameras, Kevin Owens weighs in on his Intercontinental Title Match with Dolph Ziggler at WWE Fastlane 2016.

With the battle raging, Ziggler’s "never say die" attitude was on full display as the duo exchanged superkicks in and out of the ring. Then, each managed to counter maneuvers that could have easily ended the contest: a jaw-dropping superplex in Owen’s favor and a cringe-worthy hurricanrana into the steel steeps for Ziggler.

Dazed following his unexpected trip into the steel steeps, the Intercontinental Champion staggered back into the ring as Ziggler channeled WWE Hall of Famer Shawn Michaels in preparations for a superkick to the chants of “This is awesome!” from the WWE Universe.

As The Showoff moved in to deliver the kick, KO ducked and Ziggler stopped himself before kicking  the official. That momentary distraction was all The Prizefighter needed to capitalize and, next, perfectly execute his patented Pop-up Powerbomb to capture the win.

Although the result puts Ziggler and Owens at two victories apiece in 2016, Kevin Owens emerged on top when it mattered most: with the Intercontinental Championship on the line.

CLEVELAND — Following a hard-fought battle that caps off an extraordinary series of matches between Intercontinental Champion Kevin Owens and Dolph Ziggler at WWE Fastlane 2016, Owens emerged victorious and successfully defended is coveted title.

Since the beginning of 2016, the bouts between The Showoff and Owens have presented a strong case for Rivalry of the Year. Owens reclaiming the Intercontinental Championship on Raw in a Fatal 5-Way Match added another competitive layer to this already intense and fan-favorite rivalry. Ziggler had claimed back-to-back victories heading into WWE Fastlane, and The Prizefighter was determined not to let history repeat.

Dolph Ziggler vs. Kevin Owens - Intercontinental Title Match: WWE Fastlane 2016

Dolph Ziggler and Kevin Owens fight tooth-and-nail for the Intercontinental Championship: Courtesy of the award-winning WWE Network.

Owens’ early strategy revolved around using his raw power to overwhelm his opponent and neutralize Ziggler’s agility and high-impact ability. The Prizefighter’s offense allowed him a significant advantage when he countered an Irish Whip and threw The Showoff into the corner with devastating force, potentially injuring Ziggler’s shoulder.

As the odds against him mounted, The Showoff’s resilience kicked into overdrive and he managed to absorb KO’s punishment and finally mount his own offense in an attempt to even the odds. Although Ziggler unleashed an impressive flurry of strikes as momentum shifted in his favor, the damage to his shoulder had been done and allowed Owens to overpower his opponent, once more resulting in a series of nail-biting near-falls.

Kevin Owens' surprising remark about Dolph Ziggler: WWE.com Exclusive, February 21, 2016

Doing his best to avoid WWE.com cameras, Kevin Owens weighs in on his Intercontinental Title Match with Dolph Ziggler at WWE Fastlane 2016.

With the battle raging, Ziggler’s "never say die" attitude was on full display as the duo exchanged superkicks in and out of the ring. Then, each managed to counter maneuvers that could have easily ended the contest: a jaw-dropping superplex in Owen’s favor and a cringe-worthy hurricanrana into the steel steeps for Ziggler.

Dazed following his unexpected trip into the steel steeps, the Intercontinental Champion staggered back into the ring as Ziggler channeled WWE Hall of Famer Shawn Michaels in preparations for a superkick to the chants of “This is awesome!” from the WWE Universe.

As The Showoff moved in to deliver the kick, KO ducked and Ziggler stopped himself before kicking  the official. That momentary distraction was all The Prizefighter needed to capitalize and, next, perfectly execute his patented Pop-up Powerbomb to capture the win.

Although the result puts Ziggler and Owens at two victories apiece in 2016, Kevin Owens emerged on top when it mattered most: with the Intercontinental Championship on the line.