Whether fans are behind him or not, Roman Reigns remains World Heavyweight Champion following WWE Payback after defeating AJ Styles in the main event of the overachieving show on Sunday in Chicago.
Though the new era WWE promised would start at Payback was hard to put one’s finger on, the show was a solid one despite no titles changing hands and most of the outcomes being expected. Perhaps the primary disappointment was a lack of an assumed surprise payoff in a main event that had been built to possibly reveal the formation of a new faction within the organization.
Nevertheless, the Reigns-Styles match contained plenty of great action and a couple curves that made viewers believe a title change was about to occur. The match was restarted twice, first by Shane McMahon after Reigns was counted out (a result that does not allow the title to change hands) and again by Stephanie McMahon after Reigns inadvertently committed a low blow and was disqualified (same).
Now a no-count out, no-disqualification title match, the door was open for Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows to get involved and either help Styles to victory or possibly turn on him in a shocker. Instead, their contributions were rather minor in nature as The Usos soon got involved to help Reigns and negate any outside advantage.
There were dives outside the ring, top-rope forearms and Superman punches aplenty over the final few minutes of the fast-paced match, which ultimately concluded with Reigns spearing Styles to retain his title.