During the main event of SummerSlam last Sunday, Roman Reigns made a surprising return to the WWE in his first official appearance since March. In the main event of the Payback PPV, Reigns set up to go toe-to-toe against Bray Wyatt aka The Fiend and Braun Strowman in a "No Holds Barred" match for the Universal Championship but had yet to sign the contract officially. As fans may remember when the global pandemic came to a head at WrestleMania 36, Reigns was unable to defend his title against Goldberg and the match ultimately went to Braun Strowman, who ultimately lost the title to The Fiend.
In his attempt to right the wrongs against him and rectify this loss, Reigns has teamed up with the infamous Paul Heyman to so aptly put it, "wreck everyone and leave," so that he could regain his title with no loose end left untied. This triple threat match for the Universal Championship kicked off with The Fiend making his infamous and terrifying entrance, only to be interrupted with a surprise attack from Braun Strowman. The fury from Strowman was nearly palpable and his hatred for his adversary definitely resulted in an early mistake that The Fiend was able to capitalize on and send Strowman out of the ring.
Fiend followed his pursuit by slamming Strowman through a table only minutes into the beginning of the match. With the remote crowd screaming in the background, the atmosphere of the ThunderDome had an electric air to it described only as pre-pandemic. Even with The Fiend bringing out a Harley Quinn-esque mallet, Strowman had no fear in him as he slammed The Fiend into the metal ringside stairs. Blow upon blow from The Fiend could only be described as torture, even attempting to pull Strownman's head clean from his shoulders and leading the monster among men around by his beard like a lost puppy.
Still, Roman Reigns was a no show even as both men send each other flying off the stage. With this sort of punishment generally saved for the end of a match, so far the fight had felt completely personal between the former cult members. As Braun headed to the top rope to put an end to The Fiend, his ultimate adversary retaliated and reacted faster than Strowman could land the move and executed such an epic superplex that broke the ring off its foundation and sent the referee flying out of the square circle. And finally, Roman Reigns entered the ring with Paul Heyman in tow and a steel chair in his hand, signing the contract at last and finally entering the fray.
With a new referee entering the ring during two failed pin attempts from Roman, the big dog then laid a brutal beating on Strowman with the chair, but the Fiend was not ready to stay down and hooked the mandible claw on Roman who responded in kind with a devastating low blow, knocking the Fiend out of the fight. Reigns then speared Strownman and pinned him immediately, quickly regaining his championship that was unceremoniously lost back in March. Barely experiencing and bump or blow, Reigns waited until the exact last minute to sign his contract for the match and steal the belt back from two seemingly undefeatable titans.
The night concluded with a striking message: The Big Dog is back.