WASHINGTON, D.C. – Sami Zayn toppled Kevin Owens at WWE Battleground as the former best friends turned bitter enemies closed the book on their longstanding conflict once and for all. The Underdog from the Underground and KO settled their storied rivalry in a fiery final showdown in what may go down as their greatest face-off ever.
While this wasn’t the first friendship gone wrong in sports-entertainment history – and certainly won’t be the last – there are few rivalries in WWE history with as much deep-seated animosity. Ever since KO callously turned on his closest friend at NXT TakeOver: R Evolution by powerbombing him onto the ring apron, neither Superstar has missed an opportunity to inflict pain on the other. And their highly anticipated showdown in the nation’s capital
continued that trend.
Zayn wasted no time going on the attack,
attempting to hit the Helluva Kick as soon as the
bell rang, to no avail. Instead, Owens slid outside
the ring, where the fierce foes proceeded to throw one another into the ringside barricade.
Each strike and maneuver delivered by these Superstars seemingly contained just a little more force than usual as each tried to distribute as much agony on his opponent as possible.
Zayn’s high-flying style nearly cost him the contest in the early goings as his attempt to springboard off the top rope onto Owens on the outside backfired as the aerial artist miscalculated and fell onto his right shoulder.
Throughout the match, WWE’s prizefighter seemed to know every move his one-time friend was going to attempt, allowing the trash-talking Canadian grappler to avoid danger on multiple occasions. However, Owens could not stop Zayn from nailing a brutal suplex on the ring apron, seemingly opening the flood gates for the red-haired dynamo.
But, as was the story for most of the bout, the wily Owens would deny his rival from hitting the
knockout blow. Zayn attempted to hit his
trademark tornado DDT through the ropes, only to get hit square in the jaw with a superkick. KO
looked to capitalize with a huge frog splash only to have Zayn kick out at two.
WWE fans at The Verizon Center were chanting
“Fight Forever!” as these warriors remarkably took the match to an even higher gear. Zayn’s electric offensive attack soon began to get the best of Owens as the crowd in Washington, D.C., was brought to their feet with every near fall. Emotions began to boil over as Zayn got his foot up on the rope just in time to avoid a pinfall after suffering a Pop-up Powerbomb from Owens.
A frustrated Owens then derided his foe,
demanding that he “stay down!” as he slapped him across the face. An undeterred Zayn fired back with a slap of his own that stunned Owens.
The crowd roared as Zayn hit back-to-back exploder suplexes on his embattled opponent.
Zayn stood in the corner for a moment and closed his eyes, as if to envision what was about to happen, before hitting perhaps his most explosive Helluva Kick to date. As Owens fell motionless into the arms of Zayn, Raw announcer Michael Cole speculated that Owens’ former best friend might have been considering showing some compassion.
Instead, Zayn propped Owens up in the corner and charged one last time, hitting another Helluva Kick to claim the emotionally and physically draining victory.
Now that the dust has settled from this vicious war with Zayn’s hand raised high, what’s next for both of these Superstars? This match was billed as the final battle between both competitors, but can the brash Owens finally put his differences with Zayn in the past after ending up on the losing side. Plus, thanks to the WWE Draft, both grapplers are now members of Raw’s roster, so it’s safe to say they will be running into each other in the future.