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The Emperor’s Open Challenge! Roman is out first tonight. It’s no surprise last week was a big week. Shield reunited, they beat New Day at Survivor Series and Roman won the Intercontinental title. The crowd chants you deserve it and he said it’s been a long time and thank you. Roman then goes to what happened to Miz after Raw went off air. He says Miz is gone for awhile and as long as he has the title, he will be a fighting champion. He says if you want it, step up and take it. Miztourage comes out complaining about Roman disrespecting Miz. They say they can’t avenge Miz’s loss but someone else can. Elias. Elias comes out and says tonight he will take the IC championship. Roman says Elias wants to walk with the big dog. But he should look at Axel. He will have a neck brace tonight.

Roman got a huge pop before he came out for the title match. The crowd chanted “We want Roman”. At match start, the crowd is split in cheers and boos for Roman, but you can tell who the crowd is for. A lockup starts the match. Elias with knees to the stomach. He pins Roman twice. Roman kicks out both times. Reigns is down, hopefully he can get back in the match. Elias clotheslines Roman and pins him. Roman kicks out at two. Roman comes back with sheer power as he clotheslines Elias in the corner. Bo Dallas tries to interfere, but Roman throws him off the outside of the ring. Curtis Axel tries to distract Roman and Roman swings and misses as Axel jumps down. Elias gains off of the distraction and rolls Roman up. Kick out.

Back from commercial, Reigns is in a bad way. Soon he gains momentum and drive by’s on Elias. He superman Punches Bo Dallas and Spear’s Curtis Axel. Elias gains momentum again as he goes high flying with an elbow to the champion. Roman kicks out and Elias powerbomb’s Reigns. Reigns barely kicks out at two. Roman superman punches Elias and Elias kicks out. Elias tries a running knee, but Roman blocks it and sets up for a SPEAR TO ELIAS!

Your winner and STILL Intercontinental Champion Roman Reigns!

After the match: Roman walks up the ramp celebrating his victory, when Samoa Joe ensues a vicious attack on Roman Reigns with the Cocina Clutch. It takes several referees and WWE personnel to get Joe off of Roman. Samoa Joe says that he is coming for the title. Here is what WWE.com had to say:

The Intercontinental Championship may have gone from The A-List to The Yard, but Roman Reigns isn’t about to let it sit idly in his trophy case. Agreeing with The Miz’s assertion that the Intercontinental Title was worthy of the biggest possible spotlight, The Big Dog kicked off his first Raw as champion with something of an open challenge, only to be confronted by The Miztourage. Left adrift after their leader was defrocked and sent to the shelf by a Shield Triple Powerbomb after Raw went off the air last week, Bo Dallas & Curtis Axel introduced a Superstar who was more than willing to answer The Big Dog’s call: Elias.

Consider Roman Reigns’ first week as Intercontinental Champion a success — with one big asterisk.

The win came in The Big Dog’s title defense against Elias, who put up a formidable fight in the biggest opportunity of the young Superstar’s career. Competing for his first title, Elias stuck to the ground-and-pound strategy that had brought him to the dance, and The Miztourage did their part at ringside, distracting Reigns as he pulled ahead and allowing his challenger to get back in the thick of things with a picturesque elbow drop.

Reigns tilted the contest back his way by reversing Drift Away into a roll-up attempt, and despite Elias countering one Spear with a knee to the face, The Big Dog’s second attempt at the move seconds later hit its mark and sent the champ home victorious.

As for the asterisk? Right as Reigns was making his exit, he turned to thank the WWE Universe once more and was bulldozed from behind by Samoa Joe, who trapped The Big Dog in the Coquina Clutch, delivering a stark reminder that the life of a fighting champion is a long, hard one with no end in sight.

Related Links:
1. RAW Digitals
2. RAW Screencaptures
3. Video Link 1
4. Video Link 2
5. Video Link 3

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