Roman Reigns’ run as universal champion has already been built up to feel like it has the potential to be one of the most interesting title runs in modern wrestling history. Reigns made his first televised title defense of his current title reign on Friday’s edition of SmackDown, facing off with former rival Braun Strowman in the night’s main event.

The lasting memories of the show, however, will be yet another stellar segment between Reigns and his cousin, Jey Uso. After his match, Reigns pleaded with Uso to not force his hand by going through with their Hell in a Cell “I Quit” match on Oct. 25. Uso delivered his response with his fists, feet and a steel chair.

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Jey Uso refuses to hear Roman Reigns’ message

WWE Universal Championship — Roman Reigns (c) def. Braun Strowman via submission with a guillotine choke. Reigns immediately took the fight to Strowman, hitting him with an early Superman punch and then a drive-by dropkick. Reigns continued to dominate until Strowman was able to mount a comeback outside the ring, slamming Reigns into the ring post and tossing him over the announce table before knocking him over the ringside barricade. Strowman had to make another comeback, hitting a dominator and a chokeslam, but Reigns hit a low blow as he kicked out, leaving an opening for a spear for a Reigns near fall. Reigns tried for another spear, but Strowman avoided the hold. Reigns was able to lock in a guillotine choke, however and used the hold to force Strowman to tap out.

Following Reigns’ victory, Jey Uso’s music hit and he made his way to the entrance ramp. Reigns looked at Uso and signaled for him to watch before hitting Strowman with a post-match spear. Reigns motioned for Uso to come to the ring, which Uso obliged before Paul Heyman handed Reigns a steel chair. Reigns pointed to Strowman and said, “This is how we eat. If I’m not on top, we don’t do this.” Reigns followed up by issuing a dire warning to Uso, saying, “If I can do this to him, imagine what I can do to you.” Reigns then laid into Strowman with the chair before chasing off WWE officials and continuing the assault. Uso climbed into the ring as Reigns said, “I love you, I would never do this to you, but you forced my hand.” After Reigns told Uso that he had forced his hand, he told him to swing the chair and turned his back. Uso threw down the chair, yelling that he would not before punching Reigns and dropping him to the canvas with a superkick. Uso then unloaded on Reigns with the chair before officials stopped the attack, allowing Reigns to hit a Superman punch before leaving the ring in a mix of frustration and sadness.

It’s no surprise at this point that putting Reigns and Uso in the ring produces a weird kind of magic. Genuine emotion isn’t a strong point in modern wrestling, but it has been what has made Uso and Reigns a special program. The bout between Reigns and Strowman was fine for a TV main event, and Reigns breaking out a submission to win is a nice wrinkle. But this was all about Uso and Reigns, with Strowman serving mostly as a prop to the bigger story. Grade: B+

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