The rise of Roman Reigns as one of the top young stars in the WWE continued on Sunday when he defeated Randy Orton at SummerSlam.
WrestlingINC.com broke down the result:
Robert Littal of BlackSportsOnline and Bleacher Report's Justin LaBar provided their takes on the match:
The rivalry between Reigns and Orton heated up on the July 21 edition of Raw. Orton was in the process of being called out by Triple H as the No. 1 contender to fight John Cena for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship at SummerSlam, but Reigns stepped in and fought The Viper to the back.
Triple H went on to award the title shot to Brock Lesnar instead of Orton, and the animosity between the two men has never been higher.
The history between these two challengers goes back even further, though, to the battles between The Shield and Evolution. Both Reigns and Orton were a big part of the six-man matches at Extreme Rules and Payback, but Sunday was their first real opportunity to go one-on-one at a pay-per-view.
For Reigns, this is a huge victory in his evolution as a singles competitor. There were many fans who questioned his ability to work an extended singles match, but Sunday proved he has legitimate potential.
Despite being relatively new to the business, Reigns has carried himself with a mature demeanor and embraced his role.
A loss for Orton really doesn’t hurt his heel character much after weeks of getting the upper hand on Reigns. Whether it was beating down Reigns to close Raw or his victory over Sheamus on Monday, Orton looked like the stronger competitor throughout the buildup to this match.
After a solid bout at SummerSlam, the WWE Universe should expect Round 2 at Night of Champions.
Orton and Reigns showed excellent chemistry when working together and another match in the series would be a blessing for Reigns.
As a younger wrestler still learning the intricacies of working singles matches, Reigns could continue to lean on the veteran experience of Orton and build a memorable first long-term feud.
At Night of Champions, Orton should get the win, but Reigns should be victorious in the final chapter at Hell in a Cell. The WWE has set the stage for a well-booked start to Reigns’ ascension to the top of the card.
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