Rey Mysterio came up short in his quest to become WWE Universal Champion on SmackDown – taking a scary blow with a rough landing on his way to defeat.
Mysterio had been challenging the Tribal chief in a match that had been due to headline Sunday night’s Hell in a Cell pay-per-view event.
But company chiefs opted at the last minute to switch up the latest instalment in the dramatic storyline by moving the bout to Friday and a live episode of television.
In a brutal encounter, the two rivals traded wild blows from the off, with a steel chair and a fire extinguisher utilised within the first few minutes alone.
While it was arguably unlikely that Mysterio would be the man given the nod to bring Reigns’ run with the gold to an end, there were moments when the veteran pushed the champ to his limits.
Just as Mysterio had seemingly been rallying towards what would have been a remarkable victory when Reigns upped the ante and left the challenger beaten in sensational style.
A week removed from powerbombing Mysterio’s son, Dominik over the top rope, Reigns repeated the trick and sent the former WWE Champion flying.
The 46-year-old hurtled through the air before crashing into the wall of the Hell in a Cell structure around the ring before falling to the ground.
The sickening blow proved to be a step too far for Mysterio, who seconds later tapped out to Reigns’ choke submission hold.
It kept Reigns’ championship run intact and brought Mysterio’s charge to the championship to a stunning halt.
Elsewhere in the show, Bayley stood tall over Women’s champ Rhea Ripley after it was confirmed the two of them will meet in Hell in Cell on Sunday.
Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn will also clash at the event after Zayn cost his rival a tag team match on SmackDown.
In some of the night’s other in-ring action, Shinsuke Nakamura became the ‘true king’ after overcoming Baron Corbin.
WWE Hell in a Cell airs on Sunday night, 20 June on BT Sport Box Office and WWE Network.
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