King Corbin cannot entirely be blamed for going after Roman Reigns. As the Big Dog said himself, “people are always going to challenge you for your spot”. How frustrating it must be for Corbin to know that even though he’s King of the Ring, it’s still Roman’s yard.
What Corbin can be faulted for is his refusal to accept the reality of his situation. Threatened by Roman’s status as locker room leader—a truth we’ve seen glimpses of time and again—he’s had to build himself an army of sycophants. The Revival are no stranger to the role, having previously allied themselves with Shane McMahon. So had Dolph Ziggler, although this time he brought Robert Roode along for the ride. All of them malcontents willing to accept Corbin’s illusory veneer of power for whatever little gain. Yet as the weeks mounted up, it became increasingly obvious that Corbin could not win unless the odds were somehow in his favour. Roman eliminated that advantage when responding to Corbin’s most recent demand. “If the coward wants to have one more match, he’s got it. And if you wanna go one-on-one, even better! Tell your boys to stay home, because we’re gonna do it inside of a steel cage.”
The basic rules of a cage match involve the option of a win via escape. From the moment he made his entrance, Roman made it clear that this was not an outcome he was interested in. As he walked down the ramp, there was no missing the heavy steel chain that he’d draped across his shoulders. A veteran of multiple Hell in a Cell matches, the Big Dog had no qualms about locking himself and Corbin inside the cage. Meanwhile, the king showed his true colours by immediately attacking from behind before the bell. Corbin was desperate to get the key that Roman had dropped into his pocket. Failing, he ground Roman against the steel mesh of the cage until he finally dropped, then attempted to make his escape over the top.
Roman, despite having a known dislike of heights, was having none of it. He pursued Corbin up the side and quickly brought the fight back down to the mat. Blow after blow brought them both down to the canvas, and Corbin took advantage of Roman’s disoriented state to take the key. Unable to prevent Corbin from undoing the padlock, Roman settled for keeping him inside the cage. Thwarted, Corbin tried to shift the balance of power in his favour, wrapping the discarded chain around his fist in an audacious move that would ultimately prove to be his undoing. Obviously feeling confident, Corbin mocked Roman’s signature strike to the mat. The moment of hubris gave Roman enough time to recover, and he countered with a Superman punch of his own. Advantage lost, Corbin once again fled up the side with Roman in pursuit.
A flurry of exhausted strikes eventually brought them back to the inside, where Roman trapped Corbin against the ropes to land another decisive blow. Despite a second wind, Roman had taken considerable abuse, and it was obvious that he knew the match needed to end.
Enter the discarded chain. I said that Corbin contributed to his own defeat, and this is why: he is the one who introduced the chain as a weapon. It’s not that Roman is unaware of the possibility, but such an action isn’t typically in his nature unless sufficiently provoked. However, once Corbin had escalated the situation, it was only fair play for Roman to do likewise. This gave him a level playing field, the one thing Corbin fears most. One final Superman punch with the chain, and Roman got the cover for the win. The rise of the Roman Empire begins with the fall of the tyrant king.