Heading into Sunday's Hell in a Cell pay-per-view event, the stakes for former two-time WWE Champion Drew McIntyre were clear: either defeat Bobby Lashley to regain the title, or never challenge for the belt again while The All Mighty is champion.
The two rivals squared off inside the ominous Hell in a Cell structure in the evening's main event - and delivered a brutal 25-minute war.
Both men used a variety of weapons to inflict damage on one another throughout the contest. It was a kendo stick, though, that caused the most visible pain.
At the mid-way point of the bout, Lashley viciously beat down McIntyre with the weapon, leaving large welts across the back of The Scottish Warrior. Displaying great heart, however, he refused to stay down and battled his way back into the match - despite some nasty-looking injuries.
Drew even looked to be on the verge of winning the gold, before MVP made his presence known. Lashley's manager found his way into the cell after the door was unlocked so that a referee who had been knocked out could receive medical treatment. From that moment on, the bout essentially became a handicap match.
Despite this, McIntyre still managed to get Lashley in position for what surely would have been a match-winning Claymore Kick. Just as Drew was about to execute his finisher, though, MVP grabbed his leg. Ultimately, the distraction allowed Lashley to roll up McIntyre and retain his championship. Just like that, Drew's 'last chance' at the title was snatched from him.
McIntyre has been a fixture of the WWE Championship picture since WrestleMania 36 last year, when he defeated Brock Lesnar to win his first top-tier title in the company. For now, at least while Lashley remains in possession of the gold, the 36-year-old must set his sights elsewhere in WWE.
Following his defeat, Drew posted a number of graphic images of his back to Instagram, showing the full extent of the punishment that Lashley had dished out to him with the kendo stick.
The after-effects do not look much fun, to say the least!
McIntyre captioned the image with a message for his supporters, which read: "It’s been a wild ride. I’ve always wanted to make all of you proud, and I hoped that you would get the chance to see me live and in-person as WWE Champion. Looks like that dream is on hold for a while. Thanks for all your support."
Sunday's pay-per-view is the last that is scheduled to be held inside the WWE ThunderDome. Starting next month with Money in the Bank, WWE will return to hosting its events on the road, in front of live audiences.
It has been over 15 months (outside of WrestleMania 37) since WWE presented a pay-per-view event that wasn't behind closed doors. It will be great to see fans back again from next month.
McIntyre will be a big part of many of these events going forward. However, after his loss last night, he won't be challenging for the WWE Championship any time soon.News Now - Sport News