2017 Royal Rumble: Kevin Owens defeats Roman Reigns, retains WWE Universal championship

Kevin Owens clutches his WWE Universal championship after retaining it at the Royal Rumble, with an assist owed to Braun Strowman. WWE

For a full recap of the 2017 Royal Rumble pay-per-view, click here.

(c) - indicates defending champion

WWE Universal championship: Kevin Owens (c) def. Roman Reigns via pinfall (23:28)

Chris Jericho wasn't able to help Kevin Owens as he hung above the ring in a shark cage during his WWE Universal championship match at the Royal Rumble, but a shocking piece of interference in the closing moments by Braun Strowman insured Owens would still walk out of the pay-per-view as champion.

As Roman Reigns lined up to spear Owens through a table, Strowman appeared out of nowhere, dragged Reigns out of the ring and eventually hit his signature running powerslam through that very same table, handing Owens the victory.

Owens and Jericho got started early on Reigns, as they laid him out via an early double team attack before the official could lock Jericho in the cage. Reigns eventually regained control and locked Jericho in himself, and the match got started in earnest.

It was back and forth through the early stages of the no-disqualification match, which spilled into the crowd. At one point, Owens set up a pile of chairs on the outside that went unnoticed for the bulk of the match ... but more on that later.

Owens eventually hit an incredible top-rope frog splash through Reigns, who was set up on a table sitting on the floor, and utilized steel chairs in a number of different ways to keep Reigns subdued well into the match.

Jericho, as per usual, got involved despite hanging well above the ring, dropping brass knuckles for Owens to use on Reigns. Owens successfully used them to mockingly hit a Superman punch on Reigns, but it still only drew a two-count.

Reigns took control back from Owens when he hit a Samoan Drop through an unfolded steel chair sitting in the ring, and then retrieved a table and placed it in the corner.

Owens quickly turned it back around with a pair of tributes to "Stone Cold" Steve Austin -- first a stunner, and then by "stomping a mudhole" on Reigns in the corner.

As Owens climbed up onto the turnbuckle, Reigns hit a running Superman punch that sent Owens tumbling through the long-forgotten tower of folding steel chairs. After a lengthy delay, Reigns put Owens through the announce table with a powerbomb, and then slowly slid Owens back into the ring to put him away.

Strowman then made his presence felt, and with an appearance set for later in the evening in the Royal Rumble match, it might not have been the last we heard from Reigns on this night, despite his losing out on the Universal championship.