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Newly crowned Intercontinental Champion Kevin Owens won’t have to wait long for his first title defense, as he takes on four-time Intercontinental Champion Dolph Ziggler at WWE Fastlane.
The title match caps off a series of remarkable and supremely physical matches between The Prizefighter and The Showoff in recent weeks. Owens claimed the first showdown in January, pinning Ziggler after connecting with the Pop-Up Powerbomb, but the ever-resilient Ziggler bounced back in the following weeks, defeating Owens in back-to-back rematches on the Feb. 1 and Feb. 8 editions of Raw.
Each fight has been more intense and evenly matched than the one before it, and to snare the win in the Feb. 8 encounter, Ziggler even resorted to extreme tactics, illegally putting his feet on the ropes to score the pinfall. Though he cried foul, Owens had tried employing a similar strategy earlier in the match, leading many to conclude that The Showoff had simply beaten the unapologetic rule-breaker at his own game.
Ultimately, Owens prevailed when the stakes were the highest, overcoming Ziggler, defending Intercontinental Champion Dean Ambrose, Tyler Breeze and Stardust in a Fatal 5-Way Match on Feb. 15 to win the title and begin his second reign as Intercontinental Champion.
Now that he once again has a prize to defend, will Kevin Owens’ fist-slinging, bulldozing attack win out against a competitor who has become a familiar rival? Or will Dolph Ziggler’s dynamic offense result in championship gold around The Showoff’s chiseled waist?