AJ Styles’ United States championship open challenge has been a rocky affair, mostly because Baron Corbin didn’t want to play by the rules and The Lone Wolf’s actions pushed Tye Dillinger to the limit.
Many fans assumed AJ’s Hell in a Cell title defense would involve both those men in one way or another, especially after Dillinger defeated Corbin heading into the pay-per-view (PPV). It took a while to make it official, but SmackDown General Manager Daniel Bryan made the match a Triple Threat on the Kickoff, saving us from a run-in by The Perfect Ten or similar shenanigans.
The stipulation we got did play out as these things usually do. After both babyfaces attacked Corbin at the start, the big bad eventually took The Phenomenal One out of the picture and we got a match between the two challengers for a long while.
The Perfect Ten took a lot of damage, but refused to stay down. That gave AJ enough time to get back into the action, but the damage to his back made it so he couldn’t put Corbin away with moves like the Styles Clash.
He did manage to send The Lone Wolf crashing to the floor, allowing Tye and AJ a chance to have a singles match for a while.
A Calf Crusher almost ended things in this no disqualification environment, but an unlikely savior saved Dillinger before he tapped when Corbin pulled him to safety. The resulting melee left all three men incapicitated for a time, but they all recovered to take the match home.
The finish came after Styles grabbed the top rope to thwart a Tye Breaker, leading to a Phenomenal Forearm. But before AJ could cover, Corbin rushed in and booted the champ to the floor, stealing the pin and claiming the title after an exciting match.
If The Lone Wolf was being punished for an alleged debate with the head of WWE Medical backstage, it looks like he handled it well and is out of the dog house, because he is the new United States champ.
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