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WWE Clash of Champions 2017 results: Jinder Mahal exits the title picture with loss to AJ Styles

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The biggest upset on the card of SmackDown’s Dec. 17 pay-per-view (PPV) might have been that Jinder Mahal earned his first main event spot since the Punjabi Prison match at Battleground.

A pre-match video package made the belt Mahal wore until AJ Styles beat him for it on the road to Survivor Series the star of the show. Images of Bruno Sammartino, Ric Flair, Stone Cold Steve Austin and The Rock took us up to the current feud between The Phenomenal One and The Modern Day Maharajah.

Questions about whether The Singh Brothers would be a factor appeared to be answered early, as Sunil and Samir not only accompanied Jinder to the ring, but were coaching him at the bell. Perhaps it was their advice he was following when he used his size and strength to win some early exchanges... until AJ cuaght a kick and started to go to work on the challenger’s left leg.

That wasn’t the only body part targeted. When Mahal went back on offense, he dropped the champ ribs first onto the top rope. After he bounced to the floor, The Maharajah bounced AJ’s mid-section off the barricade - including into an exposed steel section into the timekeeper’s area.

The assault continued, in the ring, into the announce desk - wherever and however Mahal could apply pressure to the injured ribs and make it hard for the champion’s to breathe, he did it. Finally, Styles countered move off the top with a drop kick and a comeback began... until Jinder hit the ropes on a springboard attempt and sent AJ’s ribs crashing down onto the top one.

Back and forth they went. In addition to the champion’s injury, the announcers harped on Jinder’s gameplan. The former titleholder had a counter ready for just about everything The Phenomenal One threw at him, and rehabilitating his image after the shortening of the India tour looked to be a major objective of this show.

A springboard 450 might have eneded it, but AJ had trouble covering. With a brief delay, the Singhs were able to grab Jinder and pull him out of the pin. Styles took time to wipe them out with a Forearm and a Styles Clash. He returned to the ring to take a knee to the back of the head and get hit with Mahal’s finisher, The Khallas. But he somehow kicked out at 2.

Attempting to add insult to injury, Jinder tried to hit the Styles Clash on AJ. It played into the champ’s hands, though, and he reversed his finisher into his submission. Mahal fought the calf-crusher, but after a roll through escape failed, he was forced to tap.

Get complete Clash of Champions results and coverage of every match on the card by clicking here.