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SummerSlam’s most suspenseful match

United States championship match

Ricochet vs. AJ Styles (c)

A rematch that could tell us a lot about the near-future.

The Road to SummerSlam

The rocket looked firmly strapped to Ricochet’s back on the main roster. After a somewhat surprising call-up from NXT in February, he got a prominent run in a tag team with Aleister Black. Then at Stomping Grounds, he won the U.S. title from Samoa Joe.

After Daniel Bryan ended his epic WWE title reign in October of 2018, AJ Styles drifted a bit. He won a match with Randy Orton at WrestleMania 35 that both men wanted, and left the house he built for Raw in the Superstar Shake-up. But it wasn’t clear what was next for the Phenomenal One, even after he re-signed with the company.

A friendly challenge with Ricochet which coincided with his interacting with former Bullet Club brethren Karl Anderson & Luke Gallows backstage for the first time in years turned out to be what was next. The trio, now calling themselves The O.C., reunited as heels after Styles came up short in his first attempt to take the red, white and blue belt from Ricochet:

At July’s Extreme Rules show, Gallows & Anderson were there to help ensure AJ won the rematch. Suddenly, it was Ricochet whose future path wasn’t clear. How firmly had that rocket really been strapped on if he couldn’t hold onto a midcard belt for a couple of pay-per-view (PPV) events.

The second-to-last Raw before SummerSlam made it look like it was still attached pretty tightly. The One And Only went over in a Gauntlet Match - one of Vince McMahon’s new favorite tricks for establishing a big babyface act - and earned a chance to reclaim his U.S. title this Sunday (Aug. 11) in Toronto:

A team-up with another powerful main roster faction, The New Day, didn’t result in a win for Ricochet over The O.C. Was that a sign of good things to come or more struggle for a guy rumors say new Raw Executive Director Paul Heyman has big plans for?

What’s at stake?

That’s the question to ask yourself. There’s no reason to think WWE isn’t extremely high on Ricochet. But do they think he’s better served chasing a future Hall of Famer, outnumbered as a never-say-die warrior against a strong heel team? Or representing as a champion?

Likewise, is this next phase of Styles’ career - the one he says is his last as an active wrestler - going to be spent as a main event gatekeeper? Or as a main eventer? If he loses the U.S. championship, does it mean he’s on his way to the WWE or Universal title scene?

Finally, there’s the question of match quality. AJ Styles vs. Ricochet sounds amazing. So far in WWE, it’s been... pretty good. Is SummerSlam the show where it lives up to the hype, and reminds us these are two of the best in the world - for real, not the Shane McMahon gimmick?

We’ll find out this weekend in Scotiabank Arena and on WWE Network. And you can get coverage and analysis of everything that happens, right here at cSs.


Who wins?

This poll is closed

  • 66%
    AJ Styles
    (271 votes)
  • 33%
    (137 votes)
408 votes total Vote Now

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