AJ Styles Faces First Challenger in US Title Open Challenge

AJ Styles officially started up the WWE United States title open challenge again Tuesday night on SmackDown, bringing back a popular segment originated by John Cena two years ago.

A backstage segment prior to the challenge built up Baron Corbin as the first possible challenger. However, after Styles made his entrance and issued the challenge, it was Tye Dillinger who answered the call.

During Dilinger's entrance, he was interrupted on the ramp by Corbin. After a face to face confrontation, resulting in Dillinger pushing Corbin into the guard rail, Tye continued his way to the ring. He was then predictably attacked from behind by Corbin.

Following a face to face between Corbin and Styles, Dillinger then jumped in the ring and took out Corbin and the referee rang the bell. After all of that, Styles made quick work of Dillinger, winning with the Calf Crusher in just a couple of minutes.

After the bout, Corbin once again attacked Dillinger. He pulled him out of the ring and threw the "Perfect 10" into the ringside barrier. Corbin then attempted to attack AJ in the ring, but he received a forearm from Styles for his efforts. Styles ended the segment standing tall as Corbin remained frustrated, but it's all but a formality he'll receive a shot at AJ in the coming weeks.


When John Cena originated the open challenge concept, it was marked by several surprise appearances, most notably the debut of Kevin Owens. Will Styles' open challenge segments result in the same kind of surprises? While Dillinger was surely not the first person one would have expected to challenge for the US title, it wasn't the kind of surprise that some may have expected. Especially given this was the first open challenge and some may have been looking for a bit more of a "wow" factor.

We'll have to wait to see how the latest incarnation of the segment turns out, but it does bring some excitement and freshness to the U.S. title picture.