AJ Styles will face Kevin Owens for the United States Championship at Battleground later this month. The Phenomenal One had to pull double duty on Smackdown to earn his newest opportunity.
Citing a full card and Kevin Owens' demands, SmackDown GM, Daniel Bryan had to tell both Styles and Chad Gable neither of them was slated to participate in tonight's Independence Day Battle Royal. The solution? A little competition. Styles and Gable were to face off, the winner getting a bid in tonight's Battle Royal.
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The two had their match in the first hour of SmackDown that saw AJ Styles win a quick, yet entertaining fight. Styles' music stopped to give Gable a moment of recognition. Hooray sportsmanship.
The Battle Royal itself seems like it flew by. We saw Mojo Rawley eliminate his Hype Brother, Zack Ryder, but it didn't look malicious enough to call it a heel turn of any sorts. Tye Dillinger had a nice rally in the match's final chapters. The live crowd really seemed to appreciate Mr. Perfect 10 - perhaps he can create an opportunity for himself.
Styles' fresh achievement had its celebratory moment were stolen by a bull-rushing Kevin Owens. The two traded shots with Styles prevailing. He closed the show holding up Owens' US Title.
Tonight's episode did a nice job of setting the table for Battleground. We know that we'll be getting John Cena vs. Rusev in a flag match along with Jinder Mahal and Randy Orton in a Punjabi Prison fight. Now, we can officially begin counting down to an AJ Styles/Kevin Owens tussle.
Back in May, Owens defeated Styles in a US Championship match at the Backlash pay-per-view. Is Styles due to get his win back? Early guesses would say yes as he is currently the bigger draw in the company. But Owens is no slouch either. WWE just released Fight Owens Fight: The Kevin Owens Story on DVD and stores are having troubled keeping them on their shelves.
For Styles, he has remained a priority in WWE and they will likely heat him back up for a big SummerSlam match - possibly against his old foe, Shinsuke Nakamura. We'll al find out soon enough.