Kevin Owens Issues Open Challenge for US Title

Kevin Owens issued what will hopefully be the first of an ongoing "Face of America Open Challenge" for his United States Championship tonight on SmackDown Live, from Dayton Ohio. Following in the tradition of WWE "free agent" John Cena's own invitational for the US Title, which he defended on a weekly basis throughout the summer of 2015.

Hands down one of the best in-ring talkers in the company, Owens began his address from the ring today claiming that the other five competitors in Sunday's Money in the Bank ladder match "conspired against" him, ganging up on him in what he saw as an attempt to end his career. But he stood defiantly, still The New Face of America.

Shane McMahon calls SmackDown Live "the Land of Opportunity," KO promised he would make good on that name, just as the United States of America represents "the original Land of Opportunity."

Owens next issued his proclamation, extending the invite to anyone backstage or present from the town of Dayton Ohio to challenge for his title. However, he got an unexpectedly *Phenomenal* response when AJ Styles made his entrance to answer KO's challenge.

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But Owens instantly refuted Styles contendership, insisting the offer was valid for *local residents* only. It was at this moment that American Alpha's music hit.

While it wasn't the full return of the team we'd been waiting for, Chad Gable of American Alpha entered the ring to answer KO's "New Face of America Open Challenge."

Owens once again challenged his opponent's validity to participate, but Gable slyly responded, informing the US Champion he had in fact moved to Dayton just that morning. AJ Styles shouted for the officials to ring the bell, and the match was underway.

AJ joined the announce team on commentary, as Owens asserted his dominance in defense of his title. But Gable, a former Olympic medal winner, proved a worthy challenger, getting several suplexes and roll-ups on the champ while holding his ground.

Though much of the action took place through the commercial break, Owens ultimately dodged a bullet, landing the win by pinfall and departing the arena with his belt held high, much to Styles' chagrin.

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AJ has gone on record saying he wants to elevate the United States Championship even higher. With both superstars currently out of the WWE Championship picture, will we see a longer-running program between the two in the works? If so, Owens may regret issuing such a bold open challenge in the long run.

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