#AndNew: AJ Styles Captures His Third U.S. Championship

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#AndNew: AJ Styles Captures His Third U.S. Championship
Photo/@WWE

AJ Styles looked to dethrone Ricochet as WWE United States champion heading into their one-on-one matchup at Extreme Rules. They have developed quite a feud over the last few weeks. After a series of one-on-one matches between AJ and Ricochet, Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson approached Styles backstage. They challenged him to find “the old AJ Styles” and take on Ricochet for the United States championship on SmackDown.

They teased the reformation of the Club, the faction AJ Styles previously ran with when he first debuted in WWE. From there, they went on to #BeatJohnCena. Then AJ Styles was off and running, picking up championships. Putting on stellar matches and also becoming one of the longest-reigning WWE champions in SmackDown Live history.

After defeating AJ in defense of his United States title on SmackDown Live a few weeks ago, Ricochet felt the wrath of the newly reformed Club. Anderson, Gallows, and Styles beat Ricochet down and left him lying. The following week saw Ricochet defeat both Gallows and Anderson in two separate singles matches. They were both victories, but again the Club alone with AJ Styles left Ricochet laying in the ring in a broken heap. This added further fuel to their match heading into Extreme Rules.

Styles Ricochet
Photo / Sky Sports

This was a matchup of two superstars with similar styles, no pun intended. Ricochet, as the announcers made mention, idolized AJ Styles growing up and wanted to be like him. They both employ high flying aerial moves in their arsenal. They are both lightning-quick and can strike an opponent from almost anywhere at any time. During the matchup, Ricochet’s style was on full display, hitting AJ Styles with almost everything he could.

However, with Gallows and Anderson both ringside, it didn’t take long before the shenanigans started. During one segment of the match, Ricochet had AJ Styles pinned for what many thought would be a three count. But Karl Anderson noticed that AJ’s foot was underneath the rope and jumped up on the apron to alert the referee. This type of distraction would come into play again during the pivotal final segment. Anderson jumped up on the apron again only to be nailed by Ricochet. As he then ascended the top rope, Luke Gallows knocked him over. From their AJ Styles would hit a second rope Styles Clash to pick up the victory and become for the third time, the WWE United States champion.

Another thing the announce team mentioned during this match was an underlying factor for Styles in his recent change in attitude. He was beginning to feel disrespected and overlooked. He wasn’t ready to hand over the reins or pass the torch to a young upstart like Ricochet. The other major storyline surrounding this match was the reformation of The Club with Luke Gallows, Karl Anderson, and AJ Styles. It appears that they are the faction within WWE that’s about to put the rest of the superstars on notice.

The feud thus far has been well played out, but one has to wonder what happens from here. Will Ricochet find someone to help him stop the three on one beating he has been taking on television recently? Will The Club add another member? What we do know is that AJ Styles is a three-time WWE United States champion. We also know that the foreseeable future of WWE television programming will feature a lot of Turkish Wolf signs being thrown about as well as people not named Scott Hall saying, “Too Sweet.”

As for Ricochet, this program with AJ Styles (and The Club) gives him a solid feud to really start getting his feet wet on the main roster. The United States championship was his first, but definitely won’t be his last opportunity for gold in the WWE. Also, the fact that his foil is a seasoned and well-accomplished in-ring veteran means that picking up victories over Styles lends him great credibility.