The term “dream match” is thrown around often in professional wrestling. It’s natural for fans to visualize what would transpire if two of their favorite wrestlers, from different promotions, brands, or the like, were to face off. At this past Sunday, at WWE Money in the Bank, fans had the opportunity to see one of those dream matches come to life. On this night, Seth Rollins put the Universal Championship on the line against AJ Styles.
This past April, at WrestleMania 35, Rollins successfully defeated Brock Lesnar, ending The Beast’s streak as Universal Champion in the opening match. It didn’t take long for The Beastslayer to attract challengers. Enter Styles, who was one of the top-tier draftees that made their way from SmackDown to RAW. On the April 22nd edition of RAW, Styles defeated Baron Corbin, punching his ticket for a Universal Championship match at Money in the Bank.
At Money in the Banks, Rollins and Styles met in singles competition, in WWE, for the first time. The match in question began with a series of exchanges, both men attempting to get the upper hand. The first big spot of the evening showed Styles attempting a Styles Clash from the ring apron, but Rollins was able to escape. This led to Rollins performing a suicide dive on Styles, the crowd electric for the showdown they were witnessing.
In the ring, Rollins hit a frog splash on Styles before going for the pin. Styles was able to kick out at two. Styles returned fire with a torture rack before transitioning it into the rack bomb. This was Styles’ turn to go for a pin, but Rollins kicked out. Rollins regained control and hit his signature reverse suplex from the top rope before immediately following up with a reverse DDT! Once again, Styles powered out of a pin attempt. Styles was able to avoid a Stomp attempt by Rollins, but The Phenomenal One countered it into a Calf Crusher! Despite his leg being wrenched on, Rollins escaped the hold.
One of the most impressive spots of the match was Styles countering Rollins’ superkick attempt into a Styles Clash. Despite this, Rollins remained in contention. Finally, Rollins countered Styles’ Phenomenal Forearm attempt before following up with a successful Stomp! With this move, the 1-2-3 following, the champion retained. As Rollins celebrated in the ring, he was confronted by Styles, clearly frustrated over his loss. Nonetheless, the former SmackDown star extended his hand toward Rollins. The two men shook hands in a show of mutual respect before Styles exited the ring, allowing Rollins to continue his celebration.
It's all about RESPECT at the end of the day for #UniversalChampion @WWERollins and @AJStylesOrg. #MITB pic.twitter.com/K0e8Wac4Ke
— WWE (@WWE) May 20, 2019
Though Money in the Bank proved to be a night of change for many stars, it also reaffirmed why certain talent remained at the top of the pecking order. Where Styles goes from here is unknown, but Seth Rollins will continue to defend the Universal Championship moving forward. With a new Money in the Bank winner looming, though, it would behoove The Architect to remain vigilant.