Date and location

Sunday, Sep 16 | 7 PMET/4 PMPT

AT&T Center
San Antonio, TX

Where to watch

Get the WWE Network

When to watch

Sunday, Sep 16 | 7 PMET/4 PMPT

WWE Champion AJ Styles def. Samoa Joe

WWE Champion AJ Styles def. Samoa Joe

SAN ANTONIO — Night-night AJ, indeed, though Samoa Joe didn’t exactly get his storybook ending when he fell to a rare defensive pinfall by AJ Styles that the WWE Champion seemingly didn’t even realize he was in the process of attempting, as he was submitting in the SoCal bully’s signature Coquina Clutch at the exact moment the pin was counted.

AJ Styles unleashes a barrage of attacks on Samoa Joe: WWE Hell in a Cell 2018 (WWE Network Exclusive)

AJ Styles assaults Samoa Joe with a series of vicious forearms and kicks in their WWE Title Match at Hell in a Cell 2018. Courtesy of the award-winning WWE Network.

There’s no two ways to slice it: Styles got away with one, especially given that Joe was living rent-free in his head going into the match — threatening a man’s family will do that to you — and The Phenomenal One had fought so furiously in response that he effectively punched himself out. Styles was clearly out to punish Joe more than defeat him, which gave the all-business bruiser the advantage of cold, hard clarity; and Styles had also tweaked his leg early in the match, which gave The Samoan Submission Machine an easy target each time he needed to get himself back in the fight.

That the champion stayed in the match — via a combo of high-risk, high-reward and simply throwing whatever punches and kicks he could — was a testament to his heart. That he won it was a testament to his luck. Joe had slowly whittled the champion down with power maneuvers and submissions to tee him up for the Clutch, which he finally locked in after AJ whiffed on a Phenomenal Forearm. Styles managed to stack Joe up for the pinfall while he was still in the hold, but Joe rose as if he’d won the match — he claimed the champion had submitted.

The referee’s decision stood, of course, and Styles got the last word when he enziguiri’d his nemesis out of the ring while Joe was hoisting the WWE Championship over his head, but a replay showed that Joe was correct: When the referee had gotten into position to check Joe’s shoulders on the pinfall, he missed what was an unmistakable submission by Styles prior to the official’s hand hitting the mat for a third time.

A heated backstage confrontation following the match did nothing to overturn the result, but SmackDown General Manager Paige agreed to give Joe another opportunity at WWE Super Show-Down. Joe, unwilling to wait three weeks, demanded that the match be made “No Disqualification, no count-out, no excuses.” Though Paige didn’t explicitly sanction those terms, she agreed on one thing: There had to be a winner. Which means, for AJ Styles, a DQ and a referee’s decision won’t be enough.


 

SAN ANTONIO — Night-night AJ, indeed, though Samoa Joe didn’t exactly get his storybook ending when he fell to a rare defensive pinfall by AJ Styles that the WWE Champion seemingly didn’t even realize he was in the process of attempting, as he was submitting in the SoCal bully’s signature Coquina Clutch at the exact moment the pin was counted.

AJ Styles unleashes a barrage of attacks on Samoa Joe: WWE Hell in a Cell 2018 (WWE Network Exclusive)

AJ Styles assaults Samoa Joe with a series of vicious forearms and kicks in their WWE Title Match at Hell in a Cell 2018. Courtesy of the award-winning WWE Network.

There’s no two ways to slice it: Styles got away with one, especially given that Joe was living rent-free in his head going into the match — threatening a man’s family will do that to you — and The Phenomenal One had fought so furiously in response that he effectively punched himself out. Styles was clearly out to punish Joe more than defeat him, which gave the all-business bruiser the advantage of cold, hard clarity; and Styles had also tweaked his leg early in the match, which gave The Samoan Submission Machine an easy target each time he needed to get himself back in the fight.

That the champion stayed in the match — via a combo of high-risk, high-reward and simply throwing whatever punches and kicks he could — was a testament to his heart. That he won it was a testament to his luck. Joe had slowly whittled the champion down with power maneuvers and submissions to tee him up for the Clutch, which he finally locked in after AJ whiffed on a Phenomenal Forearm. Styles managed to stack Joe up for the pinfall while he was still in the hold, but Joe rose as if he’d won the match — he claimed the champion had submitted.

The referee’s decision stood, of course, and Styles got the last word when he enziguiri’d his nemesis out of the ring while Joe was hoisting the WWE Championship over his head, but a replay showed that Joe was correct: When the referee had gotten into position to check Joe’s shoulders on the pinfall, he missed what was an unmistakable submission by Styles prior to the official’s hand hitting the mat for a third time.

A heated backstage confrontation following the match did nothing to overturn the result, but SmackDown General Manager Paige agreed to give Joe another opportunity at WWE Super Show-Down. Joe, unwilling to wait three weeks, demanded that the match be made “No Disqualification, no count-out, no excuses.” Though Paige didn’t explicitly sanction those terms, she agreed on one thing: There had to be a winner. Which means, for AJ Styles, a DQ and a referee’s decision won’t be enough.