Despite retaining his WWE Championship this past Sunday in controversial fashion against Samoa Joe at the WWE Hell in a Cell pay-per-view, AJ Styles arrived on SmackDown LIVE feeling like he had something to prove as he prepared to take on Andrade “Cien” Almas.
Almas wasted no time, barely allowing Styles to even enter the ring before blindsiding him prior to the start of the match. Once everything reset and Styles declared he could give it a go, The Phenomenal One and “Cien” brought their best to the table in an explosive bout — their second-ever singles match against one another. Almas proved yet again he can hang with the champion, preying on the damage he inflicted on AJ prior to the opening bell. With Zelina Vega finding ways to interject herself into the contest behind the referee’s back, it appeared the odds were firmly stacked against Styles. However, The Phenomenal One refused to give in, weathering Almas’ devastating Running Double Knees and using some nifty footwork to abort his own pinfall attempt and drop “Cien” with a Styles Clash out of nowhere for the win.
Styles had virtually no time to celebrate, however, as he was immediately blindsided by Samoa Joe. The Samoan Submission Machine’s attempt to get the jump on The Phenomenal One did not quite go as planned, as AJ halted the attack by slamming Joe’s head off the steel steps, prompting his nemesis to exit through the WWE Universe as AJ proudly displayed his WWE Championship in the air ahead of their title rematch where there must be a winner at WWE Super Show-Down on Oct. 9.