NEW YORK CITY — AJ Styles sent shockwaves through the WWE Universe tonight, as he defeated Kevin Owens to become United States Champion during a WWE Live Event at New York City’s Madison Square Garden.
The Phenomenal One won the Independence Day Battle Royal on this past Tuesday’s SmackDown LIVE, earning a title opportunity against Owens at WWE Battleground, but apparently couldn’t wait to get his hands on The Prizefighter.
Right from the outset, Styles put Owens on the defensive, sending The New Face of America scrambling from the ring. The challenger showed great resiliency throughout the battle, even kicking out of a suspenseful pinfall attempt after suffering significant damage from Owens' vaunted Pop-Up Powerbomb. He then leveled the champion with a Styles Clash that didn't secure the victory, but did fire up the Garden faithful.
Buoyed by the capacity crowd's raucous cheers, Styles finally sealed the weary Owens' fate with a Phenomenal Forearm. A quick three-count later, he raised his arms in triumph as ring announcer Mike Rome introduced the new United States Champion to the WWE Universe.
Later in the evening, Styles offered his first remarks as United States Champion in a WWE.com Exclusive interview. He reflected on the long road that led to his historic victory at Madison Square Garden, then speculated on whether Owens deserves a U.S. Title rematch.
The Phenomenal One’s victory leaves the status of his WWE Battleground showdown up in the air. What does this shocking turn of events mean for his and Owens’ future? Be sure to tune into SmackDown LIVE this Tuesday at 8/7 C on USA Network to see the fallout.