This past Tuesday, AJ Styles defended the WWE Championship against Daniel Bryan in a respectful, competitive bout predicated entirely on skill and desire. His match against Samoa Joe, who ambushed The Phenomenal One and finagled himself a title bout as a result, had a markedly different tone, but the final note remained the same.

AJ Styles shows no mercy against Samoa Joe: WWE Crown Jewel 2018 (WWE Network Exclusive)

AJ Styles is relentless in his bid to defend the WWE Championship against Samoa Joe: Courtesy of WWE Network.

In short, Styles retained the WWE Title to bring his reign to the cusp of the elusive 365-day mark. To so so, he survived a match that couldn’t have been more different in tone and pace from Styles’ gritty, respectful grapple with Bryan. Joe was out to hurt the champion, and hurt him fast, so The Phenomenal One found himself quickly transformed into a human punching bag by the Superstar who tormented him and his family throughout the summer. Ironically, however, for all that was different between Joe and Bryan's strategies, Styles disposed of them in almost the exact same way.

AJ Styles discusses his two successful title defenses on SmackDown LIVE and at Crown Jewel: WWE.com Exclusive, Nov. 2, 2018

After retaining his WWE Title twice in the past week, AJ Styles says he's a fighting champion, and he has a message for Universal Champion Brock Lesnar.

While Joe attempted to brutalize AJ past the point of no return, The Phenomenal One focused solely on The Samoan Submission Machine’s leg (much as he did against Bryan) in the hopes of creating an opening that could be exploited later. His opportunity came when Joe locked in the Coquina Clutch, which Styles broke by cranking on Joe’s tenderized leg. The champion followed up with a quick offensive burst, executed a Phenomenal Forearm and that was that. Or, as Samoa Joe might put it himself: Night-night.

This past Tuesday, AJ Styles defended the WWE Championship against Daniel Bryan in a respectful, competitive bout predicated entirely on skill and desire. His match against Samoa Joe, who ambushed The Phenomenal One and finagled himself a title bout as a result, had a markedly different tone, but the final note remained the same.

AJ Styles shows no mercy against Samoa Joe: WWE Crown Jewel 2018 (WWE Network Exclusive)

AJ Styles is relentless in his bid to defend the WWE Championship against Samoa Joe: Courtesy of WWE Network.

In short, Styles retained the WWE Title to bring his reign to the cusp of the elusive 365-day mark. To so so, he survived a match that couldn’t have been more different in tone and pace from Styles’ gritty, respectful grapple with Bryan. Joe was out to hurt the champion, and hurt him fast, so The Phenomenal One found himself quickly transformed into a human punching bag by the Superstar who tormented him and his family throughout the summer. Ironically, however, for all that was different between Joe and Bryan's strategies, Styles disposed of them in almost the exact same way.

AJ Styles discusses his two successful title defenses on SmackDown LIVE and at Crown Jewel: WWE.com Exclusive, Nov. 2, 2018

After retaining his WWE Title twice in the past week, AJ Styles says he's a fighting champion, and he has a message for Universal Champion Brock Lesnar.

While Joe attempted to brutalize AJ past the point of no return, The Phenomenal One focused solely on The Samoan Submission Machine’s leg (much as he did against Bryan) in the hopes of creating an opening that could be exploited later. His opportunity came when Joe locked in the Coquina Clutch, which Styles broke by cranking on Joe’s tenderized leg. The champion followed up with a quick offensive burst, executed a Phenomenal Forearm and that was that. Or, as Samoa Joe might put it himself: Night-night.