The US Title Controversy
Let me get this out of the way to start. I am a big Kevin Owens fan, but I was not happy with him winning the United States Championship from AJ Styles this past Sunday at Battleground. The awkward finish of the match didn’t help things either when Owens countered Styles’ crossface into a pinning combination. The resulting silent crowd reaction was also a sign that this finish was not the right call after the groggy referee, who had just endured a ref bump, called for the bell to end the subpar match. It has been reported that the decision for Owens to win the title was made by Vince McMahon at the last minute, while the event had already begun.
Additionally, the story of Owens winning the title doesn’t make sense. Styles had just won the title less than two weeks prior to Battleground in a cool moment at Madison Square Garden. Styles then promised to bring back the weekly US Title Open Challenge at Smackdown, which got me really excited. This would undoubtedly result in great moments and high drama on a weekly basis. Every week a surprise opponent would challenge Styles for his US Title, and the matches would consistently be of high quality. Imagine John Cena or Sami Zayn answering the challenge and tearing the house down with Styles. Is the WWE really going to deprive us of this great storyline that they themselves created? I can see the WWE deciding to do this in order to troll the audience, which would be terrible form on their part. Or they might be doing this stall for time and get passed Summerslam, which is not satisfying as well.
However, not all is lost. The WWE can still rectify the situation. Styles and Owens will be sure to continue their feud this Tuesday on Smackdown. Styles needs to win the title back as soon as possible so that they can start the weekly Open Challenge series because Owens will surely not want to defend the title on a weekly basis. That would turn him babyface, which he does not need right now. He needs to continue to run his mouth like a true villain. I don’t like the idea of having to wait until Summerslam to finally get to the open challenges, but it looks like the WWE does not have a choice anymore.
Note: I wrote this piece just prior to Smackdown. The following will be my reaction to what the WWE decided to do with the US Title situation going forward.
After just watching the first segment of Smackdown, I just realized that the WWE has just given me some hope. Kevin Owens started off the show and said that he will start the US Open Challenge next week on Smackdown. AJ Styles ended up interrupting Owens and demanded a rematch. Then a genuine surprise occurred that the WWE sorely needed. Chris Jericho made his return and will seemingly be back on a weekly basis. This was especially a huge surprise for the live crowd because nobody expected the return of Jericho happening on this night and at Richmond, Virginia of all places (no disrespect).
Shane McMahon booked an excellent main event match for tonight. The United States Championship will be defended by Kevin Owens, and Chris Jericho and AJ Styles will challenge for the title in a Triple Threat Match. The hope on my part is that AJ Styles will regain the championship tonight. The cynic in me is saying that Chris Jericho came back tonight to allow Kevin Owens could pin him in the main event tonight. Styles would not be champion tonight, but he would continue to feud with Owens, going into Summerslam. I hope I am wrong.
I will update this page after the main event.
Okay, so the WWE made me upset for no reason. They trolled me, so I will say this caused me an eye-roll but their decision to have AJ Styles lose the US Championship at Battleground was harmless in the grand scheme of things. AJ Styles won back the United States Title by pinning Chris Jericho in the Triple Threat Match but Kevin Owens was not pinned. Styles will face Owens next week on Smackdown. Afterwards, Styles might finally start his open challenge. Everything is right with the world!
Surprisingly, Smackdown put on a great show this week and announced TWO blockbuster matches for next week. Kevin Owens will challenge AJ Styles for the US Championship and John Cena will face off against Shinsuke Nakamura, where the winner of that match will challenge Jinder Mahal for the WWE Championship at Summerslam. That match is an absolute dream match and should be showcased as a Wrestlemania main event instead of on a random episode of Smackdown. However, I am still extremely hyped for that match next week. Smackdown has leap-frogged ahead of Raw in a country mile.