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While Bryan claimed he had nothing but respect for the champ, it was clear there was still some tension after Styles hit him with a Pele kick and let The Usos slip his grasp. That tension hit a boiling point when Styles admitted that kick wasn’t an accident: He did it on purpose.
After a furious Bryan lashed out at Styles, “The Phenomenal One” decided that instead of waiting until Crown Jewel, he wanted to fight Bryan for the WWE Championship right then and there on Smackdown. Commissioner Shane McMahon showed up right as Styles and Bryan were ready to throw down, but to everyone’s surprise, he didn’t stop the fight. Instead, he made it official.
The two WWE superstars quickly brought the heat in the ring, with both of them showing off their trademark speed and finesse. While Bryan was able to land a suicide dive on Styles, “The Phenomenal One” landed a Styles Clash which he converted into a calf crusher, forcing Bryan to tap out.
After the match, Styles and Bryan shook hands and shared a hug, making it clear there were ultimately no hard feelings. However, the positivity was short-lived as Styles got an unwelcome guest in the form of Samoa Joe.
Joe, clearly still furious at losing to Styles in the past, brutally attacked the champion and stuck him in the Coquina Clutch. When Bryan came to Styles’s aid, he got stuck in the devastating submission hold as well.
After the match, Styles went immediately to Smackdown General Manager Paige to tell her he wanted his championship match at Crown Jewel to be against Samoa Joe. While Paige was initially reluctant, she eventually agreed.