"The Phenomenal" AJ Styles defeats Ricochet for the United States Championship at WWE Extreme Rules, with help from Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson. Well, help probably isn't a strong enough word, as Styles' reunited teammates in The Club faction interfered in the match multiple times. As Jesse "The Body" Ventura used to say though, the record books don't care how one wins, only that they do. Now, Styles becomes the fourth competitor to walk out of Extreme Rules with a title they didn't have walking in.
The match at Extreme Rules between Styles and Ricochet was the culmination of a rivalry that's materialized over the last few weeks. Three weeks ago on Raw, Styles went one on one with Ricochet, who defeated Samoa Joe for the United States Championship at June's Stomping Grounds event, in a non-title match. Ricochet seemed to have stars in his eyes over taking on the veteran Styles, and ended up losing to him. Then, Ricochet won a rematch with his title on the line on the following Raw.
Unfortunately, Styles then joined old friends Gallows and Anderson in a beatdown on Ricochet in retaliation, turning heel and reforming The Club faction. Another title match was booked for Extreme Rules, but the encounter quickly went sideways, with Gallows and Anderson attacking Ricochet before the bell. The two bald brawlers would also end up costing Ricochet the match late in the game, sending him crashing down onto the top turnbuckle. Style then hit Ricochet with a second-rope Styles Clash for the win, and the title.
And just like that, Ricochet's first title reign since being called up to WWE's main roster ends after only a handful of weeks. Of course, losing at Extreme Rules to a top star like Styles won't hurt his standing one bit, and it seems likely the two men will have a rematch sooner or later. This is Styles' third reign with the United States Championship, and his fifth overall title in WWE to date, having also held the WWE Championship twice. While that number isn't as high as some, Styles' reigns tend to be long, with one lasting for over a year.
As good as Styles is as being either an underdog babyface or a cocky heel, he'll hopefully have at least one clean match against Ricochet at some point, as all three they've had so far have been marred by some type of shenanigans. Then again, one can't fault a bad guy for cheating to win. As the late, great legend Eddie Guerrero used to say "if you're not cheating, you're not trying."