On this week’s episode of Raw, Kevin Owens and AJ Styles added another chapter to their rivalry when Owens was revealed to be the mystery partner for The Street Profits vs. The O.C., in the main event. “The Prizefighter” blew the roof off when he rushed down to the ring and delivered a thunderous Stunner to the leader of The O.C.
In 2017, KO was fresh off an impressive victory capturing the United States Championship from his former so-called best-friend Chris Jericho at WrestleMania 33. Owens drafted to SmackDown Live under a new moniker “The New Face Of America” where he had trimmed his beard and dressed up in a suit.
On April 11, 2017, episode of SmackDown Live, Styles defeated Sami Zayn and Baron Corbin in a triple-threat-match to become the new number-one contender to challenge Owens for the United States Title at the Backlash pay-per-view. For weeks Styles would compete in singles matches while Owens would observe at the commentary table until it was time to viciously attack his number-one contender.
At the Backlash pay-per-view, Styles and Owens had a terrific match with “The Phenomenal One” playing the role of the pit bull charging at the champion with several series of near-falls. “The Prizefighter” kept things at a slow methodical pace with his relentless attack on his challenger. The end saw both competitors brawl outside the ring and Styles got his injured leg caught in the announce table allowing Owens to retain via countout.
The next chapter of their bitter rivalry would take place after the Money in the Bank pay-per-view on July 7, 2017, at a WWE Live Event in Madison Square Garden where Styles would shock the WWE Universe by defeating Owens and winning his first United States Championship.
— AJ Styles (@PhenomenalOne16) July 8, 2017
Their final clash over the prestigious US Title would take place at the 2017 SummerSlam pay-per-view, where SmackDown Live Commissioner Shane McMahon was the special guest referee. Styles had previously defeated McMahon at WrestleMania 33 and Owens was beginning to have issues with his authority figure. Both the Champion and the challenger were warned by McMahon that if they put their hands on him (as an official) there would be repercussions.
In a fitting end to their outstanding program over the United States Championship, both competitors turned up the level of intensity in a stellar match. A slugfest ensued before the bell even rang and McMahon did his best to maintain order. There were a few instances where McMahon found himself in the fury of both Styles and Owens.
— WWE SummerSlam (@SummerSlam) August 21, 2017
“The Prizefighter” was livid after McMahon waved off a three-count as Styles got his foot under the rope. Both Owens and McMahon engaged in a fight that left the window wide open for the champion to execute the Phenomenal Forearm and a Styles Clash ensuring him the victory and leaving no doubt who the better man really is.
After Owens’ actions on this week’s episode of Raw, one can only assume that we are about to see a new chapter added into Styles and Owen’s storied rivalry. This time though, the roles are reversed with Styles as the leader of the villainous faction and Owens as the antihero trying to do what’s right. Up to this point, Owens has only had to battle with McMahon and his goons Elias and Drew McIntyre I’m very intrigued to see how “The Prizefighter” handles The O.C., and the numbers game.
— WWE (@WWE) July 23, 2019
I’m honestly shocked that there has been so much negativity towards another Styles and Owens feud because I can see this helping both competitors in the long run. Styles can play the antagonizing heel who plays mind games and hides behind Gallows and Anderson while Owens gets his first real chance as the babyface overcoming the odds and winning the title without shenanigans or nefarious means.
Owens and Styles are huge stars and their matches are always entertaining so, let’s all grab some popcorn and sit back and enjoy another round of five-star classics by two of the greatest in-ring perfomers of this generation!