AJ Styles beat Tye Dillinger on Tuesday night's Sin City edition of SmackDown Live to retain the United States Championship.
Styles kicked out of the Tye-Breaker. As Dillinger appeared to be setting Styles up for another one, the U.S. champion countered into the Calf Crusher and forced Dillinger to tap out.
WWE's official Twitter account shared a photo of Styles with his title:
The #Perfect10 @WWEDillinger put up a valiant fight but, @AJStylesOrg is still YOUR #USChampion! #SDLive #AndStill #USTitle https://t.co/Pw7zkb3t3R2017-9-13 00:30:20
Bleacher Report's Ryan Dilbert and Wrestling Inc were both fans of the match:
Ryan Dilbert @ryandilbert
Fun match with some oh-so-close near-falls between Dillinger and Styles. Love to see the U.S. title get this kind of spotlight. #SDLive2017-9-13 00:31:12
Dillinger in the Jason Jordan role here. Looks good in a loss, gets the respectful handshake from established star. #SDLive2017-9-13 00:30:21
Styles didn't have long to enjoy the victory, though. Baron Corbin attacked him and Dillinger after the match. Corbin also announced he'll challenge Styles for the U.S. title on next week's SmackDown Live.
Styles reinstated the United States Championship open challenge upon winning the title from Kevin Owens, and he announced last week that the challenge would only be open to Dillinger on Sin City SmackDown.
The Phenomenal One made that declaration after Dillinger lost a match to Corbin during which the Lone Wolf used some cheap shots to his advantage.
Dillinger answered Styles' open challenge the week before, but he didn't get a fair shake due to the fact that Corbin attacked him prior to the match, allowing Styles to win with relative ease.
In offering Dillinger another title match, Styles was highly complimentary of The Perfect 10 and noted he wanted to give the fans a memorable match.
While Dillinger is a fan favorite with strong in-ring ability, he has struggled to find his footing on the main roster. Dillinger was called up to SmackDown following WrestleMania, but his role on the blue brand has been somewhat undefined.
He started on a solid winning streak before trailing off and even losing a pre-show match to Aiden English prior to a pay-per-view.
Tuesday's bout represented Dillinger's biggest opportunity on the main roster by a wide margin, especially since Styles is arguably the best in-ring performer in the world today.
The United States Championship open challenge first came into existence when John Cena held the title, and it was used as a way to give underutilized talent a spotlight.
While Cena won nearly all of those matches, Superstars such as Sami Zayn, Neville and Cesaro gave him a run for his money, helping raise their stock as well as that of the championship.
Dillinger was given that same chance Tuesday, but the looming threat of Corbin made for an ominous atmosphere throughout the match.
Simply being in the ring with Styles represented a significant step up for Dillinger, though, and it may have been the boost he needed to become a featured player on SmackDown Live.
The loss likely means he is no longer in the United States Championship picture, though, and every indication is that Styles and Corbin are poised to continue their feud, possibly through to the Hell in a Cell pay-per-view.
Listen to Ring Rust Radio for all of the hot wrestling topics. Catch the latest episode in the player below (warning: some language NSFW).