John Cena vs. AJ Styles: Winner and Reaction from WWE SummerSlam 2016

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistAugust 22, 2016

IMAGE DISTRIBUTED FOR WWE - WWE superstar John Cena makes a special appearance at WrestleMania 32 at AT&T Stadium on Sunday, April 3, 2016, in Arlington, Texas. (Brandon Wade/AP Images for WWE)
via WWE.com

After defeating John Cena at Money in the Bank, AJ Styles was once again victorious over the leader of the Cenation Sunday night at SummerSlam.

WWE Universe captured how the match ended:

WWE Universe @WWEUniverse

ONE-TWO-THREEEEEEE! @AJStylesOrg nails @JohnCena with the #PhenomenalForearm for the win! #SummerSlam #CenavsStyles https://t.co/CkLHhqmg01

Bleacher Report's Erik Beaston provided his initial take on the match:

In what was a symbolic gesture, Cena left his "Never Give Up" wristband in the ring, per WWE SummerSlam:

WWE SummerSlam @SummerSlam

The #Phenomenal @AJStylesOrg and @JohnCena just left it all in the ring at #SummerSlam... #CenavsStyles #NGU https://t.co/oyPKt94uya

Brandon Howard of Fightful Online speculated what the gesture may have meant:

Brandon Howard Thurston @BrandonThurston

Felt like that was to write Cena off for a while. American Grit filming coming up? #SummerSlam

Adam Pacitti of What Culture praised Cena for his impressive performance, while Bleacher Report's Ryan Dilbert noted how great 2016 has been for Styles: 

Adam Pacitti @adampacitti

We're starting to see Cena pass the torch and it's beautiful. Ignore his past booking. A man with respect for the business. #SummerSlam

Cena missed several months with a shoulder injury, and during that time Styles arrived in WWE and quickly developed into one of the company's top stars.

It initially looked as though the two Superstars would have a cordial relationship, but the Phenomenal One quickly turned on Cena and established himself as a villain. That persona worked out well for Styles initially, as he beat Cena at Money in the Bank—thanks to a helping hand from Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows.

Cena managed to get some measure of retribution at Battleground when he teamed with Enzo Amore and Big Cass to defeat The Club in a six-man tag team match.

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Styles took the fall in that bout by virtue of an Attitude Adjustment off the ropes, so he entered SummerSlam with something to prove.

Despite that loss and the fact that he needed help to beat Cena at Money in the Bank, the Phenomenal One continued to boast about defeating the 15-time world champion, according to WWE Universe:

WWE Universe @WWEUniverse

"You said the future goes through you? Well, at #MITB, I went RIGHT THROUGH YOU!" - AJ to Cena #SDLive https://t.co/Bl989xmv2m

He did everything in his power to get under Cena's skin prior to SummerSlam, questioning why Cena continues to compete in WWE when he has so many outside projects to tend to.

Cena was emphatic in his commitment to WWE, though, and made it clear that the company will always have a huge spot in his heart:

After getting Cena worked up, Styles was successful in his attempt to get the follower of hustle, loyalty and respect to agree to another singles bout at SummerSlam.

While there was no title on the line, the second meeting between Cena and Styles was undoubtedly among SummerSlam's biggest matches, especially due to its implications for SmackDown.

Since Cena and Styles are among the biggest stars on the blue brand, many viewed their clash as a de facto No. 1 contender's match to move into position to challenge for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship.

If that is the case, then Styles is now in line to potentially become a world champion for his first time since joining WWE.

It is always possible that the feud between Cena and Styles could continue, but with the Phenomenal One holding a 2-0 advantage in singles matches, it would likely behoove the creative team to move forward.

It isn't often that Cena comes out on the losing end of a feud, but since he is so firmly established and Styles needed something significant to cement is spot on the card, it is difficult to argue with Sunday's decision.


For more wrestling talk, listen to Ring Rust Radio for all of the hot topics or catch the latest episode in the player below (warning: some language NSFW).

Follow @MikeChiari on Twitter.

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