AJ Styles vs. John Cena: Winner and Reaction for WWE Royal Rumble 2017

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistJanuary 30, 2017

Photo credit: WWE.com

John Cena finally got the better of AJ Styles Sunday at the Royal Rumble to win the WWE Championship and tie Ric Flair's record with the 16th world title reign of his illustrious career.

Both stars exchanged finishing moves to no avail. But an Attitude Adjustment from the top rope was enough for Cena to secure the victory.

The WWE provided a look at Cena raising the world title in triumph:


Sweet 16! @JohnCena #RoyalRumble https://t.co/qOFMprLwYj

Flair congratulated the new champion:

Ric Flair® @RicFlairNatrBoy

Congrats on #16 @JohnCena! Never Forget... To be the man, you gotta beat the man - WOOOOO!

David Shoemaker of The Ringer thought it was a match for the ages:

David Shoemaker @DavidShoemaker

Seriously though, that match was near perfection. Maybe my favorite Cena match, MITB vs. Punk included.

Bleacher Report's Matt Camp doesn't want to see Cena and Styles ever resolve their conflict:

Matt Camp @TheMattCamp

Cena and AJ can happen forever as far as I’m concerned. 👏👏

CBSSports.com's Denny Burkholder thought the match was further validation for Cena:

Denny Burkholder @DennyBurkholder

If you've got anything bad to say about John Cena's in-ring ability after that match, you're delusional. #RoyalRumble

In order to finally put Styles out for good, Cena delivered an Attitude Adjustment and immediately rolled through to hit another one.

Video Play Button
Videos you might like

The Phenomenal One has been at odds with Cena for several months dating back to the summer, and they have become quite familiar with each other since that time.

Styles defeated Cena at Money in the Bank with help from Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson. But he then proved he could get the job done on his own at SummerSlam by beating Cena by himself in the cleanest possible manner.

The leader of Cenation had title aspirations after Styles won the strap from Dean Ambrose, which led to a Triple Threat match between those three Superstars for the WWE Championship at No Mercy.

With help from a steel chair, Styles pinned Cena in that match to retain, and Cena then took a hiatus from WWE in order to focus on outside projects.

Styles largely feuded with Ambrose during Cena's time away, but when the future WWE Hall of Famer returned to action several weeks ago, he made his intentions to go after Styles and the WWE Championship clear.

Although Styles accepted the challenge, he didn't take kindly to the idea that Cena could be absent for months and immediately receive a title shot upon his return despite doing nothing to earn it.

He also suggested that Cena's status as a part-time performer meant that his best days were officially behind him, via WWE Universe on Twitter:

WWE Universe @WWEUniverse

"@JohnCena has been GREAT for @WWE, but notice the two words in that sentence: HAS BEEN!" - @AJStylesOrg #SDLive #RoyalRumble https://t.co/9d05VgiPM4

Cena took that to heart and did everything possible to prove he was still deserving of a top spot, including defeating Baron Corbin in a match on SmackDown Live a few weeks prior to the Royal Rumble.

Cena's overall resume is unmatched, but Styles had bragging rights leading up to the pay-per-view and used that to his advantage by taunting his rival, per WWE's official Twitter account:


"When it comes to Hollywood, you'll never be as good as @TheRock. When it comes to this...you'll never be as good as @AJStylesOrg!" #SDLive https://t.co/bjMUwcRZDg

Although Cena has won essentially every rivalry he has ever been a part of, Styles had his number entering the Royal Rumble. And it was uncertain how Cena would deal with being in such unfamiliar territory.

In addition to that, Styles showed on numerous occasions he would do anything to keep the WWE Championship in his possession, which meant Cena had to be on the lookout for some potentially unfair tactics.

Cena and Styles went to war once again and absorbed each other's best shots, but Cena finally figured out a way to solve the riddle that is The Phenomenal One.

With Cena coming out on top, he and Styles are almost certain to continue their feud leading up to Elimination Chamber on Feb. 12. And there is reason to believe they could conceivably meet with the title on the line at WrestleMania 33 on April 2.


Listen to Ring Rust Radio for all of the hot wrestling topics. Catch the latest episode in the player below. (Warning: Some language is NSFW.)

Follow @MikeChiari on Twitter.

slash iconYour sports. Delivered.

Enjoy our content? Join our newsletter to get the latest in sports news delivered straight to your inbox!