Kevin Owens Beats AJ Styles to Retain US Title at WWE Backlash 2017

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistMay 22, 2017

Photo credit: WWE.com.

Kevin Owens successfully defended the United States Championship on Sunday at Backlash with a victory over AJ Styles.

Owens targeted Styles' right knee throughout the match, and the strategy paid off in a big way. As Styles attempted a Styles Clash on the SmackDown Live announce table, his right leg gave way and fell through the table.

Styles' foot then got caught in cables located under the desk, which prevented him from getting back inside the ring before the referee finished his 10-count.

Bleacher Report's Kevin Berge and the Miami Herald's Scott Fishman offered their thoughts on the end of the match:

Wrestling Inc doesn't see Styles and Owens ending their rivalry anytime soon:

After beating Chris Jericho for the U.S. title at WrestleMania 33, KO moved from Raw to SmackDown Live and declared himself The New Face of America.

That lent importance to the United States Championship and led to some of the blue brand's top Superstars vying for an opportunity at the strap.

Styles defeated Baron Corbin and Sami Zayn in a Triple Threat match to become No. 1 contender, which set the stage for their clash at Backlash.

Before that could happen, though, Owens had to defend the title against Jericho in a WrestleMania rematch at Payback.

Much to the surprise of most, Y2J made Owens tap out to win the belt and make the leap from Raw to SmackDown.

The Prizefighter was victorious in another rematch, and he took care of his Jericho problem in the process by attacking his former best friend after the bout and sending him away.

With Jericho out of the picture, the focus shifted back toward Owens' rivalry with Styles and the fact that KO was cockier than ever before, as evidenced by this tweet courtesy of WWE's official Twitter account:

Since last year's brand split, Styles has been a featured player on SmackDown to the point that he has called himself The Face That Runs the Place.

Owens had a similar impact on Raw during his Universal Championship reign, making his rivalry with The Phenomenal One a dream feud for many WWE fans.

A focus on midcard titles has largely been lacking in WWE over the past several years, but that has changed with Owens and Styles vying for the United States Championship rather than the WWE Championship.

With Jinder Mahal and Randy Orton feuding over the WWE title, it appears to be a transitional period, which places even more emphasis and intrigue on the U.S. strap.

The United States Championship match isn't often asked to carry a card, but that was the case at Backlash, and both Owens and Styles delivered in a big way.

Owens managed to prevail, but considering his feud with Styles is still in the early stages, it is entirely possible that there will be more matches to come.

         

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