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AJ Styles Defeats Randy Orton Via Phenomenal Forearm at WWE WrestleMania 35

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistApril 7, 2019

Photo credit: WWE.com.

For the third year in a row, AJ Styles was victorious on The Grandest Stage of Them All, as he defeated Randy Orton in a grudge match at WrestleMania 35 on Sunday.

The RKO has felled many WWE legends, but it wasn't enough to keep The Phenomenal One down. Orton connected on his lethal finishing move, only to see Styles kick out.

Styles countered a second RKO attempt and stunned The Viper long enough to hit the Phenomenal Forearm for the win.

It initially looked as though there wouldn't be much for either man to do at 'Mania, but in the weeks leading up to the event, they quickly built an intriguing feud based almost entirely on one dueling promo between them on SmackDown Live.

Styles and Orton made snide remarks to each other in the weeks leading up to that, but they knocked it out of the park when they were given an extended period of time to speak their minds.

The Viper mocked Styles for coming up through the independent scene and working in smaller companies until finally making it to WWE a few years ago. Orton also claimed that while his opponent was working in bingo halls, he was making history as the youngest world champion in WWE history and a multi-time WrestleMania main eventer.

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In response, The Phenomenal One took pride in his background. He said Orton never could have handled the grind of working his way up the ladder as he did and accused him of getting preferential treatment because he came from a wrestling family.

Styles even accused The Viper of ripping off Diamond Dallas Page's Diamond Cutter in the form of the RKO.

With the groundwork laid for their match, a great deal of anticipation grew around the bout even though there was no title hanging in the balance.

Orton added even more fuel to the fire on the second-to-last SmackDown prior to WrestleMania. Kurt Angle was competing in one of the final matches of his career against Styles when The Viper interrupted and laid out The Phenomenal One with an RKO.

At WrestleMania, both Styles and Orton had plenty to prove. Their wrestling backgrounds are vastly different, but each has managed to become among the biggest stars in the business.

Sunday's match was essentially about proving who did it the right way, and it also gave both Superstars an opportunity to prove they deserve to be in the WWE Championship picture in the near future.

By virtue of his win over Orton, Styles showed he is still an elite-level Superstar in WWE, and it means he may soon be the face of SmackDown Live once again if given the opportunity.

           

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