Daniel Bryan Retains WWE Title over AJ Styles in Showstopping Match at TLC

Daniel Bryan refreshing run as a heel WWE Champion will live on at least until the Royal Rumble. Sunday night at WWE TLC, Bryan retained his championship over the former champion, AJ Styles.

Bryan worked the early part of the match in classic heel style, dodging Styles as much as he kid by rolling to the outside. When the two finally did engage, Bryan's fresh heel offense was on full display. While many men and women turn heel and continue to use the same moves, Bryan has switched-up his entire offense and its been exciting as hell to watch.

Bryan hit some hard chops and uppercuts early that wow'ed the crowd. He choked Styles across the ring rope. And then he hit some more uppercuts and kicks, begging his opponent to get up.

Following more offense from Bryan, Styles eventually shifted the momentum of the match by hitting a massive clothesline out of the corner to an incoming Bryan. As the ref began the 10 count, both men reached their feet at the same time and exchanged right hands. Styles eventually took control and went to town on Bryan in the corner so much that the referee pulled him off.

Bryan begged off Styles but AJ hit the neckbreaker anyway for a near fall. Moments later, Styles went for the reverse DDT but Bryan reversed it with a suplex for a near fall. The commentators continue to harp on the fact that Bryan has become a ruthless competitor with no remorse as he then worked in his Yes Kicks as the crowd chants "no!"

Styles eventually worked his way back, hitting a dragon screw to the leg and then dragging Bryan to the corner and slamming Bryan's leg against the ring post. Styles continued working over Bryan's left leg as the announcers noted there was now a bulls eye on that leg.

Even that didn't keep Bryan down, as he fought back with an enziguri to reverse momentum again. He set Styles up on the top rope and hit a hurricanrana, but Styles rolled through for a near fall. Styles then picked Bryan up and went for a Styles Clash but Bryan fought off. Styles then locked in a single leg crab on Bryan's left leg.

With Bryan back on offense, he synched in the LaBell Lock (no longer the Yes Lock), but Styles rolled out and they exchanged pinfalls. Bryan hit a big flying kick and both men collapsed to the mat as the fans chanted "this is awesome."

They exchanged shots, Bryan gained advantage and ran in for a running knee but Styles took him out with a dropkick. Styles slowly rolled to the outside and and hit the springboard 450 into the ring for a near fall. Soon after, Styles locked in the Calf Crusher as Bryan screamed in pain. He eventually got to the bottom rope to break it up and rolled to the outside.

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They fought on the outside where Styles hit the Phenomenal Forearm by the timekeeper. After rolling Bryan into the ring, Styles went for the Phenomenal Forearm in the ring but Bryan dodged it. Bryan came in with the running knee attempt but Styles dodged it and turned Bryan into a small package pinfall attempt. Bryan reversed that into a small package of his own to get the win.

This was a heck of a match and something that a couple of years ago we would have never imagined we would see in WWE.