WWE's AJ Styles Wins Undisputed Title Shot on SmackDown, Will Face Cody Rhodes at Backlash

AJ Styles wins the chance to face Cody Rhodes for his Undisputed WWE Universal Championship at Backlash

LA Knight and AJ Styles got things started on WWE SmackDown, and both superstars were more than ready to collide in a rematch of their battle at WrestleMania 40. There were more stakes attached though this time around, as whoever won this match would go on to become the number one contender to the Undisputed WWE Universal Championship, and would face Cody Rhodes at Backlash. Knight and Styles have quickly become familiar with each other's biggest moves, and as a result, the match featured a number of reversals and counters. Styles was able to tip the scales though with an illegal move that the referee didn't catch, and that set up the Phenomenal Forearm and a major win for AJ.

Styles and Knight locked up and Styles got backed into a corner, and after a few evasions, Knight ended up slamming Styles to the mat with a clothesline and throwing the Phenomenal One out onto the floor. Knight slammed Styles' head onto the announcer's table a multitude of times. Styles did get back on track, but it didn't last long, as he got tossed to the floor and then kicked into the table again by Knight.

Knight continued his momentum, delivering more strikes and stomps in the corner. Styles bought himself a moment only to get hit with a superplex by Knight. Knight went for the cover, but Styles kicked out. Styles got some offense in with a big moonsault and DDT combo into a cover, though Knight kicked out at two.

Styles set up for a Styles Clash but Knight was able to escape it. Styles hit a Pele Kick and a forearm in quick succession, but missed the phenomenal forearm and ended up eating more offense from Knight. Knight was looking for the BFT but Styles rolled out of the way and poked Knight in the eyes. Styles then hit the phenomenal forearm and got the pin, moving on to face Rhodes in two weeks at WWE Backlash.

Now Rhodes has his first Title challenger for WWE Backlash, and it should be quite entertaining. Rhodes and Styles always deliver in the ring from a technical standpoint, and Styles' more villainous role as of late is a great fit for the heroic face that Rhodes has embraced over the past year.

There are more matches that need to fill out the card, but this is obviously one of the biggest. Rhodes is coming off of the biggest match of his career and one of the great WrestleMania moments ever, so fans are eager to see him jump into his Title reign with a defense against someone of Styles' caliber.

As for the rest of Backlash, Bayley will likely defend her Title there too, though we could see a match involving the new Women's Champion, which has to be crowned due to the unfortunate injury to Rhea Ripley. Ripley had to vacate the Championship on Raw, and will be out for several months, so a new Champ will need to be crowned soon.

What have you thought of SmackDown so far? You can talk all things wrestling with me on Threads @mattaguilarcb!