This match shows why AJ Styles is such a fantastic wrestler. It’s not that he carried Corbin – he was fine in the match – but everything he did, whether it was his selling or when he was on offence, was done with such fire and intensity that always draws you in.
I really enjoyed how he jumpstarted the match by going straight after Corbin and not getting into lockups etc. As a strategy that wouldn’t work given the size disparity, but also fits with the storyline; AJ lost the US Title without being pinned – he was going in angry. Throughout the match AJ was doing everything at full force and you really sensed his determination to take back the title. It’s often the little things and I love AJ’s ability to take his regular spots and then tweak them slightly for interesting variety. The best example being the fake out on the springboard forearm and then hitting it as Corbin was trying to duck.
I try to be open minded about Corbin, but he’s still to win me over. I just find him very dull at times when he is trying to control the match. He reminds me of Nia Jax to some extent; he has a lot of the tools and has shown he can have good matches with the right opponents and in the right settings, but he’s someone that doesn’t use his size enough and sometimes wrestles ‘smaller’ than he is. AJ is of course the complete opposite, a guy that wrestles bigger than his size, to where you don’t think of a size difference when he is in there with someone bigger than him.
I really enjoyed this and think it was probably the best Corbin performance I’ve seen in a long time. My disappointment at AJ losing being tempered just a few weeks later by him being moved onto bigger things and winning the bigger belt from Jinder. (*** ½)