In an interesting turn of events, two Bullet Club generals are both United States Champion. Current Bullet Club leader, Kenny Omega, is the IWGP United States Champion and former Bullet Club don, AJ Styles, just won his first WWE United States Championship last Friday night at #WWEMSG. What separates both of these championship victories, however, is that they happened in two of the most contrasting ways possible.
Kenny Omega’s win came last weekend at one of NJPW’s most important events ever, their first ever major event held in the US. AJ Styles win came at the legendary Madison Square Garden, but during an untelevised live event that WWE has held every year since The Garden has been The Garden. What makes this title change all the more puzzling is that AJ Styles had just won a battle royal on this past edition of Smackdown LIVE to become the #1 Contender for Kevin Owens’ WWE US title.
For WWE to have the title change hands at a house show three days later is very perplexing. Throughout history, Vince McMahon’s booking style has towed the line of not giving fans too much for free. Usually, midcard titles are exempt from this rule, but just about any championship (including the WWEUK Championship) is safe from changing hands during untelevised live events the vast majority of the time.
Kevin Owens will surely say that he was robbed or that, since the win was untelevised, it doesn’t count; and I fully expect his rematch clause to be enacted at Battleground in a few weeks. Hopefully, Kevin Owens’ mic skills and gimmicks as a trickster will be utilized a great deal as this storyline grows against the high-flying babyface AJ Styles. AJ Styles’ reign, however long it is, will boost the profile of the belt that WWE has been trying to exalt since 2015 when, ironically, John Cena was doing open challenges and facing wrestlers like Kevin Owens. I would be shocked if Kevin Owens won the belt back anytime soon, but, after the past couple of months, I should learn to expect anything from WWE’s blue brand.