AJ Styles Uses Retirement Tease To Ambush WWE Champion Cody Rhodes On SmackDown

Dressed to the nines in a powder blue suit, AJ Styles met with "WWE SmackDown" GM Nick Aldis early on tonight's episode, saying that he'd like to address his future, seemingly sure of a decision he had made that he'd ultimately announce in the main event segment. With the heavy tease of retirement in the air, that suit very well could have been Mark Henry-esque salmon, as it was all a ruse to attack WWE Champion Cody Rhodes, likely setting up their return engagement from Backlash before too long.


After interacting with the likes of LA Knight and Rhodes, whispering something into the ear of the WWE Champion, Styles came across his OC confidants, Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows, saying that they'd been with him all over the world, that he couldn't "do this" without them, and asking them to accompany him to the ring. "The Phenomenal One" teased staying home and being "a phenomenal dad," with his oldest son having just graduated high school, before calling Rhodes out to the ring to say that "SmackDown" was still "the house that AJ Styles built" but that it was time for him to hand Cody the keys.

From there, Rhodes thanked Styles on behalf of the locker room, shook his hand, and joined him to salute the crowd all around the ring. But the feelgood moment ended swiftly when Styles clotheslined Rhodes, beat him down in the ring, threw him to the outside, bounced his head off the ringpost, and finished him off with a Styles Clash off of the ring steps — all while Gallows and Anderson laughed in the background. With Clash At the Castle a shade over two weeks away, perhaps Styles will have done enough tonight alone to incense Rhodes into a rematch for the WWE Championship in Scotland.