March 5, 2017
WWE News: AJ Styles Battles Bray Wyatt For WWE Title In La Crosse, Wisconsin

On Saturday night, the superstars from the WWE SmackDown Live roster were in La Crosse, Wisconsin for a live WWE event. Among the featured stars who performed in the ring for the latest WWE house show were WWE SmackDown Women's Champion Alexa Bliss, Intercontinental Champion The Miz, and tag team champions American Alpha. In addition, the WWE World Heavyweight champ Bray Wyatt was on hand and defended his title against AJ Styles in the main event. Could it be a precursor of things to come for the major SmackDown title?

The latest event, titled WWE Live Road to WrestleMania took place at La Crosse Center and featured only superstars exclusive to the SmackDown Live roster. As Sportskeeda reported, a total of eight matches were on the WWE match card including several championship bouts. A few tag team matches kicked off the event with Rhyno and Heath Slater defeating Breezeango in the opener and then the team of Kalisto and Mojo Rawley defeating The Ascension. Reportedly, Mojo did a victory lap with Kalisto riding on his shoulders after the win.

Apollo Crews vs Curt Hawkins at SmackDown event
Apollo Crews took on Curt Hawkins in early action from La Crosse, WI on Saturday night. [Image by WWE]

On the most recent episode of SmackDown Live, Dean Ambrose never really had his match against Curt Hawkins as he simply hit the ring and hit a Dirty Deeds on him before calling out Baron Corbin. At the La Crosse event, Hawkins was quickly squashed in his match against Apollo Crews, who appears to have recovered from his recent chairs match loss to Dolph Ziggler. After the event, Hawkins sent out a tweet indicating that Kalisto "ducked him" for a match to team with Rawley instead.

Tag team champions American Alpha were on hand to defend their titles during the WWE house show in Wisconsin. The duo of Jason Jordan and Chad Gable defeated their rivals The Usos in what was said to be a great match on the card. As of this report, Alpha have held those titles for a reign of 68 days and counting. They'll need another couple weeks to surpass the longest reign so far for SmackDown tag champions as Rhyno and Slater held the belts for 84 days.

WWE SmackDown Women's Champion Alexa Bliss had to defend her title in a Fatal Fourway on the card. Competing against her were Natalya, Mickie James, and Tamina, a superstar who has yet to make a return to any sort of WWE television programming. As expected, Bliss retained her title and seems ready to carry the belt into WrestleMania 33. The interesting aspect of this match is that no "face" superstars were part of it.

The reports indicate that Apollo Crews worked a second match on the card when he took on Dolph Ziggler in the sixth bout of the night. Ziggler won yet again, following up his chairs match win on SmackDown Live with a singles match win at La Crosse.

Next up, Dean Ambrose brought his Intercontinental title to the show and "The Lunatic Fringe" put it on the line against rival Baron Corbin. "The Lone Wolf" was said to have put on a "menacing" display in this latest battle, but failed to capture the title. It's expected these two will continue their feud in the coming weeks leading up to a WrestleMania 33 title match.

WWE Champion Bray Wyatt wins at WWE event
Bray Wyatt was victorious on Saturday night but will be looking towards Tuesday's SmackDown Live for possible revenge. [Image by WWE]

The main event is what might have WWE fans buzzing as it was a one-on-one battle featuring AJ Styles taking on WWE World Heavyweight Champion Bray Wyatt. The two have met in the ring several times before, including the finale of the Elimination Chamber match and a Triple Threat title match on SmackDown Live, which also featured John Cena. In the La Crosse main event, Wyatt was able to retain his title just days after watching Randy Orton burn his compound down with Sister Abigail's remains.

The crowd was said to have "come back to life" for this exciting main event, which lived up to "match of the night" expectations. In the end, Wyatt countered AJ's Phenomenal Forearm and hit his finisher Sister Abigail for the win. Styles will head to Tuesday's SmackDown with a match against Randy Orton where the winner will get Wyatt in the main event at WrestleMania 33.

While most of the roster was on hand for the latest event, there were some noticeable absences. Power couple John Cena and Nikki Bella were both taking a break after their recent in-ring segment against The Miz and Maryse, who were also absent. Former women's champion Becky Lynch also had the night off and was reportedly at the UFC 209 pay-per-view watching her man Luke Sanders in action.

The next episode of SmackDown Live arrives on Tuesday night starting at 8 p.m. Eastern Time on USA Network with most of the stars mentioned above, and those who were missing, expected to be on the program.

[Featured Image by WWE]