AJ Styles just went from "the face that runs the place" to become the new WWE World Champion.
On a night of new champions being crowned, Styles defeated Dean Ambrose in the main event of Backlash, SmackDown's first pay-per-view since the WWE Draft earlier this summer.
It has been a quick rise to the top for the former TNA and NJPW star, starting with Styles first appearing in the 2016 Royal Rumble where he had one of the loudest pops in recent memory upon entering the Royal Rumble match at #3.
Styles quickly then rose to become a main eventer after a short feud with Chris Jericho, challenging for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship and staying at the top of the card since the spring. His WWE career, which has only spanned about 9 months, includes feuds with Jericho, Roman Reigns and a dream match against John Cena at SummerSlam back in August, and even a brief run in a stable with former Bullet Club mates Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows. This is about as good a start of a WWE career an international wrestling star can have in his first year.
On SmackDown, the 39-year-old had been a mainstay, being a part of the main event in one way or another on almost every show. Now that Styles has finally become champion, he can truly stake his claim as the true "face that runs the place."