WWE SmackDown Live Results: Highlights, Analysis, and Grades for May 16

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AJ Styles vs Jinder Mahal

Result: Jinder Mahal wins via pinfall

Rating: 4.0 out of 5 stars

In our first match of the night, AJ Styles and Jinder Mahal attempted to gain momentum heading into Backlash. Seeing as how this is the go-home episode for the event, it was vital that both men appear strong. Doing just that, they showed why they deserve their respective title matches.

From the opening bell, Mahal and Styles tried to establish firm control of the contest. Strikes dominated the early portion of the match, with dropkicks and stiff punches defining the action. A hard boot to the face gave Mahal a chance to slow down the pace, wearing down his opponent in the process. The Phenomenal One tried to get back into the match with strikes and an attempt at a Styles Clash, but Mahal countered and kept on the offensive.

Following a commercial break, the number one contender to the WWE Championship was still firmly in control. Eventually, Mahal was taken aback when Styles countered a dive from the second rope, landing a picture perfect dropkick on his opponent. This gave the Phenomenal One a chance to strike back, and he was able to do so.

Towards the closing moments, there were a number of close counts that made the result unpredictable for fans. It all came down to the final minute, when Styles was able to hit the Phenomenal Forearm. Unable to go for the pin due to a distraction by the Singh Brothers, Styles was struck from behind by Kevin Owens. Laying his Backlash competitor out with his championship gold, the Prizefighter watched on as Mahal took advantage. Hitting his finisher on Styles (The Coloss), Mahal earned a big victory against a major superstar.