2017 Royal Rumble: John Cena defeats AJ Styles for the WWE championship

For a full recap of the 2017 Royal Rumble pay-per-view, click here.

(c) - indicates defending champion

WWE championship: John Cena def. AJ Styles (c) via pinfall (23:58)

Like their five-star classic at SummerSlam in August, AJ Styles and John Cena threw just about every move and variation of their own finishers they could think of at each other. This time, it was Cena who was the last man standing, celebrating a historic "Sweet 16."

Cena tied Ric Flair's WWE record of 16 world championships by pinning Styles following back-to-back Attitude Adjustments to capture the WWE championship. The match was the third pay-per-view singles match of their feud, which began last summer and which was interrupted when Cena left to record television projects in the fall.

After the match, Cena climbed into the crowd to put his championship belt on the shoulders of a fan wearing a Make-A-Wish T-shirt before walking up the ramp, giving high-fives to other adoring fans.

Cena and Styles left everything they had in the ring in this one, alternating high-impact moves while seemingly making up a few things as they went long. Both superstars kicked out of each other's finishing moves early on, which set the tone that another epic match was coming.

Following a patented Phenomenal Forearm from Styles that drew a two-count, Cena stayed on the canvas on his hands and knees and sold injuries to his chest, as he appeared to gag and nearly throw up. Styles added insult to injury by kicking him in the stomach before Cena reversed a follow-up move into a devastating face buster.

With Cena still ailing, the two wrestlers underwent an entertaining set of spots, in which they constantly reversed submissions on each other in the center of the ring.

A calf crusher from Styles turned into an STFU from Cena. Styles then worked it into an STFU of his own, as Cena threatened to tap, before Cena stood up with Styles on his back and slammed him down.

Moments later, Cena leaped from the top rope but got caught into a powerbomb. Styles came right back with a Styles Clash, but that too only drew a two count. Styles attempted to finish the match with a springboard 450 splash, but Cena countered that move by lifting up his knees. Cena then uncorked a wild sunset flip powerbomb that nearly drew a three count.

Both wrestlers continued to trade impressive moves but couldn't finish each other off, including Styles kicking out of an Attitude Adjustment from the second rope. Styles later tried for another Phenomenal Forearm but was caught in mid-air by Cena, which led directly to the finish. After a top-rope Attitude Adjustment, which Styles also kicked out of, Styles hit one final Styles Clash and set up for a Phenomenal forearm -- the exact sequence that earned him his victory over Cena at SummerSlam.

But this time, Cena had the answer -- and moments later, referee Charles Robinson was shaking his hand and then raising it.

Styles, who captured the WWE championship from Dean Ambrose in September, saw his title reign ended at 140 days.