AJ Styles is your new WWE Champion. This time last week, AJ Styles was booked in a match with Rusev for this Tuesday on SmackDown Live. There was a spot left to fill on SmackDown Live’s Survivor Series team and a bout between The Phenomenal One and The Bulgarian Brute was booked in order to fix that.
However, between last week and this week’s episode, WWE decided to drastically change those plans.
Instead of a qualifying match to join the blue brand’s Survivor Series team, Styles was placed into a match against Jinder Mahal for the WWE Championship. That’s a pretty major upgrade by anyone’s standards. WWE defended the decision and gave a reason for the drastic change.
The Maharajah attacked Styles last week after he easily defeated the second Singh Brother in as many weeks. Apparently, a WWE Championship match for Styles was effectively compensation for the attack.
Jinder Mahal lost his match while trying to defend the WWE Championship against AJ Styles. The title loss came as a shock as Mahal was expected to be the champion for a longer time, with the WWE’s tour of India coming up in December.
Several reports have suggested that the recently deposed WWE Champion was working through an injury, but Mahal denied these rumours in an ESPN interview. However, this title change has only given these rumours more credibility. WWE wants Jinder Mahal to be in good condition heading into the India tour as he is set to be a marquee attraction. However, they will not want to risk any aggravation to an already injured Mahal as that would hamper the tour.
As a result of this title change, AJ Styles will face Brock Lesnar at Survivor Series instead of Jinder Mahal. Brock Lesnar has never been the most careful worker on the WWE roster, and Mahal could’ve easily aggravated his injury while working with the Beast Incarnate.