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.
Naturally, a match of that magnitude between Styles and Mahal headlined SmackDown Live in Manchester. On a pre-recorded show from a foreign country, a title change would be out of the question, right? Wrong. The six-month reign of Jinder Mahal came to an end on Tuesday night and The Phenomenal AJ Styles is now a two time WWE Champion. The Singh Brothers and a freak appearance from The Great Khali kept Mahal in business up until this point, but nothing was going to stop Styles winning the gold on Tuesday night.
Aside from meaning SmackDown Live has a new champion, that leaves the main event of Survivor Series up in the air. Since all of Raw's champions are booked to go head to head with all of SmackDown Live's, Jinder Mahal was readying himself for a match with Brock Lesnar. In fact, it was The Maharajah's challenge that kicked off the Survivor Series build. Since Styles is WWE Champion now, it will be The Phenomenal One taking on The Beast in under two weeks time.
There are likely not many fans who won't be pleased with this latest title change, and the prospect of Styles vs Lesnar is a much more mouthwatering one than the bout it replaced. A bout between those two is likely a dream match most fans didn't realize they even wanted until right now, and it will almost certainly be more of a spectacle than Mahal vs The Beast.
Jinder held the WWE Championship for a lot longer than anyone expected. The Indian-Canadian Superstar has been champion for six months, and this loss to Styles may be WWE finally admitting that the experiment didn't work. Who knows, they may have earned them a little more traction in India, but thankfully, Vince McMahon has now seen sense just in the nick of time to make the Survivor Series main event much-watch wrestling.