Many wrestling fans have been wondering why AJ Styles hasn't been wrestling on Smackdown Live over the course of the past few weeks, and it turns out, it has something to do with 205 Live.
The Wrestling Observer is reporting that the WWE is trying to keep Styles from wrestling during TV so fans will stick around for 205 Live, which goes down after SmackDown, according to 411 Mania. The idea is to entice fans to stay during 205 Live by dangling the chance to see Styles (one of the most popular stars in WWE) after the show.
A lot of fans commented on 411 Mania's website and said that the WWE should just tape 205 Live before SmackDown Live. This would make sense and it would allow Styles to appear on SmackDown Live more regularly. But fans probably wouldn't show up early for the show, creating the same issue they have now. Still, there is an argument that keeping fans waiting for Styles is hurting the brand as well. With Styles currently holding the United States Championship belt, keeping him from actually wrestling on the show doesn't make much sense, since ratings are not so hot.
We will of course get to see Styles defend his title against Baron Corbin this Sunday at Hell in a Cell. The result of that match may give us an idea of where the WWE plans on going with Styles and his character in the near future. It would be wise to get him back in the mix, but for now, WWE seems bent on bringing more eyes on the network exclusive 205 Live.
Aside from this tactic, WWE has brought in regular roster members to bring some more intrigue to the struggling show. Neville, Enzo Amore, and most recently, Kalisto, have all temporarily got people talking about the show, but that excitement always seems to die down rather quickly. Still, WWE will experiment, they've already reformatted the show to compliment Amore and his talking ability, so maybe more changes are on the horizon. Or, there is always the possibility WWE axes the show completely due to lack of fan reception.
At the end of the day, the WWE won't be able to keep Styles from wrestling on SmackDown Live TV for an extended period of time since he's so popular. The good news is that Styles isn't injured and the WWE isn't keeping him out of action isn't WWE trying to protect their star from an injury.