This week’s episode of SmackDown featured one of the most stunning moments in recent memories as AJ Styles pinned Jinder Mahal cleanly to win the WWE Championship. With that, the hyped-up Mahal vs. Brock Lesnar match at Survivor Series will instead feature The Phenomenal one against The Beast.
Well, there’s quite a bit of backstage news to suggest why Styles was named champion. Bryan Alvarez of Wrestling Observer Radio reported that a source in India informed him that Mahal was being promoted in the country as a two-time WWE Champion. But Dave Meltzer responded and said Styles’ victory doesn’t have anything to do with Mahal and the promotion.
Meltzer also reported that he didn’t know until the morning of SmackDown that Styles was set to become champion. However, Meltzer also reported that Mahal will reclaim the championship heading into WWE’s India tour in December. Styles will not be on that tour, so it should be set up nicely for Mahal to regain the championship.
So with that, Styles’ second reign as the WWE Championship will likely be a short one. He previously held the belt for 140 days until John Cena defeated him at the 2017 Royal Rumble PPV event. With WWE’s tour in India slated for early December, his reign will likely only last a few short weeks.
Mahal first won the championship at Backlash by defeating Randy Orton. He held onto the title for 170 days before obviously dropping it to Styles. Mahal had successfully defended the title against elite talents like Orton and Shinsuke Nakamura.
With his loss to Styles, it remains unclear what will happen with Mahal at Survivor Series. John Cena was named as the fifth and final member of Team SmackDown in the 5-on-5 interbrand match, so that option is off the table for Mahal.
As for Styles fans, enjoy the title reign while you can. It doesn’t look like it’ll last that long.
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