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As we noted yesterday, WWE made a surprising move and announced AJ Styles will challenge Jinder Mahal for the WWE Championship on Smackdown in The UK next week. Original plans for the show were announced as AJ Styles facing Rusev for the final spot on Team Smackdown at Survivor Series, however that match likely will not take place, or at the very least not on Smackdown next week.
On today’s edition of Wrestling Observer Live, Dave Meltzer speculated that there are three possible reasons why WWE scrapped initial Smackdown plans and decided to announce AJ Styles vs Jinder Mahal instead:
WWE officials might feel the Brock Lesnar vs Jinder Mahal match is not enough of a main event attraction to headline Survivor Series, so they decided to book the WWE Title match on Smackdown so Styles could win, and go on to face Lesnar at the PPV. Styles cut a promo yesterday teasing he will defeat Jinder on Smackdown next week, then go on to face Lesnar at Survivor Series.Jinder Mahal’s shoulder injury, which he has been dealing with for several weeks, could be worse than originally thought, and he needs to drop the title.WWE panicked following this week’s low Smackdown rating, so the company feels next week’s Smackdown needs a higher profile main event for a show being taped in The UK. If this is the reason for the title match being booked, a title change is less likely to happen.
Following Smackdown in The UK, there is only one more episode of the show airing before Survivor Series on November 19th, so if WWE does want to run Styles vs Lesnar at the PPV, the company would likely need the go-home episode of Smackdown for build to the match.
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