AJ Styles surprisingly won the WWE Championship in November 2017 – but now it seems this was done for reasons other than getting it off of Jinder Mahal.
Capturing the company’s top championship just two weeks before Survivor Series, ‘The Phenomenal One’ created one of WWE’s most memorable moments in the United Kingdom, however, it may not have happened for the reasons you think.
Speaking on the Wrestling Outlaws, former WWE writer Road Dogg admitted that AJ Styles was crowned WWE Champion to provide a “cool moment” for UK fans, alongside having someone formidable for Brock Lesnar to defeat at the Survivor Series pay-per-view:
“I think from a buzz standpoint, it was a cool moment to have. AJ [Styles] had just gotten there not too long ago. And I think it was a cool moment for, ‘Okay, like, Brock [Lesnar] can beat this guy.”
AJ Styles dethroned Jinder Mahal of the WWE Championship on SmackDown’s 7 November 2017 broadcast, which aired on a slight tape delay after being taped in Manchester. With the win, it marked the first WWE Championship title change on the blue brand in 14 years.
Although Styles did indeed lose to Brock Lesnar at Survivor Series, he remained as WWE Champion for just over one full year, dropping it to Daniel Bryan on the 13 November SmackDown the following year. At 371 days, Styles’ second run with the title is one of the longest in modern history.
The former TNA stalwart hasn’t held the championship since, though he did become a WWE Grand Slam Champion last April when he captured the Raw Tag Team Championships for the first time alongside Omos.