What is going on? – Specifically as it concerns the WWE Championship and Jinder Mahal
There are so many layers to this that it seems impossible that the WWE has managed to have any idea of what’s going on. The skinny: Jinder Mahal is defending the WWE Title against A.J. Styles on SmackDown Live this week, for some strange reason. Why is that strange? Well, Styles was to face Rusev in a qualifying match for Team SmackDown at Survivor Series this upcoming week, but now gets a title shot against Mahal while the show just so happens to be in England.
England. Another layer. Despite being SmackDown Live, the show won’t actually be live due to time zone conflicts. So whether Mahal retains his belt or Styles wins it, even the most mildly interested fan will be able to know long before it hits the broadcast waves.
If Mahal is going to defeat Styles and retain his title, why the rush? The two seemed destined for a collision at Clash of Champions in December and if Styles doesn’t win, what does he have for Survivor Series? Either Mahal is suffering from an injury or there are other concerns because after investing in his title reign for the past six months with numerous defeats of Randy Orton and Shinsuke Nakamura, to drop it just weeks before meeting Brock Lesnar seems counter-intuitive.
It also doesn’t hurt that Lesnar vs. Styles would be a mega dream match on WWE turf. As these things often go, the WWE either has a devious plan up their sleeve, or they have absolutely no idea what to do and are not only flying, but damn near jet-gliding by the seat of their pants.
What is the point of bringing John Cena into the mix?
As if all the Mahal, Styles, Lesnar business wasn’t confusing enough, let’s add John Cena to the fray. The free agent who chooses where and when he appears is still looking for that elusive 17th title run, which would break his tie with Ric Flair for the most all-time.
A new report has surfaced which indicates that Cena is slated to become the special guest referee for the collision at Survivor Series between the two brands’ champions. Why this is a thing is anyone’s best guess.
Is it a way of saving the possibility of Lesnar vs. Cena at WrestleMania if Roman Reigns is severely sick? Could Cena vs. Mahal down the line become a match? Will Cena and Styles’ history come into play, should they go that route? There are so many possibilities, none of which make a whole ton of sense, but all of which involve John Cena, which ultimately means more eyes to the prize.
Will Braun Strowman and Kane destroy Team Raw?
With the return of Braun Strowman to Raw this past Monday night, this can mean only destruction for the rest of the locker room. The Miz and his Miztourage were laid waste to by the Monster Among Men, who will be looking to extract revenge against his tag team partners from TLC, who all aided in throwing him in the back of a garbage truck.
Raw general manager Kurt Angle made the shrewd business move of making Strowman the first addition along himself for Team Raw at Survivor Series. The issue now becomes how Strowman and Kane’s dynamic factor into that match. The Big Red Machine could run interference as a way of getting Strowman out of the match, since someone from SmackDown Live pinning him in a traditional Survivor Series format could present a challenge.
It seems unlikely Kane could team alongside Strowman, although Raw may be on the short side of big name bodies for the match if Roman Reigns and Bray Wyatt are still sidelined.
How will Roderick Strong joining the Authors of Pain for War Games be explained?
NXT pushed all of their chips to the middle of the table this past week, announcing their main event for NXT TakeOver: Houston, bringing back War Games. The two-ringed cage match (if there was a way to describe it) has SAnitY on one side, the Undisputed Era on another, and then the Authors of Pain teaming with Roderick Strong to create a bizarre collection of characters.
AOP are one of the most dominant heel groups the company has created in recent memory and Strong is one of their premier babyfaces — a combination that doesn’t exactly make for A+B = C.
All nine men have been attempting to rip one another apart for the majority of the last month, with a classic gimmick match the best way to keep stoking the flame. Roddy turning down his invitation to the Undisputed Era means that he had to find new friends, although AOP is certainly an interesting choice.
Who’s the good (or bad) guy here?
To bounce off two aforementioned conundrums, A.) What is going on here? and B.) How is the WWE explaining this?
Currently, there are three heel vs. heel champion vs. champion matches lined up for Survivor Series. There have been multiple instances where there has been an opportunity for a title change, but to do so just so a match at Survivor Series that has no real implications fits storylines better would be borderline ridiculous. Ultimately, the all-heel showdowns are going to make for unusual television to say the least, especially considering the build-up has been all based on wars of words.
This all goes without mentioning that Shane McMahon invaded Monday Night Raw and “fired the first shot” by leading his roster (including many babyfaces) on a ransacking expedition. Outside of Daniel Bryan, there may be no one more over than Shane-o-Mac, yet he just committed one of the heelish acts of the decade.
Survivor Series is making the whole month of November bizarre as good/bad goes out the window and we instead get blue/red.