It was one of the most welcoming shocks since WWE returned to the brand split format, and when AJ Styles lifted the WWE Championship at Backlash a few weeks ago, there was a feeling of adulation throughout the WWE Universe.
This was because of the history that AJ Styles has with the world of wrestling, not necessarily because of the disappointment of Dean Ambrose’s title run.
When AJ lifted the title he became just the sixth fastest WWE Champion in the history of the company since it only took him just over seven months to go from debuting in the biggest wrestling company in the world to winning the biggest title in their business.
It was a rise to a title that many fans predicted and it was thought that once AJ lifted the title who would then go on a lengthy run with it. This is mostly because on the SmackDown roster right now, there are not many superstars who can challenge AJ for his current position.
Right now the former TNA legend is one of the best things in WWE, he has the promo skills and he is one of the best wrestlers on the WWE roster so it makes sense for WWE to keep the SmackDown title in the self-proclaimed ‘Champ that runs the camp.’
John Cena walked away from WWE at SummerSlam just over two weeks ago but shockingly turned up again on last week’s episode of SmackDown Live to announce that he was going after his record-equalling 16th World Championship.
The match at No Mercy was turned into a triple threat match that also includes the former WWE Champion Dean Ambrose. But even though Cena has made an early return to WWE to be a part of this match and he has history riding on this match, he won’t be walking out of Sacremento with the belt around his waist.
It was announced earlier in the year that John Cena was set to take some time away from his hectic WWE schedule to film the second season of American Grit and it seems that he will be doing this immediately following his main event match at No Mercy. The last SmackDown taping that Cena will be a part of will be on October 11th.
Cena will then be missing from WWE TV until the Survivor Series event on November 20th, but even after that, he isn’t being advertised for any episodes of SmackDown surrounding the holiday season, which means that this appearance could be a one off.
It is highly unlikely that WWE would allow John Cena to win SmackDown’s biggest title and then not be part of any live shows for more than a month afterwards.
This means that AJ’s only real competition will be Dean Ambrose in that triple threat match and given that there are rumours of a Shield mini reunion in the works and the fact that Ambrose’s title run didn’t really go to plan, it is thought that AJ retaining his title makes the most sense. Add this to the fact that he only won the title a few weeks ago and WWE thinks that constant title changes ruin the legitimacy of their main titles.
It is being speculated that Cena will return to WWE in early 2017 and challenge AJ on the Road to WrestleMania where he would make history by being the first WWE superstar to win 16 World titles under the WWE umbrella since many of Ric Flair’s were under WWF’s banner. It is also a way to continue the feud between AJ and Cena so that when the former United States Champion does finally return to the company, he can easily pick up where he left off.
The triple threat match is seemingly just WWE’s way of ensuring that all eyes are on No Mercy to see if John Cena can make history as SmackDown continue to challenge Raw for the better ratings.
SmackDown fairing much better in this brand split than it did in the previous one and it seems that Shane McMahon and Daniel Bryan are doing a fantastic job of running the show. With AJ Styles as the kingpin of the roster for the next few months, SmackDown will easily come out on top of Raw before the two brands collide for real at Survivor Series in just two months time.