Is WWE souring on Jinder Mahal as champion?

Earlier today, SmackDown Live Commissioner Shane McMahon announced that due to his actions on SmackDown this week, WWE Champion Jinder Mahal must defend his WWE Championship against AJ Styles on next week’s episode of SmackDown Live in Manchester, England.

This is clearly big news, as it has huge potential ramifications for Survivor Series, where every match is interpromotional, and either a champion vs. champion match or a traditional Survivor Series matchup. SmackDown’s five man team is still missing a member, which was presumed to be AJ Styles’ spot. But if he wins the match next week, he’d go up against WWE Universal Champion Brock Lesnar in a battle of the world champs.

Championship matches happen on free television all the time, and rarely does it mean we’ll see a title change. But this announcement is curious, as on this week’s episode of SmackDown, Shane McMahon announced that AJ Styles would be going up against Rusev on next week’s show, with the winner being added to Team Blue’s Survivor Series team. The sudden change of plans, announced via social media no less, makes one wonder if WWE had a change of heart putting Jinder Mahal up against the Beast Incarnate.

Undoubtedly, Brock Lesnar vs. AJ Styles would be a far more enticing matchup than Lesnar vs. the Maharaja. Is that the plan? And does Rusev get added to the traditional Survivor Series match by default? We’ll find out next week on SmackDown Live.