In a surprising change of course, AJ Styles defeated Jinder Mahal in the main event of tonight’s episode of SmackDown Live to become the new WWE Champion — his second reign with the world title. AJ Styles was originally supposed to face Rusev tonight to determine who would join SmackDown’s traditional Survivor Series team, but last week SmackDown Commissioner Shane McMahon declared via Twitter that AJ would be getting a shot at the Modern Day Maharaja — and his Championship — instead.
Following the usual Singh Brothers interference, Styles was able to get his foot on the ropes after the Khallas. Jinder responded by attempting a second Khallas from the top rope, but Styles wriggled out of it, hitting a Phenomenal Forearm for the victory.
When news broke last week that plans had changed and AJ Styles would be facing off against Jinder Mahal for the WWE Championship from Manchester, UK, AJ winning the title this close to Survivor Series seemed like a long shot. WWE had put a not-insignificant amount of work into promo packages and hype promos for Jinder Mahal vs. Brock Lesnar at Survivor Series, which seems like a lot of work just to throw fans off the scent.
Whatever the reasoning and whenever it was decided, AJ Styles vs. Brock Lesnar in a world champion vs. world champion match is a dream match, and with the Phenomenal One as WWE Champion, Survivor Series just got that much more interesting.
— WWE (@WWE) November 8, 2017