AJ Styles losing his US Championship at Hell in a Cell was an outcome that few fans foresaw. However, the surprise finish is all part of WWE's master plan.
According to CageSideSeats, Styles' losses at Hell in a Cell wasn't so much about making Baron Corbin the new US Champion, but freeing up AJ Style to move up on WWE's card. This means that AJ Styles is considered to be the favorite to be the next challenger for Jinder Mahal's WWE Championship.
This means that we can expect to see the WWE Championship not be defended at Survivor Series next month. While things are still fairly tenuous this is a plan that is materializing right before our eyes.
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On the Talking Smack episode that followed Hell in a Cell, Styles alluded to helping Shane McMahon in his battle against Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn. This smells all too much like a Survivor Series match and we can expect Styles to enlist himself in the cause against the terrible Owens. Even more, Jinder Mahal could be aligned with the newly nefarious Canadian duo of KO and Zayn.
But when that's over it's all too easy to imagine Styles getting his WWE Championship shot at December's Clash of Champions. For all intents and purposes, Shinsuke Nakamura's time around Jinder Mahal are done. By Mahal beating him cleanly at HIAC, Mahal effectively concluded the rivalry.
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The list of prospective opponents for Mahal is short and Styles is the only true option. there is the chance John Cena jumps into the picture but with his Hollywood schedule, it's hard to predict if he would even be available by mid-December. The more we think about it more it makes sense: AJ Styles is your unofficial number, one contender.
Even more, it's likely Styles takes the belt from Mahal. The Modern Day Maharajah has had an unexpectedly long turn as Champion heaving beaten Randy Orton at 3 consecutive pay-per-views and Shinsuke Nakamura at 2 straight. While the reasons may be bountiful, we cannot argue with Jinder's success. However, It may be coming to an end very soon. Heading into WrestleMania, WWE will want Styles as Champion, not Mahal.