Money in the Bank seemed like a good opportunity to crown Shinsuke Nakamura WWE Champion. Instead, WWE elected to have AJ Styles deny him for the four-consecutive pay-per-view. And now, we may know why.
On Monday, WWE and 2K announced Styles was the cover athlete for WWE 2K19. And according to Brian Alvarez of the Wrestling Observer Radio, this is the reason why Styles kept his WWE Championship on Sunday.
“You already turned him heel, he’s awesome as a heel [Nakamura]. Like do it [put the title on him] but they didn’t do it. It turns out that AJ Styles has been confirmed for the cover of WWE 2K19. That explains why he’s the champion. I was told last night," said Alvarez.
It makes sense that WWE would want to maximize Styles' impact as the 2K cover boy. Styles has been the pillar of SmackDown, even when not holding top championships. However his current run as WWE Champion has already lasted over 220 days and that type of stability was hard for WWE to opt out of.
WWE 2K19 now has a Phenomenal cover Superstar and a path to WWE video game immortality.
2K has named AJ Styles as the cover Superstar of the upcoming edition of the WWE video game franchise. The world-renowned video game publisher unveiled its choice and other details about WWE 2K19, most notably the debut of the Million Dollar Challenge, during a press conference today.
Styles, the two-time WWE Champion who successfully retained his title at Money in the Bank 2018, attended 2K’s press conference. He expressed excitement and gratitude at being chosen for 2K’s highest honor.
“As a hardcore gamer and ambassador of everything it means to ‘Never Say Never’ in both my professional and personal life, it is a dream come true to be selected as the WWE 2K19 cover Superstar,” he said.
This comes as a tough break for Nakamura. Time has officially expired on his bid to become WWE Champion and it looks like he's due for a demotion down WWE's card. As the 2018 Royal Rumble winner, Nakamura appeared to be destined to become champ. But failed attempts at WrestleMania, The Greatest Royal Royal Rumble, Backlash, and now Money in the Bank leave no room to justify another opportunity. If it's any consolation, Nakamura's heel turn should keep him relevant as long as he likes, but he will be out of the WWE Championship picture for the foreseeable future.
Styles' next opponent will be decided on Tuesday's episode of SmackDown where Daniel Bryan, Samoa Joe, Rusev, The Miz, and Big E will compete in a Gauntlet Match for the right to face Styles at the Extreme Rules event.
[H/T Ringside News]