AJ Styles is back on WWE SmackDown and his return should cause an interesting shake up at the top of the Friday night main roster.
The big returns continued in WWE with the December 15 edition of SmackDown. AJ Styles walked through the door, shirtless and wearing jeans, making it clear something was about to go down. That “thing” was Styles returning to help fight The Bloodline. At least at first glance, before quickly turning and attacking LA Knight. It’s a perplexing character shift, and it will take careful explanation to make it all make sense and keep fans engaged.
Styles’ attack on Knight caught a lot of people by surprise. There was no indication that he had an issue with Knight, nor that his focus wouldn’t be on anyone other than the members of The Bloodline. Within the storyline, it was that group that put Styles on the shelf, so why would he attack another individual the first night back? That’s the big question that WWE is going to have to meticulously answer, and there’s one angle over on WWE Raw that shows the company’s new creative direction can fulfill that need.
Drew McIntyre’s heel turn has been a work of near perfection on Mondays. The age old adage of what makes a wrestling heel work is when they aren’t entirely wrong. McIntyre’s new character isn’t wrong in any shape or form. He should have a bone to pick with Jey Uso and anyone that aligns themselves with him thanks to how he played a part in McIntyre’s downfall years ago. Yes, he may be taking the low road to get revenge, but it’s hard to sympathize with Jey after all the things he’s done.
That level of storytelling needs to come into play with AJ Styles of SmackDown. What are his reasons for attacking LA Knight? Is it simply because Knight pushed him aside, and Styles is irked with everyone that he’s deemed in his way? Then there’s the added layer of where the rest of The OC fits in this equation. There are a lot of questions that need answering and WWE can’t ignore any of them along the way. Styles is one of the best wrestlers in the game today and while he may be past what some would consider his prime, he still has a lot of value as a name for WWE. He and Knight will be a fun feud for as long as it lasts. This is also a good opportunity to give Knight a high profile opponent while still finding a place for him in the crowded upper main card throughout the WWE main roster.
AJ Styles is back and fans should be excited. He’s another name to pack out the top of the SmackDown card heading into the Royal Rumble and WrestleMania season. If he’s going complete heel, or playing more of a tweener, WWE has the work cut out in front of them to make sure this story works well each week.