The feud between Dean Ambrose and AJ Styles over the WWE Championship took an unexpected turn last night at WWE TLC. Although Styles was successful in retaining the WWE World title over Ambrose, it came due to interference from James Ellsworth, who has been a wild card in their feud for many weeks. Ellsworth explained that his actions were to secure himself a WWE title match with Styles on SmackDown this week.
Technically, Ellsworth holds three victories over AJ Styles, but now he's going to find himself facing Styles on his own without help from Dean Ambrose. Obviously, it's very unlikely that he'll be successful in taking the WWE Championship away from The Phenomenal One on Tuesday's edition of SmackDown or anytime soon, but something else happened after WWE TLC that could throw a monkey wrench into WWE's plans.
According to a new report, AJ Styles suffered an injury during the TLC match with Dean Ambrose last night at WWE TLC. For most of the day, his injury was left undisclosed. However, it has now been confirmed as an ankle injury. After the show had gone off the air, AJ was tended to in the ring by trainers, and he had to limp to the back. The injury isn't said to be serious, but it could put a hold on WWE's plans going forward.
In the short-term, the "heel turn" for James Ellsworth heading into his WWE World title match with Styles may have to be postponed depending on the severity of the injury. WWE officials could delay that match for a few weeks if necessary, but they should be thinking about what AJ Styles will be doing at the WWE Royal Rumble PPV in January. The rumor is that an upcoming match with The Undertaker is a strong possibility.
No offense, but going from James Ellsworth to The Undertaker is a big jump in competition. WWE Royal Rumble isn't until the end of January, so there is plenty of time for the feud between Ambrose and Styles to conclude and for what WWE has planned for Ellsworth over the coming weeks of SmackDown. The injury to AJ's ankle isn't expected to take weeks to heal. It doesn't seem any big creative plans need to be changed.
If WWE is going to move forward with AJ Styles versus The Undertaker at WWE Royal Rumble, a lot will need to happen before that match can become a reality. Styles' injury may have delayed the angle for a week or two, but The Deadman could interfere in the match with Ellsworth, which would allow the feud to begin in a way that makes sense and potentially keep the WWE Universe on James Ellsworth's side afterward.
While Styles versus Taker is something the WWE Universe would absolutely want to see, the last update that was reported on the potential match claimed that WWE officials might hold off on the bout due to the timing. The Undertaker's recent hip surgery and the nagging injuries on Styles could force WWE officials to keep from giving the match the green light for the WWE Royal Rumble PPV.
WWE officials are going to need a backup plan for AJ Styles heading into that event, but the bigger question is what will The Phenomenal One be doing at Wrestlemania 33. No matter who he faces at the WWE Royal Rumble, the results of that match will send him and WWE programming onto "The Road to Wrestlemania."
Will Styles vs. Undertaker happen in San Antonio next month is one of many questions, including if Styles will be the WWE World Champion heading into 2017. A lot can happen over the next few weeks. It has been reported that AJ Styles could be turning face before Wrestlemania, so there is a lot of speculation about AJ's creative plans heading into WWE's most important time of the year. WWE is going to need AJ Styles to stay healthy no matter what and resting him now could mean much bigger things in the long-term for everyone.
[Featured Image by WWE]