The unexpected decision during last Tuesday’s episode of SmackDown Live to insert Baron Corbin into AJ Styles vs. Dolph Ziggler WWE Championship match scheduled for next Tuesday, December 27, at the Allstate Arena in Rosemont, Illinois, has sparked plenty of speculation.
Many fans interpreted the move to mean that WWE was going all out for a blockbuster final 2016 episode of WWE SmackDown Live where John Cena is also expected to return and resume his feud with Styles ahead of the highly anticipated AJ Styles vs. John Cena match at the 2017 Royal Rumble, as rumors claim.
But going by the latest rumors to emerge there could be another reason why WWE decided to surprise fans by adding Corbin to the AJ Styles vs. Dolph Ziggler match and making it a Triple Treat match when most fans were not expecting Ziggler to dethrone Styles.
Rumors circulating on multiple sites, including Cage Side Seats and Ringside News, claim that the reason why WWE decided to turn the AJ Styles vs. Dolph Ziggler match into a Triple Threat was to lessen the burden on AJ Styles after sustaining a “minor” ankle injury during the WWE TLC match with Dean Ambrose a few weeks back. WWE Officials reportedly believe that introducing a third opponent to make the title match a Triple Threat will reduce the workload on Styles and reduce the risk of further exacerbating his ankle injury.
After Styles successfully defended his WWE Championship title against Ambrose on December 4 in Dallas, he reportedly fell on the mat, pointing to his right foot and struggling to flex it. According to a rumor that was later confirmed, the champion was seen limping to the back after trainers attended to him in the ring. Ambrose was also reportedly rushed to the back with an injury. Although the injury claims could not be confirmed at first, no one was surprised about the claims coming after a main event in which the men pounded away savagely, jumped off ropes and ladders, and slammed each other into tables and chairs.
Fears that the injury could put a hold on subsequent matches were allayed following reports that it was minor. The injury was evidently not severe enough to warrant postponing Styles’ title match against James Ellsworth at SmackDown Live last Tuesday. Styles demolished Ellsworth in seconds and spent several minutes after the match assaulting the challenger until medics arrived and removed him from the ring area on a stretcher.
The decision to feature Corbin in next Tuesday’s title match provides him an opportunity to show that he is able to hold his own at the main event level. He has been given the chance and it is up to him to step up and prove he is ready for bigger things in WWE.
Corbin was added to the Styles vs. Ziggler title match after AJ Styles defended his WWE Championship against James Ellsworth last Tuesday, December 20, at WWE SmackDown Live that took place at the Joe Louis Arena in Detroit. Corbin interrupted a post-match back-and-forth between AJ Styles and top contender Dolph Ziggler. Ziggler had come to the ring to remind Styles about their title match scheduled for the next Tuesday’s SmackDown Live in Rosemont near Chicago, Illinois, when Corbin interrupted, saying that he, and not Ziggler, deserved a shot at the title.
Corbin attacked Ziggler who later complained to SmackDown General Manager Daniel Bryan and demanded to face Corbin. Bryan agreed to a match but said that if Corbin defeated Ziggler he would get the title shot instead.
But after Styles interfered in the Ziggler vs. Corbin match by hitting both wrestlers repeatedly with a steel chair, Bryan announced that Styles would have to defend his title against Ziggler and Corbin in a Triple Threat match.
Other rumors currently making the rounds this weekend include a claim that Brock Lesnar wants another fight in the UFC and that he could soon have it.
Although the rumor persists, it is highly unlikely that Finn Balor returns for the 2017 Royal Rumble. According to Cage Seat Side’s Randall Ortman, WWE officials believe they have enough stars already and don’t need him to make the match better.
Finally, according to The Observer, Mick Foley will undergo hip replacement surgery in the next few months.
[Featured Image by WWE]