Since the brand split, the WWE Championship has changed hands three times. Dean Ambrose brought the title with him to SmackDown, opening the door for RAW to create the WWE Universal Championship. AJ Styles dethroned Ambrose at Backlash and held the title for 140 days before losing to John Cena at the Royal Rumble. Cena’s WWE Championship reign (his record-tying 16th) lasted all of two weeks before he dropped it to the current champ, Bray Wyatt, at Elimination Chamber.
The same night Cena toppled Styles, Randy Orton outlasted 29 other superstars to win the Royal Rumble match, earning the right to face the champion of his choosing at WrestleMania. However, since Wyatt won a fortnight later, Orton refused to cash in his WWE Championship opportunity on the grand stage due to his allegiance to The Eater of Worlds.
As a result, a Battle Royal was booked for this past Tuesday’s episode of SmackDown to determine a new number one contender for Bray Wyatt and the WWE Championship. The match, of course, ended in a draw when Luke Harper and AJ Styles both appeared to hit the floor simultaneously. Daniel Bryan would go on to announce that the two will compete in a singles match next week, with the winner advancing to WrestleMania.