The Royal Rumble 2018 is fast approaching, and the WWE officials appear keen to make the event as appealing as possible. On the last episode of SmackDown Live, a new match for WWE Championship was announced for the upcoming event. AJ Styles will defend his Championship against Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn in a handicap match.
The announcement was made by Daniel Bryan towards the end of the show after a match involving AJ Styles and Sami Zayn. The match itself was intriguing as Shane McMahon, Daniel Bryan, and Kevin Owens were present at the ringside. During the match, the referee was knocked out of the ring, and Owens blocked him from getting back in the ring at the earliest. Shane McMahon demanded that Owens be removed from the ringside.
Daniel Bryan suggested that Shane should also be removed from the ringside. During this bickering, Zayn found an opportunity to deliver The Helluva Kick on Styles and win the match. AJ Styles appeared frustrated after the match and suggested that he should be booked in a handicap match against both Owens and Zayn. Daniel Bryan took this opportunity to announce a WWE championship handicap title match for the Royal Rumble 2018.
While the match may sound interesting, it is not yet clear who will be the champion if AJ Styles loses the match. A similar handicap match for the United States Championship took place in 2017 when Roman Reigns was defeated by Kevin Owens and Chris Jericho. It is still unclear whether the match will remain as announced or Shane McMahon will make any changes.
The addition of the handicap match for WWE Championship has added more power to the already packed Royal Rumble 2018 card. As of writing this, a triple threat match for the Universal Championship involving Brock Lesnar, Braun Strowman, and Kane has been confirmed. Besides, the upcoming PPV will also see the debut of first ever Women’s Royal Rumble match.
2017 didn't end well & 2018 hasn't started well either for @AJStylesOrg! And @WWEDanielBryan just made things even worse for him at #RoyalRumble!
Do you think AJ Styles can retain his #WWEChampionship against all odds? pic.twitter.com/QlqAZr7YIH
— WWE (@WWEIndia) January 3, 2018
Meanwhile, the tension between Shane McMahon and Daniel Bryan was escalated further. It clearly appears to be heading towards something far more significant. Some rumors suggest that Daniel Bryan and Shane McMahon will have a match at WrestleMania 34. However, these speculations were debunked by Dave Meltzer citing non-clearance of Bryan for an in-ring return. It would be interesting to see the progress of both rivalries on the next episode of SmackDown Live.