On tonight’s episode of Monday Night Raw, AJ Styles was announced as one of four men who would be taking part in a Fatal Four-Way Match to determine Seth Rollins’ next challenger for the WWE Universal Championship. However, he was replaced later on that night by Baron Corbin, and reports now suggest that Styles was written out of the match because he is suffering from an actual injury.
As reported by WrestlingNews.co, Styles was not present at WWE’s live events this past weekend and had not competed in the ring since he came up short in his attempt to win the Universal Championship from Rollins at the Money in the Bank pay-per-view on May 19. On tonight’s Raw, Styles was cutting a backstage interview and explaining that he would be missing the Fatal Four-Way Match due to what seemed to be a lower back injury when he was attacked backstage by Baron Corbin.
The attack allowed Corbin to take Styles’ place in the aforementioned match, which he eventually won by defeating The Miz, Bobby Lashley, and Braun Strowman, per the official WWE website. As such, Corbin is the new No. 1 contender for Rollins’ Universal title, as both men will be facing each other at the Super ShowDown pay-per-view in Saudi Arabia on June 7.
Apparently, the above beatdown was part of a pre-taped segment recorded last week, as WrestlingNews.co‘s Paul Davis wrote that Styles was “not actually backstage” during tonight’s Raw taping. Davis added that he had been told Styles is “legitimately injured,” though he noted that it still isn’t clear how much time the 41-year-old Monday Night Raw superstar will have to miss, or how severe his injury is at this point.
— WrestlingINC.com (@WrestlingInc) May 28, 2019
Separately, Cageside Seats noted prior to this week’s Raw episode that Styles “isn’t advertised” for any WWE shows in June outside of Super ShowDown. The publication noted that this has led to some speculation that “The Phenomenal One” may have to take some time off.
Prior to the announcement of his injury, Styles spoke to Newsweek and discussed several topics with the outlet’s Phillip Martinez, including his revelation that the new contract he signed with WWE earlier this year would be the “last” in a wrestling career that has spanned more than two decades.
The news of AJ Styles’ injury also came on the same night that it was confirmed that Rey Mysterio would be vacating his United States Championship due to a separated shoulder he suffered at Money in the Bank. According to Sportskeeda, WWE announced on Monday Night Raw that Mysterio would not be appearing on this week’s show and would be showing up instead on next week’s episode, where he will officially relinquish his title