There’s plenty of confusion, excitement and other mixed emotions over this week's episode of SmackDown LIVE as Jinder Mahal was announced as the new number one contender for the WWE Championship.
It’s a victory that pretty much came out of nowhere, and based on the other five participants in the match, it was safe to assume that even Mojo Rawley stood a better chance than The Maharaja did on paper.
Still, SmackDown is the land of opportunity and nobody would have ever guessed that Mahal would be in this position. Fans always call for surprises and something different to happen, and this is it – Mahal faces off against Randy Orton at the Backlash event for the biggest prize in WWE.
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This excitement might be short-lived, though, as The Viper is expected to successfully defend his championship before moving on to another big challenger in the form of Baron Corbin.
It’s clear that WWE officials are quite high on The Lone Wolf, and it was speculated this week that they’re considering making some slight modifications to his character – such as a new entrance theme – ahead of his title feud with Orton.
Again, as exciting as it is to have a new challenge emerge, Orton should be retaining the title there too.
There’s a good reason as to why Orton is going to keep hold of his title for much longer, as Cageside Seats is reporting that it has to do with SmackDown LIVE’s biggest feud moving forward.
BIG SMACKDOWN FEUD
They’re claiming that a feud involving Randy Orton and AJ Styles for the WWE Championship is still the long-term plan for the company, so everything we’re seeing now and up until their feud actually kicks off is simply a holdover to get them there.
This coincides with another rumour that’s circulating online that Styles’ current feud with Kevin Owens for the United States Championship is going to be a lengthy one, so it makes sense to keep the two big stars of the blue brand as far apart as possible for now.
There are plenty of benefits if WWE plays it out like this, as it allows them to naturally build-up a story rather than rush it and leave fans underwhelmed, like they have been with Orton’s rivalry with Bray Wyatt - even though that was a ridiculously slow build.
The Phenomenal One has been vocal about wanting to have a dream match with Orton, so you can bet both men will want to put on a clinic and ensure their feud tops Monday Night RAW’s biggest story.
Not only that, but it gives fans something to look forward to, rather than giving it to them now and then wondering what’s next for both men.
SmackDown has been very successful so far, and this could be the feud that cements SmackDown’s status as the A-show.
Would you like to see a WWE Championship feud between Randy Orton and AJ Styles? Have YOUR say in the comments section below and the second episode of GiveMeSport’s WWE podcast is here! Check out the inside info from our coverage in Orlando. https://soundcloud.com/user-818579649/givemesport-inside-wrestlemania-33
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