Spoilers: Huge Title Change At WWE SmackDown Live

UK fans were treated to a massive shock at this week's Manchester show.

Tonight's SmackDown Live tapings in Manchester, England saw a huge title change, as AJ Styles defeated Jinder Mahal for the WWE Championship.

Styles pinned Jinder with a Phenomenal Forearm, having survived the Khallas and fought off interference from the Singh brothers earlier in the match. Early word from Manchester indicates that it was a very enjoyable bout, one already cited by many on social media as the best match of Mahal's 170 day reign.

This result means that Styles will face Brock Lesnar at Survivor Series on November 19th, in a non-title champion vs. champion inter-brand match - assuming, of course, that he holds onto the championship until then.

This is AJ's second reign as WWE Champion, placing him in the same bracket as fellow two-time champions including Randy Savage, Ric Flair, Bruno Sammartino, CM Punk, Yokozuna, and Seth Rollins - a very diverse bunch indeed.

Styles' first reign began when he defeated Dean Ambrose at Backlash 2016, but he lost the belt four months later at the Royal Rumble, dropping it to John Cena in a critically acclaimed Match of the Year contender.

Mahal also won the title at a Backlash pay per view - this year's edition, which took place in May - and enjoyed a longer reign than AJ, albeit a far more controversial one. Jinder's sudden rise from lowercard talent to WWE Champion was met with considerable fan criticism, with many claiming that his success was a transparent attempt by WWE to maximise their popularity with the sizeable Indian market. (Mahal is of Indian descent, although he was actually born in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.)

This result will surely dampen some WrestleMania 34 rumours that had been gaining online traction over the past few weeks, most notably the speculation of a Mahal vs. Cena match for the WWE Championship in New Orleans. It could, however, breathe new life into alternative speculation - especially the widely-desired Styles vs. Nakamura showdown, after a teased conflict between the two at this year's Money in the Bank pay per view.

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Jack King

Written by Jack King

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