AJ Styles defeated Jinder Mahal to become New WWE Champion
For the second night in a row, WWE aired a flagship broadcast from the Manchester Arena. And for the second night in a row, a new champion was crowned, causing another significant change to the Survivor Series 2017 card.
WWE TLC, which underwent major changes after viral infections spread throughout the Raw locker room, has nothing on Survivor Series.
Both Raw and SmackDown Live drew sellout crowds of 14,000 from England, where WWE continues to rake in the dough with an impassioned overseas following that only sees the product live a few times per year.
WWE’s previous tour made $5 million in 11 shows according to an antagonistic tweet by Randy Orton. And while WWE has drawn three-year lows for international attendance in each of the last two quarters, these numbers continue to hold strong with an average of over 6,000 attendees.
The London market is starving for a pay-per-view, and it reminded WWE Executive Vice President Triple H by chanting “WrestleMania” at a recent show in the city.
Between WWE’s successful Q3 2017 earnings report, and another hot tour of Europe, the promotion is on fire to close out 2017 and it’s celebrating by burning its Survivor Series lineup to the ground.
Survivor Series, which at this point could be called Tables, Ladders and Musical Chairs, has been like the resident cosmetic surgery patient on WWE’s pay-per-view schedule.
When Kurt Angle announced the card two weeks ago on Raw, Alexa Bliss was scheduled to face Natalya; The Miz was scheduled to face Baron Corbin; The Shield was scheduled to face The Usos and Jinder Mahal was scheduled to face Brock Lesnar.
With just over one week left until the big-four pay-per-view, two of those inter-promotional matches have already been changed, and more change could come as another championship match between Natalya and Charlotte is on deck.
Take this with a grain of salt, but as of this writing, AJ Styles is scheduled to battle Brock Lesnar in an intriguing matchup that could see Styles get squashed, while new Raw tag team champions The Bar will battle The Usos in a sneaky candidate for match of the night.
All this as we brace ourselves for what should be an entertaining New Day vs. Shield match.
Fittingly enough, if Survivor Series was a person, it would be Vince McMahon. This whole pay-per-view cycle has been a celebration of the erratic WWE chairman’s propensity to go a completely different direction without warning, all under the protection of WWE’s unofficial first amendment: card subject to change.
This has not been a buildup for Survivor Series, but rather a teardown-and-build-back-up.
|Championship||Raw Champion||SmackDown Live Champion||Title Change?||New Match|
|World Championship||Brock Lesnar||Jinder Mahal||Yes—SmackDown Live on November 7, 2017||Brock Lesnar vs. AJ Styles|
|Intercontinental/United States Championship||The Miz||Baron Corbin||Baron Corbin is scheduled to face Sin Cara for the United States Championship on November 14, 2017||N/A|
|Tag Team Championship||The Shield||The Usos||Yes—WWE Raw on November 6, 2017||The Bar vs. The Usos|
|Women’s Championship||Alexa Bliss||Natalya||Charlotte is scheduled to face Natalya for the SmackDown Women’s Championship on November 14, 2017||N/A|
And why not? One of the bigger subplots of the Q3 2017 earnings call was the continued stagnation of the WWE Network subscriber count, which drew just 1.52 million subscribers in the third quarter, down from 1.63 million in 2Q 2017. At this point, it can safely be defined down as a cyclical number that only sees significant change during WrestleMania season.
Though pay-per-views have had little impact in relation to WWE Network subscribers, Mahal’s sudden loss remains puzzling.
WWE is set for a tour of India in December to commemorate what was a six-month reign for Mahal. But weeks before his scheduled tilt against Brock Lesnar, Paul Heyman brutally buried Mahal in a scathing promo, and Mahal will not have a chance to defend his honor.
Styles, who was previously scheduled to take on Rusev for a spot on Team SmackDown before those plans were suspiciously scrapped, pretty much won the WWE Championship out of nowhere.
Many will speculate Mahal is being set up to win the WWE Championship back in India. But between Heyman’s promo and a sudden push to get the title off Mahal, the tea leaves say otherwise.
Whether it’s injury or something far direr (did Jinder raise his voice on a bus?!), there has to be much more to Jinder Mahal’s swift downfall.