4 Superstars Who Can Replace AJ Styles As The Next WWE Champion
As of 07 November 2018, AJ Styles has held the WWE Championship for a whopping 365 days. AJ Styles captured the title from Jinder Mahal with much fanfare a year ago. However, due to the championship reign which Brock Lesnar had with the Universal Championship before he was defeated by Roman Reigns, lengthy championship reigns have become unfavourable among the fans.
Unlike Brock Lesnar, AJ Styles' championship reign has not been due to lack of title defences. It has, nonetheless, drawn significant criticism due to the lack of good quality feuds. The feuds he was involved in looked brilliant on paper, but could not live up to those expectations. The supposed dream feud with Shinsuke Nakamura turned out to be one of the biggest disappointments of 2018, which could not be salvaged despite a heel turn by Nakamura.
Styles' recent feud with Samoa Joe also did not fare as well as it was expected. It is looking like Styles' reign as the WWE Champion is not allowing the much-needed push to other stars on Smackdown Live. Given the issues Smackdown Live has had with dwindling audiences and ratings, it could be concluded that the blue brand needs a new WWE Champion and that too, very soon.
Survivor Series 2018 is just around the corner, where the WWE Champion AJ Styles will go one on one with the WWE Universal Champion Brock Lesnar as part of the battle for brand supremacy. However, since this bout would have no championship ramifications for either of the champions involved, the writers would be having one eye on the future.
If the upper management does decide to pull the trigger on Styles' championship reign right after Survivor Series, then it is intriguing to consider the options which the WWE has to replace AJ Styles, as the WWE Champion.
#1 Daniel Bryan
The founder of the 'YES' Movement seems to be the most immediate option at the moment. Daniel Bryan was set to face AJ Styles for the WWE Championship at WWE Crown Jewel. However, due to Bryan's decision to skip the event owing to personal reasons, the match had to be haphazardly scheduled on Smackdown Live which took place on 30th October 2018. Despite it being a non-pay-per-view match, the match quality was excellent and has paved the way for potentially even bigger and better matches in the near future.
However, Daniel Bryan might out of favour with the WWE upper management due to his decision to pull out of Crown Jewel. An evidence of this was supposedly the manner in which the match on 30th October ended, wherein Daniel Bryan tapped out to the Calf Crusher. It is worth noting that it is extremely rare to see a baby-face tap out.
Nonetheless, the narrative could be directed towards a rematch between AJ Styles and Daniel Bryan, which would be an absolute treat for the fans.
Given the popularity of Daniel Bryan, putting the championship on him does seem a viable option as well. This could be a beautiful conclusion to the fairy-tale comeback of the Ultimate Underdog after being retired for more than three years.