AJ Styles is very happy to be back on Friday Night SmackDown. The Face that Runs the Place was traded over from Monday Night RAW a few weeks ago for Superstar(s) to be named later, and he didn't waste much time making an impact Friday night he defeated Daniel Bryan to win the Intercontinental Championship Tournament and claim the coveted belt for the first time in his career.
You can expect Styles to be heavily featured on Friday nights from here on out. If he's not, that could prove to be a bad move on the part of new RAW and SmackDown Executive Director Bruce Prichard. It was announced this week that Prichard was adding RAW to his jurisdiction after Paul Heyman was removed from the position.
One of the reported reasons for Heyman's departure from running RAW creative was due to his goal of building new starts and pushing the "wrong people". At least wrong in the eyes of the people higher up on the food chain than Heyman.
Apparently one of the men he should have been pushing more prominently was AJ Styles. That according to Sportskeeda's Senior Journalist Tom Colohue, who outlined the details in his latest news and rumors video Friday evening.
"There was a lot disappointment higher up, that Paul Heyman was not able to do more with AJ Styles when AJ Styles was on RAW... Really outside of the Undertaker feud, he spent a while in the U.S. Title scene and didn't really have that many great storylines to sink his teeth into."
Colohue notes that because of the lack of quality stories, there were backstage discussions to move AJ Styles to SmackDown as early as January. Vince McMahon was apparently very happy that the Undertaker wanted to work with Styles because it gave him something high profile to do at WrestleMania. Of course, the two stars took part in the main event of night one of WrestleMania 36 in the critically acclaimed Boneyard Match.
Besides the lack of creative substance under Paul Heyman's watch, there is apparently more to the story of Styles being traded over the SmackDown.
AJ Styles reportedly catching flak backstage
There are rumors that Styles is starting to rethink his position in WWE, according to Tom Colohue. Not just because his buddies Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson have been released from the company, but also because a number of people backstage have been criticizing Styles for his worldviews recently.
"Apparently backstage right now with everything going on (in the World), CM Punk is not the only person really getting on AJ Styles case... AJ Styles' views, and a lot of them, have been seriously questioned more now than ever by a lot of people backstage."
Without going into too much detail about allegations made against Styles by Punk on social media, or whatever denunciation the former WWE Champion is getting, it appears quite a few people involved with Monday Night RAW do not see eye to eye with Styles on certain things. It's because of this that WWE management was very keen on finally pulling the trigger and getting him back on the Blue brand.
"There has apparently been a lot of situations where AJ Styles has been mocked, and he has said to not be feeling particularly at home."
While this is no indication about the views of anyone else backstage, Colohue says Styles has always felt "more at home" on SmackDown. Now that he's back home, it appears as though he will be prominently featured after winning his first Intercontinental Championship.
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