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WWE News: AJ Styles has only faced James Ellsworth and Dean Ambrose on SmackDown since the brand split

Styles had picked up the WWE World Championship from Ambrose in 2016.

AJ Styles
Styles is set to face John Cena at the Royal Rumble

What’s the story?

AJ Styles is the current WWE World Champion on the SmackDown brand. He started his WWE career at the Royal Rumble and then was in a long drawn feud with Chris Jericho before going up against John Cena.

The former TNA star was then chosen as the second overall pick in the 2016 draft by SmackDown and was immediately put into the race for the Championship.

While he and Dean Ambrose have been part of a seesaw battle, Reddit user kingajeezy has highlighted that James Ellsworth has been the only other wrestler Styles has faced during his time on SmackDown after the brand split.

In case you didn’t know...

Styles picked up the WWE World Championship at Backlash in 2016 and the win was marred by a low blow on Ambrose but the former TNA champion surely wouldn’t have worried about the manner in which he picked up the title.

While Styles has faced John Cena post his move to SmackDown, that was only during the pay-per-view event, No Mercy, in a triple-threat match. Ambrose has faced Styles a number of times for the title but to no avail and surprisingly, Ellsworth also got an opportunity to win the title after he defeated Styles thrice.

Ellsworth did lose out to Styles for the title recently and now both Ellsworth and Ambrose are out of the picture for the title as Cena seems to be hell bent on winning the championship back.

The heart of the matter

While it isn’t surprising to see that Styles has faced only a couple of wrestlers on SmackDown, what is surprising is the fact that one of them is Ellsworth. Ambrose was one of the top dogs on the brand and with him holding the title prior to Styles; it made sense for the duo to have a go.

The major problem with the SmackDown brand was the lack of a big name draw. John Cena was away due to injury and has only recently made a comeback, while Randy Orton and Dolph Ziggler have had other commitments on the brand.

Ellsworth was seen as comic relief and his rather incredible three victories against Styles kept the WWE universe interested, but it was all going to end pretty soon for the “Chinless Wonder”.

What’s next?

With John Cena having a stare down with Styles and looking set to face him at the Royal Rumble, things should get interesting. Cena certainly will be looking to win the title from Styles and it could be one of the most anticipated matches of the year.

Styles certainly could face the likes of Baron Corbin and Ziggler in the coming weeks just to get a bit of match practice and this unheralded stat will also become a thing of the past.

Sportskeeda’s Take

Styles certainly is one of the top wrestlers in the business and him not having any real big names to take on has certainly hurt SmackDown as a brand. It is a bit of a surprise that wrestlers such as Randy Orton or even Bray Wyatt were not given a chance at the title, and now it seems even more unlikely since the Viper joined the Wyatts.

The champ will certainly have his hands tied now with John Cena on his mind and maybe he will get a chance to wrestle someone other than Ambrose and Ellsworth on SmackDown.

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