As noted, WWE Champion AJ Styles has not wrestled since his match with Dean Ambrose at the TLC pay-per-view event due to a minor ankle injury that he sustained when took an over-the-top rope backdrop during their match. WWE was hoping that Styles would be able to compete on Tuesday’s episode of SmackDown Live against James Ellsworth for the WWE Championship. However, that match did not take place and WWE did a storyline angle where Ellsworth was sick and unable to compete. WWE then booked a Fatal 4 Way Match between Dolph Ziggler, Dean Ambrose, Luke Harper and The Miz on the show. Ziggler ended up winning the match and became the new #1 contender for the WWE Championship. Ziggler will face Styles for the WWE Championship on the December 27th SmackDown in Chicago.
On Talking Smack on the WWE Network, SmackDown Live General Manager Daniel Bryan noted that Ellsworth will still get a WWE Championship Match in the future.
Styles has been pulled from advertisements for all upcoming SmackDown live events until the December 26th show at Madison Square Garden in New York. At the live event at MSG, Styles will defend the WWE Championship against Ambrose and the returning John Cena in a Triple Threat Match.
When asked if he was cleared to compete, Styles noted on Talking Smack that health-wise, he is ready to go and was ready to wrestle Ellsworth on SmackDown Live.