So AJ Styles won the US Championship at a house show at Madison Square Garden this past Friday. That’s a thing that happened, and everyone collectively lost their minds.
What does this actually mean? Well, to start, house shows just got a massive credibility boost. While it’s unlikely that any other titles will change in any upcoming shows in Corpus Christi or Waco, any house shows in major cities (say Chicago, Los Angeles, or Boston. Let’s assume top 10 population cities) are absolutely worth your time now because there might be a surprise title change. House shows are usually a fun place to see matches that you won’t see on TV for whatever reason, but now they might be home to a shock or two.
But a less fun theory about the shocking title change, why did the title change hands when the match was advertised for a PPV? Is it possible that KO is injured? Definitely. That’s honestly the only reason I can think of that would cause this kind of dramatic change, because I can’t imagine they would have done it for the laughs. It really just depends if we see KO on TV this Tuesday, or if they do retcon the change on an upcoming house show before the next Smackdown episode.
Even if the reasoning for the title change is because of an injury to KO, I appreciate how the WWE booked this change. This became a wonderful moment for fans who attended the show in NYC who likely didn’t expect anything of weight to occur. House shows will likely be much better attended for a while in the hopes that fans will get to witness a shocking title change. Is it completely random and against the booking? Absolutely, there’s no story line reason that KO and Styles should have fought at a house show, but I’m willing to overlook any faults in the storytelling for a wonderful gift to the fans who attended that show. It was unexpected, it was shocking, and it adds a plot twist to the future story of the US Championship that will be fun to watch in the coming weeks.
Update 7/11/17: AJ Styles is going into Smackdown Live still holding the belt.