The second season of WWE Mixed Match Challenge has been largely forgotten by the WWE Universe. In fact, it seems like even fewer viewers tune in each week and watch the actual matches taking place following SmackDown Live every week. Maybe they don’t want to log into Facebook, or they possibly don’t care. But WWE’s revelation of giving the winners of the tournament a huge advantage in the Royal Rumble as the final entrants of their individual matches certainly piqued our interest.
This sets up an interesting possible line of booking where one member of a team or both for that matter could win their respective Royal Rumble matches because they are awarded the final entry as a stipulation of winning the WWE Mixed Match Challenge round-robin tournament.
What makes this situation even more interesting to us is the fact that AJ Styles was replaced by Jeff Hardy on the same week that he lost the WWE Championship to Daniel Bryan in a moment when a good spot in the Royal Rumble match might matter most to Styles.
Dave Meltzer seems to know what WWE’s current plan is for WrestleMania. He has divulged a tidbit or two about Brock Lesnar’s Mania opponent, but he never specified it will be for any title. But he has remained a bit more unclear on the SmackDown side of things except for mentioning that somehow WWE is going to possibly arrange Ronda Rousey vs Becky Lynch in a match that could be the first time in WrestleMania history that two women headline the event.
During Wrestling Observer Radio, Meltzer discussed the WWE Mixed Match Challenge briefly and made a great point that the length of this tournament and the amount of changes that needed to be made at this point illustrates how dangerous pro wrestling is. But he also explained in a way why AJ Styles might have been taken out of the situation while saying that it was because they didn’t want his partner Charlotte Flair to lose. Consequently, both Styles and Flair were champions when the whole tournament started and that changed as well.
“The whole thing that the Mixed Match Challenge exemplifies is how many people get hurt in WWE. The injury rate is ridiculous.”
“I think they replaced [AJ Styles] because they didn’t want to beat Charlotte right now and they don’t want to beat AJ in Mixed Match Challenge, nor should they but they got — so they throw Jeff Hardy in because Jeff can lose. They’re not protecting him to any great degree.”
Perhaps there is some digging that needs to be done on those statements. If Styles was taken out of the tournament because WWE plans on having Charlotte Flair win, then that means that for some reason they didn’t want her partner to be in a position where he received a Royal Rumble advantage.
There is also an issue with AJ Styles’ current WWE contract which is said to be running up in April 2019. If a new deal isn’t signed then WWE might be cautious in featuring him too heavily in the next 6 months.
Only time will tell what happens in this situation, but Styles does have another opportunity to win back the WWE Championship at TLC as he faces Daniel Bryan. If anything, all of the changes that have been made to the WWE Mixed Match Challenge this season might encourage WWE to book a shorter tournament next time around because apparently, longterm booking is not their friend.
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