WWE 2016 Latest News & Update: AJ Styles Cleared, Stakes SmackDown Title Against James Elsworth

By Snooky Grawls , Updated Dec 13, 2016 07:38 AM EST

WWE SmackDown champion AJ Styles will be defending his title against James Elsworth, something that should have taken place last week. The title-match will be part of the card in the show offering taking place in Washington, D.C.

The confirmation douses all question surrounding the health of Styles. The “Phenomenal One” reportedly suffered an ankle injury at WWE TLC when Dean Ambrose back-dropped Styles out of the ring, Wrestling Inc. reported.

AJ Styles was nowhere in sight during the weekend shows and was previously spotted on walking boots. Apparently, the injury was not as serious as initially thought, Cageside Seats reported.

With the title-match set, it seems hard to see Styles losing to James Elsworth under normal conditions. There is, however, a third element in the mix – Dean Ambrose.

Previously, buddies, Elsworth has twice spurned the title-opportunity of the “Lunatic Fringe”. One happened at WWE TLC against Styles and the most recent one was last week for the Intercontinental title at the Dec. 6 edition of WWE SmackDown.

That said, Ambrose could repay Elsworth for his meddling. But then again, there is a reverse twist that could happen.

Ambrose could still help Elsworth win the title and later on challenge for it. Should this be the script, the “Lunatic Fringe” could have an easier time winning the title from the 31-year-old.

Looking at it via bigger picture, the question is whether the WWE would want to see someone like Elsworth reign as champion. He may be adored as an underdog but somehow it could tarnish the image of SmackDown and the company.

The best scenario seen is Styles retaining the championship and shifting towards an Ambrose vs. Elsworth feud. Should that happen, how will the “Phenomenal One” be booked thereafter.

He could cut a break to allow his injury to heal after the Dec. 13 edition of WWE SmackDown. On whether he would still be tied up to Dean Ambrose and James Elsworth remains to be seen.

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