Backstage Update On WWE's Plans For AJ Styles After Recent Return

AJ Styles returned to WWE programming on the December 15 episode of "WWE SmackDown" with an all-black wardrobe and a chip on his shoulder. Fans were thrilled to see him going after Roman Reigns and "The Bloodline," but those who were expecting a clear face versus heel narrative were left confused after Styles turned to strike fan favorite LA Knight. According to Fightful Select, Styles is not considered a full-fledged heel internally.

Styles' attack on Knight is reportedly considered to be a justified action. The resentment between the two men seemed arbitrary. Still, given that The Bloodline was responsible for Styles' three-month absence, it can be speculated that Styles is not fueled by hatred towards Knight specifically. Instead, it's motivated by his impatience to enact his revenge against The Bloodline. This eagerness, combined with a self-proclaimed willingness to harm anyone who interferes with his revenge, gives Styles' new direction its nuance.

Fightful Select also reported that Styles' character change is a "choose your own adventure" situation. Whether or not this means that Styles is in more creative control over his story with Knight or Reigns is unclear. It is also to be noted that creative plans can be expected to change with this ongoing storyline.

Styles was most recently seen fighting Solo Sikoa on the December 22 episode of "SmackDown." The match ended in a disqualification, as Reigns interfered to blindside Styles. Knight and Randy Orton came to Styles' aid, but once The Bloodline retreated, all three men began a brutal assault on each other. Styles is currently scheduled to be in a number one contender's triple threat against Knight and Randy Orton at "WWE SmackDown: New Year's Revolution." The winner of the triple threat will go on to face Reigns at the Royal Rumble.