AJ Styles Defends Against Daniel Bryan On SmackDown, Samoa Joe Returns (Photos)

It looks like Samoa Joe vs. WWE Champion AJ Styles may be announced for Friday's WWE Crown Jewel event in Saudi Arabia.

Joe returned to action tonight in Atlanta after Styles retained his title over Daniel Bryan in tonight's WWE SmackDown opener. Bryan vs. AJ was originally scheduled for Crown Jewel but Bryan is not going to the Kingdom, presumably due to the controversy surrounding WWE's relationship with the Saudis following the state-sponsored death of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. Tonight's show saw SmackDown Commissioner Shane McMahon make Bryan vs. Styles after interrupting an in-ring argument between the two. This was WWE's way of working around Bryan refusing to go to Saudi Arabia.

Joe has been out of action with an undisclosed injury since his October 9 World Cup qualifier loss to Jeff Hardy on SmackDown. He lost to Styles in a WWE Title match at Super Show-Down in Australia a few days before that.

Stay tuned for updates on AJ's match for Crown Jewel, if a new one is announced.

Below are a few shots from tonight's opener along with a tweet from Joe:










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