Despite the recent brand split facilitated by WWE's Draft, AJ Styles, a prominent star from the "SmackDown" roster, made a notable appearance on the Memorial Day edition of "WWE Raw." According to a report by PWInsider, this occurrence was a last-minute decision, which was a surprise considering Styles had just returned from a tour in Saudi Arabia the day before.
The "Phenomenal One" took center stage during the opening segment of "Raw," stepping forward to commend Seth Rollins on his victorious claim of the new WWE World Heavyweight Championship at the Night of Champions event. As is the tradition in such scenarios, the appearance quickly led to a tag team match setup, with The Judgment Day challenging Rollins and Styles.
In a thrilling conclusion to the night, Styles and Rollins triumphed over adversaries Finn Balor and Damian Priest in the show's main event—this exciting turn of events served as the cherry on top of an already surprising night.
McMahon's Remote Influence Surprises All
News of Styles' unexpected appearance echoes Monday night's report by Fightful Select, which highlighted that Vince McMahon, despite his physical absence from backstage since WrestleMania week, continues to influence WWE's key shows.
McMahon reportedly made several last-minute alterations remotely, causing a dip in team morale as wrestlers had to adapt to changes on the fly. In recent months, it has been reported that show scripts were typically finalized at least a day before tapings.
This practice was implemented following Triple H's appointment as the Chief Content Officer last summer. Exceptions to this rule can be made when McMahon deems it necessary. Despite this unexpected crossover, WWE has yet to make plans to disregard their brand split rules entirely.
Styles' participation on "Raw" doesn't imply a trend; he was one of a few "SmackDown" stars appearing on Monday's "Raw." The future booking of Styles, now that he's reunited with The OC on Friday nights, is still being determined.
Yet, his surprise appearance has sparked intrigue among fans and industry insiders, furthering speculation about future roster rotations and storyline developments.