AJ Styles Reportedly Left WWE Raw for SmackDown over Issues with Paul Heyman

TOKYO,JAPAN - JUNE 29: AJ Styles looks on during the WWE Live Tokyo at Ryogoku Kokugikan on June 29, 2019 in Tokyo, Japan. (Photo by Etsuo Hara/Getty Images)

Etsuo Hara/Getty Images

AJ Styles reportedly became a member of the SmackDown roster due to differences between he and ex-Raw executive director Paul Heyman, according to Raj Giri of Wrestling Inc.

“Rovert on Twitter, who has broken stories in the past, first noted on Saturday that AJ Styles was not happy on RAW and did not get along with Heyman.

Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter stated on the F4W message boards that Styles “was furious” over Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson being released in April. Styles reportedly blamed Heyman for their releases, even though Vince McMahon was the person who made the call. Meltzer noted that Styles probably felt that Heyman could have fought McMahon over that decision.

Heyman was removed from his previous role last Thursday, per Giri, but he still has a contract with WWE to do work as an in-ring performer. 

Bruce Prichard is now overseeing Raw and SmackDown in an effort to “streamline the creative writing process for television,” per a statement from WWE to Giri.

Styles was surprisingly announced as a member of the blue brand on May 22 after play-by-play announcer Michael Cole said he was traded from Raw for Superstars to be named later.

That explained his inclusion in SmackDown’s Intercontinental Championship tournament despite formerly being a member of the Raw roster, and he proceeded to beat Shinsuke Nakamura in the quarterfinals.

Ryan Satin of Pro Wrestling Sheet provided some context as to why Styles may have left Raw then.

“Styles was announced as part of the Intercontinental Championship tournament this month despite being part of Raw. While walking to the ring tonight, however, commentary confirmed he was traded for ‘Superstars to be named later.’

This is a change from the initial reason given for his inclusion, which was WWE’s brand invitation.

Styles moving back to SmackDown after WrestleMania had been rumored months back, but this was initially not possible due to family commitments he had on Friday nights. Now, with the shows being pre-taped for the most part, as well as children’s sports not happening, the move became possible.

Regardless of what played a factor in Styles’ move, the Phenom is now enjoying a nice run on SmackDown after taking home the Intercontinental title following a classic match on Friday versus Daniel Bryan.  

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