Jinder Mahal’s run as WWE champion ended not with a bang but a whimper. He dropped the title to AJ Styles on an episode of SmackDown Live before a previously scheduled match against Brock Lesnar at Survivor Series so that Styles could take his place, then lost a match to Triple H in India, then came up short in a rematch against Styles at Clash of Champions.
All this after a run of five straight victories in title matches on pay-per-view. WWE clearly had confidence he could be a top draw, even if only in India, then all this happened.
As for what’s next, Styles thinks it’s time to move on, as he said on Talking Smack on the WWE Network:
"He had his opportunity. He had his rematch, that was it. I think we're done. He better go chase some other championship, he's not getting this one."
While it will undoubtedly be interesting to watch what happens next with Styles — because he makes sure of that — it’s even more interesting to consider what may come next for Mahal. Is he simply being cycled out of the title picture for the time being? Or is this indicative of a larger belief that his character doesn’t work at this level and he’ll need to reinvent himself once more?
Time will tell.