Why AJ Styles Returned, Finn Balor's Attacker Reveal, Jey Uso's WWE Plans, More

Adam Wells@adamwells1985Featured ColumnistMay 5, 2020

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

Bleacher Report catches you up on the latest news from the WWE Universe. 

A.J. Styles Brought Back to Boost Ratings

One surprise from Monday's episode of Raw was the return of AJ Styles, who qualified for the men's Money in the Bank match by winning a gauntlet match. 

Per WrestlingObserver.com's Dave Meltzer on the Sunday Night's Main Event podcast (h/t Randall Ortman of Cageside Seats), Styles was originally planned to be off television longer following the Boneyard match against The Undertaker at WrestleMania, but WWE wanted him back to lift up declining television ratings. 

Meltzer noted Edge and Randy Orton, who were advertised for next week's Raw, are also coming back sooner than expected to help the TV numbers. 

WWE has been setting record-low viewership numbers in recent weeks amid the coronavirus pandemic. Last week's Raw averaged 1.817 million viewers over three hours, making it the lowest-rated non-holiday episode in the show's 27-year history. 

One potentially positive sign for WWE is next week's show featuring Edge and Orton will also feature the fallout from Money in the Bank. The combination of additional star power and pay-per-view momentum could give the show a boost for at least one week. 


NXT Preparing to Reveal Finn Balor's Attacker

It's been two weeks since Finn Balor was attacked by an unknown assailant, causing him to be pulled from a scheduled match with Velveteen Dream. 


We can confirm an incident occurred earlier today in the #WWENXT locker room. @FinnBalor’s belongings were found ransacked and GM @RealKingRegal has been made aware of the situation. The incident will be addressed when #WWENXT begins at 8pm ET. https://t.co/v1nKS7cMr4

According to the official NXT preview, the answer to who was behind the attack could come on Wednesday's show:

"The Prince recently engaged in a tense war of words with The Velveteen Dream and was scheduled to face him prior to being ambushed, he has been at odds with United Kingdom Champion WALTER and the rest of Imperium, and he has long-standing issues with several other prominent NXT Superstars, including Undisputed ERA, Johnny Gargano and more.

"Balor has already vowed to call out his attacker this week on NXT, but will the mystery assailant have the temerity to reveal himself to the NXT Universe and look the steely-eyed Balor in the face?"

As noted in the preview, there is no shortage of potential suspects. Gargano would seem to be low on the list, though, because that rivalry played out with Balor prevailing at NXT Takeover: Portland in February. 

The most likely outcome will be the Undisputed Era revealed as the attackers, especially since Adam Cole will be defending the NXT title this week against Velveteen Dream. Balor could return to cost Cole the championship, or at least build a program between the two. 


Jimmy Uso's Injury Leads to Tag-Team Shakeup

Jimmy Uso's knee injury is forcing WWE to change up some of its plans in the tag-team division for the foreseeable future. 

First reported by Ringside News and confirmed by Meltzer, Uso is expected to miss six to nine months with a knee injury he suffered during the triple-threat ladder match at WrestleMania.

The Usos had been in the tag title picture for some time prior to Jimmy's injury, including losing at the Elimination Chamber pay-per-view when The Miz and John Morrison defeated them to retain the championship. 

Per Meltzer on the Sunday Night's Main Event podcast (h/t Wrestling Inc.'s Marc Middleton), Jimmy's injury led to the Forgotten Sons making their in-ring debut on Friday's episode of SmackDown when they defeated The New Day in a non-title match. 

With The Forgotten Sons part of the fatal-four-way tag title match at Money in the Bank, the group now has credibility as title challengers and could leave the pay-per-view as champions. The smart booking would be to do that if WWE wants to create a new top team in the division. 

Meltzer also noted people in WWE have suggested using Jey Uso as a singles competitor until Jimmy returns. 

As unfortunate as the situation with Jimmy is, it does give WWE the opportunity to experiment with a talented performer like Jey who has never had any kind of a singles push. 

Even if it doesn't work, WWE knows it can always go back to having Jey work in a tag team with his brother when Jimmy is able to return.