AJ Styles is a million times better as WWE Champion than Jinder Mahal ever was, and anyone who claims different needs to hand in their fan card right now. Seriously though, as much as WWE tried to convince fans that Jinder was suddenly SmackDown's top name, the one-time jobber-to-the-stars was never going to be treated as such.
In Styles, SmackDown has a champ fans respect, enjoy and look forward to watching. The problem is, WWE don't seem to have a truck load of challengers waiting in the wings who can work with AJ. That's why we got the tired 'contractual rematch' for beaten champion Mahal at Clash Of Champions, and it has to stop.
WWE have the power to change that kind of monotony, but they're seemingly content to favour lazy booking over progressive thinking. The title picture on SmackDown isn't the only aspect of their product WWE should be looking to improve in 2018, either.
Quick fixes are there, and they're not hard to book...
It was cool to see Paige return and align with Mandy Rose and Sonya Deville on Raw recently. Not only is it an interesting use of Paige's comeback, but it also gives the NXT stars an immediate platform on the main roster. It's just a shame, then, that creative did almost exactly the same thing with Ruby Riott, Liv Morgan and Sarah Logan 24 hours later.
In the space of just one day, fans witnessed WWE debut 5 new females across Raw and SmackDown. Smack bang in the middle of all that, Paige was back in the mix too. Talk about overkill: the writers crammed the new arrivals in like sardines. Wouldn't it have been better to spread things out a bit?
Now, instead of each debut meaning something, WWE have 5 women who feel identical in presentation. Making things worse, Riott (as the leader of the SmackDown squad) is coming across like Paige-lite. In 2018, the company really need to plan their call ups from NXT a bit better, otherwise nobody will get over as an individual.