Now that he's free of Jinder Mahal, AJ Styles should be tearing down the house every week in stellar matches that showcase why he deserves to be WWE Champion. There isn't a better candidate on SmackDown to hold the title, and despite Kevin Owens looking like a solid choice to challenge at the Rumble on the surface, Styles has been left looking like an afterthought.
The story of KO vying to become WWE Champ isn't helped by a lack of logic. Why would Shane McMahon, a mortal enemy of Owens, let him try to become the most powerful titleholder on a brand he runs? The Daniel Bryan excuse is a poor one too; don't forget that Shane is Bryan's boss. There are plot holes all over the place.
Owens and AJ will have a good match, there's no denying that. Still, solidifying Styles as a top champion in WWE should have been paramount to creative at the turn of this year, not least because AJ lost to Brock Lesnar (the other top champ) at Survivor Series. Due to that loss, he really needed to start 2018 hot.