Styles' 371 day reign as champion came to an end when Bryan beat him on the 13 November 2018 episode of SmackDown. That, so says AJ, was only done because WWE were worried about booking a rematch between Styles and Brock Lesnar at Survivor Series just five nights later.
Brock and AJ had already clashed the prior year at Survivor Series 2017.
Vince McMahon was concerned that scheduling the exact same match two years running (on the exact same pay-per-view) would lead to diminishing returns. Privately, Styles didn't see the problem - he believed there was an appetite for a Universal Champion vs. WWE Champion rematch against Lesnar.
WWE disagreed. They thought it'd be much better if they could book a fresh scenario and put Bryan in there against Brock instead. So, they hastily penned a title change on SmackDown and switched up the already-announced AJ vs. Brock battle.
Styles said on Twitch that he's sure his biggest fans didn't like that decision at the time.
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