Many were surprised when AJ Styles lost his WWE championship to Daniel Bryan last week on Smackdown, ending a 371-day reign in the process.

Bryan turned heel for the first time since 2012 as he struck Styles with a low blow before performing his running knee finisher to become a four-time WWE champion.

As a result, Styles would also miss out on a rematch with Brock Lesnar at Sunday's Survivor Series event with Bryan instead taking his place, and many believe the injury to Smackdown women's champion Becky Lynch was a major factor behind the change of plans, as her brand supremacy match with Ronda Rousey was called off.

“[WWE chairman] Vince [McMahon] decided to do it all at once, let’s shake things up maybe the big audience drop — you know, who knows what makes Vince make these moves," Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter said last week. "Maybe it was Becky Lynch being hurt? It’s like, ‘We'll make a big move today that everybody talks about.'"

However, it may have actually been Styles himself who caused the change of events as according to Fightful, he advocated for a title change due to the time he had spent away from his family over the past year.

It is also one of the main reasons the 41-year-old wants a new deal with a reduced schedule, having been a full-time star for the WWE ever since signing with the company in January 2016.

"Fightful.com was informed by two sources that former WWE Champion AJ Styles is currently negotiating a new contract with WWE after nearly three years with the company," the report said. "We've been told that he wants a reduced schedule that resembles that of Randy Orton's where he'd work television and limited live event dates."

Fightful adds that with the WWE's deal that will see Smackdown air on FOX in 2019, as well as the lucrative earnings that have come from the company doing shows in Saudi Arabia and Australia this year, superstars like Styles "are expecting big pay bumps or schedule reductions."

Of course, if Styles doesn't get the contract he desires, he has no shortage of options outside the WWE, especially given his reputation as one of the best wrestlers in the world.

The former TNA star notably rejected a WWE contract offer a couple of years ago where he was reportedly offered just $60,000, as he opted to join New Japan Pro Wrestling instead and increase his stock even further. Leaving the company now would mean less house shows and more time to spend with his family.

However, it is unlikely that Styles will leave and a new contract should be agreed on, though it will be interesting to see how much his schedule will be reduced.

Since joining the WWE, the Jacksonville, North Carolina, native has become a two-time WWE champion and a two-time US champion. His recent 371-day title reign is the longest in Smackdown history under the brand extension.