The Phenomenal One wanted an opponent for the Showcase of the Immortals. And now, he’s got one. AJ Styles vs Shane McMahon is official for WrestleMania 33. The only issue, however? This seems like a huge misuse of Styles’ incredible in-ring talent.
After beating Luke Harper in a singles match to become the number 1 contender for Bray Wyatt’s WWE Championship, AJ Styles suddenly need to go through Royal Rumble winner Randy Orton as well. Unfortunately for him, he lost their subsequent match, and he was supposedly dropped from the card. Enraged, Styles attacked Shane McMahon backstage.
That set up their rivalry to come to a head. Most employers prefer to fire their unruly employees, but not Shane. Shane prefers to elbow drop them.
Wrestler Vs Stuntman
The biggest problem with this set-up is the disparity of talent between the two. Sure, it may make sense in terms of the storyline. And as far as we’re concerned, SmackDown Live has been holding its own in the creatives department.
However, AJ Styles is one of the best (if not the best) technical wrestlers in the ring. His athleticism, move set, and know-how trumps the rest of the roster’s. It’s why he was so successful outside of the WWE.
Shane McMahon, meanwhile, isn’t much more than a glorified stuntman. His willingness to pop coast-to-coast drop kicks has admittedly created some great moments. Let’s not forget last year’s WrestleMania when he dropped (and missed) an elbow on the Undertaker from the top of Hell in a Cell. He performed another top rope elbow drop on Styles just last Tuesday in a rev-up segment for their match.
But it’s just not the same as pitting Styles against a wrestler. By all means, Styles would probably be better off facing Dean Ambrose for the Intercontinental Title. Or Luke Harper in a No Disqualification match. Against Shane MacMahon though? There’s not much sense.
Reporter Corey Graves agrees. “The prospect of AJ Styles vs. Shane McMahon does absolutely nothing for me,” he said on an episode of WWE Network’s Bring It To The Table.
How To Book It
Since the match is already officially happening, whether we like it or not, WWE might as well book it properly.
Sportskeeda has a few suggestions: they could have The Club come out and aid Styles, bringing the group back together. Shane should also at least have one more jaw-dropping, stuntman moment. It’s hard to outdo leaping from the top of a cell, but surely with a few ladders and other props, they can find a way.
One thing is for sure, though: in order to set up Styles for another successful year ahead, he needs to come out as the winner, and a dominant one at that. The WWE has a major draw in Styles, and whether he’s a face or heel, he pulls in the viewers. JBL appropriately calls him the new HBK. And if Styles is indeed the new Mr. WrestleMania, you can bet that’s whom the crowd will be rooting for.