If you have somehow missed the news from last night’s SmackDown Live, WrestleMania 33 will feature AJ Styles vs. Shane McMahon. The WWE network has been teasing a bout between Styles and McMahon for weeks, and last night’s SmackDown confirmed what the WWE universe has known for months. As previously reported by the Inquisitr, SmackDown and the recent Elimination Chamber PPV have been used to build tension between Styles and McMahon. Last night’s SmackDown featured a segment that showed Styles ambushing McMahon and pushing him through the window of a nearby car.
The latest SmackDown dust up featuring Styles and McMahon led to the older man entering the SmackDown ring to declare that “AJ Styles has been complaining that he doesn’t have a match at WrestleMania 33… well he does now.” Given that the official WWE website’s report on last night’s SmackDown features no fewer than three articles about AJ Styles vs Shane McMahon, we can safely assume that the match is on for WrestleMania 33.
Organizing a huge event like WrestleMania can’t be an easy task. WrestleMania is the WWE’s showpiece event, the biggest wrestling event of the year and essential to the financial well-being of the WWE network. The creation of storylines to hype the event is both understandable and essential. The WWE has a host of superstars who merit inclusion on the WrestleMania lineup. It’s an event that allows the WWE universe to see some of the legends who have graced the square circle for decades.
It is also probably fair to say the WWE has a difficult task to ensure that current stars get a boost in exposure while still allowing those legends to feature. Let’s be frank, if the legends didn’t turn out for WrestleMania, then the event might as well be held on the weekly SmackDown and Monday Night Raw programs.
WrestleMania is special because it features a top-class lineup with multiple championships on the line. It is also special because WrestleMania allows us to see men like The Undertaker, Goldberg, and Triple H in the ring for a rare appearance. The trick is to get the balance right.
Sadly, many in the WWE universe believe that WWE have got it wrong this year, especially when it comes to AJ Styles vs. Shane McMahon.
AJ Styles Vs. Shane McMahon At WrestleMania 33: Exciting Match Or Damp Squib?
If one man has the right to be unhappy with his WrestleMania billing it is AJ Styles. Styles held down the SmackDown brand almost single-handedly for most of 2016. His reward was to have his title taken from him by John Cena at the 2017 Royal Rumble. Styles was then a bit-part player as the WWE network used the Elimination Chamber to set up a headline bout between Bray Wyatt and Randy Orton.
The WWE then added insult to injury by putting Styles through the farcical “No 1 contender” series on SmackDown, after Orton declared that he would not fight Wyatt. The result of that saga is a headline match between Randy Orton and Bray Wyatt at WrestleMania 33. Is it any wonder Styles lost his cool?
Many in the WWE universe believe that Styles is the top wrestler on the WWE roster, and he deserves a huge match, a championship match, not a largely meaningless bout with a part-time wrestler, who just happens to be part of the family that runs WWE. Bleacher Report was less than charitable about the WWE’s decision to put on AJ Styles vs. Shane McMahon at WrestleMania 33.
“Why is arguably the company’s best wrestler going into a feud with, no disrespect to Shane, a 47-year-old part-time wrestler whose last major match was a shambles?
“Styles is so good that he will bring the best out of McMahon when it matters in the ring, even with his limited technical and physical ability. But the real underlying issue here is how WWE has managed to get a guy who practically held the company up for a whole year into a feud very few people are invested in.”
SportsKeeda was equally damning about the Styles vs. McMahon match, calling the very idea preposterous. The reality is that facing McMahon has no upside for Styles. He is a 19-year veteran and arguably the best wrestler on the whole network. It seems like a Shane McMahon vanity project and the WWE network is wasting AJ Styles talent by setting him up with a meaningless match at WrestleMania 33. The only further ignominy will come if Styles loses to McMahon, surely not even the WWE would go that far?
[Featured Image by WWE]