WWE is only a few weeks removed from WrestleMania 33, but the speculation has already begun for what is being planned in New Orleans next year. Early rumors are WWE officials have penciled in Brock Lesnar to defend the WWE Universal Title against Roman Reigns at WrestleMania 34 for Raw. AJ Styles vs. Shinsuke Nakamura in a rematch of their encounter from Wrestle Kingdom 10 is also penciled in for SmackDown.
It’ll be a long time before any creative plans are written in stone for the grandest stage of them all next year in New Orleans, but the WWE Universe is excited about the idea of Nakamura vs. Styles happening inside a WWE ring at WrestleMania. Both of them are currently on SmackDown. Nakamura will be busy with Dolph Ziggler and AJ Styles will be busy with Kevin Owens through WWE Backlash next month.
However, it should be interesting to see how WWE officials delay their confrontation until next April. At the same time, there is some speculation about Nakamura vs. Styles happening at WWE SummerSlam this year instead of WrestleMania because WWE officials have something a lot bigger planned for WrestleMania 34.
It has been reported that John Cena has already had a huge influence on how WWE officials have presented Shinsuke Nakamura on WWE programming. For instance, “The King of Strong Style” was originally meant to debut on the main roster during WrestleMania 33 and become the Intercontinental Champion. However, that plan was scrapped after WWE decided that John Cena’s proposal to Nikki Bella was more important.
John Cena’s current hiatus from WWE also forced the powers that be to bring Nakamura to SmackDown for him to replace Cena as a top babyface. His commitments to Hollywood will take Cena away from WWE for at least a couple of months. On paper, he’s not expected back on WWE programming until just before WWE SummerSlam. WWE officials felt that Shinsuke Nakamura was the right guy to replace him as the top face.
Nakamura vs. Styles may happen at WrestleMania 34 next year, but there has been some talk about a match happening between Cena and Nakamura instead. On paper, that’s a more natural storyline to build to since Nakamura essentially took Cena’s spot. Cena vs. Nakamura seems like a perfect match for Wrestlemania 34, especially considering that the match would ultimately put over Nakamura as the next top guy in WWE.
This year, the WWE Universe wasn’t thrilled about AJ Styles being kept down on the WWE ladder to have a match with Shane McMahon on the grandest stage of them all. No one was surprised that the match ended up being highly entertaining. However, The Phenomenal One is expected to have a much bigger role during next year’s show in New Orleans. The question is who he will face on the grandest stage of them all?
WWE officials could give Nakamura vs. Styles the green light at almost any time, but they could save it until next year. If they do, that will impact how the powers that be book SmackDown for the next year since they will likely keep them as far away from each other as possible. However, they may change their minds and go with Cena vs. Nakamura instead. The expectation after that is AJ Styles would be in the WWE Title match.
It will be a long time before WWE officials make their decision about who will be Shinsuke Nakamura’s first opponent at Wrestlemania 34 next year. Over the next year, the WWE Universe will tell WWE officials what the right decision is. On paper, there isn’t a wrong decision. The only question is which direction the powers that be want to go in over the next year and into New Orleans for WrestleMania 34.
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