Since he debuted in WWE earlier this year, AJ Styles has often been asked about who his dream opponent is, and more often than not, he's named Shawn Michaels as the guy that he would want to wrestle the most. Of course, Michaels has been retired since 2010, and he hasn't been interested in coming back for another match since.
January's Royal Rumble event will take place at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas, which is Michaels' hometown. After the Alamodome announcement, Cageside Seats reported that WWE was planning on reaching out to Michaels and asking if he'd be willing to be a part of the event. At the time, most assumed that he'd be making some kind of backstage or non-wrestling appearance because he's been so firm on not returning to the ring since his retirement.
During an interview with Sports Illustrated last week, AJ Styles mentioned that he would love to get in the ring with Shawn Michaels at the Royal Rumble, and WWE fans have been freaking out ever since. Shortly after the interview, Styles shared a photo on his Twitter page (which can be seen below) that caused fans to freak out even more.
Just a few days after Styles posted the photo, there were several reports that those close to Michaels believe that he will never wrestle again, and on Sunday's Wrestling Observer Radio, Dave Meltzer echoed those reports.
"I asked someone who is very close to Shawn, and they said that, as of a few weeks ago Shawn was dead set against wrestling. He can change his mind, and maybe he wants to be like Bill [Goldberg] and have his kids see him wrestle once at WrestleMania, or at Royal Rumble since it's San Antonio, and he grew up there. Anything's possible in wrestling."
WWE chairman Vince McMahon hates when guys on his roster push something that isn't going to happen, and the best example of that was when Paul Heyman appeared on the Stone Cold Podcast last summer, and he and Steve Austin pushed the idea that the "Texas Rattlesnake" was going to return to the ring at WrestleMania 32 to take on Brock Lesnar. But, that match didn't end up happening, and it was never even planned to begin with.
Two years ago, Shawn Michaels had the opportunity to come back and wrestle Daniel Bryan at WrestleMania 30. The match made a ton of sense because Michaels trained Bryan, and, in the months leading up to the event, he had gotten involved in the Bryan vs. The Authority storyline. But, while it made sense and everyone wanted to see it, Michaels decided to stay retired.
In an interview with WWE, Michaels explained why he's decided to stay retired, saying that he doesn't feel like he can top the performance he put on in his last match with The Undertaker. Of course, a match with AJ Styles would definitely have the potential to be better than both of the WrestleMania matches that Michaels had with Undertaker, but then again, so would a match with Daniel Bryan, and he wasn't interested in coming back for that.
Will Shawn Michaels appear at the 2017 Royal Rumble event in his hometown? Probably. But, will he wrestle AJ Styles? Probably not. But, maybe after being on the sidelines for six years, he's itching to get back in the ring, and there's no one better for him to get in the ring with than AJ Styles.
[Featured Image by WWE]