Is it really that plausible to see the "Phenomenal One," AJ Styles, against The Undertaker at Royal Rumble 2017? For many, it sounded like a wild rumor, considering Undertaker's extremely limited schedule, and the wide range of potential opponents that have been thrown around for a possible WrestleMania 33 appearance. Now, it appears that there is a chance Styles and 'Taker will be seeing action in a match, but there's also a chance it won't be at the upcoming Royal Rumble pay-per-view.
Rumors regarding AJ Styles' potential Royal Rumble opponent have been swirling since October, but at that time, it was a different WWE legend whom he was believed to be facing at the annual event. Reports from late October suggested that Styles would be facing Shawn Michaels, and talk of a possible clash between both men had further fired up when AJ tweeted a fan-made photo of him and Shawn, with a Royal Rumble backdrop. Fan speculation was also fueled by the fact that Royal Rumble 2017 will take place in San Antonio, which is Michaels' hometown. But the Wrestling Observer Newsletter (as cited by Forbes) doused cold water on those rumors soon after.
"Michaels has always been strongly negative about doing another match and according to one friend of his, he's given no indication of changing his mind although it is wrestling and money talks and almost everyone does come out of retirement. But he never even considered an obvious match with (Daniel) Bryan a few years ago when the program was ready-made and Bryan was his protégé and on fire at the time."Meanwhile, The Undertaker was confirmed to appear on SmackDown Live's 900th episode on November 15, and while that appearance didn't feature him hinting at his WrestleMania 33 plans as many had hoped, he had delivered a stern warning to the SmackDown men's lineup ahead of Survivor Series, demanding that they beat RAW's men's lineup or face the consequences.
That was when the new rumors started; WWE World Champion AJ Styles versus The Undertaker, possibly at Royal Rumble 2017 in January, and as a possible consequence should Styles' heelish actions cost Team SmackDown the win. The Inquisitr noted in a previous report that this would make for a match WWE fans have yet to see.
As we saw on Sunday, Team SmackDown did beat Team RAW in the men's 5-on-5 elimination match at Survivor Series, and Undertaker wasn't on Tuesday's SmackDown Live, which instead focused on the ongoing feud between Styles and Dean Ambrose. But that doesn't seem to make AJ Styles vs. The Undertaker any less likely, according to a new report from SEScoops. It's just the timing of the match that may be in question.SEScoops again cited the Wrestling Observer Newsletter, whose well-connected editor Dave Meltzer wrote that there has been "discussion within WWE" of Styles and The Undertaker facing off in the future. But Meltzer noted that there may also be a "timing issue" preventing the match from taking place at Royal Rumble 2017. This may have something to do with 'Taker's recent hip surgery and ongoing rehab, as WWE might not be able to clear him to compete in time for the January 29 event.
If Styles vs. 'Taker at Royal Rumble 2017 is looking like a no-go, could this mean the Phenomenal One will end up being 'Taker's opponent at WrestleMania 33, if the 51-year-old legend is ready by then? That could be a possibility, as Undertaker is usually limited to one match a year as a part-time performer, with a maximum of two. The match might not even push forward if WWE wants to limit Undertaker to just one match, and possibly his last match ever, given his age and recent injuries.
For the meantime, AJ Styles vs. The Undertaker still seems to be an option, and one of many in what could be the latter's "farewell tour" after over three decades in pro wrestling, including 25 in WWE.
[Featured Image by WWE]