It’s been quite a year for AJ Styles, Randy Orton, and Bray Wyatt. Styles arguably had the greatest year of any WWE superstar, in this, his first year with the company. Orton returned from injury to engage in a rivalry with Brock Lesnar that ended in controversy, then joined the Wyatt Family two months later. And the patriarch of that family shared the ring with The Rock at WrestleMania 32.
Yet, during a week where backstage reports have come out suggesting that several marquee matches on the WrestleMania 33 card have begun to fill out, neither Styles, Orton, or Wyatt’s names are among them.
At this point, WWE officials seem to have three matches in place for the “Showcase of the Immortals” next April in Orlando. Brock Lesnar and Goldberg will settle their rivalry once and for all. Triple H will face Seth Rollins in a showdown between mentor and protégé. And in the company’s annual attempt to appeal to a mainstream audience, the WWE’s resident giant, The Big Show, will square off with NBA Hall-of-Famer Shaquille O’Neal.
Earlier on Friday, the Inquisitr pointed out that there were two other matches under serious consideration for the WrestleMania card as well. There is a lot of talk about a match between Kevin Owens and Chris Jericho, as well as a multi-woman match for the RAW Women’s Championship. This doesn’t, by any stretch, leave Styles, Orton or Wyatt on the outside looking in. It just means nothing has been finalized for them with a little over four months until the big show.
At the very least, there is a growing feeling that something significant should be in the works for Styles, considering the year he’s had. In less than nine months with the WWE, Styles debuted at the Royal Rumble, had memorable feuds and matches with Chris Jericho, Roman Reigns, John Cena, and Dean Ambrose, and became WWE Champion while leading the way on SmackDown Live.
However, on the most recent episode of Wrestling Observer Radio, Dave Meltzer speculated on plans for Styles on the WrestleMania stage. He noted how, originally, Styles would have moved on from his feud with Ambrose to a program with Randy Orton. But instead, WWE officials inserted Orton into the Wyatt Family.
That alignment, too, was only supposed to be short-lived, resulting in Orton double-crossing Wyatt and Luke Harper and culminating with a final match between Bray and Randy at some point. But Vince McMahon and the creative staff were impressed with the new Wyatt Family chemistry, they decided to extend their storyline. Styles continued on with Ambrose, transitioning instead to John Cena where the two will meet at the Royal Rumble.
Meltzer also pointed out that there has been some discussion regarding Styles turning babyface, which would then allow him to work with either Orton or Wyatt at ‘Mania in a singles program. But there is also hope within the organization that Orton remains in the Wyatt Family long-term, allowing for a main-stage showdown between the Wyatts and American Alpha for the SmackDown Tag Team Championships.
Rumors of Styles facing Samoa Joe or Shinsuke Nakamura have already been shot down, so options for the Phenomenal One appear to be running out. Near Thanksgiving, an idea was pitched that would have seen Styles face the Undertaker at WrestleMania in either a singles match or a triple threat along with John Cena. But that was denied as it appears the only two candidates for that role are Cena himself or Roman Reigns.
Recently, a graphic was making the rounds on the internet advertising a two-out-of-three falls match between Styles and Cena that would take place at SmackDown’s next brand-exclusive pay-per-view, Elimination Chamber, in February. That was quickly debunked as fan-made and not legitimate. More should be known in terms of plans for Styles at WrestleMania either before, or shortly after the Royal Rumble.
[Featured Image by WWE]