Smackdown had a historic main event, as audiences were treated to the first ever match between AJ Styles and Randy Orton. The stakes could not have been any higher for this match, as the winner would go on to face Bray Wyatt for the WWE Championship at Wrestlemania 33. As Orton won the “Royal Rumble” match, he was owed a match at Wrestlemania 33, but he seemingly forfeited it when he pledged his undying allegiance to Wyatt. Smackdown held a battle royal the next week to crown the new No. 1 contender, but it ended as a draw between Styles and Luke Harper. However, Randy Orton then revealed his intentions to go after Wyatt and his title before setting Wyatt’s compound on fire. Commissioner Shane McMahon and General Manager Daniel Bryan decided to have a match between the two to see who would face Wyatt.
In the end, though, it would be Orton walking out the victor and leaving Styles with nothing. Styles was apparently very unhappy, as he confronted McMahon backstage after the match.
“Is that what you call opportunity right there? Is that what you call opportunity? Hey, shut up! Don’t tell me to calm down! I had every right to be in the main event of Wrestlemania!”
Later on Talking Smack, Renee Young asked Bryan his thoughts on the matter, and Bryan shared what he felt.
“So being [general manger], and Shane gets this a lot, I get it a lot, people, when they come to the back and they’re not successful, they tend to blame us, right? And things can get very heated. I’m very fortunate because by the time they get to ‘Talking Smack,’ they’ve cooled down a little bit. But seeing AJ Styles come back there, he thought he was gonna be in the main event of Wrestlemania, turns out he’s not, and that, like, you can see why he’s angry…
It’s weird, though, that he’s taking it out on Shane, because… I was the one who was very much thinking, at the very least, Randy Orton needs his shot. Randy Orton needs his shot. And I was thinking, either Randy gets a singles match, or we do a triple threat match, or AJ can get his shot at Bray Wyatt before Wrestlemania, that sort of thing. But Shane was the big supporter of AJ. He’s jumped through all these hoops; AJ needs his shot at Wrestlemania, and that’s why we came to this compromise.”
It will be interesting to see where Smackdown goes with this. All signs seem to be pointing to a “Shane McMahon vs AJ Styles” match, as reported by many. If that is indeed the case, that will give Styles a prominent spot on the card. WWE most likely thinks that Shane is a big draw and that they are putting Styles in a high-profile match. It also probably means they view Styles in high regard, as he gets to face Shane in a match.
If the match is indeed set to take place, many speculate that both Shane and Styles will be taking serious bumps, especially Shane, who has developed a reputation for taking “suicidal” bumps and jumping off high places. Last year, at Wrestlemania 32, McMahon jumped off the “Hell in a Cell” structure and crashed onto the announce table. Other notable spots Shane was involved in include jumping off the titantron, falling off the side of the entrance stage, and going through plated glass.
Meanwhile, this will be Styles’ second Wrestlemania match. He lost his Wrestlemania debut to Chris Jericho, but pinned him the next night on Raw to become No. 1 contender to Roman Reigns’ WWE World Heavyweight Championship.
Regardless of whether or not it is the right decision, WWE believes this is a high-caliber match, and it is a show of good faith in Styles, who can be trusted to work with McMahon.
[Featured Image by WWE]