The long-speculated WrestleMania 33 match between AJ Styles and Shane McMahon is officially on. Well, sort of.
Let’s recap this week’s episode of SmackDown Live. An infuriated Styles — who was excluded from the WWE Championship match against Bray Wyatt at WrestleMania after losing to Royal Rumble winner Randy Orton last week — took out his frustration on McMahon by attacking the commissioner backstage.
SmackDown Live general manager Daniel Bryan fired Styles shortly after the incident, but that didn’t stop McMahon from announcing himself as Styles’ opponent for WrestleMania.
So despite WWE putting Styles on its alumni page, the match will likely take place at the company’s biggest event of the year. That’s either good news or bad news depending on who you ask.
Many WWE fans have already criticized the idea of putting Styles in a match with McMahon at WrestleMania. These critics believe that the “Phenomenal One” is being sold short by having a match against the 47-year-old son of WWE Chairman Vince McMahon.
After all, he did carry the SmackDown brand as its World Champion for several months and has arguably been the best performer in WWE since his arrival in January 2016. But this feud is hardly a bad thing for the former TNA and NJPW star.
Styles is the perfect WrestleMania opponent for McMahon and vice versa if you’re going to include both competitors on this year’s card. Sure, you could have featured Styles in another title match, but it’s already been done and there is no logical storyline for WWE Champion Wyatt except to extract revenge on his former ally Orton.
For Styles to have a marquee match, he needs to face the biggest name possible. Any WrestleMania match involving a McMahon will be a big deal regardless of their involvement. With Shane, you’re almost guaranteed a major spot that fans will be talking about long after the event’s conclusion, especially facing a superstar of Styles’ magnitude.
Last year, McMahon jumped off the top of the Hell in a Cell structure through a steel table in his match against the Undertaker. In the past, he’s been thrown through glass by Kurt Angle and jumped off the Titantron onto Big Show.
Styles could be placed in a match against another brilliantly technical wrestler, but that would pale in comparison to his current feud. The angle against SmackDown Live‘s commissioner is arguably the most important on the show after Wyatt and Orton’s title match.
Plus, McMahon’s matches are a bigger deal because they happen so sporadically. Shane has only wrestled two matches since returning to WWE full-time: last year’s WrestleMania vs. Undertaker and the Raw vs. SmackDown Survivor Series elimination tag-team match.
It’s not like WWE is going to have McMahon face a “run of the mill” competitor. His opponent needs to be a big deal and also capable of carrying him through a match.
That’s why Styles is not only the perfect choice, but is also receiving recognition from the company by being placed in this angle. While many believe this angle is a demotion from his WWE Championship run, it’s not by any means. Vince McMahon has enough faith in Styles to put him in a marquee bout against his only son and make it the best match possible.
Besides, Styles will likely return to the World Championship picture after WrestleMania whether he stays on SmackDown Live or is traded to Raw.
Let’s not forget that he’s still owed a rematch after dropping the belt to John Cena at Royal Rumble. But he’s still considered a main event caliber superstar in the eyes of WWE management based on this current angle.
Fans need to be more optimistic about the Styles-McMahon match at WrestleMania. WWE has built the feud well over the past few weeks and the match itself should exceed expectations. Styles is capable of getting the best performances out of his opponents and McMahon is notorious for show-stealing spots.
The AJ Styles-Shane McMahon match is sure to be one of the best on the WrestleMania 33 card and fans should be excited about it.
[Featured Image by WWE]