Back in November, Daniel Bryan defeated AJ Styles on an episode of SmackDown Live to win the WWE Championship, and things have been odd ever since. The champion now says he is the “new” Daniel Bryan, and Styles simply can’t seem to find his way on the roster. Recently, Vince McMahon even berated Styles for not being aggressive enough, and it led to the former champion laying out the WWE chairman.
Most people wouldn’t be able to get away with slugging their boss, but Styles says he would do it again.
Last week on SmackDown Live, Vince McMahon confronted AJ Styles backstage as the show came to a close. As shown on the official website of WWE, McMahon came down hard on the former WWE Champion letting him know that he needed to be more fierce and aggressive.
For a while, Styles took the abuse and even laughed at the chairman, but one can only take so much. Finally, Styles just pulled back and slammed McMahon in the face, which brought in referees and others to keep them separated.
As the camera panned to Vinnie Mac on the ground, he was obviously suffering from the hit, but he also had a smile on his face. A few days later, AJ Styles decided to address the punch he delivered to the CEO of WWE, and he didn’t have much to say.
Vince McMahon’s rant on Styles — which led to him getting decked by the former WWE Champion — was quite brutal. He kept bringing up Daniel Bryan to provoke Styles and even told the former champ that he had “a black hole in your heart,” and that he wanted to see the animal eating him alive inside.
This whole backstage segment is rather interesting, considering the way Vince McMahon reportedly first looked at AJ Styles. Former WWE writer Jimmy Jacobs recently spoke with Fightful and talked about how skeptical Vince was of AJ when he debuted at the 2016 Royal Rumble.
“When AJ Styles came into WWE, Vince McMahon was skeptical of him for every reason you might think. He came in at Royal Rumble, got a great reaction when he came in and Vince was still skeptical and said ‘well that’s just one audience.’ Can he talk? What’s his character? Does anybody know who he is? All the reasons you would think. But it was Vince McMahon’s idea to have AJ work with Roman Reigns a few months later. We had all pitched our ideas and figured you’d want to give him a strong heel. The strong heels we had at that point were Chris Jericho and Kevin Owens, and Vince was like ‘we’re going with AJ Styles.’ You have to give the devil his due in those moments.”
Obviously, things have changed over time, as Styles has now won the WWE Championship twice and had one of the longest title reigns in recent memory.
The interesting thing about this whole angle is that it is obvious that Vince McMahon is looking to shake things up in WWE. Still, Daniel Bryan recently turned heel after winning the WWE Championship and he’s no longer cheered by the fans. Now, it seems as if they’re looking to turn AJ Styles heel as well after the attack on Vince. This would have the two top stars on SmackDown Live as heels, and there would need to be a big-time babyface to oppose them. The lingering question is, who?