5 Reasons A.J. Styles Will Be World Champ By Wrestlemania 33

The Phenomenal A.J. Styles
Image source: zonawrestling.net

The title of this article either has you eagerly nodding your head or cynically shaking it. We understand. For years now wrestling fans have had the hope and optimism in their souls chipped away at until there’s nothing left. The possibility of someone as great as A.J. Styles getting a World Title reign is like hoping a quasi-fascist doesn’t win the Republican Presidential nomination.

Friends, have some hope. In the next twelve months something is going to snap in the WWE, and A.J. Styles is going to be there to help put things back together. Here’s five reasons he’ll be a world champ by the time you tune in to Wrestlemania 33:


1. Project Reigns has failed

Right now Roman Reigns is like a presidential candidate who we all know can’t win, but the news channels still insist he has a chance. Except when Reigns is a bust at Wrestlemania 32 there’s no one in position for him to concede to.

Sure, Vince can sit there cool as a cucumber, insisting that the crowd’s mixed reaction to Reigns is no different to what John Cena deals with on a weekly basis. Trouble is, when Cena was first made the face of the company people liked him. For real. We promise you. Cena also has that intangible factor which allows him to improvise or turn a segment on its head if it’s not working. Reigns does not.

After Wrestlemania, WWE will have a meaningless choice: abandon Project Reigns or keep plugging on with it out of spite. Which path they take matters little. Reigns’ boy scout character will be as dead as whoever Sean Bean is playing, and whether it be weeks or months later, the creative team will be scrabbling round for World Title contenders who can deliver right away. Who better than a phenomenal 18 year veteran who’s fought all over the world?


2. Injuries bring opportunities

Rollins and Orton, both currently injured
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The list of top WWE talent currently benched with injuries could probably sell out a Wrestlemania card on their own if they were healthy. Main event veteran Randy Orton, future face of the company Seth Rollins and crowd favourite Cesaro are all sidelined for the near future. The Doctor of Thuganomics himself, John Cena, is also looking increasingly like a long shot for the show of shows.

With these guys out it’s taken A.J. Styles less than two months to become the main event of Smackdown. Imagine what the former Bullet Club leader could do in a year. Sure, we can expect most of these guys back in the next 12 months, but by then the damage may be done. After Wrestlemania 32 the WWE will be looking for guys to headline pay-per-views and find themselves with scant choice. A.J. Styles will be in the right place at the right time.


3. The Fans are on board

Just watch the moment A.J. Styles debuted at the Royal Rumble. We’re not sure anyone in recent memory has earned that kind of crowd pop on their WWE debut. Sure, returning stars like Chris Jericho and Shane McMahon can get the crowd buzzing when they’ve been away for a long time, but on their first night? You might have to go back as far as Y2J’s debut on Raw in August 1999 for a comparison.

At this moment, the WWE are not in a position to be haughty towards their fanbase. Two years into a failed main event experiment, with ratings still stuttering, the promotions hardcore fans might be the only people watching the WWE product week to week. Continuing to ram the same tired storyline down our throats might not engender WWE Network cancellations, but it will make it harder and harder to manage live crowds.

Giving the fans a Styles title run will placate them. If Vince and co still have the smarts they showed back in the Attitude Era, they’ll realise it’s the right move.


4. The next 12 months will be transitional

A.J. Styles is one of the best wrestlers on the planet, but he’s no spring chicken. At 38, Styles has missed his window on becoming the face of the WWE. Fortunately, it’s going to take a while for the WWE higher ups to set up their next guy once Roman Reigns gets booed out of the AT&T arena in April. Like JBL back in 2004, Styles would make the perfect transitional champion while WWE sets up their next guy (please, please be Seth Rollins).

During JBL’s surprisingly long title reign, he slowly built a group around him to help him keep winning. The Cabinet, with guys like Orlando Jordan and the Basham brothers, helped JBL look all the more formidable. If only there was a formidable faction WWE could put around Styles to build him up further. Oh, wait:


5. If the brands split, the World Heavyweight Championship will return

Even if WWE doesn’t make Styles their transitional champ, there is another world title out there, gathering dust at the company’s corporate headquarters. With the return of Shane McMahon, rumours are whizzing around the internet that we might be headed for another WWE “brand split”.

For those who don’t know what that means, WWE runs two major television shows each week: Raw on a Monday, and Smackdown on a Thursday. Back in 2001 when WWE bought out WCW, the company suddenly had a glut of wrestlers on its books. After a while, the brains in WWE creative solved this by having a different roster for Smackdown and Raw – each with their own world championship. One roster fought for the WWE Championship, while the other fought for the former WCW Championship – now renamed the World Heavyweight Championship.

Whatever happened to the World Heavyweight Championship? At the end of 2013 the two world titles were unified. What happens though, if the two brands do split after Wrestlemania 32? As much as the Intercontinental Title has been built up of late, it’s taken too much damage to ever be considered a top belt. Raw, the company’s flagship show, will take the WWE title. Smackdown, on the other hand, will bring back the World Heavyweight Championship.

Who’s currently headlining Smackdown every week? That’s right, your future champion A.J. Styles.

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