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AJ Styles is about to become WWE Champion again (Opinion)

  • History would suggest something big is coming AJ Styles' way
  • The Phenomenal One could be being lined-up for the game's ultimate prize
Matty Paddock
EXPERT COLUMNIST
Feature
Modified 27 Mar 2020, 12:57 IST

AJ Styles - ready for another run with the gold?
AJ Styles - ready for another run with the gold?

It may not seen likely as you read this in March 2020, but I'm certain of it - AJ Styles is being readied for another run with WWE's top championship.

The Phenomenal One is just about to head into WrestleMania to face the legendary Undertaker in what is being mysteriously and ominously referred to as a Boneyard Match. While a headline-grabbing showdown with one of WWE's greatest ever names may indeed be a career highlight for Styles, you could also argue that it's about as far from being WWE Champion as you could be at the present time.

But, in true WWE style, that's pretty much exactly the reason I'm tipping the 42-year-old to capture the gold in the very near future - and there's clear precedent to back this up.

In 2017, I was in attendance at the SmackDown broadcast from Manchester, England, when Styles stunned the world to become WWE Champion, pinning Jinder Mahal to snare the championship, eliciting one of the most emotional crowd reactions I've seen in years. The turnout that night wasn't massive - the arena itself may have been at half capacity - but it didn't matter. On that night, it was the perfect blend of ingredients. Styles, the underdog, is adored by many European crowds and, with many at the time feeling that Mahal's run with the title had run its course, those in Manchester were desperate for the North Carolinian to get the victory, and he did.

The success triggered a, to pardon the pun, phenomenal run as WWE Champion for Styles - one that latest a full calendar year before he was defeated by the returning Daniel Bryan. It established - or for some, reestablished - the fact that Styles was the best worker in the business. After all, you don't keep hold of the company's top championship for a year if you're not the best that's on offer.

Before Manchester, however, Styles really hadn't been up to much - and I mean that with reference to the main event scene at least. He'd still been performing exceptionally in feuds with the likes of Randy Orton, Shane McMahon and Baron Corbin, and held the United States Championship for a while. But, to many, Styles was muddling along in the mid-card, waiting for an opportunity for push for something better.

So, here we are. A sense of familiarity, as if we've been here before. As of late, Styles has been active enough in the sense that he's regularly been appearing on RAW, and a rivalry - albeit a brief one - with the Undertaker is not exactly to be sniffed at. But, really, what else? He has again had a fleeting run with the United States Championship, a reign ended by Rey Mysterio, and, at Survivor Series, was upset by Roderick Strong. Once more, AJ is doing a sterling job with a pretty limited lot.

What's next? History would seem to suggest there's something bigger and better waiting in the wings...

Published 27 Mar 2020, 12:57 IST
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