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WWE News: AJ Styles talks about potentially headlining WrestleMania against Nakamura

Gary Cassidy
1.16K   //    11 Mar 2018, 15:53 IST

If AJ Styles retains his title at Fastlane, he has a Rockstar to contend with

What’s the story?

There's no doubt that AJ Styles is one of the best in the business, even if he doesn't think so. But the humble WWE Champion recently spoke to Lillian Garcia's, on her Chasing Glory, podcast about the possibility of himself and Shinsuke Nakamura headlining WrestleMania, and how Jinder Mahal reacted to having lost the WWE Championship to The Phenomenal One.

In case you didn’t know…

AJ Styles is the current WWE Champion and undoubtedly one of WWE's top talents. While a lot of people have expressed displeasure at how SmackDown has played out recently, The Phenomenal One has always been exempt from critique due to his incredible in-ring work and ability to cut a genuine and passionate promo.

Since debuting in the Royal Rumble Match, AJ Styles has gone on to win the WWE Championship twice and the WWE United States Championship once - competing in a very memorable rivalry with Jinder Mahal and teasing a dream match with Shinsuke Nakamura!

The heart of the matter

Ahead of his WWE Championship defense at Fastlane, AJ Styles recently spoke with Lilian Garcia on the former WWE ring announcer's podcast Chasing Glory.

One of the prevalent topics of conversation was surrounding Styles' potential WrestleMania match against Royal Rumble winner Shinsuke Nakamura - a match much of the WWE Universe would argue should be the match to close out WrestleMania 34.

While AJ Styles definitely doesn't look like a man who's on the wrong side of 40, many people believe The Phenomenal One should have already main evented WrestleMania, as he's arguably the best wrestler in WWE right now and, well, who knows how many he'll have left? Although watching his in-ring work, you'd have to think there'll be a fair few more opportunities.

AJ Styles spoke about just how big of a deal this match is.

There could be a chance of headlining WrestleMania this year. I've got to make it through Fastlane before I can do this, but if I get the opportunity to wrestle Shinsuke Nakamura at WrestleMania - a match that no one has seen on U.S. soil, and only happened once in Japan - this could be huge.

The Phenomenal One also noted that if WWE don't put the match last on the card, they're going to regret it.

It's exciting to think that something like that could happen, even if it's not the main event. They're going to wish it had been. I expect this match to be amazing. Nakamura is a great talent here and I feel like were going to tear the place apart to be honest with you.
Styles an
Styles and Nakamura have only clashed once in singles competition

On the podcast, AJ Styles also spoke of his feud with former WWE Champion Jinder Mahal, mentioning how The Modern-Day Maharaja reacted to losing the title abruptly to Styles prior to Survivor Series in a match that saw Styles replace Mahal in a match against Brock Lesnar.

He took it well. I literally said, 'Jinder, what do you think?' I wanted to know what he thought, if he was okay with it, because that's important to me that, 'I'm not better than you. You've been a great champion. What do you think, man?' and he was okay with it.

Styles complimented Mahal's maturity in what could have been a difficult situation.

Again, he has been in the business for a while now, so he was very mature in the way he handled it and I appreciate that. Sometimes you have to wait your tour and sometimes it takes longer than you'd like, but eventually you'll be back on top.
AJ Styles shocked the world when he won the WWE Championship on SmackDown Live in the UK

The WWE Champion also spoke of the intricacies of working with Mahal on Mahal's first run as a top talent, having spent the best part of his time previous as enhancement talent.

At first, it was different. Jinder came in and went straight to the top when he came to SmackDown and it was a position he wasn't in. When you get to this upper level, things change in the way that you work in the ring, the way you act, everything. And he had to learn really quick basically how to be a big star in WWE, which sounds easy, but it's not.

Styles also added that, while the "you deserve it" chant is a great compliment, he'd much rather feel like he had earned something.

If you earn it, they can never say you didn't work for it. Like, 'you earned it'. That's more powerful to me than 'deserve'." Styles added, "you can't take something I've earned from me.

You can hear the podcast in full here, and we thank Chasing Glory With Lilian Garcia for the audio content and Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.

What’s next?

AJ Styles will defend his WWE Championship at Fastlane this Sunday against John Cena, Kevin Owens, Sami Zayn, Dolph Ziggler and Baron Corbin.

If successful, he will go on to defend it against Shinsuke Nakamura at WrestleMania in a match that's been described by many as a dream match.

Author’s take

Well, I'm firmly of the belief that AJ Styles vs Shinsuke Nakamura should main event WrestleMania. With regards to the match happening, WWE dangled a massive carrot when Nakamura won the Royal Rumble, so Styles HAS to win tonight. No other outcome could possibly satisfy the WWE Universe. I feel like Styles will definitely win using heel tactics though to further enhance the concept of him vs Shinsuke Nakamura.

If the match goes on last, there's no doubt it'll satisfy even the hardcore wrestling fans - but I can't help but think Brock Lesnar vs Roman Reigns takes the top spot. Either way, this WrestleMania is shaping up to be something special!

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Gary Cassidy
Gary Cassidy is a freelance journalist from Glasgow, Scotland, specialising in professional wrestling with Sportskeeda. Gary has ten years' writing experience and a 2:1 Honours degree, and is also a subtitler working on both live and prerecorded broadcast for television channels across the UK, USA and Australia.
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