This Sunday, AJ Styles will face Seth Rollins one on one for the first time in a WWE ring. It doesn’t seem like hyperbole to suggest this match will change the trajectory of both competitors for the foreseeable future.
When AJ Styles made the jump to Raw a few weeks ago, there was a slight sigh of relief. It feels like “The Phenomenal One” accomplished everything he needed to on SmackDown. Styles had a satisfying run as both a heel and top babyface. He held the brand’s mid-card title and he had two noteworthy reigns as the WWE Champion.
So, it seemed like as good of a time as any for him to come to the “A-Show.” After all, he’s one of the biggest stars in the company, so he should be on the flagship show. Now, some would argue he got a shot at the Universal title too soon, but it was probably the right call. There is no one better suited to help add prestige to the brand’s main event title picture.
Simply put, this was a win-win for everyone involved. With Brock Lesnar out of the way, the Universal Championship finally has a chance to become a viable secondary title. Seth Rollins’ run as Intercontinental Champion proved he was already the well-equipped to become the face of the brand. Style presents a formidable test for the new champion that will help to cement his first reign.
With all of this said, AJ Styles needed a new opponent and new motivations. That’s why this move is so exciting. See, this can’t be merely another championship pursuit for him. He has held just about every top prize in the industry. Thus, he doesn’t have much to prove anymore, and that has honestly made his character stale.
Admittedly, Styles started to lose buzz throughout his second reign as WWE Champion. He was still putting on great matches, but something felt like it was missing. It didn’t help that a few of his opponents were more compelling.
It’s tough to explain but AJ Styles just didn’t generate the same level of intrigue. It’s possible fans were simply used to seeing him win all the time, making his matches a tad predictable. It could also be a result of growing exasperation with his political views online. At any rate, he needs a fresh start and this feud could revitalize his character.
Rollins and Styles could steal the show on Sunday night. They both have the in-ring ability to perform at a high level, but it will be more interesting to see if either of them turns heel afterward. Judging by his current reception, it should be AJ. Even if they just make him a tweener, that could be interesting.
They rivalry likely won’t end this weekend because this is such a high-profile matchup. So, turning Styles heel could be the best scenario. He needs another reason to chase Seth other than winning yet another title and Rollins could use a strong antagonist.