wrestling / Columns

Why AJ vs. Shane At WM33 Is A Phenomenal Idea

March 14, 2017 | Posted by Justin Watry

Hi, I’m Justin Watry. You may remember me from such classic columns as March 2012’s “WWE WrestleMania 28: Sheamus Should Defeat Daniel Bryan in Less Than a Minute” and October 2015’s “WWE NXT: Bobby Roode, You’re Next.”


Leave it to me to defend the idea of a Shane McMahon vs. AJ Styles match at WrestleMania 33. Before reading, I’m just four Twitter followers away from my $25 WWEShop giveaway. If I reach that in the next day or two, the random drawing will be THIS Wednesday!

Irony – Let me set the stage for you all. One of the best wrestlers in the company was on fire and delivering classic matches on pay-per-view, was on top, and fans were clamoring for him to remain/return at WWE Championship level. Then the company put him in a match against Shane McMahon, and everybody groaned. Why? WHY?!?! The best wrestler in the world taking on the boss’ kid, ugh. Groans went around, and we sat through a month long feud that did nobody any favors.

Then the two delivered an all-time great match on PPV that people will remember forever.

That was King of the Ring 2001.

Shane McMahon entered into a ‘filler’ story line with Kurt Angle, and they defied the odds and shut up their critics with a wonderful and brutal street fight. Instantly, all the complaints and whining stopped once the bell rang. Shane O’ Mac (as usual) showed up and stood toe to toe with Angle, while the latter got to be a new guy. No longer was he trading rest holds and giving us a technical masterpiece. Nope, this was a bloody brawl and out of the box for an athlete like him…and it worked. Worked beautifully.

Yes, that was 16 years ago for Shane, but the story remains the same.

We KNOW Styles Can Wrestle! – This is the most obvious and tiresome argument: “AJ Styles deserves to have a five star classic with another great wrestler!” He should have a one on one WM bout inside the squared circle to prove his worth!!!”

Newsflash folks: I know AJ Styles can wrestle. You know he is capable of phenomenal things. WWE knows it. His peers know it. Heck, I am sure he knows it as well as humble as he can be. WE KNOW THIS! Not one single fan will suddenly think differently of him the morning after Mania. Why not step out of that comfort zone and try something different for a change? Styles just spent all of 2016 lighting it up in WWE with Chris Jericho, Roman Reigns, Dean Ambrose, John Cena, and others. Give me a brawl with Styles busting out some high risk moves on the ramp, backstage, in the crowd, etc. I am well aware of his in-ring skills. Let’s get a new and improved AJ at WrestleMania 33. Reminds me of folks hesitant over his heel turn last year, thinking it would be the worst move ever…how’d that turn out?


Roman Reigns – All roads lead back to THE GUY. Anybody remember the doubts over the post-WM feud between Reigns and AJ? How there was no way even The Phenomenal One could lead him to a worthy PPV match? You know, the usual junk that is posted when an internet darling faces a non-internet darling. Yeah, the two gelled perfectly and delivered a couple of high profile matches that rank very highly on the Best of 2016 list. Seems a lot of folks just enjoy being wrong. Or negative. Or both.

Edge/Mick Foley – Doesn’t this remind you all of 2006 and the Road to WrestleMania 22? Edge was on a roll, had just lost the WWE Championship to John Cena at the Royal Rumble, and instead of being kept in the title picture, the Rated R Superstar was relegated to his already planned Mick Foley match. Mid-card at best, early on in the show. Feeling disrespected or even slighted a little that his past few months were not rewarded, the the two agreed to go out there and have a Hardcore Match for the ages. They did. Edge was up for it, as was Foley. Over a decade later, it remains one of my favorite under rated Mania bouts. Not even one night later, guess what? Edge was inserted back into the WWE Title picture with John Cena and Triple H and didn’t look back for the rest of the year. A quick Mania detour but one that was necessary for his future and very entertaining along the way.

Smackdown LIVE – Look, as much praise as the blue brand has been getting for the past year, AJ Styles didn’t have a lot of options here (given he was losing the title). John Cena is giving a nice spotlight to The Miz, Maryse, and Nikki Bella before taking some time off. Dean Ambrose and Baron Corbin are squaring off. Dolph Ziggler is doing Dolph Ziggler things, and The Wyatt Family have their own story line. Minus fantasy booking a quick NXT call up or something, Styles clashing with the boss makes sense.

McMahon Involvement – Don’t worry about AJ. If you are in a feud with a McMahon, you are in good hands. Not only will you surely getting plenty of TV time in the build, here is the best part…

A WIN!!! – Shane McMahon hasn’t won a pay-per-view singles bout in almost 14 years, over Eric Bischoff of all people. Counting some tag/handicap matches in 2007, it has been nearly ten years since the man was victorious on PPV. Seriously. He is not going to defeat AJ Styles, just like he didn’t win at Survivor Series or even stand a chance versus The Undertaker at WrestleMania 32. The boss’ kid who everybody rips on (but went wild for his return last year) will do what Chris Jericho didn’t do last year at the biggest event of the year – lay down for a three count to the deserving AJ Styles.

Summary: I’m calling my shot right now. If, if, IF this match is made official for Mania, it will steal the show. Match of the night honors. Yes, it would probably have to be turned into a street fight; who cares? All the more fun. Throw in some bells and whistles, and you’re set. I trust Shane, and I certainly AJ Styles. Your move WWE…

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