In case you have been living under a rock, the WWE universe was rocked on Friday as news broke that the TLC pay-per-view would be undergoing major changes. Due to an illness, or what we believe to be viral meningitis, both Roman Reigns and Bray Wyatt are unable to compete this Sunday.
Listen, let me be clear here. No one would or should ever wish viral meningitis on anyone. Really, they shouldn’t be wishing an illness on someone at all. That being said though, perhaps this was a blessing in disguise. We have seen Bray Wyatt’s gimmicks blow up in our face before. A prime example would be the house of horrors match between the Eater of Worlds and Randy Orton. Call me pessimistic but I didn’t have a ton of hope in Bray Wyatt dressed in drag and a pumpkin spiced Demon King. I was always of the mindset that the character of Sister Abigail would be best utilized as a female wrestler. A wrestler that can assist Wyatt and carve her own path of destruction in the women’s division. That is a blog post for another day though.
In regards to Bray Wyatt’s unavailability, WWE could have taken the easy way out. They could have selected a RAW superstar with nothing to do. Perhaps a Jason Jordan or an Elias Samson would have been worthy opponents. The WWE, however, decided to take the road less traveled. They went ahead and took the beautiful scenic route. Kudos to them because the decision that WWE ultimately went with was the one that the judgmental wrestling fan continuously campaigns for. The choice of being bold.
WWE critics always say the same sort of thing. They’ll complain about how WWE will tend to play it safe. Well, they went above and beyond on the replacement for Bray Wyatt as Vince McMahon would wind up calling on the phenomenal blue brand superstar, AJ Styles.
Believe it or not, despite this potential jaw-dropping match, we still have some fans that are discouraged. Any sort of issue being taken with this match is that there is no build up. There is no WWE programming storyline that has spanned months on top of months. The apparent slow burn is not there. WWE to its credit has done a good job lately of putting lengthy programs together. That being said though, if you look closely enough at this match, without WWE doing it for you, the story is there.
You have two men who are extraordinarily gifted at what they do. Despite starting their paths in two entirely different parts of the world, their careers would intertwine one another in New Japan. Both superstars would lead one of the biggest wrestling factions in the Bullet Club. Their long and impressive resumes would have them dazzle New Japan Pro Wrestling. Throughout their local and overseas wrestling stints, the ultimate goal, no matter how out of reach it seemed, was to compete in the WWE.
Not only did these two men make it to the biggest wrestling promotion on the planet, they have wowed audiences in the process. From Bray, Ireland to Gainesville, Georgia. Through all the blood, sweat, and tears. From cleaning gyms in Japan, overcoming surgeries, and battling to the top of various wrestling promotions, all roads lead to this Sunday. AJ Styles being called on to replace Bray Wyatt is just another brick in the wall that brings us to this new chapter for the two beloved superstars. The hype will be real when the bell sounds this Sunday in Minnesota.
This is the backstory that you were waiting for. It doesn’t need to be plastered on WWE programming. It is a story that has been written for years. Do not overthink this match, embrace it. AJ Styles stepping in the ring against Finn Balor is like a fine wine. All you need to just uncork it, sit back, and breathe it in. Or, as Chris Jericho would say, drink it in man!
As far as predictions for this match, I’m not rooting for either wrestler. I plan to sit back and just enjoy the show. If I had to pick one, I think that Finn Balor will pull it out. After all, this is a RAW show. Sam Roberts says it best on his podcast that from a credibility standpoint, Balor needs this win more than AJ Styles. The only thing that I hope doesn’t occur is one of those jumbotron Wyatt distractions. WWE has done a great thing by putting this match together in such a short amount of time. I don’t think that this is a match that you need to toy with. If they decide to use outside interference, Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows running down would be great. The excitement of them choosing one good brother over another would be great.
The question I have is, with Survivor Series around the corner, is there a chance that these two could have a rematch sooner than we think…
Writing credit goes to Michael Hauff
Thanks for reading!