AJ Styles Can’t Afford to Lose at WWE Money in the Bank 2016


AJ Styles can’t take another high-profile loss at WWE Money in the Bank.

For AJ Styles, the time is now for a big win. Consecutive losses to Roman Reigns and that still fresh Wrestlemania loss to Chris Jericho has sidetracked Styles’ WWE run. More than any other WWE newcomer, AJ needs to beat John Cena right now. And it starts with a victory at Money in the Bank.

On the surface, Styles has seemingly been positioned as a big money player in the WWE. He got a nice showcase debut in the Royal Rumble. Had a solid feud with the surefire Hall of Fame Y2J and was presented as being on Reigns’ level in their two matches. The problem is Styles has been looking at the lights for most of his WWE tenure. And no matter how anyone tries to frame it, wins and losses do matter in wrestling or any other sport. LeBron James’ legacy is once again being defined by his inability to win when it matters most. And unlike ‘King James,’ Styles doesn’t have much credibility with WWE fans right now.

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Clearly having Styles lose his initial feud with Jericho was a major misstep. Given he was going to be next in line to challenge Reigns, Styles should have emerged from that rivalry with momentum — not simply benefitting from a Fatal 4 Way gimmick to claim the No. 1 contender spot.

And with the WWE not wanting to immediately shift the title on Styles, he had to eat two losses to Reigns. Now with a returning Cena ready to re-establish himself as one of the dominant forces in the WWE, Styles’ chances for victory don’t look that great.

On Monday Night RAW, Cena appeared to paint Styles in a corner challenging his manhood into accepting a one on one match without assistance from The Club. By eliminating the possible shortcuts and a cheap distraction/interference finish, Styles is poised to beat Cena by himself. Of course, since Styles is a heel, he’s perfectly justified in using some nefarious tactic to get the win. Still, there’s that nagging sense that WWE isn’t going to set Cena up with this big return only to lose his first match back.

Another issue WWE has to avoid is the pattern of a Cena feud where he loses the initial matchup only to win the remaining matches in their series. That’s a formula that’s played out with Bray Wyatt, Rusev, and Kevin Owens. It absolutely wouldn’t do Styles any good long-term for his WWE career to come out on the losing end of yet another feud. Going 0-2 in high profile feuds is one thing, but 0-3 clearly cements Styles as a mid-card player who can’t beat the main event level stars.

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WWE officials are reportedly high on Styles and consider him a money player. Now is the time to start making some serious deposits. Otherwise, Styles is going to be in the same space currently occupied by Dolph Ziggler. A star with a ton of talent who didn’t get enough big wins when he reached a pivotal point in his WWE career.