AJ Styles vs. Kevin Owens: WWE’s Potential Marquee Feud of the Summer


We’re going to see the AJ Styles vs. Kevin Owens match soon, but if these two are eventually headed toward the PPV route, then we’re in for something special.

On the most recent episode of SmackDown Live, we were guaranteed WWE’s first AJ Styles vs. Kevin Owens title match. They’ll battle for the United States Championship after the WWE Payback pay-per-view, which takes place on Apr. 30. Their one-on-one isn’t officially set in stone, but with Owens’ opponent for the show, Chris Jericho, likely headed on a Fozzy tour, expect the belt to stay in the hands of KO.

Styles going for a mid-card belt like the U.S. Title is a drastically different path from his WWE Championship aspirations, which led to his Shane McMahon match at WrestleMania 33. However, there’s potentially a reason for this, as Cageside Seats noted in their rumor roundup. He’s only a placeholder in the title hunt, until Randy Orton finishes his WWE Championship feud with Bray Wyatt. They’re set to collide at Payback in a House of Horrors match. Styles would then go for the belt from the Viper.

Well, if we’re on that path, then WWE should gift wrap their top title to the Face of the Blue Brand. Orton’s run is only in its infancy, but his feud with Wyatt lost its steam after a poor showing at WrestleMania 33, which has received questionable booking. This includes an abrupt tag-team match finish on SmackDown and an odd distraction from the Eater of Worlds in the Apex Predator’s bout with Erick Rowan.

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So, let’s say Styles takes the title off Orton at the May PPV, Backlash and has a rematch at Money in the Bank — he’ll likely get a new contender soon after. If all goes well with the Owens match after Payback, why not make this a full-fledged feud for the summer?

Styles vs. Owens has main event written all over it, which can be attributed to their exciting in-ring styles, something long-time WWE fans are all too familiar with.

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It’s difficult for the Phenomenal One to have a bad match, as evidenced by his 15 months in the WWE. He only shines brighter on the big stage, too, as seen with his Shane McMahon match at WrestleMania. It featured groans from the WWE Universe weeks in advance, until it actually happened and became arguably the best match from the show. Owens has brought his top game to PPVs since arriving to the main roster in May 2015, as well, including Match of the Year candidates with Sami Zayn and John Cena, and entertaining one-on-ones with the likes of Cesaro, Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins.

So, let’s give these two the main event scene at WWE Battleground 2017, and let them tear the house down. We may not even need a title change here, but just to have them go all-out for 15 minutes, leading to a messy finish that sees Owens try cheating to win, only to get caught by the referee and disqualified.

While an ending like that won’t send the fans home happy, it sets up an epic encounter for SummerSlam, WWE’s second biggest stage of the year. Give Owens and Styles either the co-main event or headlining spot, and let them go to battle for 25 minutes. They’ll send the Barclays Center into a frenzy, providing the thrilling showcase fans know these two can provide. That’s when a title change can be pulled off, giving the Prizefighter his first WWE Championship win.

The journey to get to this should be captivating enough to send fans running to their TVs to watch SmackDown, which is more than the bland Orton vs. Wyatt program is offering. This wouldn’t have a problem staying fresh with the top face and heel of the Blue Brand, both of whom are beloved members of the WWE Universe. With Styles as the good guy of this feud (he seemingly turned after his handshake with McMahon), it will only make interest in this higher, too, creating a buzz around the Tuesday night show.

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There’s plenty of potential for something fun here with AJ Styles and Kevin Owens. Let’s just hope WWE goes down that path in a few months.