Randy Orton Beats AJ Styles, Will Face Bray Wyatt at WWE WrestleMania 33

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistMarch 8, 2017

Photo credit: WWE.com

Randy Orton defeated AJ Styles on Tuesday night's SmackDown Live to earn a shot at Bray Wyatt's WWE Championship at WrestleMania 33.

Orton did so with his signature move, as WWE shared:

To the victor went the opportunity to point at the infamous WrestleMania sign, and Orton did just that, per WWE:

Meanwhile, an angry Styles approached SmackDown commissioner Shane McMahon to voice his displeasure with the outcome, via WWE:

The Viper won the Royal Rumble to become No. 1 contender, but after Wyatt won the title at Elimination Chamber, he refused to face his master.

That set the stage for a battle royal to determine a new opponent for The Eater of Worlds, but it ended in controversy when officials were unable to determine whether Styles or Luke Harper hit the floor first.

In an effort to sort the situation out, SmackDown general manager Daniel Bryan pitted The Phenomenal One against Harper in a singles match for the No. 1 contendership.

Styles was victorious and seemed destined to take on The New Face of Fear, but Orton threw a wrench into those plans with his actions later in the night.

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After being given access to the Wyatt Family compound, WWE's Apex Predator finally made his move by turning on his former teammate.

Orton burned down Wyatt's cabin and the remains of Sister Abigail in addition to announcing that he would indeed exercise his right to compete for the WWE Championship at WrestleMania as the Royal Rumble winner:

That created another conundrum for SmackDown's decision-makers since Styles had also done enough to stake claim to a title opportunity.

With two Superstars having a legitimate gripe, Bryan and McMahon booked Orton to face Styles to settle on a No. 1 contender once and for all.

That decision didn't sit well with Styles, but he vowed to win the No. 1 contendership for the second consecutive week:

Due to the issues between Orton and Wyatt, The Viper entered SmackDown as a heavy favorite to win and go on to the main event of WrestleMania.

Tuesday's bout marked the first time Orton and Styles had ever locked horns, and they didn't disappoint, as they put on a great performance with huge implications on the line.

The expected result of Orton winning came to fruition, which sets up an intriguing psychological battle leading up to The Showcase of Immortals.

As for Styles, a title match isn't in the cards, but a potential clash with Shane-O-Mac is a very real possibility since The Phenomenal One feels wronged by the way he lost out on the No. 1 contendership as well as Tuesday night's match.

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