AJ Styles is headed for yet another phenomenal accomplishment.
Styles is booked to face WWE champion Jinder Mahal on Tuesday's edition of SmackDown Live in Manchester, England. If AJ wins, he becomes champ for the second time. And he then goes on to work Brock Lesnar at Survivor Series on November 19.
So what is WWE's plan?
When the notion that Mahal versus Lesnar could happen became real, fans were intrigued. On one side was Mahal, who continues to wear the belt despite the odds always being against him. No matter how weak he's looked or how many times he perhaps should have lost, Mahal remains the top titleholder on Tuesday nights.
His title reign seemed like an experiment in the beginning, but WWE has stuck with him. Could it be that he beats The Beast Incarnate at Survivor Series?
On the other side was Lesnar, who has outlasted every top opponent who has ever come his way. John Cena is down to a less than part-time schedule. The Undertaker has seemingly retired. Goldberg is gone once again. Roman Reigns is out, and there has been no move to pair him with the beast again.
Lesnar is invincible. He crushes everyone in his path and just keeps right on going. Would Mahal stand a chance against him?
But now Styles could replace Mahal on November 19, fans are anxious to see it happen. AJ is arguably the best in the world, and he would surely not be willing to get squashed by Lesnar. Indeed, The Beast would surely not want to squash Styles, if only because of mutual respect.
So should Styles get the win over Mahal and then go on to a showdown with Lesnar?
Styles versus Lesnar—what more do fans need?
Fans love dream matches, and in today's WWE, this is one that's perhaps not been talked about enough. Lesnar has destroyed everyone who has been put in front of him. Styles has had five-star matches with future Hall of Fame Superstars.
Eventually, each man is going to run out of dream match opponents; why not book them against each other?
Lesnar's fans would likely love to see the beast actually wrestle a match, much like he did during his first run in WWE. It hasn't always been Hulk smash; Lesnar can grapple with the best of them. He would have a chance to do that with Styles, who may be smaller but also demands respect because of how good he is in the ring.
Simply running through AJ just wouldn't be the right thing to do.
Then there's the fact Styles deserves this match. He had great bouts with Cena, he's been WWE champion and he's been the top guy on SmackDown Live. Getting on the card opposite Lesnar is a spot Styles has earned.
Fans wanted AJ to be given everything he's worked hard to get when he came to WWE in 2016, and this match is part of that. Not many talents can say they have stepped into the ring and stood their ground against Lesnar, but that is exactly what Styles can do.
It would be another benchmark for AJ's career, another accomplishment that would only add to his legacy. The best part about Lesnar versus Styles? The WWE Championship would not be on the line. Even if he lost, The Phenomenal One would still be the titleholder on SmackDown Live.
Mahal's critics would love to see it happen.
The Modern Day Maharaja has struggled to get over, and though he's given a great effort, he has fallen short in the eyes of many fans. Getting the belt off of him and putting it on to Styles is perhaps the best thing WWE could do.
Styles versus Lesnar was meant to happen.
If Styles versus Lesnar happens, then Lesnar wins. It's that simple.
Lesnar crushes his opponents. It's what he does. The only man who could best him was Goldberg, and that was chalked up to nothing more than a fluke. Goldberg won some battles, but Lesnar won the war. If Styles faces Lesnar, AJ would lose the war as well.
Paul Heyman, Lesnar's advocate, may even say that Styles will be "victimized."
Styles does not deserve that fate. Lesnar has wrecked Kevin Owens, Bray Wyatt, Dean Ambrose and even Randy Orton. Each man had a fighting chance but lost in the end. Even Braun Strowman and Samoa Joe, who each had an opportunity to shine, came away defeated.
If Strowman cannot beat Lesnar, then why would fans believe Styles could?
The WWE Championship may not be on the line, but that would make little difference. Styles has come a long way since his debut in the company, and he's proved himself time after time. He is the man in WWE, and he's earned every accolade he's been given. Doing the job to Lesnar like everyone else is something he should not do.
Suplex City is a fun tagline, but Styles deserves much more than that.
A loss to Lesnar would not only hurt Styles, but it would also greatly empower the Universal Championship. That was a great idea when the belt was introduced, but WWE didn't seem to care about the title's importance until it landed on Lesnar.
Suddenly, the top belt on Monday Night Raw is supposedly the top belt in WWE? Why would fans believe that?
If the company believes Lesnar's title would become the primary one because he beat Styles, then that match would be happening for all the wrong reasons. SmackDown Live has always been undeservedly referred to as the B Show; this match would prove it.
SmackDown deserves more, and so does Styles.
Tom Clark can regularly be seen on Bleacher Report. His podcast, Tom Clark's Main Event, is available on iTunes, Google Play, iHeartRadio, Amazon Android, Windows Phone and online at boinkstudios.com.