For a moment, it looked like WWE wouldn't be able to counter All Elite Wrestling's epic Jon Moxley vs. Chris Jericho top title feud—right in the middle of WrestleMania season, no less.
That's not to say WWE wouldn't have big drawing power for its biggest event of the year, but watching a part-timer take the main title feud and a not-so-popular title match from SmackDown just wouldn't have the same weight as the classic storyline AEW has been putting on with Moxley-Jericho.
But WWE came through. While the two companies swear they aren't competing with one another, fans will do nothing but compare them, especially as WWE heads toward 'Mania and AEW steers course for Revolution on February 29.
It's good then that WWE has pulled the unexpected with that classic Royal Rumble match featuring Brock Lesnar making history and Drew McIntyre ascending to not only eliminate The Beast Incarnate, but also to go on to challenge him in the main event of WrestleMania 36.
So the question, while simple, is quite complex: Will WWE or AEW's top feud be better?
On the WWE side, whether in response to the competition or not, the company has finally decided to put over a top growing talent as the next "guy."
McIntyre is everything many WWE fans have asked for over the years as a non-Roman Reigns or Seth Rollins guy who ascends to the main event and has an actual chance at being a casual, marketable star.
Rest assured WWE could have easily went with Lesnar against a part-timer such as Cain Velasquez or even Tyson Fury. It didn't, though, which could be symbolic in a potential change in approach to make fans happy.
And it's also an incredible meta-story, as McIntyre originally debuted in WWE as a chosen one of Vince McMahon but flopped, joined a jobber group and eventually left the company. He reinvented himself elsewhere and returned—wrestling companies don't usually stumble into rare territory like this.
But the same can be said for AEW. Jericho was always going to be top guy for the company, and even the most devoted WWE fan would have to admit he's likely the best in the business on the mic right now. From the hilarious video packages to the must-see promos, he makes everything electric.
And it's even better with Moxley, the man formerly known as Dean Ambrose. Maybe he wasn't in AEW's plans from the beginning, but the company has its "Stone Cold" character now, their best-in-the-world contender who fluidly stayed away from the title scene for as long as possible before swarming down to spar with Jericho and his members of the Inner Circle.
It's Jericho's posse that assures AEW has the better feud from a building standpoint. As we've already seen, McIntyre and Lesnar aren't going to interact too much before WrestleMania on April 5. The collision once they're in the ring at the big event will be of epic proportions, but fans will probably hear more from Paul Heyman than anyone else.
Moxley and Jericho, not so much. The sheer entertainment value that is Moxley picking through members of the Inner Circle is just too good to pass up. The champion's tale that is being shocked out of his cocky dad-bod-rocker character back into this conniving, dangerous villain has been fun to watch.
Where WWE might hold an advantage here is actual match quality. Jericho hasn't been the best in the ring for a while now. It still works, but it should be interesting to see how the 49-year-old pairs with Moxley right now.
The same doesn't apply on the WWE side. Lesnar puts on a money match with almost anyone, elevating them in the process. He's had massive heavyweight bouts with Samoa Joe and Braun Strowman, but he's also made smaller guys such as Finn Balor and Daniel Bryan look downright incredible.
The Beast is sure to do the same with McIntyre, who is an amazing performer in his own right and usually goes out of his way to do some unexpectedly athletic moves on top of the usual power stuff.
Ultimately, this one might come down to personal preference. Those who want to see a better build might enjoy the AEW side more; those who want a big payoff match that is unforgettable will turn to WWE.
Either way, one company is likely to crown arguably wrestling's outright biggest star who had the gall to jump away from the biggest company around to its direct competition. The other is likely to squash longstanding, problematic booking issues at the top of the card by crowning one of the most deserving names in the sport whose personal journey is both relatable and fascinating.
If this reads like the real winners will be wrestling fans as a whole, that's because it happens to be the story here. The better feud will be an eye-of-beholder thing, but the fact it's even a conversation is a testament to the work both promotions have put on leading to the next month or so.