Now that we’re edging closer to the annual Money in the Bank pay-per-view, there is perhaps no better time to bring up what occurred at the same event last year at the then-SmackDown LIVE exclusive show during the ladder match.
Although it was Baron Corbin who ended up unhooking the briefcase - with many, at the time, rightfully predicting big things would be on the horizon for him - it was the tease between AJ Styles and Shinsuke Nakamura that had fans excited about a potential feud between the two.
The die-hard fans knew how capable both men were. They showed that at NJPW’s Wrestle Kingdom 10 event before The Phenomenal One jumped ship to WWE by debuting at the Royal Rumble.
It took seven months for that tease to turn into somewhat of a reality, with The King of Strong Style winning the Royal Rumble and WWE keeping fans on the edge of their seats by sticking Styles in a Six-Pack Challenge with his WWE Championship on the line.
The feud did eventually come into fruition once he retained the gold, but the majority of fans will tell you that even the heel turn during their match at WrestleMania 34 wasn’t enough to salvage this feud; one which fans thought would be both groundbreaking and memorable.
Instead, it’s turned out to be long-winded with fans wondering just how and when it will end. With another WWE Championship match booked for Money in the Bank next month, fans will be hoping that we get a conclusive finish with an epic encounter at last - with no low blow antics which clearly took a lot of appeal away from their feud.
However, there’s a reason why the rivalry hasn’t lived up to expectation, and it’s not something WWE fans will be too happy to learn.
Bryan Alvarez recently discussed their feud briefly during Wrestling Observer Live, where he revealed that the reason this feud has been underwhelming is that WWE just didn’t have any deep intentions for their storyline.
Instead, they merely used this feud as a lengthy placeholder to last through June before a new storyline revolving around the WWE Championship can begin, with many predicting it could be Samoa Joe that enters the fold.
According to Ringside News, he said: “I expect him to be the champion out of this, but you’re overthinking the reason they did this.
“They did this because they just decided they were going to to do a feud that was going to last through June. I guess it’s going through June and this was a stupid idea they came up with.
“They’ve been in business for years, they just thought they’d try something different, and this time it was stupid.”
It’s a shame that WWE didn’t have any real intentions with this feud, rather than making it the placeholder for many months in what could, and should, have been an incredible feud on SmackDown LIVE.
With a Last Man Standing stipulation rumoured for their Chicago bout - which could signal the end of the feud - fans will undoubtedly be hoping that they end it on a high and on a much more positive note.
What do you make of WWE never having any solid intentions with the AJ Styles vs. Shinsuke Nakamura feud? Have YOUR say in the comments section below.
LISTEN TO THE THIRD EPISODE OF THE TURNBUCKLE TALK PODCAST FEATURING FALLOUT FROM THE GREATEST ROYAL RUMBLE EVENT AND THE PREVIEW OF THE BACKLASH PPV ON ITUNES HERE.
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