AJ Styles won the WWE Championship in shocking fashion on SmackDown Live in November, and after spending much of his reign turning back the Singh Brothers, all signs point to Styles retaining the title come December 17’s Clash of Champions.
Jinder Mahal seemingly rid himself of his henchmen Tuesday on SmackDown, but the possibility of a new duo flanking the former WWE champion could bode well for a second world championship reign, even after WWE’s tour of India has passed.
A product of both New Japan Pro-Wrestling and Ring of Honor, a possible WWE title loss at Clash of Champions is worth thousands of angry (read: embarrassing) tweets.
But Styles’ fans need not fret should his WWE Championship run come to an end headed into 2018. Styles has had another tremendous year after debuting hot in 2016 and retaining his momentum in ways other WWE Superstars like Shinsuke Nakamura and Bobby Roode could not.
Styles competed in a high-profile one-on-one match against Shane McMahon at WrestleMania 33 and figures to be a favorite in the Royal Rumble should he be without a world title come January.
A match against Nakamura was teased at Money in the Bank in June, and there’s a good chance their paths cross come WrestleMania, which would act as a pacifier for those who feel Styles is being diminished.
It goes without saying that a Styles-Nakamura matchup for the WWE Championship would be a lot of fun, but that is a rivalry that would not need a world title.
A match between Mahal and John Cena for a possible record-breaking 17th WWE Championship, however, makes for a much better story.
Should Styles vs. Nakamura become an instant classic between the two aging legends at the biggest show of the year, both of their profiles would be raised—with or without a world title. But regardless of Styles’ plans beyond WWE Clash of Champions, he has proved to be bulletproof in WWE as an unlikely top star after bypassing NXT.
Despite being a scripted form of entertainment, wins and losses do carry meaning in pro wrestling. But win or lose, Styles’ spot atop the WWE hierarchy will remain unquestioned.
Article originally appeared on http://bleacherreport.com