In the latest installment of the build-up toward what is potentially the most disappointing of all the matches set for WrestleMania 33, AJ Styles has been fired by SmackDown general manager Daniel Bryan.
The blue brand's show began with Styles confronting Bryan, angry over what he feels has been unfair treatment at the hands of SD's authority figures, teasing physicality between the two before the former WWE world champ hit the ring to an audience that welcomed him by chanting his name (heels, these days, right?).
After unleashing his tirade, Styles waited around for Shane McMahon to arrive, and immediately jumped him in the parking garage of the arena. AJ pummeled him while cursing at the chairman's son for taking his opportunities and ruining his WrestleMania before smashing his head through a car window.
Shane-O-Mac was left busted open - a rarity on WWE programming - and was attended to backstage by WWE medical staff who recommended that he be taken to the emergency room. McMahon, being the valiant warrior that he is, refused to be transported to the ER and was instead helped back to the trainer's room.
As "The Phenomenal One" was leaving the arena he was approached by Daniel Bryan who told him what he did to Shane was the act of a coward.
"I don't care how good you are in the ring, I don't care how valuable you are, I've lost all respect for you. You think because you're AJ Styles that you're untouchable but you are not."
Styles responded by asking Daniel what was he going to do, fire him?
The GM replied "Damn right I'm going to fire you. Get the hell out of here." He then commanded security to escort AJ from the arena.
Shane emerged at the end of the show to announce that he would be AJ's opponent for the big event in Orlando. This could even be leading to a stipulation being attached where AJ has to compete for his job. The problem is this sets up a difficult dynamic for WWE, because despite technically being a heel, AJ is one of the most popular and respected performers in the company, and a scenario that forces him to win to regain the chance to continue entertaining the fans is effectively casting him as a babyface.
When you add in the fact that there's already a noticeable backlash brewing against Shane booking himself in what is one of the most shameless ego strokes in wrestling history, this has the potential to be the complete opposite of what WWE is hoping to achieve. Perhaps they'll smarten up and book a classic double turn mid-match.