At the conclusion of this week’s edition of Smackdown Live, the blue brand’s General Manager, Daniel Bryan, announced that WWE Champion AJ Styles will be defending his title at the Royal Rumble Pay-Per-View event in a handicap match against Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn. As a Canadian, I have been a huge fan of Zayn and Owens ever since they stepped foot in NXT, so this booking decision excites me greatly.
I have been waiting so long for Sami Zayn to get a main event push that he so rightfully deserves at this point, and I’m sure I’m not the only one. Now, in a couple of weeks, Zayn will be competing for his first world title alongside one of his best friends.
I don’t fully understand how the rules of a handicap title match work, but I assume the championship goes to whoever picks up the pinfall. The pairing of Zayn and Owens back at the Hell in the Cell PPV has been one of the more entertaining storylines on WWE television, even if we’ve had to suffer through what seems like endless Shane McMahon.
All of me wishes I could say with confidence that there will be no interference from McMahon during this upcoming match, but I would be lying to myself and you. No one will be surprised when Shane O’ Mac skips his way down the ramp with hopes of costing the Canadians the chance of becoming WWE Champion. However, I believe this will lead to the official beginning of his feud with Daniel Bryan.
I’ll probably talk about it more in my Royal Rumble predictions article, but I think this will be when Bryan comes to the ring and either attacks Shane, or somehow costs Styles the Championship.
I am really hoping that this leads to Kevin Owens allowing Zayn to pick up the win. Sami Zayn has not won a Championship since he was brutalized by Owens back at NXT TakeOver: Rival on February 11, 2015 during their match for the NXT Championship. Long term, this could lead to Owens turning on Zayn setting up a dream WWE Championship feud. Putting the belt on Zayn will be an important turn in his career, putting the proper importance next to his name. If all this goes to plan, and Sami Zayn walks out of Philadelphia the WWE Champion, consider me one happy guy.
By: Patrick Gallagher
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