Without question, Brock Lesnar vs. A.J. Styles is a main event anywhere in the world. And come Survivor Series in exactly a week, it may not even be one in the WWE.
Lesnar vs. Styles is a WrestleMania main event level match, which is to say, it’s the type of fight you talk about for years to come if everything goes off without a hitch. It’s not merely a match you slap on a PPV card for WWE Network subscriptions, a la exactly what the company just did with John Cena and Roman Reigns at No Mercy in September.
When the two lock horns, they’re not going to be doing so for anything but bragging rights. In fact, there really is no rivalry to speak of, considering the match was billed as Lesnar vs. Jinder Mahal for weeks, prior to Styles defeating Mahal for the belt this past Tuesday night on SmackDown Live.
Would Lesnar-Mahal have been as good of a match? Of course not. But it doesn’t take a hardcore fan to realize very plainly that the WWE is not trying to make this year’s Survivor Series into a PPV event that transcends all others; this is going to a fun one-night excursion where babyfaces and heel are suspended in reality over some faux brand supremacy of red vs. blue. Lesnar-Mahal wouldn’t have been half the match Lesnar-Styles is going to be, but it’s the thought of, “What if Jinder actually beats Brock?” that gave it an aura, as opposed to, “Let’s see how they mess this up” with Lesnar-Styles. There was Heyman mocking Jinder and Brock believing Mahal wasn’t worthy of him stepping into the ring with him.
The fact that nothing is “on the line” is likely going to mean that the Traditional Survivor Series Elimination Match is likely to close the show. That would be a gross miscalculation for the type of crowd and hype that a Lesnar-Styles showdown could give.
The last time Styles stepped into a PPV match that he wasn’t planned to have been apart of was all the way back at…No Mercy, nearly two months ago. He stepped up while Bray Wyatt was sidelined with an illness, tabbed to be the man in the company to wrestle Finn Balor in an impromptu fight that helps save the card. This time around is no different; something clearly went wrong with the Jinder Plan, causing a last-second audible for Styles. His match against Balor was good, since the two seem incapable of delivering anything below that floor; but wasting Lesnar-Styles on a “good” match that means nothing? The WWE was better off going a different route.
Either let them steal the show or wait until they can.