Tuesday, May 24, 2022
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AJ Styles: WWE Hero, Villain or Whatever

Is AJ Styles a heel or babyface? WWE is putting forth the idea that The Phenomenal One may indeed be lying when it comes to his involvement in the actions of good friends Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows. The company is also quick to remind fans that AJ will do anything it takes to defeat Roman Reigns at Extreme Rules on May 22.

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But the crowd is still popping for AJ, and common sense says there’s no way he will turn heel. He’s just too popular, and he shines even brighter next to Roman, who could baby out the devil himself at this point. Let’s be honest, we’re all probably over thinking this whole thing when we should be having fun with it.

Or are we? Is it that we’re too focused on what AJ’s role is here, or is it WWE that’s too busy focusing on it to realize that it’s all a bit silly in the first place? Don’t get me wrong here, its fun to speculate. As wrestling fans, that’s kind of our thing.

But it’s not really a mystery as much at it is a nuisance. Why does WWE continue to go this route, when it’s obviously not working all that well? For that matter, why does WWE insist on booking babyface stars against each other when that never works at all?

Fans need someone to hate. There must be a hero and a villain in pro wrestling; it’s the only formula that works. That’s not an old school notion, or an outdated concept, its reality. At its core, pro wrestling is the eternal struggle of good versus evil, and any deviation from that will eventually lose the essence of what the business is.

So AJ is heel. He must be, right? After all, Roman is the primary babyface of this rivalry. He’s the one WWE wants at the top, he’s the one portrayed as the ultimate hero. He fights when his back is against the wall, he faces every challenge head on, and he never gives up. He’s John Cena in riot gear.

Roman is the face of the new WWE, and he’s the one that the company believes is best suited to lead them to the future. Roman is the man. This means that anyone who faces him is the heel by default, because WWE can’t allow him to be anything other than a babyface.

But like Cena, Roman is booed out of the building. It happens in nearly every town WWE travels to. It happens in other countries WWE travels to. It happens so often, it’s practically become part of his entrance music. If the crowd could find a way to incorporate “Roman sucks” as a sing-along chant, they would.

No matter what he does, he can’t win the fans over. He’s never the most popular guy in the ring, and he always looks as though he’s ready to kill someone. If you spent your day on the job getting booed, you would probably look like that too. Roman is one spear away from turning back to the dark side, and the fact that he’s this close should be a major concern for WWE.

So AJ is babyface. He must be. Of the two men, AJ is cheered. He has kept his edge but he’s done it the right way, while still playing to the crowd. It’s obvious he’s going for the positive response, and every time he’s crossed paths with Roman, he happens to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

It’s a case of awkward spots, filled with distractions, and constant attacks. Every time it looks as though AJ and Roman will perhaps have a straight up confrontation, it all goes to pieces. They can’t inhabit the same space at the same time without some type of controversy. The funny part is none of it is really their fault.

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So Anderson and Gallows are the heels. Well, of course they are. Isn’t that the point? That’s the answer to the mystery here right? While WWE tries to distract us with talk of whose side AJ is on, the fact is it’s his Bullet Club buddies that are really causing all the trouble.

Extreme Rules is going to happen, and AJ is going to bring the fight to Roman. The two men will wrestle, they will brawl, and they will try to kill each other. Styles will be faced with an opportunity to win, but when that happens, Anderson and Gallows will step in and stop him. That’s the point here, and it probably has been the entire time.

So AJ is babyface, and so is Roman. Fans are good with the former, but not the latter. That’s the reality of WWE, and it’s probably not going to change any time soon. Yes it’s all a bit silly. But at least it’s fun. It is fun right?

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Tom Clarkhttps://tomclarksmainevent.libsyn.com
Tom Clark can regularly be found on Camel Clutch Blog. His podcast, Tom Clark's Main Event, is available on iTunes, Google Play, Amazon Android, Windows Phone and online at https://tomclarksmainevent.libsyn.com/


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