Although neither AJ Styles nor Shinsuke Nakamura ended up with the briefcase at this year's Money in the Bank PPV, both NJPW stalwarts-turned SmackDown Live Superstars seemed to be hinting at a future feud and/or match. And while that might not be happening this month at SummerSlam, we now have it straight from the Phenomenal One himself — he wants to face the King of Strong Style at WrestleMania 34, possibly with the WWE Championship up for grabs.
Earlier this week, AJ Styles appeared at a Q&A session at Wizard World Columbus, initially naming Finn Balor as the man he’d like to face at WrestleMania 34 in April of 2018. But given the fact that Styles works for SmackDown Live, while Balor competes for Monday Night RAW, a match against the Demon King might not be the most plausible option, assuming both men remain on the same brand come WrestleMania season next year. As such, Styles believes that Shinsuke Nakamura would be a much better choice of an opponent at next year’s ‘Mania, as it serves as his “best chance (of) getting into that main event picture” at WWE’s Show of Shows.
As further reported by Sportskeeda, Styles also wants Nakamura to win the WWE Championship at SummerSlam, which could set up a title match at WrestleMania. On the Aug. 1, 2017 episode of SmackDown Live, Nakamura defeated John Cena in a number one contender match for Jinder Mahal’s WWE Championship at SummerSlam, which takes place on Aug. 20, 2017, at the Barclays Center. Styles, meanwhile, will be defending his United States Championship against Kevin Owens, with SmackDown Live Commissioner Shane McMahon as a special guest referee.
Should AJ Styles get his WrestleMania 34 dream match, this won't be the first time he will cross paths with Shinsuke Nakamura. As mentioned above, both men worked for New Japan Pro Wrestling prior to joining WWE, with Styles having led the popular Bullet Club stable from 2014 to 2016. AJ lost to Nakamura in his final NJPW match at Wrestle Kingdom 10, before getting kicked out of the Bullet Club in storyline and joining WWE.
By the looks of things, there is a solid chance we'll be seeing AJ Styles vs Shinsuke Nakamura at WrestleMania 34, and having that match for the WWE Championship isn't the least bit implausible. If Nakamura wins the belt from Mahal at SummerSlam, he could drop it at some point via cash-in from Baron Corbin. The Lone Wolf can then lose his WWE title to Styles at a future pay-per-view, possibly no later than next year's Royal Rumble, and by then, WWE can start building toward Styles vs. Nakamura at 'Mania.
The above scenario is purely based on fantasy booking, but given both men's experience, skill, and popularity with the fans, it's just the kind of main-event the WWE Universe would want to see at 'Mania. Still, knowing how Vince McMahon thinks, there's a good chance he's got different ideas for WrestleMania 34's main event, ideas that might not revolve around two longtime faves among the smart fans.