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The WWE champ is a supporting character in his own program

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Tables, Ladders & Chairs Match for the WWE Championship

Their match at WWE’s Sun., Dec. 20 PPV will be the first time Drew McIntyre and AJ Styles go one-on-one. That hasn’t really been the main focus of their storyline, however.

The Road to TLC

After a series of qualifying matches the week before, on Nov. 30 Styles, Keith Lee, and Matt Riddle faced off in a Triple Threat to determine who would challenge McIntyre at TLC. A Phenomenal Forearm to Riddle earned AJ a chance to become a three-time WWE champion.

An hour later, Styles and his bodyguard Omos were ringside for a tag match between Drew & his buddy Sheamus and The Miz & John Morrison.

Miz recently won the Money in the Bank briefcase from Otis. He and AJ entered into a kind-of alliance. They’ll work together when it suits them, but they’re both bad guys who want the belt, so it doesn’t always suit them. It makes for an interesting wrinkle to what otherwise wouldn’t be a very suspenseful story. Both men are compelling performers and future Hall of Famers. But the Phenomenal One is in the twilight of his career, and WWE’s made it pretty clear they don’t see the A-Lister as a top of the card guy.

Those aren’t all the pieces in play here, though. Sheamus was a heel not too long ago, and most fans have been waiting for him to betray his Scottish pal from the moment they shared a scene. After a malfunction at the junction in a two-on-three handicap match on Dec. 7, the two bro(ugh)s kicked each other’s arses for a while before making up.

Also around this picture is Keith Lee. The Limitless has been presented as a friend of Drew since his call-up, and he’s confronted the Celtic Warrior about his intentions on multiple occasions.

On the go home show this past Monday, Sheamus tangled with Styles, Lee fought Miz & Morrison in a handicap match, and AJ closed the show in a segment with the champ. In all three instances, the heels used their numbers advantage to get the upper hand. None of the good guys showed up to help any of the other good guys.

It makes for a lot of moving parts.

What’s at stake

And that’s good, because we wouldn’t give Styles or Miz much of a chance otherwise. And in theory, this sets up a bunch of different storyline options on the other side of TLC.

It’s also kind of a bummer, though. McIntyre’s largely been a “shut up and fight” character this year. It’s been great for him, and nice for fans who’ve long wanted WWE to give us a badass babyface champ who isn’t also a jerk. A straight-up angle where he and the legendary Styles just want to prove who’s the better man could have been great.

But that’s not what we’re getting. Instead it will be a no disqualification match that could feature involvement or run-ins from up to five different wrestlers, a heel turn and a cash-in.

Chaos it is then!


Who will win?

This poll is closed

  • 23%
    AJ Styles
    (75 votes)
  • 76%
    Drew McIntyre
    (241 votes)
316 votes total Vote Now