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By Ciaran-James @TheCiaranJames
On Monday night RAW we saw the first glimpse of the rumoured alliance between Samoa Joe & Kevin Owens, the two assisted one another as they fought off Chris Jericho & Sami Zayn. It seems that the rumours may be true, however either Joe, Owens or Triple H have come out and publicly acknowledged it. Right now KO is locked into a personal feud with Jericho and Triple H will most probably end up brawling with Seth Rollins which leaves Joe out in the cold. If WWE are going to pursue with this NXT/Alliance then WWE would be wise to reintroduce Finn Balor as the surprise opponent for Samoa Joe, this would give Wrestlemania an extra special bonus of having two top performers in a marque singles match. Not only does it serve a purpose for one night but it sets up months of storyline’s after Wrestlemania, it could even possibly set up Triple H/Finn Balor match for WM34. My feeling is that Joe will unfortunately be left at the mercy of the Andre Battle Royal, which for someone of his stature would be a huge waste.
Okay so we all know Styles has been lined up to face Shane McMahon since the turn of the year, but really is it a match we actually want to witness? Last year Shane and Undertaker took multiple shortcuts to tell their story, then at Survivor Series Shane somehow survived serious injury after taking a vicious looking spear from Roman Reigns. Styles can have a good match with the majority of wrestlers, the difference with Shane is that he is not a wrestler and therefore a huge question looms over whether or not he can hang with AJ. The feud with Shane has on TV been quite compelling, it’s built slowly and you could see all the pieces coming together until it blew up after Smackdown on Tuesday night. To make it even more interesting I believe Shane should pick someone to represent him, they could work in a narrative where Shane for the sake of his family doesn’t want to risk his health and future. Therefore the most obvious choice is Shinsuke Nakamura, it’s been known since January that Vince wants to rival the Kenny Omega/Okada match from Wrestle Kingdom, and with Styles & Nakamura he can do that.
A long shot I know, but just think of the reaction if Angle made a return on April 2nd, like Nakamura, Kurt could be a worthy opponent for Styles and storyline wise Shane could be seen to trust him due to their past. Even in 2017 when motivated Kurt Angle can turn back the years, he has also publicly declared his intention to keep wresting and has stated Styles as one of his most favourite opponents. Styles also poses a safe bet for Kurt, he’s safe, trustworthy and can work with anyone, as evident in their matches with TNA their (pardon the pun) styles go together. As much as WWE work safer now and take care of talent, it’s surely only a matter of time before Angle steps foot back in the ring, I mean he’s still working physically demanding matches but works more intelligently. In WWE with a Brock like schedule Kurt could easily go on wrestling for 18/24 months without the worry of having to make dates, in WWE he could pick and choose opponents and work his style.
The first Universal Champion recently made a physical return to NXT after nearly eight months out of action, soon after that physicality WWE announced him for several live dates leading up to Mania. As already stated Balor could easily return and instigate a feud with Samoa Joe, which would make the road to Wrestlemania even more interesting. The “Demon” has since his debut on Monday nights been the face the RAW brand has been looking for, from his mesmerising ring entrance to highly technical matches and pleasant demeanour he is who a company would build around for a brighter future. Balor has all the qualities Roman Reigns lacks to be that top face on RAW, if he was to return to oppose Joe, Owens and finally Triple H the audience would flip a lid and welcome him back with open arms. I am all for a building a return, but it Balor is match ready and healthy then why keep a talent such as him off the show? With matches starting to be scheduled there is room and time for Finn to wrestle on the biggest show of the year.