Vince McMahon allegedly booked top star to lose at WrestleMania to see his reaction
Former WWE producer Arn Anderson believes Vince McMahon bookedAJ Styles to lose against Chris Jericho at WrestleMania 32 to see how Styles reacted.
In January 2016, Styles made his WWE debut in the Royal Rumble match. Three months later, he was expected to pick up a statement-making victory over Jericho at WrestleMania. However, Vince McMahon decided to book Jericho as the winner instead.
Speaking on his ARN podcast, Anderson said the WWE Chairman wanted to gauge Styles’ real-life reaction to his character’s storyline setback.
“Of course, of course [Vince McMahon booked Styles to lose to see his reaction]. Not the fact that you slow down his progress and ability to help the company. I never saw anybody, Conrad [podcast host Conrad Thompson], let me just make this statement. I never saw anybody in the history of my time in this business that lost his way into getting over. Name one. Any historians out there, name one and I will gladly bow my head and go, ‘I stand corrected.’”
Anderson previously said Styles would have been a good pick to win the 2016 WWE Royal Rumble instead of Triple H.
Arn Anderson thinks Vince McMahon stalled AJ Styles’ progress
In his first WWE year, AJ Styles defeated John Cena at SummerSlam 2016 before winning the WWE Championship from Dean Ambrose at Backlash 2016. Despite those victories, Arn Anderson believes The Phenomenal One could have had more success if Vince McMahon allowed him to defeat Chris Jericho.
“You have to win and you have to get momentum and you have to be in some wars and you have to earn your way and you have to beat some guys that you’re not supposed to beat to be in a position to draw money, and all this did is stall AJ Styles, I think, who a lot of people would say is as good as there is.”
Five years on from his WWE debut, AJ Styles is currently preparing to join forces with another debutant at WrestleMania 37. The two-time WWE Champion will team up with Omos to challenge The New Day’s Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods for the RAW Tag Team Championship.