The first WWE SmackDown Live of 2018 will kickoff with a bang on Tuesday night.
WWE announced on Saturday that WWE Champion AJ Styles will face Sami Zayn in a non-title match on the show. This will be the first singles match between the two stars in a WWE ring.
On last week's edition of SmackDown, Styles wrestled Kevin Owens and lost. While it looked like Styles was on his way to victory, a distraction from Shane McMahon and Sami Zayn cost him the match.
WWE's official announcement for Styles vs. Zayn reads as follows.
WWE Champion AJ Styles and Sami Zayn will square off in a non-title match on SmackDown LIVE this Tuesday night. The battle marks the first time these two Superstars will battle one-on-one on the blue brand, though these two have been no strangers to one another in recent weeks.
When the two match combatants last crossed paths, The Phenomenal One found his name in the loss column after a distraction by Zayn led Kevin Owens to a shocking victory on the final SmackDown LIVE of 2017. The result left Zayn & Owens celebrating on the entrance ramp while Styles engaged in a testy confrontation with SmackDown LIVE Commissioner Shane McMahon.
If given a good amount of television time, this could end up being one of the better SmackDown matches in quite some time. Zayn and Styles are two of the best performers between the ropes, and they are certainly capable of putting on a classic.
This match will start out what should be a huge month for the WWE champion Styles, culminating with the Royal Rumble where he will likely defend his title. At the conclusion of the Rumble, we should have a fairly good idea of whether Styles will end up carrying his title into WrestleMania or not.