AJ Styles was one of the most respected and talented wrestlers in the world long before he became a WWE superstar, but since he debuted at the Royal Rumble he's ascended the ladder a lightning speed, and mostly as a heel.
That's why it is surprising to hear that a planned face turn is in the works, but then again, it isn't specific when that face turn might take place. Four3Four.com (via Sportskeeda) is reporting that a turn is coming sooner than later, as he is expected to be a babyface by next year's Wrestlemania 33.
Since becoming a heel, Styles still manages to get a raucous reaction from crowds and seems as over as he was when he debuted. WWE is looking to build on that with an eventual face turn, especially as John Cena continues to lighten his in-ring load. Those sources also spotlight a lack of true babyfaces for him to work with, as he's already faced the face that runs the place John Cena and the lunatic fringe Dean Ambrose. The other faces on the Smackdown Live roster consist of Apollo Crews, Dolph Ziggler, and Randy Orton, and aside from Orton, those just aren't on the level of his last two feuds.
Turning face would open the possibilities up a bit, allowing him to feud with Bray Wyatt and the Wyatt family, a heel Orton, and The Miz, a program that would be fantastic just based on promos alone. Honestly, though, to get the most of his face run a trade would need to be made from RAW to Smackdown Live, shaking up the rosters for some fresh feuds.
A typical concern of turning someone heel is their merchandise sales, which often take a hit or soar depending on how over they are with the audience. Styles hasn't had that difficulty thus far, as during his heel run he's managed to be among the top merchandise sellers on the roster. Turning him babyface would only bolster that reach.
We'll just have to wait and see what happens, but with the WWE, that plan can always change, and often times does.