AJ Styles Has Arrived
Guys. AJ Styles is in WWE. That is an insane statement. One of the stand out stars in pretty much the only company that the WWE behemoth point blank refuses to acknowledge, the chances of the Phenomenal One entering the big leagues seemed about as slim as Donald Trump ever being considered sane. When his contract with TNA initially ran out a few years ago, I wrote vociferously about how WWE should snap him up immediately. It didn’t happen, and although not at all surprised, I was livid at the vision WWE lacked. Now, with the advent of a number of top independent stars forging their paths initially on NXT and then on the main roster, the company’s stance on recruitment has altered dramatically. My 2014 article has suddenly seen me heralded as a soothsayer, with Styles debuting at the Royal Rumble to a rapturous response, just as I predicted years ago. Aside from my delight at being a proven oracle, having Styles finally make the transition poses a couple of interesting questions.
Firstly, what will Style’s role in the company be? His move set is incredible, his mic work is solid and he is both a great face and heel. Terrible haircut aside, these qualities are Championship worthy, especially with an injury list as long as Jericho’s 1004 holds leaving a gaping chasm in the roster. But what will Vince want to do? He has a knack of burying talent who made their name outside of his company. It’s essentially a game to him, but a game in which he owns the board, the dice, the cards and all the other players. If the boss can ignore his grievances, there’s money to be made from Styles. Seeing him at the Rumble made my mouth water. Granted, I’d guzzled enough pretzels to significantly reduce the sea’s salt content, but watching him in the ring surrounded by an array of WWE talent got my mind racing with the possibilities of who he could face in the future. He’s already taken down Chris Jericho and Curtis Axel, not that the latter was a bout I’d been salivating over, but the idea of Styles v Owens, or Ambrose, or Rollins, or Cesaro, or Neville, or Zayn or even John Cena… How could any self-proclaimed wrestling fan not moan in ecstasy at the thought?
Despite Vince’s potential issues, in his first week on board, AJ Styles has been made to look like a star. And that’s important. He had sweet entrance music and pyro for his Rumble debut, he’s beaten future Hall Of Famer and first ever Undisputed Champion Chris Jericho and finally performed the Styles Clash for the first time on Curtis ‘Charisma Void’ Axel. It’s a strong start. Dare I say, a perfect start. What more could he hope for in his first three appearances? His push made me wonder what Samoa Joe must be feeling at this moment in time. Joe has been excellent on NXT, but he has the same high calibre as Styles. The big Samoan must be gutted that Styles is in the role he could’ve easily taken. Was it bad timing on Joe’s part to join WWE when he did, or has his position in the company forged the path that has allowed Styles to walk it? Joe has undoubtedly helped the developmental talent down in Orlando, and given us a great programme with Finn Balor, but you’ve got to assume he’d rather have been up on the main roster. Until his fellow TNA alumni joined WWE, it had appeared as if Samoa Joe would never transition to the main roster, but now I’m not so sure. The story of Joe taking out Styles writes itself. Styles was immediately given the opportunity to succeed at the Rumble and on Raw and Smackdown, whereas Joe was sent to NXT. It’s disrespectful. It’s a damn outrage! Cue an intense feud and a bunch of PPV quality matches. That being said, could you ever imagine AJ Styles v Samoa Joe on a WWE PPV? My imagination is pretty impressive, hell, I’m paid handsomely to use it, but it’s tough to contemplate. Again, will Vince ever let this fly? Surely it’d be a middle finger up to TNA – we have your biggest ever stars, on our PPV, and are making more money out of them than you ever could. Genius. Or will Vince see it as a concession that TNA can make WWE PPV quality stars?
It’s still early for AJ, but it looks increasingly likely he’ll make the Wrestlemania bill, which in itself is remarkable. He’s been booked strongly so far, and if it continues, he could hang about on the upper levels of the card for some time. If that happens, everyone’s a winner. Except TNA.
Tags: AJ Styles, Break The Walls Down, Samoa Joe, VInce McMahon