Wrestler Retrospect: AJ Styles

I remember it like it was yesterday.

Okay, so my memory isn't THAT good.  I still remember it pretty well.

I was in the crowd at the Idaho Center Arena.  My voice mostly gone at that point.  I had already seen Samoa Joe, which was one of the main wrestlers I wanted to see, so everything else was icing on the cake at that point.

Then "Get Ready to Fly" hit.

AJ Styles' theme song.

The roar grew deafening.

I watched AJ, the Legends Champion at the time, face off against his real life best friend Christopher Daniels.  The match was everything I'd ever wanted to see if I'd had the chance to attend a live event. There had been a main event after that match, but to me I was watching the real main event right then.

AJ finished Christopher Daniels with his finisher, the Styles Clash, a move he invented, and it was amazing.  The two men finished the match with a handshake and a hug I think.  Then Daniels then lead the crowd in a round of happy birthday to AJ.  Not only was I able to see AJ Styles, the man was performing on his birthday.  I was in heaven.

Later, while in line to take a picture with Team 3D (Also known as the Dudleys) I walked past AJ.  I actually had the nerve to tap him on the shoulder and tell him happy birthday in person.  He thanked me and I was beaming.  I was also able to get his autograph later, which only capped off a memorable night.

AJ Styles had been the face of TNA for the better part of twelve years.  He had been there since the beginning.  I know when I had first been introduced to TNA by my friend Josh that AJ had been one of the highlights that kept me coming back.  His "Phenomenal" nickname was well deserved.   Even though he was most associated with the X-Division at the point I started watching, AJ was a heavyweight contender.  He could hit opponents with power moves and then turn around and fly off the top rope and have you in awe.  He was a well rounded wrestler.

I think when I started watching he had already held that Heavyweight title and was TNA's first grand slam winner, meaning he'd won every title he could contend for.

That was just in TNA!

I thought the end of his run with TNA was kind of disappointing.  Not because of what AJ was doing. I thought he was close to the top of his form, but because it was cut short.  He wasn't being treated right by the company.  They put him in the title picture after a great story line that saw him do almost a Sting type gimmick, where he didn't talk and you couldn't tell what side he was on and he was attacking everybody!  It wasn't enough to keep AJ.

He eventually moved on to the independent circuit, where his popularity began to grow, if that was possible.  He led a stable called the Bullet Club in Japan and had a great run.

WWE finally came calling though.  Styles was an anomaly when it comes to WWE recently.  He was signed with WWE and instead of going to NXT, WWE's development brand which is common with a new signee, he went straight to the main roster.

I was at my buddy Chris' house when he debuted.  There were rumors that he might debut in the Royal Rumble, but some very convincing stories had came out debunking that.rumor.  When number three was set to make his entrance, an unfamiliar theme hit.  Like Roman Reigns, who was in the ring, Chris and I had a confused look on our face.  It was when the screen read "I am Phenomenal" that Chris, I, and the entire Amway arena came unglued.  I yelled so loud I got a dirty look from a few in the room.

It was hard to get me to pop that loud anymore.  With the internet everything is ruined before it actually happens.  I was glad it hadn't been that night though.

AJ spent quite a bit of time in the match before being eliminated by Kevin Owens.  It was a sweet debut.  He's has had an amazing run in WWE so far.  Before hitting his first year with the company he's already captured the WWE title and doing some of the best heel work I've seen from him.  Pretty amazing if you ask me, but very well deserved.  AJ is an exceptional wrestler that's earned every accolade he's accomplished.  Whether a babyface or a heel he remains simply....


What?  Did you think I was going to say Phenomenal?