July 5, 2006 by Jason "XtremeFalls" Simmons
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In 2002 TNA wrestling was born and the company has been running since then through thick and thin. While the wrestling business has struggled to regain its self since the deaths of WCW and ECW two companies have come through the dust of there deaths and have chances to take there places. ROH and TNA have both become the 2nd and 3rd promotions in the United States and they have had a couple of standouts. One young man who stood out was a man by the name of AJ Styles. While he has flourished in the new era of wrestling I’ve noticed a lot of holes in this wrestling god.
I know while I’m writing this is the likelihood is that many smarks will disagree with this and say I’m a WWE loving mark. However just to dispute this go read my older columns and you will understand I’m not. Now to understand my points in this column I think I have to talk about the history of AJ Styles since 2001. It’s been a long road with a mostly and upside which is hard to do in wrestling.
Its about 2001 with WCW starting to die AJ Styles debuted on TV for the WWE Cruiserweight tag team title tournament with Air Paris. After an impressive showing the team was gone from the promotion after WCW was sold to the WWE. Styles was eventually offered a WWE developmental deal but he turned it down because he didn’t want to move. So until 2002 Styles floated around the wrestling promotions until he started to work for TNA and ROH. Styles quickly stood out for the promotions even winning the X-Division and Tag Team titles in the first couple of weeks in TNA. Styles eventually wound up winning the Pure Title in ROH and the first Triple Crown winner in TNA.
After his run with ROH many wrestling websites and internet smarks started to praise AJ Styles as the greatest wrestler in the industry today. Now by this point I’d seen AJ Styles and thought he was OK but nothing special. However I started to watch his TNA work where again he was praised and put over to no end by smarks and the internet sites. So while I was watching his work I was slowly less impressed by this so called wrestling god. No matter how you put it AJ Styles is not some bullet-proof wrestler who is perfection in the ring. So now I want to make it very clear why I think The Phenomenal AJ Styles is phenomenally overrated.
One the biggest things in wrestling is you need a character. Styles however does not have a character and he and TNA make less effort every year to create one for him. If you were to ask me what his character is I couldn’t tell you. He if anything is a highflying face, which isn’t going to sell T-shirts. The only time they even gave him a gimmick was when he was a cocky heel and that didn’t even last very long. The point is you’re not going to sell merchandise when you’re a colorless face who may be over but has not catchphrase or gimmick.
Also AJ Styles’ microphone work is downright horrible and embarrassing whenever he is on the microphone. I heard for almost a year that his promos were just a product of TNA but once I watched an ROH Interview I realized that this guy couldn’t cut a promo to save his life. Most of his promos he stumbles over words or repeats himself or sounds like a 7 year old having a fit with his parents. Now this could probably be easily fixed with a manager of some sorts to talk for him but TNA doesn’t seem to have any reason to do that for him. Say what you want about Vince McMahon but the guy does respect the art of a promo and unlike TNA most people who can’t talk don’t get the microphone. When you’re pushing someone as hard as you have pushed AJ Styles over the past 4 years TNA should at least have Styles talk with a manager. However to be fair to AJ Styles who in TNA can really cut a half decent promo besides former WWE and WCW guys? The answer is not many.
AJ Styles as a worker is the biggest problem I have with this guy. The fact of the matter is AJ Styles is nothing more then a no selling stunt show. The guy rarely truly wrestles and according to the so-called internet smarks that’s what we really want to see. Styles ring psychology is non-existent and at times you truly wonder what is the point of certain moves he does. Take Jake the Snake Roberts and Arn Anderson for example, they weren’t the biggest or the flashiest but they got over being awesome promo men and great psychological workers.
The point of good psychology is you don’t want to keep topping all the moves you have done through out the match. What Styles should try to do is work up to the big spots instead of everything being big spots. The style AJ works not only burns out the crowd but also eventually will burn out the wrestler. Now I’m not huge wrestling genius but not selling moves and not using much ring psychology is not great wrestling now matter what you try to say. So here is my question, how does this make AJ Styles some wrestling god like the Internet media and smarks would lead you to believe?
The answer is he’s overrated by smarks. Many of these fans don’t have a clue what real wrestling truly is and just make statements about what they think it is. Also many of these so called wrestling genius are the marks who years back thought Jeff Hardy was an awesome wrestler. The fact of the matter is most of these people see Styles doing these awesome flips and think he’s the greatest thing on the planet. While Style does have talent, to say he is one of the greatest wrestlers in the business show just how important certain Internet fans and media opinions really matter.
Now you can say what you want about AJ Styles because in my opinion he is an overrated stunt show. Now that doesn’t mean he doesn’t have any talent but I think the guy needs to stop being praised as some awesome wrestler because straight up at best he’s a decent worker.
Thanks for reading, and feedback negative or positive will be answered.
by Jason Simmons [View Jason's Column Index]..
Finally, someone who agrees with me. While AJ has gotten better over the past few years, he's remained in the same ideology that has driven so many others, and that is that the spot is the important thing. While, granted, he does some amazing things, he does them too much. I have only ever agreed with Hudson on one thing, and that was what he said early-on about AJ, "They're playing 'Can You Top This!'" That is what an AJ match feels like. Thank you for saying something.
Mr. Garrett wrote:
One of the first things I remember hearing when TNA debuted on Spike TV was Mike Tenay claim that Styles was ""perhaps the greatest athlete to ever step foot into a wrestling ring". Given that one statement and all the evidence out there, I am left to agree for the most part that he is over-rated.
Cory B. wrote:
What r u smokin? first of all AJ Styles cuts a pretty decent Promo and Hvae u ever heard of bret hart? really what sort of Gimmick did hart have other then being a cocky guy with cool shades? and if Styles can't sell T-shirts how come his is the best selling TNA Merchandise? And I have never and I mean never seen AJ Styles burn out a crowd hekeeps them screaming from start to finish. and I'm sorry but since when has being a great preformer who can captivate an audience a bad thing?Also Aj Sryles is the Face of the X-Division so what's the problem with having a style that isn't the same as that of everyone else. yes it's true he does rarely wrestle but when he does he does it as well as just about anyone out there. He also sells moves just fine did u watch his victory over Jeff Jarret at Hard Justice 2005? he did a great job selling and working a different style. Next time you decide to rundown a great make sure everything you r saying is legit
Tyric Thompson wrote:
I must agree with this topic. Most of the matches I've seen Styles in has at least 1 flying tope. All his moves just seem point less because there is barely any wrestling really going on. He has no character, no psychology, and just a stunt man. Big Dave was right about everything he said bout AJ. Big dave has psychology and makes every move and every word have a meaning. Very nice topic that sums up my thoughts on AJ too.
I agree with you 100% -- I've always felt exactly the same way about AJ, it's nice to know I'm not alone. He's a GOOD wrestler, but he's not at all great, or 'phenomenal'. He's just ANOTHER IWC fad. I guarantee you that if a popular IWC site was to say that AJ's skills were declining, he would suddenly be as bad as John Cena.
Jose Aguirre wrote:
I hate TNA because it reminds me of WCW, it imitates of all the weird matches and heels being favored no matter what, but AJ Styles is awesome. He might not have mic skills or "in ring psychology," which really doesn't matter anymore, but he can wrestle. If you doubt me go to YouTube.com and search for AJ Styles; all of his matches are great especially the one against Samoa Joe and Christopher Daniels at Unbreakable.
Now if you still don't agree with me then you cannot deny the fact that AJ, Samoa Joe, Christopher Daniels, and Sting(maybe), are helping put TNA on the map. TNA is no longer the top Indy Fed. but is now a company which is about to go National whether I like it or not.
Jon Rosaler wrote:
......What? Are you freakin' kidding me!?? AJ Styles is not Phenominal? He's the greatest thing in TNA right now. TNA are launching new titles, The TNA Television title and the TNA World title. I have a feeling, he will go up for grabs for those titles. He is a great wrestler.
Kevin Hill wrote:
great column. I agree with you there. He has talent but his in ring skills slack. thats why I was always a fan of Chris Jericho (especially in wcw) because in wcw when jericho got time, he made sure that he would get more air time. His promos were classic and his in ring skills were tremendous (better than his stint in wwe in my opinion).
I never have been a fan of the stunt show hot spot matches that you see all over TNA. I do respect their athleticism but not their in ring capabilities.
James Watts wrote:
I'm sorry, but I cannot agree with anything that you've said in this column. AJ Styles is what it says on the tin: Truly Phenomenal.
Nothing that you've said in this column makes any sense to me. I've watched AJ Styles perform many times, and I can safely say that he can wrestle as well as fly. AJ Styles vs. Paul London, AJ Styles vs. Bryan Danielson (American Dragon) and AJ Styles vs. Christopher Daniels were all great matches because they showcased great wrestling. Yes there was the famous flip dive over the top rope, but most of the match was good, classic, hold-for-hold wrestling. AJ wouldn't have won the Pure Title in ROH if he couldn't wrestle.
To say that AJ Styles doesn't sell is crap as well. Have you seen AJ Styles vs. Abyss? AJ bumps around for the big man and sells a back injury. What about AJ Styles vs. Chris Sabin vs. Petey Williams in Ultimate X? AJ caught his arm in one of the steel girders and sells an arm injury. He can and does sell.
A lot of "great" wrestlers were crappy on the mic. Hulk Hogan himself just shouted a lot of nonsense. Stone Cold Steve Austin spoke a lot of garbage until the infamous "an' that's the bottom line.." quote. You don't need to be good on the mic to be great in wrestling (though admittedly it does help).
And whilst I may be a mark, I never thought Jeff Hardy was a great wrestler.
Jesse Lee wrote:
Now, I've enjoyed aspects of any wrestling I can catch. WWE, TNA, ROH (only four matches,) ECW, WCW, and NOAH so really, I don't think I could be called a "WWE-loving mark." However, I have to agree a bit with this column in that Styles is over-rated.
When it comes to no-selling, he's as guilty as the undertaker (whom smarks love to pounce on when he doesn't go down for a chair.) When it comes to ring psychology, I don't think I have a right to say anything because each person has their own definition of such a term. Where to me it's setting the match up with moves that will make the finish seem realistic and legit (such as focusing on the back throughout the match with sideslams, backbreakers, and scoop slams to end it with a powerbomb or something.) However, another view of ring psychology is to keep the fans wanting more.
My view of Styles is just like what ECW (the original) did. While some people are drawn to the big guys, some are drawn to the technical ones, AJ Styles draws those who enjoy watching "fancy flips." His credit is deserved as being someone who can draw in fans who hear of his abilities and 9 times out of 10, they'll stay to watch the whole show or him. (I however, was rather disappointed after watching his matches, I personally like Christopher Daniels a lot more. (Although some could argue no real differences between the two.)
Neil, from Manchester, England wrote:
this is an interesting well written article, however i can't say i agree with your opinion. admittedly some of the kudos that flies round for aj can get a bit much but personally i think he (along with many other tna stars) is one of the most exciting things to happen to professional wrestling in some time.
his mic skills may be under par, but as you pointed out, smarks all over the world (and internet) absolutely love him. but then you say he is not going to get over because of poor mic skills. if he is so loved then i'd say he already is completely over.
you're absolutely right in that he doesn't have a character, but the way i see it, most young wrestlers don't have characters either, beyond being an athlete and wanting to succeed. i don't think this is so much a reflection of anything aj is doing wrong - more a reflection of the direction that professional wrestling is taking. a prime example is with the success of roh. wrestling fans nowadays (smarks at least) don't need gimmicky characters and absurd storylines to get into wrestling feuds. they're happy to watch talented wrestlers ply their trade in the ring and watch a good match. admittedly storylines and a certain level of character are necessary but i'd say by today's standards aj has enough character.
he's just a face that fans love to watch, they love him because they know they're going to enjoy his matches.
regarding his in ring work, i certainly wouldn't say he's a no-seller. road warriors no sold, as did early undertaker. the fact that aj is often booked to win doesn't make him a no seller.
perhaps his in ring psychology isn't up there with the greats, but comparing him to jake roberts and arn anderson isn't valid as it is a whole new world now. modern wrestling fans wouldn't sit through that kind of match these days.it's an outdated style that just doesn't cut it. for me aj was at the forefront of the style of pro wrestling we see today.
i agree that he's not the best all round professional wrestler, but when it comes down to watching a wrestling match he'll always be in my top 5.
anyway, enjoyed your column.
Pascal Theimer wrote:
Okay let me get this straight. You column is nice written but your missing some facts. 1st i got to admit that your right with his Mic skills, he isn´t that Phenomenal at this part of wrestling.
But after all i read in you column you never mentioned his time that AJ spend in Japan. He had great Matches and I mean great Wrestling Matches. You say he is just a stunt Show??? Bang wrong. He can work a match to the big point. He has great ability at Mat and Chain Wrestling and can put effort in a Match like no other. You see Problems with the Wrestling God???? I don´t say that he is one, but for me at the moment there is no one you actually could put in this Spot. There is a change in Wrestling the up and coming Promotions proof it. People are a little bored of WWE Story based kind of Wrestling so from this point I understand why many younger people say AJ is a Wrestling God. Yeah why not, he is an amazing Athlete and the kids want to see him High Flying, so he gives what the crowd wants and nothing Wrong with that.
I mean the People love him for 4 years now, and they will love him in the next 4 years. I mean you as a WWE fan be honest are you bored of Ric Flair doing his Chop thing over and over again, i don´t think so. Are you over with HHH getting every damn Title Shot he don´t deserve nah come on. Do you dislike these big Guys like Great Khali comming squashing Cruiserweights and finally getting their as Kicked out of the WWE from the Undertaker DON´T THINK SO. What the people love in the WWE, they will love forever if you are a true fan (i am one believe me). So what Hulk Hogan for WWF/E is AJ Styles for TNA. Someone who will do his thing over and over again but always will be Loved by the people. And hey Jeff Hardy is great, just wanted to mention it ;)
Martin Wynne wrote:
I am by no means a TNA Fanboy although i do appreciate it as an alternative to WWE and hope it becomes serious competition in the near future, especially after the weak Raw presented this week. I have to disagree with your thoughts and comments on Mr. Styles however. I admit I have only been watching TNA for about a year but i have always come away impressed and entertained by AJ's matches. He has fun, fast paced matches with all comers and plays an important role in the make up of TNA. He can pull a good match out of a bad opponent and a brilliant match if stuck with a great worker.
Whilst he may not be the best talker on the mic, he does exhude a certain level of charisma in his actions that makes you just want to cheer the guy. RVD is on par with AJ on the mic but still gets a fair deal of mic time off Vin Man. I believe if he works hard enough on his mic skills and character, he could go down as one of the all time greats.
I respect your opinion although i disagree.
good point i hope tna does great.but every match is like one of ajs nothing but high spots no ring psychology whatsoever
Ken from Birmingham, AL wrote:
I guess I don’t read the web as much as I thought. I’ve never heard all of this praise that you are criticizing Styles for receiving. Personally I like Styles but I agree with a lot of the points you made about him. He doesn’t have a distinct character and his mic skills are bland. I mean he is has a dull personality. But his matches aren’t spotfests I’m sorry but I don’t agree with that. They may not have the greatest psychology but they do have some. For example his Iron Man match with Christopher Daniels he continued to sell a rib injury through out the match. But all in all I find his matches very entertaining but personally I’ve always preferred Christopher Daniels. I’m glad they are working together right now because Daniels mic skills can carry them. On a side note I’m just upset that AJ got a 2 disc DVD set while Daniels and Joe only got 1 disk.
Chris D. wrote:
A fire lit under my behind, for lack of a better term, making me stand up and defend the honor of one of the most athletically gifted professional wrestlers of all time and the current reigning (as of this writing) one half of NWA World Tag Team Champions, “The Phenomenal” A.J. Styles.
First of all, you are TOTALLY wrong in your view of A.J. Styles. He has more God-given physical gifts than you or 99% of the population, let alone of wrestlers. He can Spiral Tap you through a table or he can Torture Rack you (even if your 350+ like Abyss), spin you, and powerbomb you. If that's not amazing to you, you can rub one out to Vince's ass.
You talk about psychology? Dave Meltzer, of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter, awarded his X-Division Title Match on September 11, 2005 at Unbreakable with Christopher Daniels and Samoa Joe a full ***** rating. If he was such a spot monkey or even the least bit lazy about the story he was telling out there (ex. HBK vs. Angle at Wrestlemania 21 was good match, but it didn't get that 5 star rating), that match would have never been so well received. Another aspect of his psychology that is disputed by stupid, ignorant, lazy, misinformed marks like Dave Batista (yea, I said it), is his innovative style (pardon the pun). His moves are so different, wild, and unlike what the majority of American fans have seen in this country. He actually WORKS out there. I knows some people don't want to actually do that, but you have acknowledge his work ethic and how he takes years off of his life every time he goes out that ring.
Now, when it comes to how they pushed him and handled him storyline wise through is TNA years, I can admit it. THEY OVERPUSHED AND OVERUSED HIM. Instead of making him a hot commodity subtlety, they put that title on him too fast and too much. You can't build a company around one guy like that so quickly. From day one or two, they were touting him as the next big thing back in Nashville around June 2002. He wasn't even a polished worker yet. That’s Jerry and Jeff’s fault (and Russo’s and Dusty’s). They put there eggs in one basket too quickly. But around late 2003, in my opinion, that’s when the sloppiness totally disappeared. If you look at his TNA debut and him now, those are 2 different workers, and the latter is an ace.
Also, you said he has no character? His character is that he is phenomenal. End of story. He can and will do anything to win the match and please the fans, when he's a face. When he’s a heel (and I do enjoy watching him work that way), he’s a cocky, gum-chewing S.O.B. who believes his own hype and still amazes the fans. Lastly, his character isn't a character in the traditional sense. He doesn't have a mask, doesn't have a flaw that his exploited, or doesn't wear specific color. This isn't a bad thing. The WWE used to be littered with them and one of the most successful character-less character they had was Chris Benoit and I'm sure you don't hate him for not cutting the best promos, do you Jason.
He also gets slighted because of his size. Yes, he's around 5'10 and 210 pounds. He can't fix that (unless he goes on 'roids). I didn't stop Shawn Michaels, Chris Jericho, Chris Benoit, Eddie Guerrero, Kurt Angle, and to a greater extreme, Rey Mysterio from becoming a WWE World Champion. Also, he CAN wrestle. Watch his battles with Daniels, Joe, Raven, Jarrett, Petey Williams, Ron Killings, Chris Sabin, Matt Bentley, Frankie Kazarian, Jerry Lynn, Senshi (as Low Ki) and D' Lo Brown. That's just from TNA. I'm not even starting with his ROH, NWA Wildside, and Japanese matches.
Now, fans like you can't appreciate him because he WAS getting shoved down everyone's throats (a la John Cena today). Now he is a upper mid-carder doing his best in the tag team scene.
In closing, people are naturally resistant to change. That’s why you hate A.J. Styles and that’s part of the reason why I hate John Cena (a very small part; I will elaborate on that in a future article if given the chance to). He represents the direction in which the business is going. “Less talk, more action” is what TNA proclaims. We getting a more athletic driven, Japanese-style, non-generic, innovative, and stylistic product from TNA, ROH, and other promotions across the country. The only people who have seemed not to catch on is the WWE, even when it is drawing ratings and attracting new fans. You see, Jason, the problem is not A.J. Styles or any one wrestles in his style, it’s people who refuse to acknowledge the tidal wave as it approaches.
Finally, someone who agrees with me. While AJ has gotten better over the past few years, he's remained in the same ideology that has driven so many others, and that is that the spot is the important thing. While, granted, he does some amazing things, he does them too much. I have only ever agreed with Hudson on one thing, and that was what he said early-on about AJ, "They're playing 'Can You Top This!'" That is what an AJ match feels like. Thank you for saying something.
While i agree with you on a few things but not AJ Styles being overrated. First off i think the push that TNA gave Styles was a huge downfall to his career, he was like the face of TNA and leap frogged over people who deserved a push like monty brown, petey williams(who could be a great world heavyweight champion) and abyss, not to mention his supposed rival turned tag team partner christopher daniels. TNA is playing out daniels and styles storyline like the RVD sabu storyline of VINTAGE ECW when they were nemesises turned friends. Anyway back to why i agree and disagree with you, first off AJ styles' mic work is bad and he really cant cut a promo, that is why he hardly ever talks anymore because TNA probably noticed this and got him to wrestle more than he speaks, to show what he goin to do more in the ring than just talkin about it. thats really the only thing i agree with you on because i think all the others are just your personal opinions. I personally think that AJ Styles is not the greatest wrestler in the ring but the same can be said for Jeff Hardy and other people who make their name off of high flying stunts and over the top movesets. To me he is not overrated just overly hyped and used by TNA , its obvious that they want him and the othertop young guns to be the future of TNA since the present is filled with old garbage talent like Jeff Jarrett and Scott Steiner. TNA goes about pushing their bright young stars the wrong way, for example AJ Styles' huge push from the opening of TNA to 2005 when he lost the world title to raven at slammiversary. He was the icon the face the it of TNA and that is why now as of late he had been jobbing until just recently he won the tag titles of off the most pushed tag team in the history of wrestling AMW who arent all that good and alittle boring to watch. Simply put TNA goes about things in a backwards way by having AJ Styles win all the time and then job all the time. If they would have made him job in the beginning of his career like most newcomers to a wrestling promotion then people today would not be saying that he is OVERLY OVER-RATED
Kenpei Ryuujin wrote:
Hey, let me be honest, first off, I didn't read your whole article XtremeFalls Simmons, but not because it was a poorly written article, it seemed to whole some merit, but, I'd like to say, that I thought, and maybe I'm the only one who thinks this, that he was TNA's top guy based on him being, himself, I mean, so what he can't cut a promo, I think his matches are awsome, and people seem to think he just "flys" around the ring, but I have seen his best of ROH, and his Best in TNA, DVDs, and he doesn't fly that often, or at least I don't think he does. And besides, you have to admit, he does have a fan following, or else he wouldn't be cheered so much at a TNA or ROH event. I think its OK that you don't or do like, but I just want to give out an opposing view on this topic. He has unique moves, an intensity in the ring, everything any good wrestler should have as far as actual talent for wrestling, but mic skills, I rarly hear him do a promo, and, really I don't care, TNA, I think at times, or at least for some wrestlers, focus a little much on promos, and on a show thats an hour long, probablly need to focus on matches and progressing a storyline than to let a wrestler cut a promo before and after every match they apart of. But thats just me. If AJ can help a company by just wrestling, then maybe he doesn't need a "character" and just put on great matches. Obviously, you like the story behind a wrestling match, me, I'm diffrent, I like wrestling for the wrestling, so I'll continue to be a fan of his and watch him and TNA.
Josh Gosselin wrote:
I am going to have to disagree with you regarding your comments about AJ Styles being overrated. I feel that in a newer company like TNA a new form of wrestling had to be born (X-Division) and that new breed needed a new type of wrestler (AJ Styles). With this new form of wrestling which is still clamoring for attention it needed and still needs wrestlers with flashy new reversals and moves that leave you wondering "how did he do that?" (I still watch the canadian driver and wonder this). However, we are now seeing less of those flashy moves and more of the technicality in these matches. What bothers me about your statement is this, you say he is a bad "wrestler" because he cant push merchandise and he cant cut a promo. But is that what being a good wrestler is? I say no. I say a good wrestler is a wrestler who can perform to a particular level that demands attention from the audience. So what if AJ Styles cant talk in the ring, so what if he cant push the tshirt sales. He shows his worth in the ring and I feel that is what is most important.
Charles Lalonde wrote:
First of all Name any TNA PPV that made the top 20 in the past year with AJ Styles on the card, name 1 match where AJ Styles didn't sell an injury, name 1 time where AJ Styles knew someone could beat him deep down inside and a miracle came and he hits the Styles Clash on a 300+ pound guy (like Abyss at Lockdown 2005) John Cena and HHHs at Wrestlemania 22 was the 3rd highest in the PPV Buyrate as it established 925,000, The top grossing PPV for TNA was established 55,000 PPV buys last January, AJ Styles is suppose to be TNAs top draw but from what I can see Bret Hart can draw more people as WWE Champion than AJ Styles could as Champion of anything
Flacorl from Costa Rica wrote:
A.J. Is a great wrestler and a good athlete. He doesn't have good mic skills, but it doesn't make him better or worse wrestler. I can't believe how some boring asses are called "superstars" in WWE
Bjoern Asprem wrote:
Yes, AJ is horrible on the mic, he hasn't the best charisma or a gimmick that stands out. Yes, he performs spots in his matches, and yes, he may be a little overrated. He is not the savior of wrestling, he is not someone who could, say, go to the E and become World Champion. He is, however, the best athlete in the wrestling business, he can pull of moves and combination of moves that nobody else can do (at least not in North America), and he is always exciting to watch.
Cowboy Venus of the wrestling wasteland of the USA, Montana wrote:
What is this? Oh, I see. This is what the "smart" marks do now to act ahead of the game. People who enjoy AJ now enjoyed Jeff Hardy and must just be completely stupid? Give me a break. People like ME enjoyed RVD. I didn't hear you come down on that cat too much, any reasons? He is essentialy, the same kind of wrestler.
And while we're at it let look at Sabu. Though his recent jump was disapointing, I am not one to question his business decisions. Everything you've said about Styles (with maybe the exception of the no-sell point) was said about Sabu. He was all about the high spots, he couldn't use phsycology to save his life, he wasn't a "real" wrestler. This turned out to be a bunch of garbage, though, seeing how I noticed you didn't even THINK of attacking that guy. The epidiment of self sacrifice in this business, Sabu, love him or hate him, has EARNED his stripes, and no one can question his integridy.
The same can be said about AJ. Need examples? (Of course you guys don't, but I'm gonna throw some out there anyways,) Two, count 'em, TWO amazing iron man matches within a year. Some might say that they wern't "real" Ironman matches because they were only halve an hour, thus showing that the X-Division can't pull off "real" wrestling matches. But wait! If that is true, than I guess Rick Rude and Ricky Steamboat were posers, too since THEIR Ironman bout was only half an hour! Right? Of course not. And the Daniels-Styles matches were everything that is good about TNA wrestling wise. I didn't hear any mention of those matches, maybe because they didn't help strenthen your point. Or maybe (I hope) you just haven't seen enough to really make a strong point of how this man is over-rated.
No in-ring phsycology... hmm... I've noticed a lot of "smart" marks use this all the time when trying to show how a wrestler can't cut it. Which is funny to me, since if they know a ATHLETE like AJ has none, why can't I hear any examples? Just saying "he does a lot of high spots" doesn't cut for me, man. So lets cross this hurdle together, shall we?
Now, whenever "in ring phsycology" is mentioned the name Jake Roberts is always mentioned. Why is that? Not because he had it down to a sceince, but because most fans really don't know what in ring phsycology is, so they mention a few old school guys here and there that have a reputation for that skill. Don't tell me Jake was great until you give me a reason besides: "everything he did made sence". Well... how? Really, how? It should be easy but a lot stumble here. There are many, MANY things that go into phsycology, so I'll list what I alone have gathered, keep in mind I DON'T know everything about this business, but I'm not concieted enough to try to half-a** my way through a debate without bringing SOMETHING to the table:
1: What was "The Snake's" purpose in the ring? Easy. To execute the DDT. So what did he do to make sure that when he hit the move it would be deadly? The move alone wasn't enough, EVERY MOVE BUILDING TO THE DDT COUNTED. The DDT hurts the head. Watch a Jake match and notice that even when throwing a punch, they were all measured as if this punch was more than what it was, it was the beginnings of Jake wearing down that vital spot so the DDT would do its job. The knee lift, sleeper, headlock, all part of Jake's "signature" moveset, now you know why.
2. Another aspect is being aware of the momentum and heat in the crowd. When to be the aggressor and when to get your a** stomped. If you turn the tide at the right moment, the crowd will cheer or jeer that much harder. It takes great awareness to do this consistantly and very few use this, but to name a few: Larry Zybisco, Jimmy Snuka, yes, I hate to say it, Hulk Hogan, Ricky Steamboat, Steve Austin, Bret Hart, but moreso than Bret was Owen (which is why he was a stronger heel), The Rock, as of late Samoa Joe, Daniels, Sting, and yes, watch more of his stuff, AJ Styles. That's part of in-ring phsycology as well, FEELING the crowd and knowing what to do, and what to wait to do.
3. The easiest in this list is of course selling. What is selling though? It really has blurred lately. Selling means making it seem that a move REALLY hurts. Its more than falling pretty, that's called taking a bump, yes, that phrase applies to more than a Mick Foley picnic of pain, ANY move you are takiing is a bump. Selling refers to, oh I don't know, say... the Ultimate X match between Styles, Sabin and Williams? After AJ hurt his arm in case you don't remember, he could climb all the way to the ropes because his arm "STILL HURT". He fell to the mat being just inches away, but because he hurt his arm earlier, he just couldn't cross all the way. Thats an aspect that WWE guys don't even remember about selling 9 out of 10 matches.
4. One last thing that I can think of the whole "in-ring" phsycology is giving the moves. If Jake had ended up husrting something other than the head, he would capitalize on that for the rest of the match, if someone had sprained their ankle, what do you think Jake was going to do?
As for AJ not having a gimmick like the "old-school" guys, well, how old school are we going here? Used to be you were a wrestler, either good or bad, and you were going out there to win win win win. You had a name and you had a move. Even after Gorgeous George hit the scene it took a long time for everyone to catch on. AJ's gimmick is this: No one wrestles like him. And he's the first guy in DECADES who's artillery of "high spots" include such ridiculous moves like, A dropkick! He does that at least once a match, it IS one of his favorites spots. If that isn't old school to get a pop out of the croud for a classic like a dropkick then send me away to be Mr. Pogo's housemaid. Not enough? He has an amazing KNEE DROP too. Sure, he does a lot of flying manuevers, but there is a difference to being a spot junkie and being a master at the X-Division style. Jerry Lynn even said: "There is a right, and wrong way to do it." See the phsycology list above if confused.
I don't care that he isn't the best worker on the mic. In stings blonde heyday his promos were garenteed to be the worst of the night. They truly are unbearable to listen to. At least AJ just sounds like an average guy I'd go bowling with. That can actually appeal to, oh I don't know, NEW and YOUNGER fans. He's not the best mic worker, so what? How many men can do what he does consistantly? He can have a great match with ANYONE. That puts him in the same boat a FLAIR now! Uh-oh. Even Raven, a wrestler who is well known for his fantastic mic work, great in ring ability and phsycology, respects AJ and went to far as to say he likes wrestling him. Raven was trained by Jake Roberts, by the way, so if anyone has a right to judge AJ it would ole' Scotty, don't you?
Bashing on one of the greatest wrestlers of at least MY generation doesn't make you a smart mark. It just show's me that you really don't pay attention. Thank you for your time.
Mike Adams wrote:
Did Dave Batista write this article? What a load of tripe this is. I could understand someone saying that AJ Styles is not that great at cutting promo's. He could definitely stand some work in that department, but to say that AJ Styles is a stunt man who no sells moves and uses no psychology is downright idiotic and comes across as being nothing more than a desperate attack with no basis behind it. AJ is not one of the best seller in the industry, he is not on par with some of the greatest ever, but very few wrestlers are. There is no one in the WWE right now besides Chris Benoit who is fantastic in that department. HHH certainly isn't one of the greatest, Shawn Michaels can oversell like a clown from time to time, Batista (Please!!) Doing the big man head shake when someone hits you with a move is not a good sell. AJ Styles is certainly on par with just about everyone in the WWE as far as selling and ring psychology goes. What he does fits with his style, which is not all about highspots, and anyone who thinks that needs to get a tape library of TNA and ROH matches with AJ Styles in them and watch. Talk about someone being a horrible seller and lacking psychology and having no mic skills and you have to look no further than Former WWE/ECW champion Rob Van Dam. Yet there are actually people who think he is underrated.
AJ Styles is not overrated, he simply is what he is. He is one of the best young wrestlers in the business today.
Lucas B. wrote:
I cannot believe so many people have written in to support the garbage in this article. AJ Styles is hands down the most gifted wrestling in the business today. You hear people like Batista and Randy Orton go on about wrestling being about story telling, excuse me how many wrestling matches have you seen that is about story telling? Once in a while there is a match that has great story telling and this adds to the match and leaves a lasting impression (such as Hart vs. Austin WM13), but these matches are very rare.
The reasons wrestlers like Batista go one about story telling is because it’s the only way to cover up their lack of talent. Batista has no wrestling talent whats so ever, he only knows a few moves, he has no psychology and his mic skills are rubbish. The only people that like him are horney housewives, who drool over his pecks.
It people like Styles that make wrestling interesting, who put their body on the line to give you a great matchs and leave you wanting more. People complain and his lack of mic skills, people who have mic skills generally are not good in the ring that’s way they develop mic skills. There is only a hand full of people who can create great promos, most wrestlers are just adequate. People also complain about his lack of character, good wrestlers don’t need characters, they are what people came to see, not characters off a script. Characters and storylines are created by writers and they are used in today wrestling world to sell us poor conceptions such as the Boogeyman.
If you want to watch two large, steroid abusing characters hitting each other really slowly by all means watch the WWE and Dave Batista, if you want real wrestling with great high spots and a brilliant wrestler watch AJ Styles.
Jeremy Diaz wrote:
I was utterly disgusted after reading your article at first glance, but then I came to realize that you are just another ignorant "smart mark" looking for attention at the expense of someone who is going down in history as one of the greatest wrestlers of all-time. That's right, I said wrestler. You need proof? Watch his match with CIMA in RoH. Or even check out his match with Tanahashi at Final Resolution in January. He uses maybe two high spots in each of those very much enjoyable matches. The simple fact is AJ Styles is an all-around wrestler who can step into that ring with any type of wrestler and put on the match of the night. The truth of the matter is that everytime he steps into the ring, its a match of the year candidate. Let me guess who your all-time favorite wrestlers are. Hulk Hogan? Bleed charisma, puts me to sleep everytime he steps into the ring. The only decent Hulk Hogan match I have seen was against The Rock at WM18, not because of the in-ring work, but because of the energy. John Cena? No comment, the guy can't wrestle to save his life. Take every AJ Styles match and put it up against every John Cena or Hulk Hogan match and you are guaranteed to be more entertained by AJ Styles. If you ask me, he's UNDER-rated.
AJ Styles' athletic ability is unmatched and his in-ring abilities are un-paralleled. All wrestlers have that one thing they do better than anything else. His one thing is big spots. Excuse the hell out of him for wanting to make a living for his family. So sorry he couldn't fit your picture of what a perfect wrestler is supposed to be Mr. Simmons. But I am not lashing out at you as a person. I'm really just using you as a guinea pig to lash out to the internet wrestling community as a whole. I read this columns (or should I say waste precious moments of my life) on the internet of these guys analyzing the product of professional wrestling and these bastards have not a positive thing to say about ANYTHING. IF YOU DON'T LIKE IT...TURN IT OFF!!! All I hear is people bitching and moaning about how there's not enough of this and not enough of that. And I truly believe that Vince McMahon listens because when you get what you want, then there's too much of it. I honestly cringe at the thought of the day Adam Martin linked me to his up-start website of Wrestleview.com because it gave me insight to the business and actually took away some of the passion I had for the sport.
However, knowing what's going on behind the scenes is so addictive that I can't help but find myself spending my few minutes online at Wrestleview.com or on this website. I normally don't feel motivated to respond to the idiotic complaining on this website, but your column truly broke the mold on things that annoy the shit out of me.
AJ Styles is ushering in the future of professional wrestling because it continues to evolve. Its going from being centered around steriod injected muscular freaks who talk on the microphone all day and wrestle two minute matches to being all about the in-ring product. The athletic wrestler will soon be on the centerfold. The guy who can wrestle, fly, and brawl will be the main attractions in promotions everywhere. Then when a talented big man does come along, he is more appreciated. AJ Styles doesn't have skills on the mic to save his life, but since when does a wrestler have to have both mic and in-ring skills to make it big in his business? A majority of the guys in the WWE right now have all the mic skills in the world, but can't wrestle for shit. So I'm going to say this once more. AJ Styles is no-where near over-rated. He, along with Samoa Joe, Christopher Daniels, Chris Sabin, Monty Brown and many others are bringing us to a new era of professional wrestling where the actors go to fuc*ing Hollywood and the WRESTLERS are on television. So like I said before, if you don't like it, then don't watch it. And I will take my own advice because I have said my piece and I think you wrote an ignorant column with no pure evidence to support your claims and I'm going to simply ignore you and the legion of losers who agree with you. You may say its your opinion and you're entitled to it. Well, opinions are like assholes, and you obviously didn't wipe your's good enough because I see the shit coming out of it. My advice to you is to simply watch a couple AJ Styles classic matches. Shall I name a few to you? AJ Styles vs Christopher Daniels at Unbreakable. Any AJ Styles vs Samoa Joe or AJ Styles vs Christopher Daniels vs Samoa Joe match. AJ Styles vs Low Ki in Japan at a
ZERO-1 show. AJ Styles vs Tanahasi. AJ Styles vs CIMA in RoH. I could go on for days, but I think you get the picture.
I have never disagreed with an article to the extent I do here. In a day where Kurt Angle and Chris Benoit's best days are clearly behind them, AJ Styles easily has proven to be the best wrestler alive. He can take a match against Samoa Joe, Christopher Daniels, Abyss, and/or Jeff Jarrett and make each and every one of those matches different and very good-great. If you're going to bring up overuse of certain moves in wrestling, look no further than Ric Flair, Shawn Michaels, Angle, and Benoit. Do I believe AJ's legacy will be long lasting like those? No. But every one of them consistently uses the same moves over and over in all their matches. It's part of the psychology of the match and the entertainment of the fans. AJ Styles has everything it takes in wrestling. That's why he isn't overrated. If anything, he isn't credited enough for what he does in the six-sided ring.'
Mp three wrote:
THANK YOU! I agree, I have been saying that Styles was over rated for the last two years. (Since I started dabbling in TNA), Styles is nothing but a decent wrestler who got lucky. I know people personally who can do everything he does and then some. Not only that they have character. Styles is not the new age of wrestling but more of a downfall. Once again THANK YOU for writing the column, I agree with you 110% like all of your colums.
The 1 and Only E.Z.E! Zac Edwards wrote:
Ok first off dude I agree with you. Everything you said was and is completely true. AJ Styles is nothing more than a extremely over rated wrestler. I read what others had to say and many people said that AJ can cut a decent promo. Bull shit is all I have to say bout that. The only person that I have heard to cut a worst promo is Tito Ortiz. If AJ learns the how to wrestle instead of trying to be flashy all the time then we could see a very good wrestler but until he learns ring pyshcology he is not a good wrestler in my book. I know the world of wrestling for I am a wrestler in the indys in Georgia and my friends AJ Styles is extremely over-rated. Great Job man now lets talk bout John Cena..................
Maurice G (from Mexico City) wrote:
Great Column. You showed some really neat writing skills. But I´m afraid I disagree with some of your arguments. Many things have been said about this particular column and I just don´t wanna be redundant. I´m from Mexico, and here, wrestling has turned in the last couple of years in a complete circus of colorful puppets, with a few exceptions of course. This is probably one of the main reasons that I started to watch WWE and lately TNA. Let me tell you one thing, AJ Stlyles has given me an excitement that I haven´t felt in many, many years ago while watching wrestling.
¿aerial flips are the problem? well, what you call "flips" I like to call "picture perfect moves" and that guy certainly has done frog splashes, 450 splashes, topes, dropkicks, hurracanranas, scissors...you name it, like i´ve never seen in a long time. I strongly recommend watching AJ Stlyes in other promotions and not only TNA (ROH, IWC or whatever you can find) and at times the differences really stick out. People inside TNA (e.g. Roderick Strong, Austin Aries) have stated that TNA is more like an "entertainment" type of promotion (of course the type that´s been trying to compete with WWE) and one that has "sports entertainment" rules, so to speak. And they have also stated that promotions like ROH are the ones that truly stand for professional wrestling. Wanna see AJ Styles do some mat wrestling, some good ground grappling? watch other promotions, easy as that.
Lack of gimmick? Ok, I´ll give you that, but if that is so, then...exactly what was Booker T´s gimmick before the King Booker thing, same with Edge or Christian before the Rated R thing and Captain Charisma...Tell me about Billy Gunn or harcore Holly...and what about Shelton Benjamin or Charlie Haas now? The great Chris Benoit has ever had a true "gimmick" actually? (and still the people love him and chant for him) If you want lack of gimmicks, certainly TNA would knock out WWE, but that doesn´t mean WWE is safe of poor or non-existent gimmicks.
Phenomenally Over-Rated? Tough one. Personally I prefer to over-rate some like AJ Stlyles than over-rate someone like Randy Orton, who just seize every oportunity to present himself as a 3rd gen Orton, whose gimmick is "the legend killer" and many times has claimed to be a legend himself (so the logic thing would be that he "kills" himself don´t you think?)and to top it of can´t show any other moves than a furious headlock (with grimace and all) and a nice dropkick (thanks to his height) and of course...the "often, if not always stolen and bothced diamond cutter" a.k.a RKO. Am I an Orton hater? probably, but at least I try to show my arguments. You want Phenomenally over rated guys...Orton´s the man to go (Can´t truly believe that talents such as Val Venis have to be wasted, and worse, force to job Orton´s real life cockiness) with John Cena and the "five moves" stepping his toes behind.(I liked a lot more the Prototype years and the early rapper stuff) Want more overrated guys? JBL a.k.a the "Chubby tall cowboy" (and not Bradshaw the Acolyte), Batista, Goldberg, Jeff Jarett, Monty Brown,etc. Don´t worry, I just believe that we´re passing a downward phase in the wrestling business, but the great days and the great talents shall return. Count on that. Meanwhile, we will have to put up with five ridiculous cheerleaders as Tag champions and "bulldozers" like Umaga and Boogeyman...DAMN!
I'm a huge wrestling fan and i have read a lot of articles but never have a disagreed with an article like this one. you guys are so brainwashed with what the WWE has done to the wrestling business that you actually belive that a gimmick and mic skills determine how great a wrestler is. that might be how it works in WWE but not in places like TNA, and ROH two promotions that have put the wrestling back in Pro Wrestling. you can call me an AJ Styles fan all you want, but to be honest he not even in my top 5 although He will go down in history as the greatest wrestler of all time. he one of many few that can wrestle in any condition and give you the best damm match you have ever witness. their are his Ultimate X matches, his hardcore matches with abyss his pure wrestling matches in ROH and Japan, his cruiser weight matches in the X division. I dare you to find a wwe star that can do that. After reading and reading I still don't understand how he is over rated none of you morons have pointed that out to me, is it because he's not on Raw or Smackdown, or is it because batista called him a spot monkey, only because he was jealous that AJ can jump higher then him?? he was offered many contracts by wwe, but he turned them down because he didn't want to be with wwe. you morons don't know what your talking about so shut the hell up and go watch some wwe or something. Great wrestles are determined by how they dress or what they say it determined by what they do in the ring and AJ has showed that he is the best damm wrestler ever to step between those ropes. Thank you very much for reading, im out.
Will Knight wrote:
Before I start this feedback, I have respect for anyone who gets into a ring...except for those ex-football players who only do it for the money (i.e. the goldbergs). I believe A.J. Styles has great athleticsm, and can do just about any move imaginable, his theme song is one the few decent ones in TNA, and he has the cocky look like Orton (but they seem to prefer A.J.
as a face), and he is fun to watch...but beyond that he is just not that good...his storytelling is not there, he takes the beatings, but after laying there for a few seconds, he "mysteriously" gets up or counters a move and starts his comeback (which is horrible to start with), but yet never collapses due to exhaustion after the "one last ditch effort to win the match" (see HBK or The Rock when make their comebacks, or selling injuries).
Watching, I naturally assume that Abyss or Jeff Jarrett really can't hurt him. On top of that when he is a heel he never acts scared or frustrated when he can't beat his opponent (see Triple H on how you need to do it). He mic skills are below average (and that is being nice about it). He is what Jeff Hardy as become, a wrestler with plenty of potential who becomes another guy that just throws out at least 15 "big time" or "home run" moves in a match, which only forces A.J. and others like him to do more drastic and fancier stuff for matches to get a pop from the crowd. He does nothing to make his opponents better or look more legit, regardless of the outcome.
As for a lack of character or gimmick, Chris Benoit gets cheered for his superior wrestling and a being a guy who does what is needed for the fans.
If A.J. Styles walked into the WWE he would get cheered only because the WWE stole a TNA superstar (much like Christian going to TNA)...within 6 months he would be a Cruiserweight jobber just like the rest of them, all the fancy moves in the world, but nothing else to offer.
Alec J., Gainesville, Georgia Age 11 wrote:
I like your column but I somehow disagree with you about AJ Styles being a local wrestling fan I visited his old wrestling school and these guys were awesome just as good if not better than him and his years at ROH
Anthony Gleeson wrote:
Many fans don't know what wrestling is all about and you are no exception. He sells tons of merchandise because he's so over and good dumbass and when did big stars need great gimmicks anyway since Bret Hart didn't have much of a gimmick and there are plenty who can cut a good promo, Jarrett, Christopher Daniels, Eric Young, Alex Shelley, Rhino, Christian Cage, Sting, Chris Sabin, AMW, Konnan, Shane Douglas etc. get your facts right although Styles isn't very good on the mic and is better as a heel, you got that right. he is a very good worker, he works 20+ matches with relative ease and is always doing something and he can blend with any style of wrestling which a good worker can do not to mention he can have very good matches with anyone (Bret Hart anyone?). Styles can wrestle you moron, he has lots of wrestling holds watch him in Japan and ROH, and if you watched TNA in it's earlier years you will see that and he is a very good counter wrestler.That he has no psychology remark is just amatuer stupidity, he knows exactly when to do his common moves and when to counter his opponents and can pace himself superbly. He can't sell! You really are an idoit! He sold the arm injury superbly at Final Resoultion 04 and in his many matches agianst Christopher Daniels and Samoa Joe. He spreads his many spots at the right itme, not all in a row against good opponents in PPV matches. He is not Jeff Hardy 5 years ago as he is much better then him in very area. Seroiusly you know shit about wrestling and i can't beleive your the smane person who critised my column about John Cena you know nothing idoit.
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