HeadLocker — Jay Shannon
OWW Wrestler of the Wee: AJ Styles
Our resident philosopher profiles “The Phenomenal One”, A.J. Styles. Styles has been a cornerstone of TNA for many years.
A.J. Styles, the current Legends champion, has been one of the key players in TNA, since day one. He’s held every possible title in the company. He’s been involved with top storylines, as both a face and a heel. His match against (Christopher) Daniels on the most recent edition of !mpact was one of the best in his career. Winning that match elevated Styles into the King of the Mountain match at Slammiversary. It also garnered him the OWW Wrestler of the Week award.
The Early Days
Allen Jones began his wrestling career in the spring of 1999 as part of the roster of National Championship Wrestling. That organization would later become NWA Wildside. Jones began his career as Mr. Olympia. When NCW merged with NWA Georgia to form MWA Wildside, Jones was re-christened A.J. Styles. The A.J., of course, related to Jones’ real name.
The WCW Air Raid
In the Spring of 2001, WCW was expanding their Cruiserweight division. Styles, along with Air Paris, were recruited to form a tag team known as Air Raid. The team was somewhat successful, but they left after only a few months. Both men returned to NWA Wildside.
Taking a walk on the Wildside
After his short stint in WCW, Styles began to excel in NWA Wildside. Styles came to the attention of WWE scouts. Styles got a try-out match against The Hurricane. Styles actually turned down a WWE developmental deal to stay in the independents.
In addition to his work in NWA Wildside, Styles had a great deal of success in the WWA promotion. He began to compete against some of the men who would join him, later on, in TNA. Some of his earliest feuds were against Christopher Daniels and Jerry Lynn.
TNA–Total Non-Stop A.J.
When Jeff and Jerry Jarrett decided to create TNA, they looked to the independents to find talent. Styles was one of the first people to join the company. Styles was the very first X-Division Champion. He was also part of the first tag team (with Jerry Lynn) to hold the TNA tag titles.
During the early years in TNA, Styles also worked for Ring of Honor. He traded victories with Low-Ki (Senshi), Christopher Daniels, Amazing Red and others in both promotions.
Styles has held the World title on 3 occasions, the tag titles on 4 occasions, the Legends title and the X-Division title on 4 occasions. He is the most decorated star in the company’s history. He has feuded with almost every major star in the federation’s history. Styles has held the tag belts with four different partners (Jerry Lynn, Abyss, Christopher Daniels and Tomko).
In recent years, Styles has moved into a more supportive role in the company. He held the tag belts with Tomko for several months, but was seen as the weak link in the team. This was unfortunate, because Styles’ talent is off the charts. Styles has been over-looked due to his rather goofy character.
Styles began to grow close to Kurt Angle‘s wife, Karen. On a memorable episode of Impact, Styles actually “married” Karen during a mixed-up wedding renewal of vows between Kurt and Karen. This set up a love triangle between A.J., Kurt and Karen. Kurt rejected his wife in favor of his quest for the TNA World Title. Karen turned to Styles for comfort. The love triangle story ended when Kurt and Karen split, in real life. Karen left the company and Creative had to find a new direction to push the feud.
The Frontline and the Legends title
After the Karen story was abandoned, Styles began feuding with his partner, Tomko. Tomko blamed Styles for the loss of the tag belts. That feud ended when Tomko left TNA to join Christian (Cage) in the WWE (Tomko never actually made it to WWE TV, due to a quick release).
During the summer of 2008, Styles came to the attention of Sting. Sting was on a rampage against the lack of respect that veteran stars, like himself, received from younger stars. Sting united with Kevin Nash, Kurt Angle and Booker T (later adding Scott Steiner) to form a group of former World Champions. The group was dubbed the Main Event Mafia. Styles joined forces with other TNA mainstays: Eric Young, Samoa Joe, Jay Lethal, Chris Sabin, Alex Shelley,and ODB to form The Frontline. Styles would initially feud with Sting, with both men exchanging victories. Styles would then switch his focus to a different Mafia member.
Booker T created a title for himself, the Legends title. Booker rarely actually defended the made-up title. Eventually, Booker would be forced to battle Styles for the belt. Styles took the belt in a surprising victory. Styles has defended the title against Booker in several rematches, including an “I Quit” match. By winning the Legends title, Styles became the first person to win all four male-oriented titles (World, X-Division, Legends and Tag Team). He is the most dedicated person in the history of TNA.
As Slammiversary 2009 draws near, Styles was the second person to get into the King of the Mountain match (behind Jeff Jarrett). His match against Daniels was easily the best match of the year, so far. Styles has spent years in TNA, winning everything possible. He’s one of the few men to actually refuse a spot in WWE. A.J. Styles has been and will likely continue to be one of the best wrestlers in the industry. When the final analysis of TNA is writtern, years from now, A.J. Styles will stand as one of the top men in the company. A.J. Styles has accomplished everything that he’s set his sights on and will continue to do so. I am proud to bestow this week’s OWW Wrestler of the Week award to “The Phenomenal One” A.J. Styles
— Jay Shannon