Most wrestling fans will have heard of a certain talent that goes by the name of AJ Styles. For 12 years Styles has made a name for himself with his high intensity, high risk approach to wrestling and is undoubtedly the biggest and most praised performer in professional wrestling to have achieved fame, especially seeing as he's not on the WWE roster.
On January 20 2016, Styles deal to join the WWE was confirmed. In case some people don’t know about the ‘Phenomenal One’ here is some information...
He is a decorated former Total Nonstop Action (TNA) wrestler and has worked for many other promotions, such as New Japan Pro Wrestling (NJPW) and Ring of Honour (ROH). Styles has won an almighty 51 championships in his professional career, and is the only performer to have ever held every male championship owned and/or sanctioned by TNA throughout its history.
In 2013, Styles decided to end his 12 year run with TNA. At that point, there were rumours of the ‘Phenomenal One’ signing for WWE. However, he decided to return to Ring of Honour.
On March 27 2014 it was reported that Styles had signed a contract with New Japan Pro Wrestling. He made his debut for NJPW on April 6 at Invasion Attack 2014. There he attacked IWGP Heavyweight Champion Kazuchika Okada after his match and proclaimed himself the newest member of the notorious Bullet Club.
In his first match for NJPW he defeated Okada and became the IWGP Heavyweight Champion. Interestingly, he became the first American to win the belt since a certain Brock Lesnar did way back in 2005. It was reported on the morning of January 4 2016 that Styles had given his notice in to NJPW. Later that day he wrestled in what turned out to be his last appearance for the promotion.
After weeks of rumours and speculation as noted above, on January 20 AJ Styles was confirmed to have signed with the WWE on a multi-year deal. Styles then made his official debut as a WWE wrestler on January 24, in the 29th annual Royal Rumble pay-per-view.
He entered at number three in the Royal Rumble match and received a fantastic ovation from the fans. He managed two eliminations and lasted an impressive 28 minutes in the match before being eliminated by Kevin Owens, prompting a chorus of boos. Styles then made his Monday Night Raw debut the following night competing against Chris Jericho in a singles match. Styles scored the pinfall and the two shook hands.
AJ Styles has such a strong backing from avid wrestling fans, which is why there is no reason for Styles to receive a large push within the WWE. Already AJ Styles merchandise is selling fast so the WWE seem to have found a possible gem in Styles.
The fact that many of the top WWE talent are out injured, gives an even bigger opportunity for Styles to really stake a claim to make an impact at the pinnacle of professional wrestling. AJ will forever be known as the ‘Phenomenal One’ and will be keen to impress in the WWE.
By Joshua Dainty