Today’s Wrestlers, Another Era – AJ Styles

THIS SERIES OF ARTICLES TAKES PLACE IN THE NOT-SO-DISTANT FUTURE WHERE TIME TRAVEL IS POSSIBLE. A GROUP OF WRESTLING-ENTHUSED SCIENTISTS HAVE DEVELOPED A MACHINE TO FINALLY ANSWER THE QUESTIONS ON EVERY WRESTLING FAN’S BRAIN….

No, not who was responsible for hiding Shawn’s smile.

 

No, not where The Undertaker was going to take Stephanie in the limousine.

 

No, not if Little Johnny is the love-child of Heidenreich and Michael Cole

 

We are looking at if today’s wrestlers would be better placed in wrestling’s most famous era – the Attitude Era!

AJ Styles.

Since the dawn of the Internet Wrestling Community, there have been those clamoring for the debut of some of the hottest “independent wresters” to join the ranks of WWE. If we were to review AJ Styles’ resume, we can see the plethora of accomplishments and a “who’s-who” of opponents that reads like an ROH lover’s wet dream:

– NWA World Heavyweight Champion (however, so did Ron Killings – What’s Up!?)
– TNA Triple Crown and Grand Slam Champion
– IWGP Heavyweight Champion
– Inaugural ROH Pure Championship (Ron Killings has not won this one, despite popular belief)
– PWG World Champion
– 5 Star Match vs Samoa Joe/Christopher Daniels from 2005 in TNA
– Match of the Year vs Minoru Suzuki from 2014 in New Japan
– Numerous classic matches with Jarrett, Angle, Yoshitatsu, Okada and numerous others throughout his indy tenure.
– Ranked number one wrestler in the PWI 500 in 2010

Basically, we can say that AJ Styles is one of the pioneers of independent wrestling, and undoubtedly one of the greatest and well-traveled wrestlers that we have ever had the pleasure of seeing.

Yes, my last article about Jinder Mahal’s accomplishments was very sarcastic.

But, young lads, Jinder Mahal is no AJ Styles.

After all of these accomplishments outside of the WWE machine, we were treated to a wonderful surprise in the Royal Rumble in January 2016 when AJ Styles was listed as the unannounced third entrant. The live crowd was given a wonderful treat when Styles entered onto the stage, and treated him to a thunderous ovation.

However, it appears that the producers of the show were still upset about AJ’s previous runs with other companies (or he did not shake their hands during his appearance on Jakked from 2002).

This man was promoted to producer after this match. He has been holding a grudge against AJ Styles for over 15 years

Now is the time for revenge.

During AJ’s monumental entrance during his Royal Rumble debut, we at home watching on Pay per….. I mean ‘The Network’ did not get to experience the mammoth occasion. During this colossal moment of epic proportion (okay, I’m out of adjectives now), the only picture we were treated to was a man who saw his main event spot-light get a little bit dimmer:

If you listen closely, you can pinpoint the exact moment that Roman Reign’s heart breaks.

AJ’s arrival in WWE and subsequent “rookie year” has been one of the shining reasons for enjoying WWE programming. Not since Kurt Angle’s rookie year in 1999/2000 has there been such a prolific year for a new face to WWE fans:
– WrestleMania storyline with Chris Jericho
– WWE Champion
– Over-whelming trifecta of matches with John Cena
– Under-whelming teaming with “The Club” *Ahem Which for the purposes of this article we will not be discussing *ahem
– Dark-horse WrestleMania match with Shane McMahon
– Current WWE United States Champion

It has been a wonderful run for AJ Styles in WWE so far. I don’t believe that it is advantageous to say that the trust and support he has received from those booking him is beyond what anyone would have considered would have occurred.

Now kids, let’s step inside our time machine, and see how AJ Styles would have fared in everyone’s most-cited era of wrestling programming:

 

I hate to be a negative Nancy but…

Ric, don’t do that…

No Vince, not you too…

Guys, come on! It’s not that bad! I’m just going to take a quick look back at the WWE’s track record with former champions from outside companies! That’s it. How bad can it be?

Rhyno

Pre-WWE:
– Former (and final) ECW Heavyweight Champion
– Former (and final) ECW Television Champion
– Cracked the top 10 of the PWI in 2001

During WWE Run:
– “I speared Chris Jericho once… it was pretty great.”

 

Jerry Lynn

Pre-WWE:
– Former ECW Heavyweight Champion
– Multiple matches with Rob Van Dam which crack many historian’s “Top 10” lists

During WWE Run:
– I was the champion of Sunday Night Heat!

 

Raven

Pre-WWE:
– Former ECW Heavyweight Champion
– Former ECW World Tag Team Champion
– Former WCW United States Champion

During WWE Run:
– WWE Hardcore Champion 27 times. The title really meant a lot to everyone.
– Vince McMahon allegedly being quoted as saying “Who the fuck hired Raven?” when seeing him on a monitor.

 

I’m sorry gang, but it is not looking good for our country-bumpkin AJ Styles in the 2000s.

Unfortunately, our good friends at the Dubbya-Dubbya-Eee did not exactly know how to handle former World Champions from other companies. It stands to reason that if they were able to get over on the smaller stages that some of that talent would transfer onto WWE programming, but without the proper vehicle and backing it made it very difficult for these wrestlers to move higher than the (most of the time lower) mid-card.
I think if given the opportunity, we should leave AJ exactly where he is, lest he be given a very underwhelming run with the European Championship after winning it on RAW is WAR.

Sorry, Willy.

But on the bright side, at least our future is safe. Right?

Right?!

Hang on tight boys.

At least the Hardcore Championship isn’t around anymore.

 

Chris Lalonde is a professional wrestling enthusiast based out of Ontario, Canada. He is a former (unsuccessful) professional wrestler throughout Canada, and used his previous experiences of ring psychology to analyze the current professional wrestling landscape. He is also an avid movie-watcher and mixologist.

 

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