Perhaps TNA’s flagship for over a decade, AJ Styles immediately showed how phenomenal he was by the second weekly pay-per-view ran by NWA:TNA, by becoming the first X Division Champion, in what was just the beginning of an eleven-year journey filled with titles and fights… phenomenal.
Born June 2, 1977 in Jacksonville, North Carolina, he was trained by Rick Michaels and debuted in pro wrestling in 1998 in a Georgia company called National Championship Wrestling.
In 2001 he reached the big leagues , having participated in episodes of WCW’s Nitro and Thunder in dark matches of several shows of the so-called WWF, but it was in the following year that he began to truly show himself to the public in ROH and TNA.
In TNA he won everything there was to win between 2002 and 2013: NWA World Heavyweight Championship (three times), NWA World Tag Team Championship (four: twice with Christopher Daniels , once with Jerry Lynn and once with Abyss ) , TNA Legends / Global /Television Championship (two), TNA World Heavyweight Championship (two), TNA World Tag Team Championship (two: one with Tomko and one with Kurt Angle ) and TNA X Division Championship (six). He was also the first Triple Crown and Grand Slam champion in the promoter’s history.
So it’s worth checking out our list of the top ten AJ Styles matches in TNA, in chronological order.
NWA TNA Weekly PPV #2 (June 26, 2002)
Four-Way Double Elimination match to determine the first holder of the NWA–TNA X Championship : AJ Styles vs. Psychosis vs. Low Ki vs. Jerry Lynn
The NWA–TNA X Championship saw the light of day at the tapings of NWA-TNA’s second weekly pay-per-view, which aired on June 26, 2002, with it being determined that AJ Styles , Low Ki , Jerry Lynn and Psicosis would face off in a Four-Way Double Elimination match to determine the inaugural champion.
NWA TNA Weekly PPV #8 (August 7, 2002)
NWA–TNA X Championship :
AJ Styles (c) vs. Low Ki vs. Jerry Lynn
At the second NWA TNA weekly pay-per-view , AJ Styles captured the then-named NWA–TNA X Championship by defeating Low Ki , Jerry Lynn and Psicosis in a Double Elimination match.
The following week, Styles and Jerry Lynn won the NWA World Tag Team Championship by beating the team of Bruce and Lenny Lane in the final of the tournament to determine the new champions. In the weeks that followed, Styles successfully defended both titles, but began falling out with Lynn during tag team matches.
During the month of July, Styles retained the X Championship against David Young, Low Ki , Elix Skipper. After Phenomenal One defeated Skipper on July 31, Lynn appeared to congratulate him. However, that same night Styles would see his tag team partner during a match between Lynn and Low Ki , but would end up being attacked by Low Ki , which led to the scheduling of a match between the three for the title the following week.
Final Resolution 2005
Ultimate X match for the TNA X Division Championship :
Petey Williams (c) vs. AJ Styles vs. Chris Sabin
AJ Styles became the top contender for Petey Williams ‘ X Division Championship by winning a match involving six other men on the October 1 episode of Impact! . At Victory Road , Williams hit Styles after a Canadian Destroyer .
However, on the first night of The Best Damn Wrestling Event Period, which aired on November 10, Chris Sabin defeated Elix Skipper and Sonjay Dutt in an Ultimate X match to become the top contender for the TNA X Division Championship .
Two days later, on an episode of Impact! , Chris Sabin said he figured out a way to counter the Canadian Destroyer , but Williams said it was impossible to counter. To prove his point, Sabin countered the Canadian’s finisher during the November 12th, 19th and 30th episodes. But at Turning Point, Williams retained the title against Sabin using brass knuckles.
However, on the December 17 episode, authority figure Dusty Rhodes announced an Ultimate X match at Final Resolution for the TNA X Division Championship between Williams and Styles . However, Chris Sabin defeated Christopher Daniels on the January 14 episode and earned the right to join the match.
Against All Odds 2005
30-Minute Ironman match for the TNA X Division Championship : AJ Styles (c) vs. Christopher Daniels
The feud between the two began on the January 21 episode of Impact! , when Christopher Daniels challenged the X Division Champion , AJ Styles , to a match that same night, with a special stipulation: if Styles could not defeat Daniels in less than ten minutes, Daniels would receive an X Division Championship opportunity at Against All Odds .
The match ended in a draw, which allowed Daniels to receive a title shot. After the match, Dusty Rhodes announced that the title match would be a 30-minute Ironman match.
Six Sides of Steel match to determine the top contender for the NWA World Heavyweight Championship at Hard Justice: AJ Styles vs. Abyss
At Against All Odds 2005, Abyss defeated Jeff Hardy in a Full Metal Mayhem match to earn a shot at the NWA World Heavyweight Championship. However, five days later, on the February 18 episode of Impact! , he gave the match contract to Traci, who at the time was trying to become a personal assistant to authority figure Dusty Rhodes.
Over a month later, on the March 25 episode, Abyss tried to get the contract back from Traci, who had already become Rhodes’ co-assistant. This led to a feud between Abyss and AJ Styles , who was trying to defend Traci and fellow American Dream co-assistant Trinity, who fled in fear from Abyss .
The following week, a match between Abyss and AJ Styles was announced for Lockdown, for an opportunity for the NWA World Heavyweight Championship. On April 8, it was revealed that the winner would challenge for the title at the Hard Justice pay-per-view on May 15.
Finals of the 2005 TNA Super X Cup tournament to determine the top contender for the TNA X Division Championship: AJ Styles vs. Samoa Joe
In the summer of 2005, TNA held the eight-man Super X Cup tournament to determine the top contender for the TNA X Division Championship.
Samoa Joe qualified for the final after eliminating Sonjay Dutt and Alex Shelley, meeting AJ Styles , who had eliminated Matt Bentley and Petey Williams .
TNA X Division Championship :
Christopher Daniels (c) vs. AJ Styles vs. Samoa Joe
In the finals of the 2005 TNA Super X Cup tournament, at Sacrifice, Joe defeated Styles via submission following interference from Christopher Daniels to earn a title opportunity.
On the August 19 episode of TNA Impact! , it was announced that Daniels would defend the title against Joe at Unbreakable. However, that same night Daniels attacked Joe until Styles appeared and attacked Daniels , in retaliation for interfering with Sacrifice.
Daniels demanded NWA officials suspend Styles , but instead manager Larry Zbyszko added Styles to the X Division Championship match .
Turning Point 2005
TNA X Division Championship: AJ Styles (c) vs. Samoa Joe
At Unbreakable, in a fight described as a dream and that even deserved the rare five-star award by journalist Dave Meltzer, AJ Styles won the X Division Championship by beating the champion Christopher Daniels and Samoa Joe in a three-way match . Meanwhile, Styles successfully defended the title against Christopher Daniels in a 30-minute Ironman match at Bound For Glory .
Weeks later at Genesis, Styles beat Petey Williams to retain the belt. At the same event, Samoa Joe and Christopher Daniels were the only survivors from Team Ministry in a 4 vs. 4 Tag Team Elimination match against the team of Austin Aries , Chris Sabin , Matt Bentley and Sonjay Dutt. However, afterward Joe brutally attacked Daniels , leaving him injured and sidelined for a few weeks. However, Styles accused Joe of violating the X Division ‘s unwritten code of conduct and wanted to defend the title against the Samoan Submission Machine at Turning Point, issuing the challenge on the November 19 episode of Impact! . Joe accepted and, two weeks later, attacked Styles , stating that he wants nothing to do with the X Division code of conduct .
Hard Justice 2008
Last Man Standing match: AJ Styles vs. Kurt Angle
On the February 14, 2008 episode of Impact! , TNA staged a wedding between Kurt Angle ‘s wife Karen and AJ Styles , although Angle and Karen were still married, with the separation taking place almost a month later on the March 13 episode. Meanwhile, Angle tried to reconcile with Karen, but she refused her ex-husband’s request, who got carried away by jealousy and attacked AJ Styles .
On the May 29 episode, authority figure Jim Cornette announced a match between Kurt Angle and AJ Styles for Slammiversary . Despite having suffered a serious neck injury, Angle appeared in the match, but Styles achieved victory after a Styles Clash . However, Angle and Tomko attacked Styles after the duel.
Four days later, on the June 12 episode, Angle beat Styles in a Lumberjack match before a brawl took place between Kurt Angle ‘s group and Team 3D (Brother Ray and Brother Devon) and AJ Styles , Christian Cage and Rhino. The two factions faced off in a Six Man Tag Team Full Metal Mayhem match at Victory Road , with Angle and Team 3D getting the upper hand.
On the July 24 episode of Impact! , Angle and Team 3D again beat Styles , Christian and Rhino, this time in a Six Man Tag Team Elimination Tables match.
A week later, Angle attacked Styles inside a cage, knocking him unconscious, prompting Styles to challenge Angle to a Last Man Standing match at Hard Justice, a challenge Angle accepted.
Turning Point 2009
TNA World Heavyweight Championship : AJ Styles (c) vs. Daniels vs. Samoa Joe
At Bound for Glory 2009, AJ Styles defeated Sting to retain the TNA World Heavyweight Championship , ending The Icon ‘s undefeated streak at the company’s biggest event of the year.
In the weeks that followed, Styles was attacked by an anonymous attacker backstage, which led him to believe that it would have been Samoa Joe or Christopher Daniels who attacked him, which led to the appointment of a match between the three, with the title in play for Turning Point.
On the November 5 episode of Impact! , Daniels confronted Styles and said that he was as good a wrestler as he was, but that he was not given the same opportunities.