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Curious Details About AJ Styles Post-TNA Wrestling Plans

TNA Wrestling is without AJ Styles for the first time in company history…or maybe not. A closer look at AJ Styles’ life post-TNA reveals a few question marks about whether this free agent really is that free after all.

AJ Styles has been one of the few consistent faces of TNA Wrestling since its existence. Fans have been able to watch AJ grow into arguably the biggest (and maybe only) star the company has ever produced. That is why some were surprised when both parties were unable to come to a deal and Styles left the Impact Zone for free agency. Yet an early look at AJ’s future shows a man that may not have been able to completely break free of Dixie’s clutches.

I was dubious from the start about AJ’s contract status. TNA went out of their way to do everything they could to duplicate the CM Punk-2011 storyline with AJ Styles. The only difference at this point is that Styles is gone from the company. Just the idea that they put so much time and money into a guy who could have walked into the WWE tomorrow seemed odd. I was skeptical from day one.

Now that Styles is gone his early post-TNA schedule has come out. You would expect someone as red hot as the former TNA world champion to be working dates like a madman right? Wrong! Styles is working a very limited schedule and what is even more curious is where he isn’t working. There is nothing booked for Ring of Honor right now and at this point something seems awfully strange about his calendar. The lack of dates is even more suspicious considering that AJ knew his contract was expiring.

Styles has less than a dozen dates booked from now through March. For a guy who could be the hottest star to hit the independents since Daniel Bryan was fired a few years ago that seems odd. Even Chris Hero who was just recently released by the WWE was working a full schedule immediately on the independents. Something just isn’t right.

The only shred of doubt I have came when AJ released his own statement about becoming a free agent.

“When this contract renegotiation journey started several months ago, my wife and I began praying for God to close doors that needed to be closed and to open the doors that He wanted us to walk through. We asked him to prepare us for this journey and to help us to have the faith to be obedient to what He would have us to do. I am assured by the name Immanuel in Matthews 1:23 that I will never be alone. Hebrews 13.5, says He will never leave us or forsake us. There is a lot in this world that I am unsure of, especially in this moment, but there is one thing that I am certain. Contracts may expire, but the promise of Immanuel will never expire.”

Dave Meltzer and Bryan Alvarez on the latest F4WOnline.com podcast speculate that there is something brewing between AJ and TNA. While they are reporting that AJ has not signed a deal yet, they believe there is something going on. Dave speculates that TNA wanted to copy the CM Punk angle so badly that they let AJ walk to further the storyline. That same creativity screwed WCW when Brian Pillman actually negotiated himself a handsome contract with the WWE. It would appear that TNA aren’t that worried.

After reading AJ’s statement I don’t believe that he would use religion to get a wrestling angle over. He takes his religion very seriously as evident by what was posted. At the same time it is pro wrestling, it is fiction, it is a story, and maybe he can separate the two. I don’t know but I think a lot of people would have a real hard time with this if it came out that this was all part of the work. I am not saying it is, I am just saying if it is, he’d be open for a lot of criticism.

So what is next? I would guess that if the WWE were interested he’d be there by now. My hunch is that he is taking limited independent dates for a reason. I think he will be back in TNA at some point in the first quarter of 2014. Regardless, it is certainly unraveling into an interesting story…something TNA has lacked for a long time (and possibly ever).

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Eric G.

Eric is the owner and editor-in-chief of the Camel Clutch Blog. Eric has worked in the pro wrestling industry since 1995 as a ring announcer in ECW and a commentator/host on television, PPV, and home video. Eric also hosted Pro Wrestling Radio on terrestrial radio from 1998-2009. Check out some of Eric's work on his IMDB bio and Wikipedia. Eric has an M.B.A. from Temple University's Fox School of Business.

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