The WWE Must Sign AJ Styles

August 06, 2014 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

I will be the first to admit that I was wrong and I was wrong about AJ Styles. When he became a free agent a few months ago I didn’t see him as WWE material. A few months later and now it is the WWE that would be lucky to have him.

I have done a 180 on AJ Styles. He has always had a loyal fan base, especially on the Internet. I was not a part of that. I always felt that Styles was missing something, that final “it” factor preventing him from connecting with the audience. In the ring he had exciting matches but I never felt he had the tools to compete at an elite level in the WWE. I will be the first to tell you that I was dead wrong.

Styles looked like the odd man out when he left TNA Wrestling at the beginning of the year. After spending 12 years in TNA, Styles left after he and TNA failed to come to terms on a new deal. Numerous reports suggested that the WWE had no interest in Styles and thus Styles was at a crossroads. At 37-years old Styles pulled an old school move and decided to bring his talents to Japan. It didn’t take long for Styles to silence doubters like me with his performances in New Japan Pro Wrestling.

In case you have missed it, Styles has been on a tear in NJPW. He has been having some of the best matches of his career in NJPW. It is damned impressive to see a guy who has spent 12 years in one company, wrestling one style, come to Japan at 37-years old and not only adjust to a new style but shine in it. The resurgence of AJ Styles in NJPW may be one of the biggest stories of the year.

After watching Styles’ G1 match with Minoru Suzuki I am convinced that he may be the best American worker in the business today. That honor went to Daniel Bryan pre-injury but today, I can’t think of anyone else who can hang with Styles. He has proven himself to be more versatile than even his biggest supporters could have predicted. It’s no fluke, AJ Styles is the real deal.

So what happened? Did the doubters miss it for 12 years? Where was this AJ Styles in TNA? I think I fell into the trap of watching Styles adjust to his opponents and the environment, analyzing Styles based on his surroundings. Sure he had some great matches with Christopher Daniels, Samoa Joe, and Kurt Angle but none were like what he has pulled off recently in NJPW. Maybe it was complacency, maybe it was the expectations of working in TNA, but whatever it was something prevented all of us from seeing this amazing talent for most of the past 12 years.

AJ Styles has now changed the game. It isn’t whether the WWE should sign AJ Styles, it is that the WWE must do everything they can to sign him and sign him fast. The WWE are top heavy on babyfaces these days but there is no reason that the best American worker in the business right now is not on their roster. Sure, he won’t have the opportunity to have the same kinds of matches he is having with Suzuki, but you can’t tell me that Styles vs. Seth Rollins, Dean Ambrose, Daniel Bryan, Prince Devitt, Cesaro, Dolph Ziggler, or even yes I’ll say it, Triple H and John Cena wouldn’t be absolute money!
It is downright criminal that this guy is not working in the biggest company in the world. He has proven without a shadow of a doubt that not only can he hang with the WWE talent, he can work circles around most of them. With Daniel Bryan’s return in question, Styles could make an immediate impact by jumping into that spot. He is tailor-made for it.

The jury is still out on Triple H as a talent evaluator. Each day that passes without AJ Styles under contract makes me question his judgment more and more. It’s time to drop the charade and sign the best American in the business.

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AJ Styles Says TNA Wrestling Is Horribly Mismanaged

April 23, 2014 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

AJ Styles is a guy who rarely has a bad word to say about anyone or anything. Yet even the man who was at one time the face of his former employer TNA Wrestling couldn’t help but speak the truth about his former employer in a recent interview.

AJ Styles was one of the first guys signed to TNA Wrestling. Styles was pushed from day one and was truly the one homegrown talent that could company could brag about. Sure Styles wrestled before TNA, even a brief run in WCW, but it was TNA that gave Styles the platform. That is why it was such a surprise that Styles and TNA parted ways earlier this year, ending a 12-year relationship.

Styles did some media recently promoting Ring of Honor and was naturally asked by the Baltimore Sun about TNA Wrestling. While Styles didn’t go out of his way to bash the company, he also wasn’t willing to shy away from the obvious. Styles has no problem offering candid commentary on TNA’s current management.

You know, I really don’t know. I know they’ve made a lot of cuts. That must mean they’re not doing so well. Sting gone, Hogan gone, myself gone, and I’m sure we’re going to see more cuts soon. From what I’ve heard and been told, it’s been horribly mismanaged as a company. I don’t know if they’re going out of business . But they’re definitely doing things that make people think they’re going out of business. And I hope they don’t. I hope TNA doesn’t go out of business because I have a lot of good friends that work there and deserve to be in the national spotlight. My hope is that they never go out of business.

“Horribly mismanaged” is probably the worst thing you’ll ever hear Styles say about the company. How could he say anything different? He’s right and it still amazes me that this company is in business today. Who knows what will happen in the future as their deal with Viacom is up and Spike TV has yet to renew according to various reports. At some point something has to give here and at this stage of the game it has turned into a big joke.

Style was also asked about the door being open to return to the company. Styles doesn’t mince words here as while he doesn’t close the door completely, he believes that TNA may have moved on.

“I tried to leave the door open. I haven’t buried the company. Like I said, I have friends there who do well, so I’m not going to do that. But I don’t know if I’ll ever go back, and it’s definitely not going to be any time soon. And from what one of their higher ups said, it will be “Only if there’s space available for AJ Styles.” So I guess there might not be room for me, according to him.”

How is that for loyalty? Styles goes on to talk about how he always expected to retire from the company and still seems surprised he is not with TNA. The good news is that he is busy on the independents with some guessing that he will pull in more money at the end of the year on the independents than he would have made if he stayed with TNA.

Sounds like a guy who knows a thing or two about managing a company.

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AJ Styles Moves On, The Darling Of All But Dixie

February 10, 2014 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

How very odd. Two hearts, out of body, simultaneously beating side by side.

To the right, a ring-worn Tommy Dreamer, hanging out rust-bucket-casual behind a gimmick table of ECW DVDs. To his left, all-too-recently TNA World Heavyweight Champion AJ Styles, seemingly incognito-intent with a Georgia Bulldogs ball cap and leather jacket, signing photos and selling DVDs at the table next door.

Dreamer remains the identifiable heart of Extreme Championship Wrestling, even thirteen years after the body flatlined in bankruptcy court. Wherever he travels, be it one night jaunts into a WWE or TNA ring, or a special appearance at an ambitious indy, “E-C-DUB” chants ring out as if the letters were his very initials. They may as well have been, given the weight of the Philly cart he voluntarily dragged to asunder lengths.

By that token, Styles qualifies as his TNA equivalent: not only a Green Beret in kickpads under a Dixie-land flag, but the most loyal soldier enlisted. With deserters and discharges throughout the ranks, Styles kept firing away into the mist, his aim only as good as the company targets of growth and success could allow. That TNA’s braintrust built the scopes themselves should not in any way diminish Styles’ ethic: such were his performances that, as a soldier, if he ran of bullets, he’d opt to bludgeon the armed adversary with his weapon rather than retreat.

Dreamer and Styles, side by side, at Combat Zone Wrestling’s 15th anniversary gala in Voorhees, NJ this past Saturday night. For Dreamer, still active in his early 40s, it’s not much of a surprise to see him around a promotion with ECW’s guttural spirit. Without devaluing Dreamer’s hard-earned name in comparison, and without cheapening the brand of wrestling that CZW has made an indy fixture, it’s more perplexing to see Styles spending his Saturday night in anything other than a TNA ring.

By now, Styles’ conspicuous absence from TNA broadcasts, caused by an expired contract and a failure to come to terms on renewal, has become a stand-upon summit for TNA critics, perhaps above all other company blunders: how could these people let AJ Styles, the “Phenomenal One” from day one, slip through their treadless fingers?

For his part, Styles, brought in to headline against company champion, throwback-minded Drew Gulak, had little to say about the stalemate between he and his currently ex-employer.

“There’s nothing new on the TNA front, no,” said Styles with disbelieving and regretful grit, between signings at the table. He shares the confoundment of the CZW show-goers who suddenly found a bona fide star occupying the same venue as their local heroes. With his casual attire and cheery-neighbor demeanor, Styles almost feels more like a fellow fan surprised by the contract impasse than the wrestler himself.

To many fans, both wide-eyed kids and starstruck diehards alike, Styles’ appearance was simply welcome, contractual specifics be damned.

“No steps back, you just gotta move forward,” Styles said of his circumstances. Hey, TNA’s loss is virtually everyone else’s gain. If Carter clutches the checkbook like a sick child, the indy scene will only fill Styles’ weekends with paydays, cash waved in reverence.

For CZW, having hosted Styles before in their annual Best of the Best tournament, they could hardly call a freelance advent a ‘homecoming’, but once the long-standing cornerstone of a national promotion made his entrance to a remixed rendition of VAST’s “Touched”, he may well have been a Marine returning home from war. Lord knows the battlefront horror stories he’d try to repress out of diplomacy.

The ringing chants of “F–K TNA” weren’t likely to induce a bout of PTSD, either. What may seem a denouncement of a company’s head-shaking decision was more a raspberry-buzzed dismissal: “Man, screw those guys; they let *him* go? Their loss!”

Possibly a record crowd for the Flyers Skate Zone had turned up for the anniversary event, with many viewers not even afforded seating; it literally seemed CZW had doubled, and then some, the usual crowd for any of their monthly shows, even the serial spectaculars that promise the best in eye-popping wrestling or flesh-tearing violence.

There was a time when Styles was the one to watch in the indies, before TNA showcased him in match one back in 2002. Aside from appearance, the new-found forward-combed Pixie cut and five o’clock shadow of his 2013 redemption run, this was venerable Styles.

The classics came out against Gulak, a loathesome heel who fancies himself a grappler of fairground and coliseum yore (he doesn’t even wear kneepads, dad gummit!). The Pele kick. The flipping dropkick. The Superman forearm. Modern touches finished the portrait, like his vicious looking Calf Killer leglock. An unfamiliar wrinkle was displayed a single-arm facelock-turned-spiking brainbuster. The sometimes finicky fans oohed at that one.

For a few moments, the fight took to the crowd, both men lost in a sea of humanity that a Biblical icon would strain to part. Several minutes passed before the blob of hollering tenants spit them out over the railing. Between the tour of the rink and intricate sequences in the ring, it was easy to see Styles a man of high expectation. Good luck poring through TNA’s archives of matches that he didn’t give unencumbered effort; this one doesn’t make the cut either.

Sadly, like all visiting icons, a title change wasn’t in the cards. Before Styles could hoist the dazed Gulak into the Styles Clash that snared his first NWA World Title over a decade back, Gulak’s valet, top-flight indy talent Kimber Lee smashed Styles with the title belt for a disqualification. That earned her and Gulak matching Clashes, ensuring the hero’s measure of victory, moral in actuality.

Earlier in the evening, when Styles took part in an intermission signing session, he thumbed through the ECW DVD collection during a lull, a fan like any. A bystander asked if he watched ECW during its existence, and he’d admitted he did, even if it was on at two in the morning. The same man asked if he would have ever wanted to work there.

Without pause, Styles gosh-darnedly grinned, “Definitely, but back then, I wasn’t ready.”

Had Styles been ‘ready’, and ECW understood what he brought to the table, there’s little doubt he’d have been on board with one call. What stops others that know his value from making the same call is of great mystery.

Justin Henry has been an occasional contributor to Camel Clutch Blog since 2009. His other work can be found at and He can be found on Twitter, so give him a follow.

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Magnus Wins Title, AJ Styles Goes Indy, & Other Wrestling Thoughts

December 20, 2013 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

If there was anyone who did not see the swerve TNA was attempting to pull with Magnus winning the vacated World Title, then they must have been totally blind. I commend TNA for giving us subtle hints over the course of the last few months that at some point the Brit would be champion and the framework of the company would change.

This is actually a good move for TNA in bringing new blood to the title scene after it finally gave Bully Ray his shot at holding the title and slipped a title reign in for Chris Saban that as totally wrong for the company. Issues with AJ Styles aside, TNA could do worse with a good looking, under 30 champion that reminds me a bit of Barry Windham, Al Perez and Rick Rude all in one. Now, as the new year begins in 11 days, let’s see how TNA uses him as the groundwork for rebuilding the company and how the guys in the locker room accept the changes that TNA will attempt to make to save the fledgling company.

While I do not like the current angle of Dixie Carter, here henchmen and Magnus with the title, for now it makes as much sense as running through Eric Bischoff as it did in the past, and look where it got everyone?

I suspect Magnus will face Samoa Joe, maybe have a run in again with Jeff Hardy and then see who is left standing. I would love to see him and Ken Anderson go at it a few times. Also, does this mean that Abyss, holding the TNA Television Championship, since he is next in line, will be the top contender for the world title? Bring that on if anyone is listening.

AJ Styles to WWE?

He has been announced to be a part of a major independent wrestling show in 2014, but would AJ Styles finally join the ranks in the WWE and if so, where would his place be?

Styles, according to wrestle, “Combat Zone Wrestling has announced that former (and possibly current) TNA star AJ Styles will be wrestling at their 15th Anniversary event in Voorhees, New Jersey on February 8th, 2014. Styles worked CZW Best of the Best ten years ago in 2003, and will be facing CZW talent AR Fox on March 15th for the Ultimate Wrestling Experience, as we reported earlier this week.

Styles has been the talk of wrestling off and on for over half the year with his contract expiring in TNA. One of the two originals left in TNA since its inception (with James Storm), Styles was Impact Wrestling. While the WWE has repeatedly claimed it was not interested in TNA talent, seeing Styles in matches with CM Punk, Daniel Bryan and The Miz becomes must see television. And if Styles starts out the year on the independent circuit, is ROH not far off his radar? I think by the end of the year, Styles is on the WWE roster.

AJ Lee needs help

After holding the title for over six months now, could someone please come the locker room, the street, TNA or somewhere to finally challenge AJ Lee for the Divas Title? Can we finally see an interesting division that frankly bores the crap out of me and others. The Bellas are a nice pair and provide some drama on and off the screen, but the WWE needs more to keep the Divas afloat.

I still believe Natalya is the best option of current Divas who could challenge Lee for the title. The other angle I keep preaching is the turn by Tamina on her former friend and boss. The WWE also needs more talent in the ring and on the microphone. I keep thinking Eve needs to return or maybe Michelle McCool, but I think I am holding my breath.

Follow David on Twitter @davidlevin71

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Curious Details About AJ Styles Post-TNA Wrestling Plans

December 17, 2013 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

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 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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AJ Styles, TNA Wrestling, and Other Wrestling Thoughts

October 22, 2013 By: Category: Entertainment, WWE | Pro Wrestling

Here I go again, running off at the keyboard.

TNA did the right thing by putting the World Title back on AJ Styles. Not like we did not see this coming with a year’s build up of him playing the disgruntled “lone wolf,” trying to recreate the Sting character from WCW in a failed program. Styles is still the “go to guy” for TNA, whether we like it or not.

The company is loaded with talents like Bully Ray, Jeff Hardy, Chris Sabin, Kenny King, Magnus and Kurt Angle and still, Styles leads the pack in Sting-like fashion. I don’t like the current Styles-Carter story line, but here are some things to consider.

Some how, some way, I will bet dollars to doughnuts Magnus turns on Sting and the Main Event Mafia. I also see some connection between Dixie Carter and Magnus in the coming year. Yes, a corporate angle again in wrestling – who would have thought of that? But this makes a little more sense going forward.

Of all the talent moving forward, Magnus is the greatest threat to any and all comers. He is the future while Styles represents the past and the present with Angle, Bully Ray and others. His position as a face does not help the company because he will never be accepted over the veteran wrestlers on the TNA roster. Make him a heel and more doors open for him.

I can also see an alliance with him and he members of Ego.

If you cannot beat them, you join them. Isn’t that what Barry Windham did with the Four Horsemen? Magnus and Windham have a lot of the same traits and ability. The company should make this happen.

In addition to the World Title changing hands, the writers and creative team took a huge leap in changing all the major titles in TNA. If the company is looking for a rebirth, that is certainly the way to go. Styles was the right move. Chris Sabin was the right move and Gail Kim was as good a move as you can make. The BroMans team of Jesse and Robbie E just rubs me the wrong way and I thought James Storm and Gunner were a solid team but needed more polish.

The X-Division, the tag teams and the Knockouts are still kicking the WWE’s ass on a weekly basis.

While Styles run with the title will be predicated on keeping the strap off of Bully Ray and fighting with Dixie Carter over the leadership of the company, we do not know what role, if any Hulk Hogan will have in all of this. If Hogan is under contract with the company is not known and what roles he will play if signed to another deal gave not been divulged. Right now, it might be better for TNA to see how ratings fare without the Red and Yellow or Black and White around for a bit to test the waters.

If the company wants to remain on solid ground, it should continue to build the X-Division, use Austin Aries more and be more far reaching with Bobby Roode, Christopher Daniels and Kazarian. Also, there still needs to be a balance of faces versus heels. I like the idea that TNA does not discriminate and will pit face against face and heel against heel f it means higher ratings. Maybe the WWE should get a clue.

In the scheme of things, Aries versus Roode is a lot more exciting than seeing Kofi Kingston battle Curtis Axel and if the WWE knew anything at all right now, Axel and Dean Ambrose would be huge if it was ever allowed to happen.

Follow David on Twitter @davidlevin71

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TNA Impact Wrestling Results and September 19 Recap

September 21, 2013 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

This week’s Impact Wrestling opens with comments from Magnus regarding his loss last week. He says he’s not happy, but before he can finish, Bobby Roode cuts him off and tells him to blame only himself. Magnus grabs him by the shirt, and that’s when the two members of Bad Influence attack him from behind. Referees and officials eventually split the two sides up.

As the show cuts to the arena, Magnus makes his way out. He says his ribs hurt, his knees hurt and he hasn’t been able to chew food for a week, and it’s all because of how close he came to winning the BFG Series. He wants to say, for the record, AJ Styles, he believes you to be the best in the business and wishes you the best at BFG. However, he has another issue to address. Three individuals decided to involve themselves in that match, and he thinks we can all agree that no one wants anything to do with EGO because this (St. Louis) is Mafia country. The three just jumped him in the back, so here it is: he doesn’t have his family with him. He dares any one of them that has the stones to come down to this ring and face him one-on-one.

Kazarian marches down to the ring, and the two begin brawling. Eventually, Christopher Daniels comes down as well and attacks Magnus from behind. Magnus ducks a Kaz clothesline and sends him to the floor before stomping Daniels down in the corner. Bobby Roode comes down and nails a clothesline, and now it’s a 3-on-1 attack. Sting’s music hits as Sting and Samoa Joe make their way down to clear the ring. Sting tells them that it’s on, and they want a 6-man tag team match tonight.

We see Chris Sabin with Velvet Sky and Manik (unmasked). Sabin saw what Manik demanded of Hulk Hogan last week, and was very impressed how Manik stepped up. Sabin makes some remark about asking Sky out before telling Manik he’s proud of his success, then begins bragging about his own successes before telling Manik, “You’re welcome.” After Manik leaves, Sabin tells Sky he wants to get a closer look at this match. I smell a pointless heel turn.

MATCH 1: Jeff Hardy vs. World X-Division Champion Manik (non-title)
Before the match starts, Chris Sabin and Velvet Sky come out and sit at ringside. Manik applies a side headlock, then goes into an arm wringer. Hardy counters into his own, and Manik counters into a single-leg takedown for 1. Hardy does the same, and we get an indyriffic standoff. Manik puts Hardy in the corner, then whips him across the ring. Hardy counters with a spinning headscissors, sending Manik to the floor. Hardy kicks him through the ropes, then hits a running clothesline from the apron. Back in the ring, Hardy nails a reverse enziguri that sends Manik crashing into the corner. Manik avoids a slingshot dropkick, ducks a clothesline, then drop toe-holds Hardy into the middle rope. He follows up with an inside-out seated dropkick, but misses a springboard cross-body. Hardy hits the Botch in the Wind for 2. He goes for the Twist, and Manik counters with a fireman’s carry facebuster. He goes for his finisher (still doesn’t have a name, and Hardy escapes. Manik counters into a roll-up for 2. He tries for a neckbreaker out of the corner, but Hardy blocks and hits the Twist of Fate. Hardy connects with the swanton bomb and gets 3.

WINNER: Jeff Hardy. The two shake hands after the match before Hardy leaves the ring. Sabin then enters the ring, applauding Manik before raising his arm. As Manik turns his back, Sabin attacks him, stomping him down. Hardy returns to the ring and chases Sabin off. Sabin begins making a strange grunting noise, then smiles before leaving.

We see Dixie Carter arriving earlier today. AI asks her what’s going on, and she responds with, “A lot going on.” Man, she is a hell of a conversationalist. AI asks her if one of the things going on is AJ Styles, and she responds, “A lot going on.” Dammit if she doesn’t cut an amazing promo!

We see Chris Sabin and Velvet Sky in the back. AI asks why he attacked Manik. He calls Manik the most disrespectful man he’s ever met. No one realizes how much clout he has in TNA, and no one gives him the respect he deserves. He’s going to take his respect.

MATCH 2-Knockouts Championship: ODB vs. Mickie James (Champion)
In case you haven’t heard, this is James’ last match, as she did not come to terms on a new contract with TNA. Hate to spoil the ending, but I figured I might as well get that out of the way. ODB chest-bumps James, and James takes her down. ODB reverses and hits a few punches before hitting a shoulderblock. James thumbs her in the eye, hits a snapmare and a seated dropkick for 1. James hits a kick in the corner, then whips ODB across the ring. ODB blocks the charge and goes for the Clam Buffet, but James snaps her to the mat. James chokes ODB across the middle rope, but ODB retaliates with a spear for 2. James hits a couple of kicks and a flapjack before going to the top rope. She misses the Thesz press, and ODB comes up with a fall-away slam. James slides to the floor and calls for a time-out. ODB tries to pull her back in, but James breaks free, trips her on the apron, then traps her between the apron and the ring skirt. ODB fights back with punches as we go to commercials.

Back from the break, the match is back in the ring, and James scores with a neckbreaker for 2. She goes for the pin once more, getting another 2. James attacks ODB in the corner. ODB reverses a whip before running into a boot and a back elbow. James goes for the Tunacanrana, but ODB counters into a falling powerbomb. The two trade rights, and ODB gets the best of the exchange. James comes back with a kick and a series of forearms before ODB hits a clothesline and a shoulderblock. ODB hits a delayed vertical suplex for 2, then signals for an avalanche in the corner. James blocks it with a pair of boots and hits the Mick Kick. She calls for the standing tornado DDT, but then decides to pull ODB to the corner for a regular tornado DDT. ODB escapes and hits the Bam!

WINNER AND NEW CHAMPION: ODB, who becomes a 4-time champion. Eric Young and Joseph Park come to the ring to celebrate ODB’s big win when the Bro-Mans interrupt the festivities. Robbie E asks what the hell is going on here, bro? What the hell is going on around this place, bro? They hate to break up this really weird celebration, but it’s one thing for EY to be in the ring, as he’s actually married to “that”. But you, Joseph Park, you’re just a “3rd wheel hamster loser”, bro. But congratulations, because this is the creepiest threesome he’s ever seen. Park takes the mic and asks who in the hell they think they are, trying to diminish the knew Knockouts Champion? How dare these two try to besmirch the tradition of holy matrimony. Lastly, how dare they insult St. Louis in those ridiculous outfits. If he wasn’t wearing his suit jacket, he’d put up his dukes and teach them a lesson. E says that, in “bro-man” terms, it sounds like he’s challenging E to a match, bro. EY takes the mic and says Park has a suit on. Unfortunately for E, he does not.

MATCH 3: Eric Young (w/Joseph Park) vs. Robbie E (w/Jesse)
EY immediately rolls up E out of the corner and gets 3.

WINNER: Eric Young. Yes, that was literally the entire match. E gets on the mic and says that wasn’t a match because he wasn’t ready for EY, bro. He wanted Park. That match didn’t count, and he still wants Park. What’s the matter, Park? Are you scared, you fat bastard? Park takes off the glasses and the jacket and begins heading back to the ring.

MATCH 4: Joseph Park (w/Eric Young) vs. Robbie E (w/Jesse)
E misses a charge in the corner and Park rolls him up for 3.

WINNER: Joseph Park. God, I hate this show so much right now. After the match, the Bro-Mans attack EY and Park from behind, knocking Park to the floor. They hit EY with a hoisted implant DDT, then head out to the floor, where they ram Park face-first into the ring post. Back in the ring, they continue to double-team EY, and Park gets back in the ring, mouth bleeding. The Bro-Mans turn around, and Park hits a double clothesline. Jesse gets hit with a chokeslam, and E receives the Black Hole Slam. Mike Tenay mentions Park’s “brother” Abyss, but then fails to mention that Abyss is their current TV Champion because even he knows the title means d*ck. Park snaps out of his “transformation a few seconds later”, and EY raises his arm.

Hulk Hogan stops Dixie Carter in the back, asking what is going with AJ Styles. She ignores him and plays on Twitter.

Aces and Eights make their way out, led by Bully Ray. He says it sounds like everyone is really happy to see him tonight. He understands the crowd is proud of their World Heavyweight Champion. He then asks where Ken Anderson is before asking the fans a question: do you know who he is? I sure as hell don’t, so maybe someone can fill me in. He’s the World Champion, the president of A and E, and there’s nothing anybody can do about it. There is someone he needs to thank. He couldn’t have defended the belt if it wasn’t for someone special. If it wasn’t for someone he has a lot of love for and always does right by him. The reason he continues to be the World Champion…is because of Brooke Tessmacher. Without her, he’d be nothing. She’s like the wind beneath his wings. The way she came to the ring and drilled Anderson right in the nuts for him, she is the reason why he is still the World Champion. During this entire speech, the other 3 members of A and E are all looking on, confused. He turns to them and asks what’s the problem. Wes Brisco begins screaming that they’ve done everything he’s asked, and now, he’s blowing them off for Brooke. Ray tells Wes to watch his mouth, and to not even look at Brooke any more. Garett Bischoff takes the mic and says Wes has a point, reminding him who has been with him since day one. Ever since Brooke came along, Ray’s judgment and priorities are out of whack. Ray says he likes Garett’s passion and guts, but then backs him into the corner and tells him to never “bow up” like that again. He made both members of the Wonder Twins, calling them nobodies before they were brought into the club. If they ever step out of line again, he will smack them both in the face. Knux takes the mic and asks if Ray is going to slap him in the face, too. He’s been a member since day one. Ray has a big mouth, and maybe he’s the guy to shut it for him. They sacrifice night after night so Ray can keep the belt. After the first year-and-a-half, they went from 25 members to 4. The club is falling apart under Ray’s leadership. For the last year, it’s been Bully Ray business, not club business. Ray forgot the first rule of the club: bros before hoes. Ray shoves Knux and grabs the mic. He tells Knux if he ever steps out of line again or refers to Brooke as a “ho”, he will knock Knux’s head off. Knux throws his hat down and steps up to Ray. Ray backs off and leaves the ring with Brooke.

The three remaining members of the Main Event Mafia are in the back. Sting tells Magnus not to forget who he is. Joe says no one runs roughshod over them, and they are going out to get revenge.

Chavo Guerrero and Hernandez come out for a non-title match with the tag champs. If they win, they get a shot at the tag titles. Hernandez needs to beat his tattoo artist to death, then shoot himself for thinking any of that ink looks good. Before the match, Chavo grabs a mic and says that, as much as he “wants to wipe their faces off this mat, and trust me, nothing would please me more”, he’s injured and the doctor has not cleared him for this fight. Sorry, they’re not going to beat you today. Gunner calls them scared, then tells Chavo to shut his mouth. He’s out here to fight, and before he leaves the ring, someone is going to fight him. He asks what’s wrong with Hernandez, then challenges him to a match.

MATCH 5: Hernandez (w/Chavo Guerrero) vs. World Tag Team Co-Champion Gunner (w/James Storm)
Hernandez attacks Gunner in the corner, and Gunner fights out before getting hit with a standing avalanche for 1. A “U-S-A” chant breaks out, despite the fact that all four of these guys are from the same country, and are all in fact from the south. The two trade forearms, with Gunner getting the best of it. He goes for a suplex, and Hernandez counters by dropping Gunner gut-first across the top rope for 1. He chops Gunner in the corner, then whips him hard across the ring. He goes for the over-the-shoulder backbreaker drop, which connects for 2. Gunner blocks a Warrior Splash, then begins nailing some forearms before getting hit with a Pounce. Gunner pulls himself up in the corner, where he backdrops Hernandez to the outside. Hernandez lands on his feet and hits a few forearms before hitting Air Mexico. He punches Gunner in the face, and Gunner fights back from his knees. Hernandez picks him up, and they trade shots until Hernandez hits a kneelift. He looks for a suplex, and Gunner counters into a slingshot suplex. He ducks a clothesline, hits one of his own, lands a back suplex and a boot to the gut that sends Hernandez to the corner. Gunner hits a running forearm and a fall-away slam before hitting a uranage backbreaker for 3.

WINNER: Gunner.

We see AJ Styles in the back, talking to someone on his phone.

MATCH 6: EGO (Christopher Daniels, Kazarian and Bobby Roode) vs. The Main Event Mafia (Magnus, Samoa Joe and Sting)
As the MEM come out, Sting heads to the back for a moment, only to resurface with a baseball bat. Joe and Daniels start the match and Daniels clubs Joe from behind off a distraction by Roode. He throws Joe to the corner for some shots to the face and chest before sending him across the ring. Joe counters the charge with a uranage, then begins hitting some punches and kicks on Daniels, sending him to the corner. Joe follows up with a running knee strike and the Face Wash. Daniels slides to the floor before the running boot can connect, and he tags in Kaz, who gets whipped into the ring by Joe. Kaz blocks a corner whip by mounting the middle rope and going for a cross-body, but Joe just walks out of the way. Kaz ends up in the Mafia corner, where Magnus knocks him down with a right. Magnus tags in, and Joe hits an inverted atomic drop, followed by a running boot by Magnus, followed by a running senton by Joe for 2. Magnus drops Kaz with a European uppercut, then tags in Sting, who hits a dropkick that sends Kaz to the floor. Sting throws Kaz over the steps, then whips him into them. Back in the ring, Sting hits Kaz with an inverted atomic drop and goes for a clothesline. Daniels distracts him, so Sting knocks both him and Roode off the apron. Daniels trips Sting from the floor, allowing Kaz to connect with a springboard legdrop. Commercials.

Back from the break, Sting is hitting Roode with rights. Roode comes back with a running kneelift and a big boot for 2. Kaz tags in and hits a chop to the chest before throwing Sting face-first into Daniels’ boot. EGO triple-teams Sting in the corner. Daniels tags in, hits a running clothesline in the corner, then sends him into a spinning heel kick by Kaz for 2. Daniels applies a half-nelson/chinlock combo. Sting fights out, but gets shouldered in the gut. Daniels hits a snapmare and tags in Kaz, who hits a slingshot legdrop for 2 before applying a front chancery. Roode distracts the ref as Sting tries to make the tag, and when the other two members of the Mafia come in, Roode drags Sting back to the EGO corner for a triple-team. Kaz nails Sting with a forearm, and Daniels holds him in place as Roode tags in. He hits a suplex on Sting, then stomps him down. Kaz makes the fake tag behind the ref’s back as he’s distracted by Magnus. He knocks Joe off the apron, then sends Sting into the ropes. Daniels holds him in place, and Sting moves, causing Kaz to nail Daniels. He hits Kaz with a clothesline, then tags in Magnus as Roode tags in. Magnus gets in the typical hot tag offense, ending with the misdirection clothesline. Magnus hits the MDD for 2 as Daniels breaks it up. Joe headbutts Daniels before Daniels throws him to the floor. Sting comes in and chops Daniels, and Kaz attacks from behind. Sting ducks a double clothesline and hits one of his own. Roode in, and he snaps off a DDT on Sting. Joe hits a running hip bump on Roode, followed by a spin kick to the head. He snapmares Roode as Magnus comes off the middle rope with the flying elbow for 2. Daniels breaks up the pin. Joe fights off the two members of Bad Influence, knocking Kaz to the floor. He ducks a Daniels clothesline and hits a suicide dive on Kaz. Daniels signals for his own, but Sting intercepts him with a back body drop. He hits the Stinger Splash and applies the scorpion deathlock. Roode comes in with the baseball bat, but Magnus takes one for the team, stepping between the two and taking a bat shot to the back. Kaz knocks Sting to the floor, and Roode quickly gets the 3 on Magnus.


Up next, AJ Styles confronts Dixie Carter. I know you’re just as thrilled about this as I am.

AJ makes his way out. He says he has been with TNA since day one, busting his butt with his brothers to make this an alternative for you to watch, just trying to put this company on the map. But poof! It happened. Dixie Carter’s daddy bought her a “wrasslin’ company”. No blood, no sweat and no experience in wrestling at all. The problem is she broke up the chemistry that made TNA what it was. That was the problem. She had stars in her eyes, and what happened to those stars? What happened to Jerry Lynn? What happened to Low-Ki’? She traded them in for MMA stars and guys that needed a 2-year paid vacation, only to end up back in another promotion where they belong. And for what? So that Alex Shelley couldn’t be here. So Jay Lethal couldn’t be here. Petey Williams. All these great wrestlers are not here because of that very thing, and it pisses him off. Is he the only one who is pissed off about this? Here’s the biggest mistake, Dixie: it’s staring you right in the face. You’ve given him the opportunity to win YOUR title, and despite what the internet says, he doesn’t have a contract here. And there’s not a contracted wrestler back there that has any respect for you anyway. All of those wrestlers that you picked off one-by-one, you left one standing. He’s going to win the World title. He’s going to do it for him, the other wrestlers, the fans, and Dixie, he’s going to make you get on your knees and beg, and then he’s going to make you pay.

Dixie Carter makes her way out, trying her damnedest to walk/look like Stephanie McMahon in the face. They stand face-to-face and AJ tells her to say something. She’s known AJ a long time, and she knows that, for him to come out here and say these things in a public way, she knows he means them from the bottom of his heart, and she’s sorry. As president of this company, she has to be accountable. She holds herself accountable to everyone, from the investors to the wrestlers to the fans. And AJ, she’s accountable to him and owes him an apology. She’s sorry..that she ever allowed him to think he’s important to this company. She should have told him a long time ago he’s just a little bit better than an average fish in any pond he might be in (WTF?). This whole “Phenomenal One” stuff is an illusion she created. It’s a marketing gimmick for all of those wonderful 5-star matches he used to have. She says “used to”, because she can’t remember the last time he had one. Everything that AJ has done lately has been so subpar, he’ll be lucky if they call him “The Marginal One”, because he is nothing like he used to be. She is thankful to AJ. Thank you so much for allowing her to come into her ring on her show and have a chance to respond to all of the crap he has criticized her about over the last few weeks. She hopes now they’re maybe a little more crystal clear and on the same page. BTW, without her daddy’s paycheck, he’d still be in a trailer, and this “house that AJ Styles built” that everyone talks about, Dixie Carter built that. She owns it, and he’s lucky to have ever played in it.

As she leaves, AJ tells her to put that microphone where it belongs. She orders the production truck to cut his mic, that the show is over. The lights go black.

End of show.
Well, thank you Dixie Carter, for creating possibly the stupidest heel turn in history. She must have looked at Claire Lynch and said, “No. This company can do worse. I PERSONALLY can do worse. Let’s make it happen.”

Dustin Nichols is a freelance writer, and you can keep track of all of his work on his Facebook page, which can be found at Oh, and if you like bodybuilding, check out his mom’s official site by clicking the banner below:

Dixie Carter, AJ Styles and the unraveling of a wrestling promotion

September 20, 2013 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

When Dixie Carter and AJ Styles got in the ring Thursday night to discuss “business” it may have been the most compelling television for Impact Wrestling since Eric Bischoff took his act off air to help promote the company in other ways.

Styles and Carter may not be Daniel Bryan and Stephanie McMahon, but in this case the move might have been more out of despair than anything else.

In my opinion, TNA is still a sinking ship.

Matt Morgan, Tara, Madison Rayne, and now Mickie James are all part of the purge of talent the company has let go in recent months to save money and reshape the company while adding MMA wrestlers to the roster and providing some awful story lines.

Sometimes the blur between the “reality” of wrestling and veritas (truth) is underscored when your top talent goes on air and does one of the better shoot interviews this side of AJ Lee (sorry, cannot put that one up there with CM Punk).

And while it seemed the show last night on air (which was James’ last with TNA) comes on the heels of word that the Big Kahuna, Hulk Hogan, is not happy with the direction of the company and how his daughter’s release (Brooke) was handled by management.

In the big picture of things that TNA management has to deal with, the release of Brooke Hogan is small potatoes. And the idea of another invasion (They’re coming!) will not work now. The Aces and Eights program is old and sloppy. Garett Bischoff and Wes Brisco are a joke. Ken Anderson may also be on the way out and ODB may be headed for a battle with Velvet Sky now that her fiance Chris Sabin appears to have taken a heel turn.

Where is Alex Shelley when you need him?

Looking at the TNA roster right now, there needs to be a reshuffle of sorts to determine how to manage this promotion. That means the elimination of the Huntington Beach Bad Boy, Tito Ortiz. That means telling Rampage Jackson to hit the road. That also means building Bully Ray (minus the Aces and Eights) and AJ Styles as a great main event at Bound for Glory.

And it also means that TNA and Dixie Carter need to continue the verbal onslaught with one AJ Styles.

By definition in the Encyclopedia of Professional Wrestling, a “champion” is someone who is appealing to the masses, can speak decently, and is just a bit better than the other wrestlers to keep the title, but not so “over the top” that they cannot be defeated.

In Carter’s explanation of how she should have treated Styles differently than she has the last 12 years, she also defined what a champion and what Styles has been to the company – “its champion.” And before we get on a tangent about Carter acting like “Stephanie McMahon” last night (which was the first thing I thought of watching her little show), I am also reminded that Carter is nothing like McMahon, mainly because she used Twitter and Facebook as her mode of communication. McMahon gets in wrestlers faces and challenges them to be better. While both are accountable for their actions and the company, McMahon doesn’t talk about it, she just does it.

With Bound for Glory literally 30 days from today, TNA can make up a lot of ground by building this pay-per-view like they have in the past. But they must move forward. Vignettes about this being Styles’ last chance and Bully Ray talking about “Who He Is” would do wonders for this company, much in the same way they built Bobby Roode and James Storm up for the TNA Title. Those kinds of options work. And this company needs them to work.

If not, no matter how much Carter, Styles and the rest of the company want success, it won’t come easily since the promotion will set itself back even further.

Follow David on Twitter @davidlevin71

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TNA Impact Wrestling Gets Personal: the good, the bad, and the ugly

September 20, 2013 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

I have been a WWF/WWE since Hogan slammed Andre which means I have a pretty strong bias when it comes to my sports entertainment.  Last week I sat down to watch an episode of TNA Impact; a show I had not seen is over a year.  I was pretty underwhelmed to be honest.  Last week I wrote down some of my impressions in the 1st edition of “the good, the bad, and the ugly.”  As I stated before I was not impressed with what I saw.

This week I saw some feedback on a blog claiming the blog was bias and TNA was amazing.  I thought maybe I should try to watch this week without expectation and see what happens.  First of all before I go further TNA shows are not amazing, but I left tonight’s show wanting to see more.  With that let’s get into this weeks impressions:

Good- I felt like tonight wrestling mattered.  Not only did it matter but it was good.  My only gripe was that the matches didn’t get enough time.  I wrote something a while back, possibly on last weeks blog that TNA needed to focus on what they know and what makes them unique.  I felt like tonight the focus was on the matches and not long drawn out dialog.  I would watch a show like this each week.  It is still not WWE caliber in production but it was fun to watch.

Bad– I am quickly losing interest in the MEM.  I have always been a fan of Sting but things just seem out of sorts with the group in general.  No real good feuds, the bottom sort of fell out of the Aces and Eights storyline.  Looks like they are starting something with EGO but Magnus is really the only interesting one in the group.  I didn’t get chance to see Angle in the group, maybe it’s a dynamic thing.  It is boring and I don’t know what Samoa Joes shorts are all about.  They are all good wrestlers, it’s them teaming up that isn’t working.

Ugly- ODB.  I am not sure if I need to write anything else.  99% of the show is something my kid could probably watch but I get really tired of watching her pound her breast and scream.  It is almost as bad as watching Del Rio slam his thigh a million times doing his “super kicks” during each match.  I get that it is part of her gimmick but it difficult and really unattractive to watch.

Good- I am going to love the Manik vs. Sabin story.  It has been done before, but when was the last time we saw a story that had never been done before.  I just think the build is right.  Young kid with tons of talent vs. bitter vet with tons of talent. I think that they will work well together and the matches will be great.

Bad-I am not sure what was on Jeff Hardy’s eyes but he just seemed off.  I like Hardy a lot so the bad is not really him as much as how they are using him.  I know his character is supposed to be weird or different but there is a limit.  It seems like both companies struggle when there are too many people at the top, he just doesn’t fit and it shows.

Ugly- The way the show ended seemed to get a little out of control the last few minutes.  AJ’s “Shove the microphone where the sun doesn’t shine” comment after Dixie’s promo almost sounded like he was a sore loser and their final exchanged made Dixie seem crazy screaming for the power to go off.  It was a good segment that just went overboard at the end.

Good, Bad, and Ugly– I thought for the most part the final segment with AJ and Dixie was good.  Real problems draw real money and they addressed real problems.  Part of me wonders if some of that was a shoot because some the stuff AJ brought up is what people are saying.  Either way it’s a good plan.  When I heard AJ start talking about the MMA guys and Dixie not knowing wrestling I was a little nervous to see how Dixie would respond because so many of us think that it is true.  Her promo delivery was pretty bad at times but she isn’t a wrestler so we should forgive that. The end her promo when she basically told AJ that she built TNA and he was lucky she let him play in the house she built was awesome.  I am sure there will be all sorts of blogs tomorrow about that segment so I won’t put to much more into it.

I enjoyed the whole show and I will be tuning in next week to see what happens with Aces and Eights, Dixie and AJ, as well as Sabin and Manik.  I even want to see what Chavo has to say next week to get out of wrestling.  When I turned on the TV tonight I was expecting to be disappointed and I wasn’t thank you TNA.  Please let me know what you thought of last night show.  For those you who wanted another TNA hate blog, “sorry about your damn luck.”

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Not Buying The AJ Styles Contract Story

September 20, 2013 By: Category: Videos, WWE | Pro Wrestling

Are pro wrestling fans about to be duped again? It appears that TNA Wrestling think you may fall for the same trick twice. Count me in as a non-believer when it comes to AJ Styles contract but hey, I’ll be happy to play along.

We saw this story develop in the spring of 2011. Reports slowly started to surface about CM Punk’s contract status with the WWE. Reports started to increase with wrestling journalists telling fans that CM Punk’s contract was expiring and there was a very good chance he wouldn’t re-sign. Reports followed of a short-term contract extension that happened to expire the day after Money in the Bank and what followed was one of the most fun WWE summers in years.

TNA has ironically wound up in a similar situation or at least that is what’s being reported. Popular yet underutilized star AJ Styles’ contract is reportedly set to expire. A couple of weeks ago a new report surfaced indicating that Styles has signed a short-term extension. Styles then won Bound for Glory and earned a title shot at coincidentally right about the time his deal is set to expire. Do you see a pattern here…well besides the fun summer of course?

Here we go again. You know it’s funny because as fun as the Punk storyline was and it was entertaining, I could see the work a mile away. I was shocked at how many people were buying it at the time. I pointed out in my blog that either the journalists were being worked or were helping work the story. Friends of mine who reported the story took great offense to this yet as we look back now I was right about one of those two theories. Please I beg my friends (the few who I have left) on the journalism side not to get fooled again.

Any doubts I had about Styles’ contract story being legitimate were confirmed when I watched Impact Wrestling. Not only has TNA in its infinite wisdom decided to play off of an angle from two years ago, they are also playing off of one from three days ago. The second Dixie Carter started questioning AJ Styles’ value the same way that Trips and Stephanie labeled Daniel Bryan a “B” player my suspicions were confirmed…or either Dixie or AJ are incredibly stupid.

From AJ Styles’ side he would have to either be the dumbest guy in the world to go along with an angle where he is being marginalized as a “B” player in the middle of a contract negotiation. Why in the world would anyone want that perception (storyline or not) when they are trying to negotiate with the WWE? Would the WWE really sign a guy and offer him any kind of push that is being portrayed as a “B” player on the “B” program? I have to believe that he would never do this kind of an angle unless he had job security.

Now granted Dixie Carter has said and done a lot of incredibly dumb things in her reign as TNA president but I have to think that she has surrounded herself with enough smart people to advise her. The idea that she would put a guy over who is leaving in the Bound for Glory tournament and give him such a big push on the way out doesn’t benefit anyone, especially when they could have Magnus or Austin Aries over in the BFG tournament. If AJ were the top guy already and you put him in that situation to elevate Bully at BFG that would be understandable. He’s not and it would make no sense to do it if AJ is not signed to a lengthy deal.

So for the sake of you TNA fans who follow and enjoy the program I’ll play along. But if you think for a second that I think AJ Styles is going anywhere you probably should follow another blog.

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