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.
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.
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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