Making An Impact! – AJ Styles’ “Evil Ways”

Last night’s much needed win on Impact Wrestling may have been the beginning of the AJ Styles story unfolding as it pertains to the heavyweight championship. Styles lost the right to challenge for the world title for one year and we are nearing that period’s end. As currently one of the top 4 in the BFG Series, the answer to TNA’s Aces & 8′s problem could be making his way to Bound for Glory on pay-per-view.

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Would last night’s victory over Jeff Hardy be considered an upset? It certainly felt that way given the circumstances of the win. Jeff Hardy tapped to the Calf Killer by AJ Styles, earning Styles 10 points in the BFG Series. It’s not everyday where we see Hardy tapping on Impact Wrestling television; Styles finding the man’s breaking point to secure the win.

What’s impressive about this re-imagined AJ Styles is the focus he has and the belief that, even with Magnus at 49 point, Styles is the favorite to win the entire series. This is exactly what Styles needed as a performer to regain interest from the fans. The squeaky clean AJ Styles of years past does not work the exact same way it used to in this world where the anti-hero is praised. An interesting comment came from Mike Tenay after the Styles Clash last night; how it’s been a long time since we’ve seen the maneuver performed. This brings up a point concerning the amalgam of style and personality to create the ideal wrestler for 2013 and the future. If AJ Styles continues to embrace his darker side, but begins to utilize his true skill set through character growth, we may be watching the greatest TNA Wrestling performer of all time taking shape.

Some would say he already is, but it’s really AJ as one of the best performers on the roster since joining TNA at this time. Being one of the best performers on the roster and being the best TNA wrestler of all time are two completely different concepts. AJ Styles has the star power, the presence, the skill, the attitude and the mic work all under his belt. The issue has been finding a balance to present the right AJ Styles for this day and age. He is finding that balance now as he continues on in 2013. He has either been too much of a good guy or looks uncomfortable as a heel, a la his initial time with Ric Flair. The re-imagined AJ Styles is finally putting his talents together into the proper formula and the results, when it’s all said and done, will be Phenomenal.

- Reintroduce the issues between AJ Styles and the Aces & 8′s. Begin the process of having AJ losing backstage brawls or during in-ring segments. This would force AJ to realize that he cannot do this on his own and his character will grow further.

- A rematch with Jeff Hardy would be in order or even a non title match with current champion Chris Sabin. The goal in putting Styles against Sabin, and going over Sabin, is the classic story of the hunter making it known to the champion that the title will not be his for long (if Sabin is even champion by Bound for Glory in October).

Do you believe AJ Styles made the most impact on Impact Wrestling? Do you believe someone else shined brightest on last night’s broadcast? Sound off below!

Follow me on Twitter: @RealRicSantos

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  • Alex Barie

    Great analysis on AJ Styles' character. You mentioned that he should face Chris Sabin in a non-title match and you would book him over Sabin. I don't have a problem seeing that match, as it would be absolutely great, but I would not book Chris under right now. He has to be on a roll since he cashed in the X-Division Title, won the TNA World Title, and is now on top of the company. AJ Styles really needs to look strong as we get closer to the end of the BFG Series, so having him lose would only hurt him. Very tricky booking if that match took place.

    • Ric Santos

      Thanks Alex! I guess I have AJ over Sabin later on as we get closer to BFG. If the two have a stellar back and forth matchup and AJ picks up a win out of nowhere to end the match, I don’t think it would make Sabin look bad. It depends on before and after the match really between these two.

  • Rashaan Butler

    While I agree that the issues between Aces & Eights and Styles should be reintroduced, I don't think Styles should necessarily lose brawls against them. Remember Sting won quite a few brawls against the NWO on his own in the latter half of 1997. Also Stone Cold Steve Austin had many altercations with groups like the Hart Foundation and the Nation of Domination in 1997, and DX in the first quarter of 1998, getting the best of them through psychological warfare and hit and run tactics, all on his own. I think Styles could also do the same. This may or may not surprise you but as much as people see AJ's change of attitude to mirror Sting's in '96 and '97, I also see a little bit of Stone Cold in him as well, what with his all for me and no place for a hero talk. He does give it his own spin of course. I wouldn't be too surprised to see AJ make references to Stone Cold in some of his interview later down the line.