Posted by Ric Santos
In part 1 of Missing the Mark, which can be read here, we looked at Rob Van Dam and how TNA wrestling missed the mark with a talent of his caliber. In part 2 of Missing the Mark, we’ll be looking at AJ Styles and how TNA could have missed their mark and how the WWE looks to certainly miss the mark if he were to jump ship.
AJ Styles is back in the world title picture, a place where he deserves to be. In story, he could not challenge for the world title for one year. The year has passed and we are on the cusp of Bound for Glory. We’ve seen the “unfaithful man” storyline play out, as well as the “I’ve done everything for this company and am not appreciated, so I’ll do my own thing” storyline play out. AJ Styles was MIA for some time with no real updates being provided. The risk here was AJ’s momentum going cold coming off of the Christopher Daniels/ Kazarian feud. That, along with how the world title picture continually played out outside of the AJ Styles realm, and it may be safe to say that AJ Styles was not in the minds of the fans.
It was only when he returned and had his first interactions with the Aces & 8′s were fans beginning to warm up to AJ Styles again. As we all know, the fans truly got behind Styles again when he helped the Main Event Mafia to eliminate Devon and eventually move on to win the BFG Series. It’s understood that AJ disappearing, and how that drama played out, progressed the overall transformation and the current state of the TNA Championship picture, but what if things took a different turn? What if after his “I’m going to do my own thing” promo before his disappearance, AJ Styles stayed on TNA TV and developed his lone wolf attitude for the fans to see? What if he blurred the lines between being a face and heel and truly did his own thing in the ring and backstage? In this scenario, the momentum would have been hot after his feud with Daniels & Kazarian, as well as Styles losing the opportunity to challenge for the gold for one year. The possibilities of what could have happened leading up to helping the Main Event Mafia recently would have been endless. TNA may have missed the mark with AJ, but if this was the story all along or if creative wised up, then TNA had a plan. A little shaky, but a plan nevertheless.
As we all now know, AJ Styles is in negotiations with TNA as his contract, or new short term contract, is set to expire in December. With TNA asking talent to take pay cuts, would AJ Styles consider a WWE run? What if he were to do so?
The WWE has said that when it comes to AJ Styles, they would need to start from scratch (if he were to ever sign with the WWE). Upon reading this news, the word “scary” comes to mind. AJ Styles is already an established talent. At 36 years of age, there is no need at all for a reboot or a new character to be developed. The wrestling world knows AJ Styles as “The Phenomenal One” and anything else would be a failure.
Perhaps an alteration of the gimmick, like Chris Jericho from Lionheart to Y2J. Though the WWE gave Jericho a new gimmick, Jericho was not restarted from scratch. Goldberg, Brock Lesnar, Rob Van Dam, Eddie Guerrero, these are just a few of the successful names in professional wrestling that needed no restart and had success in WWE. To whatever degree is up to debate and talk but success nevertheless. Paying WWE dues, which we all know are much different dues to pay in the wrestling business, is one thing. However, respect the history the man has created for himself and the wrestling business.
Another point making rounds is there would be much more interest in Styles should the cruiserweight program the WWE has been thinking of gets its feet on the ground. So AJ Styles would be relegated to cruiserweight division status and not be considered for a possible beginning run in the mid card/ high mid card at least? Of course, these are just thoughts if AJ were to ever appear on WWE television, and decisions or views on the topic on WWE’s end can change, but the early word out of WWE is concerning in regards to AJ’s future.
Decisions and views can change and a very fruitful WWE run is certainly there as well, depending on AJ and his desire to take advantage in the world of the giants (in terms of star power and not literal size). However, in the early predictions based on WWE’s feelings towards Styles, the WWE would miss the mark and a TNA return would be a possibility after Styles’ WWE contract were to expire.
Thoughts, discussion, chatter, this is what drives analysts and those in the IWC with interesting and, admittedly, stupid comments at times when rumors and speculation run rampant. No matter which views and opinions you take, there has to be some truth within the rumblings. With Rob Van Dam in part 1 and AJ Styles in part 2, we can only continue to watch; seeing how the rest of their careers pan out in the years to come.
Sound of below with your thoughts and let the discussion begin!
NOTE: Though comments and discussion are encouraged, we ask that spoilers for this Thursday’s Impact Wrestling broadcast are not provided in the comments area in consideration of your fellow readers who do not wish to be spoiled. Thank you.
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