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AJ Styles

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#21 Timbo Slice

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Posted 17 September 2014 - 10:26 PM

The one thing I will say is that being a WOTY candidate in any year, or a Top 3-5 candidate, puts you in the conversation with the Top 100-200 guys over a 40-50 year period. As good as he's been this year, and there have been flashes of greatness in previous years, there's just not enough. He's had a lot of bright spots, especially in a crap promotion, but I don't think he has enough.

#22 Superstar Sleeze

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Posted 19 September 2014 - 06:53 PM

If you are not considering AJ for your top 100, you are the one missing out on a great wrestler. He is a mortal lock for my top 100 and have only seen two of his 2014 matches (one was live, which is always bitchin).


In an era of faceless X-Division wrestlers, AJ Styles stood out because he was so well-rounded. AJ throws a punch way better than those lame gymnast poseurs. He can go on the mat and take to the air. His commitment to selling means that moves have consequence and from that consequence comes smart transitions.


Here is a bunch of AJ matches I reviewed: http://prowrestlingo...yles/?hl=styles


If you think AJ is one year wonder, watch these matches:


vs Abyss - Lockdown 2005 - Great, bloody little man vs big man steel cage match 


vs Samoa Joe - Turning Point 2005 - Incredible match. Styles sells the beating and exhaustion so well and makes everything mean so much


Against All Odds 2006 Triple Threat against Daniels and Samoa Joe is the Triple Threat to watch in my opinion not the more famous Unbreakable one. Joe is such a force so Styles and Daniels know they can't beat him so they try to beat each other. It is a really smart spotfest

w/Daniels vs AMW - Slammiversary 2006 - Perfect meddling of X-Divison and Southern Style Tag wrestling


The LAX feud was a great angle, but did not produce any great matches from when I rewatched them, but I didn't get to see the Impact Street Fight, which I remember liking a lot. 


Again the Angle feud was a great angle, but Kurt Angle flat out refused to wrestle the matches violently and just killed it dead. 

2009 Triple Threat was absolutely amazing and also must-see. AJ is given the keys to the kingdom and rocks it. He wrestles two different strategies to overcome Daniels and Joe. He is so adaptable. Watch this. 


His 2005 matches are probably better, but I loved his 2009 match against Daniels


TNA World Heavyweight Champion AJ Styles vs Christopher Daniels - Final Resolution 2009 Daniel puts in a career performance and AJ puts on a performance that is on par with his best. This match is worked so much differently than most TNA matches as they let spots breathe, use strikes effectively to set up spots and has psychology. I was really floored how friggin good this match was. The story is how AJ would overcome Daniels' combination of ruthlessness and familiarity with his moves. Daniels takes advantage of two early rope breaks to take cheap shots at Styles. He also is able to counter an AJ kip up by sitting down on an armbar and pick an ankle on a criss-cross spot because he knows AJ just that well. They really work the mat effectively I wish they would work this way more often. When AJ does take control because Daniels gets cocky he really lets the fists let and talks some trash to Daniels. Hate in a TNA match??? Whaaaaaattttttt? When Daniels regains control, he sets up AJ to get smacked with a chair and as the ref discards that chair he Rock Bottoms AJ through an chair. This sets up the back psychology and a really fuckin good heat segment. AJ gets a hope spot and goes up top to capitalize, but Daniels wails on his back. Then Daniels manages to hoist AJ up and basically do a backbreaker but use the top turnbuckle as his knee. If you are going to do innovative spots, then at least make them violet and that fit in perfectly. AJ re-establishes control by hitting a nasty powerbomb on Daniels onto the floor when Daniels tries to hit a huricanrana. AJ follows up with more strikes and trash talk. This does not feel like a TNA match at all and the TNA crowd does not how to react. Daniels uses AJ's own momentum against him crotches him on the ropes. Now Daniels is using some wicked open hand palm strikes. They fuck up a super Franeknsteiner. They fight over a suplex and AJ hits a wicked brainbuster. They struggle over Styles Clash; AJ kicks him the back and Daniels with open hand strikes. Daniels rakes the eyes to set up BME. AJ gets a catapult and then follows up with a Styles Clash kickout. AJ gets set up on top ropes; Daniels hits a big palm strike; goes for another super Frankensteiner this time he eats a super Styles Clash. This match unlike most TNA matches actually followed the story of the angle. It was two wrestlers pissed off at each other trying to prove they were better than the other. Daniels was great at heeling it up and he left most of the goofy moves at the door. He was out to use his guile and experience to best AJ. He started off really working the arm well before zeroing in on the back with ferocity rarely seen in TNA. AJ is such a great babyface at both selling and those fiery comebacks. His punches were really on point and he too did not work all his usual offensive spots and instead focusing on executing moves that fit the match and would finish his opponent. I liked the finish a lot because it combined smart escalation (Top Rope Styles Clash) with Daniels going to the well once too often (2nd attempt at Super Frankensteiner). 

#23 Matt D

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Posted 19 September 2014 - 06:58 PM

Styles is very high on the list of wrestlers I don't want to actually give a fair shake but that I will anyway for the sake of this.

#24 BillThompson

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Posted 23 September 2014 - 04:15 PM

I need to see a lot more from AJ. I liked him well enough in TNA, but a lot of the time I felt he downgraded himself, if that makes any sense. He's shown that he has top flight skills, but in TNA he would defer to his more spotty tendencies. I haven't seen much of his non-TNA work though.

#25 Lee Casebolt

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Posted 23 September 2014 - 04:17 PM

I was never high on Styles, but his post-TNA work is a million times better than anything he did in TNA. It's the best available evidence for the idea that what people do in TNA should not be held against them.

#26 Childs

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Posted 23 September 2014 - 05:49 PM

I watched some '05 AJ, and it primarily reminded me how great Samoa Joe used to be.

#27 goodhelmet

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Posted 23 September 2014 - 07:01 PM

What is so bad about AJ Will? I'm not a huge fan generally but he's got a WOTY case this year, and was one of the few guys who did anything of nite in TNA. What makes your boy Jericho better than him?


I am not factoring TNA into my voting. Staying consistent. His Indy run would put him at about 750. 

#28 Stiva

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Posted 23 September 2014 - 08:05 PM


What is so bad about AJ Will? I'm not a huge fan generally but he's got a WOTY case this year, and was one of the few guys who did anything of nite in TNA. What makes your boy Jericho better than him?


I am not factoring TNA into my voting. Staying consistent. His Indy run would put him at about 750. 



I haven't seen anywhere near enough TNA to vote for the guys who were in there but if AJ's stuff in there is on the level of the Bully Ray Last Man Standing match, then he'd have had a great run there. Somehow.

#29 JazeUSA

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Posted 04 October 2014 - 07:47 PM

AJ must be top 100, name 99 better wrestlers right now! 

#30 Matt D

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Posted 04 October 2014 - 07:54 PM

Mike Jackson? I'm gathering matches.

#31 Yo-Yo's Roomie

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Posted 10 October 2014 - 01:01 PM

I've just watched a bunch of AJ to get a feel for whether he warrants a place on my list or not. I tried to hit up most of the stuff recommended in this thread, and to get a good representation of stuff from his whole career. So, I watched some TNA stuff, some ROH, some touring indie superstar stuff, and some NJPW stuff, as well as seeing him working face and heel, in tags and singles, and in longer and short matches. This is my impression of him as a worker:



  • Offence. His spectacular stuff is indeed spectacular, and he hits it very crisply. He's actually a much better flyer than was my general impression going into this. I also like that he puts a lot of oomph into all his moves, making them look painful as well as pretty. Stuff like the springboard forearm smash, or his kneedrop always look good because of the extra he puts behind them. Love his dropkick spot too.
  • I like how he sells the stakes in a match, and he's also pretty good at selling accumulated damage/exhaustion. 
  • I found him really good at wrestling from underneath, and the best selling performances I saw from him were against big guys, like Joe or Abyss. Really like the way he takes a beating, and the intensity he shows in doing so. There was a great moment in the Joe match I watched where he just started kicking out of shit at 1, like a last act of defiance before he goes down.


  • Sometimes his offensive choices were a bit off, and I didn't feel like he built up to big moves as well as he could have. I don't think, for example, that he should be powerbombing or torture racking Samoa Joe.
  • I got the sense that it's too easy for him just to work every match on an even footing, no matter who the opponent. For example, I saw him wrestle Drew Galloway, and he gave no sense in the match that he was more experienced or more rounded than his opponent. It's like he had that go to match, and unless something was going to pull him out of that comfort zone, be it working a big man, or Paul London destroying his leg, it tended to get a bit samey.
  • I don't think he's particularly good at projecting a character in his matches, and he comes across as a bit bland to me. That also makes some of his matches seem too much like moves exhibitions.

I definitely think his style is more suited to working as a babyface, and I think he's the kind of guy who can add a lot to a match with his selling and explosiveness, but I also think he's a guy who needs to be reigned in by a more disciplined worker (or even a more limited worker). His stuff with Angle, for example, is trash, and I wasn't feeling the NJ stuff I saw. I don't think he'll make my list, but I'm not completely ruling him out. I'd say, to me, he's a better version of Evan Bourne.

#32 goodhelmet

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Posted 10 October 2014 - 10:01 PM

That's a great way of summing up Styles.

#33 Alan4L

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Posted 12 October 2014 - 04:20 AM

On the strength of his indy stuff pre-2007 and his New Japan/ROH stuff this year he is a lock for my list. The gems he managed to have sprinkled throughout his TNA years are just icing on the cake.

My favourite kind of AJ is the aggressive, beat the shit out of a smaller guy, AJ. This match is one of my favourite examples of that:

#34 Alan4L

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Posted 12 October 2014 - 04:24 AM

Obviously the Minoru Suzuki match from this year is required viewing as well considering the widespread praise spanning all kinds of fans with different tastes.


this one with Tetsuya Naito is pretty darn great too:


#35 W2BTD

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Posted 12 October 2014 - 09:22 AM

The G1 also saw Lance Hoyt have the best match of his life against AJ. This isn't meant as a knock to Archer/Hoyt, who has improved tremendously over the last few years and has gone from below average to a pretty damn solid pro wrestler, but AJ has shown that he can carry guys to special places that they've never been before.

#36 tim

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Posted 12 October 2014 - 09:36 AM

I think he's been outstanding this year, enough that it makes me want to revisit some of his early indie work which never struck me too much.  5 years at the level he's performing at right now and he makes the list.  But if I feel the same way about his indie work I used to, and given his wasted years in TNA, I'm tending to doubt it.  Still, there's all of 2015 before the lists are due and if he has a 2015 as good or better than his 2014 he could sneak on easily.

#37 Alan4L

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Posted 12 October 2014 - 11:31 AM

The G1 also saw Lance Hoyt have the best match of his life against AJ. This isn't meant as a knock to Archer/Hoyt, who has improved tremendously over the last few years and has gone from below average to a pretty damn solid pro wrestler, but AJ has shown that he can carry guys to special places that they've never been before.

also the Tenzan match which was about as great as a Tenzan match can be that isn't in Korakuen.

#38 Dylan Waco

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Posted 19 October 2014 - 10:56 PM

Over the last month or so I've rewatched the Styles/Daniels/Joe Triple Threat, Styles v. Bully Ray Last Man Standing, and Styles v. Abyss from Lockdown 05.  I have to say if you are the type of voter who really emphasizes high peak performances AJ deserves a lot of credit.  Those three matches are all really different and require different things and I thought AJ was pretty great in all of them.  The Abyss match is the freshest on my mind, and if I'm completely honest I think it's an incredible performance by Styles, the kind of match that almost made me feel like I had to rate him after it was over.  I am sure this will sound crazy to hardcore Michaels fans, but it honestly reminded me of a cross between Mindgames and HITC.  I am not saying I'd rate it ahead of Mindgames (I'd definitely rate it ahead of HITC I but I have never been a huge fan of that match), and you an find flaws with it, but Styles performance, and the way he worked in his big spots in that setting was really impressive to me.  You can argue that TNA kills him, but I remember a Jarrett title shot I absolutely loved, some other stuff with Joe, the tag team with Daniels having matches I was really into and a several other things of some note.  On top of that his year this year is really top tier in the world stuff.  I want to watch some of his older ROH/indie stuff, but at this point I'm leaning strongly toward including Styles in some capacity

#39 elliott

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Posted 20 October 2014 - 01:03 AM

I've seen probably less than 15 AJ Styles matches in my life and I've never seen an Abyss match. So I figured I would give that a shot. I agree it is a terrific performance from AJ. It seemed like every bump he took (even more basic ones like off a boot or a clothesline) was totally insane. His offense also looked really good. I usually like Big Guy vs Little Guy matches, so it would be cool to see AJ against a really good monster. This was more of a great one man show. My favorite spot was when Abyss whipped AJ towards the guardrail and AJ slid underneath it and then hit a flying elbow. Really creative spot that looked better than I would have ever imagined. There were some things I didn't like in the match but honestly they came from Abyss or the commentators. I didn't like the finish or anything Abyss did with the chain. Just wrap it around your fist and hit the guy in the face.  But AJ's performance was impressive enough to overcome those things that bugged me. Why the hell did WWE never pick him up? I want to see AJ vs Mark Henry.

#40 bradhindsight

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Posted 20 October 2014 - 08:40 AM

re: WWE - Kevin Kelly told the story that it was down to AJ and someone else from a tryout to get into OVW and despite KK pressing for them to go with AJ, they passed given his size.

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