Anyone still on the fence about voting or even considering AJ (because TNA) should try and find a spare twenty minutes and give the Joe Turning Point match a look. Not only will you find an out of this world performance from Styles but a legit match of the century contender. Stick on an LP, watch the match on mute and get ready for a ride.
I've been critical of Styles. I find his early indie work to be fairly bland and emotionless, and until recent years his work would lose its focus in certain situations and environments. For example, his great 2005 run had blunders like the Daniels matches and the terrible three way. The guy who said he needed 'reigning in' might be right. But the good outings are too good to ignore.
While his facials and body language never became compelling Styles has found ways to express himself and his character through his in ring work. In the Turning Point match he jumps Joe at the bell and throws everything at the wall. You just know in his head he is thinking "I'm fucked anyway, nothing to loose, jump into the deep end!" It comes through in every strike and desperate flurry. He ends up surprised at his own success and briefly slips into cockiness as he takes on Joe toe to toe at his own game and it nearly costs him. His work against the Abyss is more calculated and rational - throw yourself at the giant but keep as much distance as possible. He pulls out perhaps the best cat and mouse performance of all time in their cage match.
The springboard DDT is a bit too cute for my tastes but otherwise his offence is brilliant. Fluid, smooth, often dazzling yet stiff and hurty. He could always brawl, fly and work the mat and he's stuck all them bits together to become one of the best in the world. He'll sell you a limb (vs Suzuki) and build a hot match in any setting (vs Rave, his recent WWE tags) . Bumps like a champ. He's a terrible promo and should probably clean up his look but he's no lower than top 75.