AJ Styles

Scott – has anyone from outside the WWE world ever come in and received a push like AJ Styles???

Also – has anyone ever come in and "ran with the ball" as well as AJ has?

Also also – are you surprised at how well AJ has been pushed since his debut or is this what you expected?

​Let’s not go too crazy here. He’s World champion of the secondary brand and is probably dropping it to Cena at the Rumble or Fastlane, so it’s not like he’s been handed the keys to the kingdom or anything. But yes, I’m very pleased with how he’s been pushed thus far, and he’s also shown real poise and charisma in that role, despite what Vince would normally consider a crippling lack of size.​

  • Mike Fitzgerald

    He’s done more than I expected due to his size. I think he’s benefited hugely from the change in philosophy in WWE. These days they actively want to feature good wrestlers, even if they don’t have the stereotypical “WWE Look”, which just wasn’t the case a few years ago. Listening to WOR and hearing Dave and Bryan talk about how they now want a really good match to close Mania because New Japan had one at Wrestle Kingdom really surprised me, because a while back match quality wouldn’t have been even remotely as important to them

    • Ioan Morris

      Frankly, it’s an impossible ask. Just set up a bunch of exciting matches with interesting booking and see what happens. You can’t magic up a five-star match for the sake of it. That way lies madness.

      • zahidf

        You can make it easier though if you have, for example, a Aj vs Cena Iron man match as against Shane McMahon vs HHH

        • Ioan Morris

          True, although I think the Summerslam match with AJ was just about the limit of Cena’s current finisher spamming style. I’ll be interested to see if they do something different at the Rumble.

          • Mike Fitzgerald

            I think that if they go with Cena Vs Undertaker Vs Styles, they’ll pull it off. I’d have Undertaker involved in a disputed finish somehow at The Rumble and then go with AJ as Champion into Mania. It’ll be a guaranteed great match, gives AJ a Mania Main Event and we still get to see Cena Vs Taker for the last time

          • JosephM

            And further pisses off CM Punk, it’s win-win all around!

  • cultstatus

    Outside of his PPV matches, his run has been dogshit to be honest. The only good storyline he had was the Reigns feud.

    • cultstatus

      And randomly good TV matches here and there.

    • djowalsen: Known Hater

      Smackdown storylines do have a habit of being a bit too stretched out.

  • AnInternetToughGuy

    The fact that he has actually good matches with Ambrose certifies him as an all-time great.

  • Ioan Morris

    He has done far, far better than expected when it comes to booking. He’s been one of the best in the world for a few years but that doesn’t necessarily translate to a main event push in the WWE. The brand split has undoubtedly helped and the Summerslam match was as strong as Cena’s ever put anyone over.

    • AnInternetToughGuy

      If I was more cynical I would theorize that Cena is only putting over guys with years of abusive Indy tread as well as not being a young up-and-comer (Styles, D-Bry, Punk).

      • PhilStubington

        I think Cena really likes working with ex-indie guys and letting all hang out in the ring. Its obvious for all his faults Cena loves wrestling and I suspect he’s genuinely jacked at the thought of trying to assemble a **** to ***** star match with Styles.

    • Empian

      I’d argue Bryan at Summerslam was nearly as strong and Cena never got that win back either.

      • Ioan Morris

        Absolutely. And that was the main event and a title match.

  • I’d never seen AJ perform other than a short TNA bit he did with Dixie Carter. Last week’s Smackdown his promos were on FIRE. I can’t believe that this was the same guy that they barely let talk when he debuted int he WWE. He’s definitely much better in this heel/indie darling role that he’s playing now. He’s bringing out the best in Cena as well.

  • itwastyped

    He is the total package IMO, so good even Vince can’t ignore him

  • breakydafunk

    If he can hang on until Wrestlemania with the belt, surely that cements his status as a top guy. And they are crying out for top guys now.

    Give him the series victory over Cena that everyone else has been denied, and let’s see how far he can go.

    • AnInternetToughGuy

      Probably not going to happen though.
      Mania is more about MOMENTS now than cementing new guys.

      …Unless we’re all finally ready to accept Reigns.

    • Even if AJ still has the title at Mania, I wouldn’t say that cements his place as a top guy. CM Punk had the world title at Mania too yet he was like third or fourth from the top when he wrestled Jericho.

    • Empian

      Thing is if he hangs on past the Rumble he probably hangs on past Mania as well as there’s nobody really a better option than him on SD.

      So the Rumble is a big night for AJ.

      If he wins – he probably defends at the Feb PPV and possibly even defends at Mania (at worst he is in a title match).

      If he loses at the Rumble….he loses again at Fastlane (or whatever it is) and does the multi man thing at Mania and probably doesn’t win that as he’s above the IC Title really at this point.

      • BODConscience

        If he can hang past elimination chamber I seriously think they’ll have him break Punk’s modern day record. I think that sticks in their craw a lot.

        • Telthorst

          I’m sure you’re right about Punk having the modern-day record, but I can’t really understand why. Literally no one cares. No one discusses these records unless their own announcers bring it up. It’s amazing that they do probably think this is a wrong that must be righted.

          • BODConscience

            It’s all about branding, buzz words, wrestlemania moments and making history. And punk plays a major part in that last one. They washes their hands clean of demolition and I just get the feeling punk is next.

          • Same reason Nikki Bella had to break AJ Lee’s title record. Same reason Randy Orton had to become the youngest WWE Champ, breaking Brock’s record after he left. If you piss off Vince say goodbye to any legacy you once had, until he can make money off you then welcome back!

  • For the people that never thought that AJ was never a good promo in TNA I give you this https://youtu.be/CWCq97x1Ltg AJ always had the potential to cut a good passionate promo.

    • Night

      I always thought his funny heel promos in TNA were fun.

    • Greg Phillips

      He was always very good, and he worked on his promos a lot over the years. People around here just had a “it’s TNA so it must suck” mentality.

    • BODConscience

      That was great Tom. Thanks for sharing. It blows my mind that they can script something as real and great as that. Then shit the bed with countless crap. That blew me away. It didn’t even completely bury Hardy either. It made him seem kind of sympathetic in that it recognised that everyone has their faults, and nobody is perfect. Both guys came across looking great in that.

  • thejob111

    He has been great, but there have been plenty of guys that have gotten the magic push when they came in.

    Heck look at the Observer reviews for the time. Flair and Sid both got huge pushes between 1991 and Wrestlemania 8. They both main events that mania and they just came in fresh from WCW.

    Razor Ramon got a huge push coming and had a title match against Bret at RR93. He went down to the midcard after, but short-term it was big.

    Within a few months of starting in January of 93, Lex Luger was bodyslamming Yokozuna.

    Other examples are Vader, maybe Mankind when he started.

    The thing is though AJ has a chance to sustain it. Most of the guys wouldn’t last too long for different reasons. Depends how things shake out at Wrestlemania here to see what they do with him. He is their best right now.

  • Kevin Nash won the Intercontinental, Tag, and WWF Championship in his first full year with the company and the company spent the next year booking around him. It didn’t work out, of course, but he went from being a bodyguard to the guy the federation revolves around in a year and a half.

    Ric Flair is the other obvious comparison, winning the WWF Championship within four months of his debut.

    I would probably include Kurt Angle in the discussion, since he also won the title in his rookie year, and though good things were predicted for him coming in, I don’t think anyone expected he’d be that good that fast.

    • Chris

      And during that first year, everything revolved around Rock, HHH, Taker, and later Austin. Angle wasn’t at the forefront even when he had the title. Nor should he have been at point.

      • LJFCAT

        There was only one world title though – none of the two roster silliness. Meant more when Angle won it – he had THE top belt, not *a* top belt.

  • The Polish Hammer

    Despite AJ’s size, Vince is mesmerized by his soccer mom hair. If he was still sporting the short hair he had in TNA, he’d be jobbing to Titus O’Neill.

  • The Professor

    Yokozuna won the rumble and the world title within like 6 months of his debut.

  • Robinson Tilapia

    Lineage-wise and, in the eyes of a hell of a lot of fans, that ain’t the secondary belt. That’s the belt.

    • David-Shea Gomory

      Yup, Owens has the secondary belt. Just because it’s on Raw, and red, doesn’t mean it’s the superior title.

      • g win

        Spinners, US flag, or blue, if Cena is going for that belt, it’s the belt.

        • Empian


        • Chris

          In a few weeks, Roman will have the red belt. At that point, it’ll become the belt.

      • LJFCAT

        It’s not on the flagship show, would be the main argument. When HHH was given the first brand split title, they quickly worked to establish which was top – lineage didn’t mean jack. By WMXX, you’d be crazy to say it wasn’t the top title. How many fans do you think know the lineage?

  • JosephM

    Hasn’t it been confirmed more or less that Vince likes AJ, and even if he drops the title soon in Vince’s eyes right now he’s astar, so he’ll be booked well regardless.

  • y2j420

    Hogan in 1983…

  • The size thing is a major issue for Vince. According to Bruce Prichard, the Higher Power storyline went a bit sideways when the original choice, Christopher “Fallen Angel” Daniels, was vetoed on sight by Vince. Bruce, Pat, and Russo loved CD, but Vince immediately killed the idea when they saw how small he was. AJ’s done an amazing job given that problem.

  • Fat, Ugly Inner-City Sweathog

    Angle and Lesnar

  • Peter

    AJ’s push is due to circumstances, let’s be honest here. WWE was in deep shit in the beginning of 2016, because of the injury bug and because their young talent still needed a lot of work to be legit top guys.

    So they were pretty much forced to raid any good talent out there to salvage their product.

    It turned out great as AJ is amazing and hands-down the best guy they have right now, but I’m guessing if Rollins, Orton and Cena are not injured in 2015 and if WWE did a better job of building their future, we get no AJ and we get no AJ super push.

  • brak_attack

    I think it’s unfair to write AJ off as the secondary champion. Granted, we’re yet to see a co-branded title match where one title is defended last instead of the other, but overall I would say Owens isn’t being pushed any harder than he is. I would actually say that AJ has defended against higher caliber stars than Owens has. Or at least equal.

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