AJ Styles - The face of the New Era
AJ Styles has had a phenomenal first year in WWE so far.
Ever since WWE entered the New Era, it has added a host of talented new Superstars to its already illustrious roster, some of them are from their widely acclaimed developmental division NXT and others have been brought in from the indies and the overseas circuits.
It has been a breath of fresh air in a company who has been pushing the same old talent over the years, much to the frustration of their fans. WWE has gone so far in revamping the image of the company that it has brought in some of the biggest names from rival promotions , such names which avid fans never thought would represent WWE, and one such star is the phenomenal AJ styles.
WWE’s decision to bring out Styles at the Royal Rumble proved to be an insightful one as the roster was crippled by its long list of injuries and did not have enough well established main event stars. ENTER Styles as he took the opportunity and pushed himself over the previously predicted mid card status.
Styles is widely regarded as one of the best professional wrestlers of his generation and has had an incredible career so far. The former Mr. TNA has wrestled all over the world and has been the top dog in each of those promotions. He is only the second wrestler, after Kurt Angle, who has held WWE World Championship, TNA World Heavyweight Championship and IWGP Heavyweight Championship in professional wrestling history. He is also the only wrestler who has featured in three of the biggest wrestling PPV’s Wrestle Kingdom 10 (NJPW), Final Battle (ROH) and WWE Wrestlemania 32 in a matter of months.
The man widely known as ‘The Phenomenal One’ has been a revelation since joining WWE earlier this year. Since debuting at Royal Rumble he went on to have some high profile feuds with the likes of Y2J Chris Jericho, Roman Reigns and most recently the leader of Cenation John Cena and provided excellent matches much to the delight of WWE fans. Styles has managed to mesmerize the viewers with his technical wrestling and high flying move set.
AJ’s first feud in WWE was with Chris Jericho which resulted in a series of technically sound matches between the two superstars, the Ayatollah of Rock-N-Rolla and The Phenomenal One went back and forth exchanging wins in between .The rivalry was concluded at Wrestlemania 32 with Y2J coming out on top, only for Styles to pin him the following night in a Fatal-4-Way on Raw to get his first shot at the WWE World Heavyweight Title against Roman Reigns.
We then saw Styles form an alliance with his former Bullet Club companions Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson to take down the Roman Empire. This was the rivalry that elevated AJ’s reputation in the WWE as he had two well-worked bouts with Reigns losing both but establishing himself as one of the top stars.
Styles went on to have a rivalry with one of the most decorated professional wrestler in WWE John Cena , this feud saw AJ’s transition from a babyface to a heel with Cena taking the brunt of the newly formed ‘The Club’. Their altercation on SmackDown Live did set their rivalry up as the two veterans went one on one twice on Money In The Bank and Summerslam with AJ Styles coming out on top on both the occasions. Styles defeated Cena ‘clean’ at SummerSlam and proclaimed himself as The New Face That Runs The Place. Both matches were excellent, especially the latter one at SummerSlam, with Styles getting a huge momentum to take on Dean Ambrose next.
The Phenomenal One then confronted The Lunatic Fringe Dean Ambrose for the WWE World Championship. Both the superstars faced each other at the first exclusive Smackdown Live PPV Backlash with Styles emerging as the new champion in a pure heel fashion to establish himself as the alpha male of the blue brand. WWE deserves credit for their way of utilising the talent of AJ, as the company had earned a bad reputation for ‘burying’ the outside talent with their homegrown talent which left a bad taste in the mouth of avid wrestling fans.
AJ who was originally supposed to be a mid-card superstar elevated his status to one of the main eventers mostly due to his merchandise sale and partly due to the outstanding crowd reactions he received over the months. He maximised on his opportunities by producing excellent matches day in day out and has been the most successful wrestler in WWE so far this year.
The progress of former leader of Bullet Club has been a delight to watch and has set AJ Styles to be one the greatest professional wrestlers of all time , only time will tell how well WWE manages Styles in the future but for now, things are looking good for ‘The Phenomenal One’.