5 must-watch matches of AJ Styles before WWE
Prior to signing with the WWE, Styles competed in some of the most notable wrestling promotions around the globe.
‘The Phenomenal’ AJ Styles is undoubtedly one of the greatest wrestlers to ever grace the sport of Professional Wrestling and ever since making his debut in the year 1998, Styles has been subsequently achieved an enormous amount accomplishments around the entire globe for several notable wrestling promotions.
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Currently, in his second reign as WWE Champion, Styles has previously competed for top global promotions such as Ring of Honor Wrestling and New Japan Pro Wrestling—where he is a former two-time IWGP Heavyweight Champion and the former leader of the legendary Japanese faction, The Bullet Club.
However, it was during Styles’ run with TNA when the 40-year-old Georgia native became one of the most popular names in the world of Professional Wrestling and throughout these past two decades, ‘The Phenomenal One’ has also contributed towards some of the greatest matches in WWE and outside of it aswell.
Thus, with that being said, let us now take an in-depth look at AJ Styles’ 5 best matches outside of the WWE.
#5 AJ Styles vs Kazuchika Okada- NJPW: Dominion 7.5, 2015
The Dominion event is considered as NJPW's second biggest show of the year following their annual Wrestle Kingdom show and back in 2015, Kazuchika Okada and AJ Styles headlined a stacked Dominion 7.5 show at the Osaka-jo Hall with the IWGP Heavyweight Championship on the line.
Prior to their showdown at Dominion 7.5, Styles had already defeated Okada on two different occasions, with the former winning the IWGP Heavyweight title from 'The Rainmaker' in their very first meeting inside the squared circle, however, on this occasion, the roles were reversed as 'The Phenomenal One' came in as the challenger, with the rest of The Bullet Club backing him up in the corner.
As expected, the likes of Karl Anderson, Doc Gallows, Cody Hall, Tama Tonga, and The Young Bucks played a vital role in the opening stages of this contest thanks to their surplus amount of outside interference, in classic Bullet Club fashion.
But, once referee Red Shoes eventually ejected The BC from ringside, the pace of the contest seemingly picked up aswell and Styles' in-ring attitude went from a confident, cocky heel to a vulnerable challenger, who now didn't have the backup of his fellow brethren.
The rest of the match went along in a really smooth pace with both Okada and Styles going back-and-forth, with some incredibly close false finishes further adding to the drama.
Okada would eventually connect with The Rainmaker and get the pinfall victory over Styles in order to bring an end to 'The Phenomenal One's' second IWGP Heavyweight Championship reign.