Ultimately Phenomenal: The Future of AJ Styles
When it comes to professional careers, people should always aspire to be the best, or rather move up in the world based on their hard work, dedication and with perhaps a little luck on the way. People are always looking for fulfillment in their lives both personally and professionally. Striving for the best is quite simply, the American dream. It’s also the reason why AJ Styles should leave TNA for good and join the ranks of the WWE before it’s too late.
A true TNA stalwart, AJ Style has been a part of the company since it began in the summer of 2002. He is the personification of TNA, yet he has only held the belt once (post NWA split from TNA) since 2007. You’re always taught at a young age to make the most of yourself, and for AJ Styles, this should be no exception. While some would argue he’s had a modestly successful pro wrestling career, there’s no doubt that he hasn’t conquered everything there is in the world of professional wrestling, namely the WWE.
Let’s not kid ourselves here, WWE is the Mecca of professional wrestling. When you dream of being a wrestler, you don’t imagine yourself on a second-rate program with perhaps modest exposure and almost making it to the top. You want to be the best, you want to live the dream. Nobody ever dreams halfway, so AJ shouldn’t live his career only halfway either.
While money certainly makes the world go round, there’s nothing more fulfilling for a wrestler than performing on the grandest stage of them all at Wrestlemania. Styles is more than deserving of that platform based on his body of work and as a fan, I want to see him have a career that is not defined by his work in TNA, but rather that he got an opportunity on the big stage. But will he be willing to travel?
Obviously, with TNA the travel is minimal at best and with such few dates Styles works a month for the amount he’s being paid (it's been rumored at $350,000 annually) makes it worthwhile to stay where he’s at. Not only that, but being a father may have an impact on his decision to stay or leave. If he’s on the road more often, he won’t be able to see his family as often. He might be accustomed to working such a lighter, but opportunity is knocking for Styles.
How many times can Styles wrestle Christopher Daniels? At what point does someone want more out of their career and not wish to be complacent? The selfish fan that I am wants to see him succeed to the peak of his potential, and while he might not be the same wrestler he was just a few years ago, I want to see him squaring off against the best talent in the business. I’m quite positive that Styles is financially secure for his life given the amount of money his TNA contract pays, but there’s always the ‘what if?’ factor that comes into play. While AJ doesn’t need to work for WWE to validate his career, he should answer that question for his own sake. Why not make the move to WWE? Any reasonably sane person would. But would WWE welcome him with open arms? Hardly.
The ship has sailed for AJ Styles in the eyes of WWE. He may have had opportunities in the past to jump ship to WWE if he had so chosen, but there was a part of him that wanted to remain in TNA and he has that right to control his career the way he sees fit. Even if WWE decided to use him, I doubt he’d find the success that he did while a part of TNA. While the word success is simply a relative measure in this example, he wouldn’t come close to being a top guy in WWE. He might win a midcard title at some point, but he won’t be able to transition to the main event, why? Simply put, because he’s a TNA guy.
Vince McMahon and company aren’t about signing someone from TNA just because they are a free agent. They have plenty of young talent in WWE Developmental that any one of them could be fighting for a spot much similar to Styles. He’s not a game changer, there are really hardly any left on the independent circuit, or TNA for that matter, that could join the roster and make an impact immediately upon arrival. The only exception to this would be Samoa Joe, but even then his ship sailed a long time ago and I doubt WWE would be willing to consider signing him at this point since they are in their mid-30s.
Sure, someone like Christian went to TNA and was able to return to WWE after his tenure in the former, but we’re talking about TNA’s bread and butter. Christian is a WWE guy. WWE won’t be willing to put over a talent like AJ as they’ll decide to book him into purgatory hell where he remains a stagnant jobber. They aren’t going to give someone from an outside company the ball and let him run with it. Far from it. They’re going to pull the rug out from under them after a few successful victories, but after that it’s meant to test his will to see how long he’s willing to sacrifice his body in order to re-join the spotlight. While WWE might prove to be fulfilling and everything that Style has dreamed of, there’s no telling what WWE would do with him and his character, and that’s worrisome.
While it would be fantastic to see the phenomenal one in the middle of a WWE ring on a regular basis as opposed to a singles match against The Hurricane on Metal (remember Metal and Jakked?), the fact remains that the unknown of the WWE landscape for AJ Styles can’t be replaced for what Styles knows best, TNA Wrestling.
Nothing is guaranteed with WWE, and even though he might want to work Wrestlemania or Royal Rumble and be adored by thousands upon thousands of fans on a weekly basis, he can’t count on what might be.
TNA Wrestling, for all its faults, is the true home of AJ Styles, and that’s the way it should remain.