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Superstar Sleeze

AJ Styles

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He had that match against Cena at the Rumble. But otherwise, I would agree. He still looks like one of the greatest wrestler in the world, but the classic matches aren't there. Then again, despite the consensus that would like to present WWE as this greatest roster ever, WWE today simply doesn't have the greatest opposition for him to deliver those classics like there was in TNA (Joe & Daniels in their prime, Angle) or NJ (Nak is both passed his prime and cruising, obviously).

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I think his WWE run so far is a little more layered. I'd definitely agree that it's been the weakest in-ring stretch of his career, though I'd point to a few high end matches other people might not. The Lesnar match is better to me than all but one or two of his NJPW bouts and I know there are people who would say the same of his Roman and Cena matches. More than that, though, I'm surprised by how well he's fit into the general format of WWE production and storytelling. It's not like he didn't spend a decade on TV with TNA but for a straightlaced southern boy who I've never considered a particularly good talker he's handled the transition to doing 15-20 minutes of promos most every week surprisingly well, especially considering that he's given material like the whole "beat up John Cena" shtick. As KawadaSmile mentioned, that Owens/Zayn feud should have been way worse and wasn't because of him. I loved the Ellsworth feud to death and I don't think it works nearly so well if anyone else in the company is doing that story. Despite being a guy who probably always would have been perceived as an awesome in-ring worker and little else, the dude's held his own in the "makin' movies" promotion.

 

The Roman ER match and Cena Rumble match might be the the two best of his career.

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While certainly great, I think the Cena matches are a bit overrated. The Roman matches are criminally underrated and I think the Extreme Rules one in particular is a legit all timer. The Brock match was also out of this world. Put all those together and its not too shabby for a high end resume, and that's without even getting into the depth of his TV work.

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His TV match resume is very good, especially when he was almost regularly wrestling in 2016. And the fact that he got legitimately good stuff out of Jinder of all people speaks volumes to his ability of making the most out of (almost) anyone.

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Cena/Styles at Summerslam is legit one of my least favorite matches of all time. Quite possibly the worst match I've ever seen involving two established great wrestlers. Then again, Cena has been mostly unwatchable since he reinvented himself as a PWG wrestler. But the Roman matches are awesome (I'd say Payback is the better of the two), as is the Lesnar match. Being able to drag something worthwhile out of Suplex City Brock is almost as impressive as doing it with Jinder.

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The Summerslam match is easily the weakest of the Cena/Styles feud and I don't see anyone pushing for that one. Money in the Bank + Royal Rumble are the ones I have as classics. MITB in particular is worked totally different to the 'PWG Cena' stuff, Cena barely strings more than two moves together in the whole thing.

 

I'd also point about the numerous great matches AJ Styles had with Dean Ambrose. Backlash, TLC and the Smackdown after Royal Rumble are all fantastic and I don't think Ambrose has had close to as good a match as any of them since. Even more impressive maybe is in the middle of that feud AJ had a very good ladder match with James Ellsworth. Had the best match Shane McMahon's ever had too. He also had an incredible performance in the Elimination Chamber match, for me only beaten by Rey Mysterio's in 2009. Seemed like he was on a personal mission to take whatever bumps necessary to get all five other guys over.

 

Nah AJ's first year in WWE was amazing. Bit of a dud by his standards since WM33 though.

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