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AJ Styles

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I was a NWA/WCW guy in the late 80's and 90's. When they went out of business I gave TNA a try. I got behind AJ and thought he was a good piece of talent. I went and seeked out his pre TNA work. That was pretty good for a young guy. He should make my list. I watched his match from the G1 with Suzuki last night and it was strong . They really told a pretty compelling story. Styles selling of the arm was great. I thought the run in kinda hurt the match. Some real fun reversals. The match cliqued. I thought it was in the 4 1/4*. With the NJ streaming network I'm really excited to try a product I haven't viewed regularly in years.

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Styles to me is 'fun to watch' the same way a blockbuster summer movie with no emotional core would be. He draws zero feeling from me other than a 'hey, that was neat' from his athletic ability. He seems like one of those guys who gets the physicality of wrestling but none of the intangibles that make someone truly great.

 

His choice of finisher that he's going to cripple someone with one day is another negative.

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AJ Styles, spectacular spots, devoid of meat and potatoes I think is a misnomer if you've ever actually watched him in any sort of depth. His spots are excellent, but the idea that he's a guy just running through them not focusing on a story, selling, or structure, is frankly lazy. There are plenty of guys who fit this description, AJ is better than all of them. This is a fair criticism of . . . 07 PAC or something, not AJ Styles

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Why the hell did WWE never pick him up?

 

re: WWE - Kevin Kelly told the story that it was down to AJ and someone else from a tryout to get into OVW and despite KK pressing for them to go with AJ, they passed given his size.

 

Didn't he get a low money offer to go to OVW (or whatever the WWE's developmental territory was at the time) and refuse to take it because he'd have to relocate and jeopardize his wife's high paying job in the process? I swear I remember hearing something along those lines a while back.

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Why the hell did WWE never pick him up?

re: WWE - Kevin Kelly told the story that it was down to AJ and someone else from a tryout to get into OVW and despite KK pressing for them to go with AJ, they passed given his size.

Didn't he get a low money offer to go to OVW (or whatever the WWE's developmental territory was at the time) and refuse to take it because he'd have to relocate and jeopardize his wife's high paying job in the process? I swear I remember hearing something along those lines a while back.

Or she was going to school, but yeah.

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I've been watching a lot of Styles matches lately, and my opinion of him has really gone up. It might be hyperbolic to say, but I think that, besides Daniel Bryan, Styles might be the best U.S. based worker to emerge since 2000. I really think he's that good.

 

Not totally sure where that gets him ranked on a project like this, but for me at least, I don't think top 50 is out of the question.

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He's going to be on my list. I think since the indies became a big deal over a decade ago, he's been one of the best workers around, and his work in the last 18 months or so has been tremendous. If he has another good year in him with NJPW, I think it's gonna be enough to clinch him a spot.

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Styles is one of a very small handful of modern guys I'm considering. I like cool offense and from what I've seen so far, he delivers that in spades. Just need to see a bit more but I reckon Styles might be someone I could be high on despite the environments he's tended to work his entire career.

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TNA matches: vs Christopher Daniels (30 minute Iron Man) youtube.com/watch?v=1EO7OKPzGeo

vs Abyss (cage match) youtube.com/watch?v=cSo57CNl0ZU

vs Samoa Joe youtube.com/watch?v=GL3FHvJPpls

vs Bully Ray (last man standing) youtube.com/watch?v=SUTgRPuLyw8

w/ Kurt Angle vs Kazarian & Christopher Daniels youtube.com/watch?v=hyHh7ZsuO3w

 

Non-TNA matches: vs Minoru Suzuki https://vimeo.com/102825529

vs Kyle O'Reilly http://watchwrestling.ch/video/watch-roh-wrestling-91314/ (from that episode of ROH tv)

vs Paul London youtube.com/watch?v=EHM9SINH-mQ

vs Low Ki http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x1zd89w_aj-styles-vs-low-ki-zero-1-1-5-05_sport

 

I was gonna include his match with Tetsuya Naito from G1 2014 but it appears to have been removed from dailymotion, if you can track it or AJ Styles & Amazing Red vs The Briscoes from ROH Night of Champions I'd highly recommend either one.

If you can't track them down anywhere you've got this

w/ Young Bucks vs ACH, Cedric Alexander & Matt Sydal http://watchwrestling.ch/video/watch-roh-wrestling-21415/

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I need to watch more of his peak, but as of now he wouldn’t yet make it. What it means to be Best in the World in 2014-2015 (or among the usual suspects) is interesting. I’m comparing AJ to older guys who were maybe 50th in the world in their prime or worse, but only because they worked in vastly superior eras. I’m weighing Styles against low-tier borderline guys like Caswell Martin, Leo Burke, Ashura Hara, Psicosis, etc. Is it that those guys are more fun, esoteric picks with novelty as I’m kind of discovering them now, while AJ toiled in mediocrity his whole career pre-NJ? I’m happy for Styles and he was hands down the best worker in ROH when I saw him live last year, and being King of Today’s Mountain (and he currently has some stiff competition to that throne) isn’t as valued by me as it probably should be. But being top 10 in the world in 2015 counts for so much less than ’85, ’95, or even 2005. In terms of guys currently in their prime, I'd be more inclined to take Cesaro. Either way, Styles is the poster child of being as good as the opportunities you're given.

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. But being top 10 in the world in 2015 counts for so much less than ’85, ’95, or even 2005.

Well if it helps, I'd say that AJ was possibly a top 10 in the world guy back in 2005 as well. That's one of his best years. And he was pretty damn great in all the years between '05 and now as well. I think he's been an elite worker for at least 10 years now.

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2005 is when he had the Meltzer ***** triple threat, the Abyss cage match, a high end match vs Joe and the two ironman matches vs Daniels right? That's a stacked resume for just one year.

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Two high end matches with Joe. And yes.

 

Also a good PPV match with Sean Waltman, he was great in the Ultimate X in January, and generally doing good work on TV. AJ was fucking aces in 2005.

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I need to watch more of his peak, but as of now he wouldn’t yet make it. What it means to be Best in the World in 2014-2015 (or among the usual suspects) is interesting. I’m comparing AJ to older guys who were maybe 50th in the world in their prime or worse, but only because they worked in vastly superior eras. I’m weighing Styles against low-tier borderline guys like Caswell Martin, Leo Burke, Ashura Hara, Psicosis, etc. Is it that those guys are more fun, esoteric picks with novelty as I’m kind of discovering them now, while AJ toiled in mediocrity his whole career pre-NJ? I’m happy for Styles and he was hands down the best worker in ROH when I saw him live last year, but being King of Today’s Mountain (and he currently has some stiff competition to that throne) isn’t as valued by me as it probably should be. But being top 10 in the world in 2015 counts for so much less than ’85, ’95, or even 2005. In terms of guys currently in their prime, I'd be more inclined to take Cesaro. Either way, Styles is the poster child of being as good as the opportunities you're given.

 

This is a more general comment, but I tend to think that being the top guy in the World now is that not really any different from being the top guy in 2005, and nowhere near as different as you might think from say 1985. To me the bigger drop is not so much on the top end, but once you get out of the upper handful of guys. A year like 1985 has a much deeper pool of great wrestlers, and the fortieth best guy in 1985 might be a top ten contender in 2015, but I'm not sure the top guy(s) in 2015 would struggle to make a top forty in 1985. Hell in a year like 2009 (which wasn't that long ago) there are probably three guys I would rank top six or seven for 85, maybe even higher.

 

Of course you could argue that 85 isn't as tough a field as 86, but by the same token you could argue that 99 is a joke of a year compared to 2015. It's really a year by year thing a lot of the time.

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Big fan of AJs current NJ run but watching that Daniels iron man reminded me why I've never cared for him in the long run. He's like the guy you created on No Mercy you gave all the cool moves to because they're cool movez and you're twelve years old. Video game wrestler is what I'm saying. There's no sense of scale to what he does. A pumphandle gutbuster doesn't feel much bigger than a snapmare. No emotion. In terms of selling and working underneath he's a few grades above Adrian Neville. He has the odd glimmer of greatness but ultimately his work's aged poorly like many guys from that era.

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Haven't watched the match in question and I don't like Daniels so I imagine I wouldnt' like it. That said I watched a bunch of pre-Spike TNA a month or so ago and was shocked at how well some of the AJ matches held up including ones that are never talked about (v. Red for example).

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I think it's a major credit to AJ that even at his worst, he always managed to stay relevant and be in higher level matches. I guess the other side of that coin is that aside from 05 and this year, sometimes those higher level matches are probably scarcer than his fans would lead you to believe. To me, he is a really interesting candidate because I don't really feel as though AJ has been a top 3 worker in the states in any given year (I will revisit the recent stuff which has been admittedly very good). I'm sure that there will be a point on my ballot in which people start to not be in the running for best worker in any given year, and I think Styles will end up comparing favorably to some of those people. I just have no concrete idea of where on my ballot that might start happening. 50? 80? I don't know.

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Just watched the Kyle O'Reilly match linked above. Thought it was fantastic for the most part. Loved the last ditch tombstone at the end. My first ever time seeing O'Reilly and I was pretty impressed. The arm go behind into the legsweep was an awesome spot. Only thing I didn't like was the crowd, but sadly I expect that in this setting.

 

Outside of the G1 run what are AJs best post-TNA matches (including NJ, Indies etc)?

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One of the things that doesn't get talked about much with AJ is how fantastic he is at executing the most basic maneuvers. Matt has already talked about his Backbreaker but his Dropkick, Knee Drop and Vertical Suplex all look really great as well.

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