TNA Turning Point: Understanding Defeat for AJ Styles

Chris Wilkerson@The_WilkersonCorrespondent IINovember 13, 2012

TNA Turning Point: Understanding Defeat for AJ Styles

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    AJ Styles not only tasted defeat Sunday at Turning Point, he also faced up to 11 months out of the title picture.

    It seemed the most likely finish, or at least he seemed the obvious loser. A man with little momentum who has flirted with far-from-perfect stories and rushed feuds really was not the man you fancied to be hunting for the belt resting around Jeff Hardy’s waist.

    The Phenomenal One showed his usual high flying attitude in Turning Point’s No. 1 contender triple threat, but as the man pinned, he is now out of the main event scene until Bound For Glory, 11 months until he can chase the title again.

    How have the past few months led us to this, and where can AJ Styles go from here?

Claire Lynch, Kazarian and Christopher Daniels

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    How have the past few months led us to this, and where can AJ Styles go from here?

    It’s been a hard few months for Styles. If you really want to look at why AJ does not deserve a shot at Hardy and the title then you only need think of one name: Claire Lynch.

    The storyline sank like a lead balloon, unrealistic and uninteresting with plot holes aplenty. The audience were not into it, and I don’t think AJ was, either.

    It held him back, and whilst it was good for Christopher Daniels and Kazarian to get ring time with someone like Styles, it never captured the imagination.

    The end was abysmal, but the brutally sudden finish a godsend really. However, no wrestler could jump from that farce to title fights, and it was clear that the Bound For Glory series would be one thing Styles would not find victory in.

    Claire Lynch will remain a blight on TNA for 2012, although that does not seemed to have stopped WWE ripping off this atrocious idea.

    Not enough to kill AJ Styles' career, but enough for some brilliant memes to grace the Internet.

Tag Teams, Bound for Glory and More Stagnating

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    From there, the opponents remained the same, but the feud evolved. Old pal Kurt Angle was drafted in to help AJ Styles go after Daniels and Kazarian’s tag-team titles.

    However, it was too obviously a way of keeping both men busy, and neither shone. They ended up losing matches against the likes of Chavo Guerrero, not something men of their stature should be doing.

    There was potential for a great match with the triple threat tag team title shot at Bound For Glory, but they never got the crowd going, were never really in anyone’s consideration for victory, and out of place.

    As ever, AJ performed admirably, and there were enough spots to get the crowd off their seats, but it was not big enough for AJ Styles.

    The partnership of two of TNA’s biggest names ended abruptly afterwards. A defeat in a big match on Impact at the hands of Angle saw AJ refuse to shake his friend’s hand, and the team was clearly through.

    Again, time and feuds passed, and AJ still failed to build any momentum.

Where Now? Time for the X-Division?

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    So now he has had his match to propel him into the main event, yet in defeat finds himself forced away from it. Where does he go now?

    He could well find himself back with the high flyers.

    Joey Ryan may not have won at Turning Point, but arguably it’s a matter of time before he wins the belt from RVD.

    The snide heel that Ryan is, he would be perfect for a face AJ Styles to come and teach a lesson to.

    Styles is big time, and we all know the X-Division is not, but the tempo of the matches and the high-risk traits of the title picture means Styles could find himself continuing to hold the crowds' affections by putting on some great matches.

    Maybe he wants to prove himself as a man who can win matches and hold belts, remind the roster and the company how good a wrestler he is.

    Or maybe TNA see him as the perfect man to put Joey Ryan over as a heel champion, whilst teaching something to the likes of Zema Ion, young wrestlers who still have much to learn and could use that experienced hand to put on great matches.

    And of course, a face vs. face match between RVD and AJ Styles sounds one hell of a treat, their ring-work with such similarities, but in all the right ways.

The Television Title

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    The Television title would keep Styles in relevant matches and fresh in the eyes of the fans.

    Whereas a few months back it may have seemed beneath him, at the moment the TV title scene is prospering.

    The two men who have gone at it over the belt lately are the reason the fans care. Champion Samoa Joe and challenger Magnus have put on scintillating matches, and legitimised the title.

    Joe is arguably the best wrestler in TNA, a brutal yet acrobatic figure who is unlucky not to be in the main-event scene right now. In fact, he is in much the same position as AJ, keeping busy whilst out of the big picture.

    This is another feud that would see amazing matches, with men and kicks flying everywhere.

    Samoa Joe’s character is perfectly in balance in that tweener role, and he can take on heel or face.

    He could take on heel Magnus, too, and this would be another young wrestler Styles could give the rub too whilst staying relevant.

Time for a Heel Turn?

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    Can AJ Styles turn the fans against him?

    We have seen glimpses of anger, uncharacteristic signs of rage and finding himself in what seem to be darker places.

    He was beside himself backstage after defeat on Sunday night, and even before then we had his refusal to shake hands with one time friend Kurt Angle after a match he lost.

    Bitterness and jealousy are two of the easiest ways to turn a good man bad, and a heel turn would be an intriguing move for Styles.

    It would be a challenge, too. Some men struggle to pull it off.

    Yet it would be a good reason to keep him out of the title scene, a malevolent figure who punishes others as he watches the title he cannot compete for.

    It would give him the avenue to feud with a lot of talent on the roster he would usually avoid. Both RVD and Samoa Joe have the belts mentioned earlier, but there are more interesting tales to be told.

    Firstly, his old partner Kurt. Clearly, ill feelings have developed there. This is such an easy story to build, whether it be jealousy at the glory and standing of his ex-partner, or bitterness and anger at how their recent time together did not end with title glory.

    And, of course, the man who defeated him at Turning Point, the man that got the pin that will force AJ Styles out of the title scene for 11 months. James Storm has a belt to target, but what is stopping Styles ruining that for him, or a hatred building as he sees another man take ‘his’ shot at Jeff Hardy.

    Hardy looks set for a long run with the title too, so James Storm may only get one shot at him before he needs something else to do. Styles vs. Storm has potential for greatness.

    Aces and Eights are always hanging around too, who knows, maybe Styles is one of them. It would certainly be a twist however they write it.


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    Obviously, with someone of the talent AJ Styles has, the man could go off in so many different directions.

    Little could change; he could stay the same AJ and wait his time in various places. Perhaps he helps Angle out after Aces and Eights promised he was their next target, or perhaps he hunts for revenge after they attack him. Any good guy on the roster could be pulled into an Aces and Eights story at any minute.

    There are many heels to feud with, too. Bobby Roode will be angry after Storm won at Turning Point;maybe he goes after Styles.

    Matt Morgan will soon need some ring time too, and one can only hope they find a way to make sure that is not against Hulk Hogan. If AJ Styles starts a feud with Morgan, it will at least save us from that.

    The talent is there, but at the moment the berth at the top is not. If TNA stick to their story and Styles is out of the title scene for 11 months, hopefully they have something to keep him entertaining and busy.