Last week we saw AJ Styles return to the limelight and become one of the good guys again.
AJ came to the aid of the Main Event Mafia as they took on Aces & Eights, ending the night on top as he pinned Devon and forced him to leave TNA.
On a night full of twists and turns, his long-running story was completely ignored and left unexplained, as he returned to being far more like the man he once was. Sadly for Styles, TNA seemed more concerned with Bully Ray shacking up with Brooke Tessmacher than they were with why Styles was finding a change in attitude.
This is the man who attacked both sides with a hammer not too long ago, proving he did not care about the Aces & Eights battle for supremacy in TNA. He was all about AJ Styles, a new man with a selfish drive. We were not sure whether to trust him or not, but he had a new vision: considering the character he had been for years, his time away from the company and comeback as a loner was a new direction.
TNA have kept true to this direction, with AJ picking no sides, making no friends and looking after No. 1. He was also more brutal in the ring, less the Phenomenal One and more of the scrappy, fighting figure he had now become.
This was all thrown away last week on Impact, as AJ turned up to be the hero.
Why is AJ Styles a substitute Kurt Angle?
Why throw away months of work on a new character and direction, just to be a short-term hero in someone else's feud on an ordinary episode of TNA television?
Whatever role Kurt Angle was to have in this piece, could not Magnus, Joe or Sting fill those shoes?
Styles had been building an aura of mystique around himself and looked to have a real story outside of the big feuds. His involvement in the Bound For Glory Series was full of intrigue, but now it has all been thrown away for very little payoff.
Styles wrote the following on his official Facebook page on Thursday:
Where do fans want AJ Styles to be? TNA? WWE? ROH? Japan? Lots of options. Tough decisions.
Hopefully, the answer is not TNA. It is clear to me that the two sides have nothing left to offer each other. Styles will always put on great matches, but his story options are almost gone.
In this last year, it is hard to see what benefits either company or wrestler has received from the other. The Claire Lynch storyline is arguably the worst of 2012, his feuds have been nothing worth remembering and now his biggest journey as a character has ended with no impact.
Maybe it is time for both parties to move on.
As Graham GSM Matthews wrote last week, it was recently reported by PWInsider that AJ Styles' contract with TNA is set to expire relatively soon. It was stated in the article that discussions are ongoing and that it is strongly believed that it will come down to money.
TNA are in dire straits financially. The character is heading nowhere. Maybe a prolonged period apart would do both some good.
Does AJ still have it in him to make the move to the WWE?
His age is against him, but the quality of his matches and range of opponents would be entertaining.
The years could be running out for AJ, but there is no reason he should let that hinder the quality of his character. Why not act now to reinvigorate himself? TNA have other concerns and have young talent that could fill the void.
AJ Styles may be a "company man," but it is time for him to embrace the Lone Wolf character from the screen and look out for No. 1.
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