This is a question I have had on my mind after reading a few “what if” articles by Chris Mueller(What If#1 )(What If#2 ) and viewing the latest Monday night showdown. The reason I have selected these two performers is mainly for their statuses in their respective companies.
First, you have AJ styles, the current TNA World Heavyweight Champion. AJ has been with the company since the beginning, has won multiple titles in TNA, and is arguably one of the best, if not the best wrestlers in the world today. Clearly, AJ is the present and future of TNA.
Next, you have John Cena, the fifth longest holder of the WWE Championship (863 days total). He has won multiple titles in WWE, is the biggest money maker for WWE, and whether he's the champ. or not, is the poster boy for the WWE .
So, what we have here is the top wrestlers for their respective companies. Now, I don't want people to think I am comparing John Cena to AJ Styles, because this isn't a side-by-side comparison.
I want to compare the impact the two wrestlers would have if they switched companies. I am also going to throw out another “what if:" What if Cena had spent most of his career in TNA and Styles in WWE?
Well, let's start with John Cena. If Cena had spent most of his career in TNA, I think it's safe to say he wouldn't be anywhere close to the star he is today. Moreover, I wonder how many Singles titles he would have won in TNA?
TNA currently has three men's singles titles. However, for the majority of their existence, they have had only two. Somehow I have a hard time believing that we would see John Cena as a winner of many X Division titles.
Based on how many times AJ Styles has won the top prize in TNA, one can figure that Cena would not have won as many Singles titles in TNA as he has won in WWE.
Then we have AJ Styles, who actually did tryout for WWE. OK, I know WWE didn't keep him, but let's assume for the moment that they had, and he has been there ever since.
Well, based on how WWE gives guys opportunities, I wonder how much WWE success AJ would actually have? I am sure AJ would have his share of US & IC titles along with some tag-team championships, but what about the top prize?
Now some have criticized AJ's mic skills as not being the greatest. Couple that with the fact that Vince traditionally likes to push larger wrestlers (which unfortunately AJ isn't) and it makes me believe AJ would probably end up being buried for most of his WWE career.
Now there have been exceptions where smaller, extremely talented wrestlers have won the top prize. However, I have a hard time believing that the WWE would push AJ Styles as much as they have John Cena.
OK, lets return to reality. John Cena's in WWE and is a megastar, recognized around the world. AJ Styles is in TNA and is regarded by most avid wrestling fans, as one of the best, if not the best, pro wrestler today.
What if these two suddenly changed companies?
Personally if this were to happen, here's how I see things shaking down. First, in regards to AJ, I believe he would be subjected to what others such as, Jeff Hardy and Christian have been subjected to when they returned to WWE. He would essentially be forced to wait at least a year before any kind of serious push for the top prize.
I believe WWE does this as a way of making sure that the stardom the wrestler achieves is viewed as being because of the WWE. Moreover, I think this is also done as a way to distance the wrestler from any past accomplishments, which is a way of making people view other promotions as unimportant and irrelevant.
One exception to this rule was Bill Goldberg. In that situation, WWE couldn't deny the fact that Goldberg had already achieved mainstream success prior to his stint with WWE. Unfortunately for AJ, he has not achieved mainstream success because of TNA's inability to market its stars.
As for Cena, TNA would elevate him to the top, and he would no doubt be the champion within a few months. The addition of Cena would be huge for TNA and would give them more of a mainstream fan base thet they don't currently have.
This is where I think the positives end, because I'm not sold on TNA's ability to maintain the momentum of a former WWE's star's success. We only need to look at Kurt Angle to figure this one out. When Kurt left WWE for TNA, TNA acquired a wrestler who had been the WWE World Heavyweight Champion earlier that same year.
Since then, Angle has held the top prize in TNA multiple times, has been a part of two stables, has turned heel and turned face more times than I care to count, and has given us great matches. Unfortunately, none of this has translated into any mainstream recognition and hasn't given TNA any real ratings success.
This leads me to believe that the Cena addition would give them only short term success. Because TNA has yet to prove that they can increase, or even sustain, an established star's momentum, I believe Cena would end up becoming an afterthought among the mainstream.
So, while I think the idea of both stars switching brands would be intriguing, I think that both of the promotions' respective shortcomings would hinder either from achieving any kind of greater success.
That's my opinion, what's yours?