Impact Wrestling Coverage: The AJ Problem

TNA has a problem. It doesn’t know what to do with its most enigmatic star. Since its inception, Styles has been their most entertaining performer. He’s headlined more pay per views than anyone would have thought, especially during his Air Styles days in WCW. He’s won every title numerous times and has feuded with nearly every star in the company.

So what does TNA do with him now? What’s left?

It may be a stretch, but Styles looks to have entered the same station that Sting and Hulk Hogan crossed when fans were sick of their plain-faced antics. But creative was different then, they thought a bit more. Both Sting’s descent to his “Crow” character and the formation of the nWo were polished and well-thought out ideas.

Calling TNA well-polished and thought out is like accusing Mel Gibson of being sane.

From the looks of it, the company is going to push Styles as a heel, possibly even a member of the Aces and Eights. Don’t let Taz’s half-hearted attempt to get Styles to join the group fool you. This has typical TNA swerve written all over it. This idea can flourish, but TNA will have to overcome several early hurdles. It only works if Styles actually works. Kenny King is young and will have another shot at the X-Division championship. Styles needs that belt more than anyone in the world right now. Yes, Styles needs a prop. With a lack of skills on the mic and only his in-ring abilities to separate him from everyone else, Styles has never been a good “chaser.”

Styles is at his best as a fighting champion. If Bully Ray and Styles defend their titles regularly and dominate, the whole landscape of TNA changes. Instead of being a cheap Sons of Anarchy rip-off, they become credible. Throw in a dash of hammer play and heel tactics and the gang could be more than just another angle in the hall of failed TNA factions.

This also works for King, who is also in need of a real angle. Styles can give that to him. It’s a new matchup for fans and one they’ll take more serious than another Samoa Joe or Christopher Daniels feud. If Styles can join the heel faction, get a few more than solid matches under his belt and work his way into a memorable promo, he’ll save face.

If not, like many of the stars of TNA, he’ll just be a face on the roster to sell merchandise. TNA prides itself on wrestling, but no one has been doing much of it over the past few months. The Phenomenal One can change that, all by himself.

About Patrick Hickey Jr. 8799 Articles
Patrick Hickey Jr. is the Founder, Editor-in-Chief, Master Jedi and Grand Pooh-bah of and is the author of the book, "The Minds Behind the Games: Interviews with Cult and Classic Video Game Developers," from leading academic and non-fiction publisher McFarland and Company. He is currently the Assistant Director of the Journalism Program at Kingsborough Community College and is a former News Editor at NBC Local Integrated Media and a National Video Games Writer at the late He has also had articles and photos published in The New York Times, The New York Daily News, Complex and The Syracuse Post-Standard. Love him. Read him.

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