If this sounds familiar, it should. Sting’s transformation from Californian surfer dude with face paint, to the dark, brooding Crow-inspired character revitalized his career in the late ’90s. If not for the black and white Sting, it’s hard to wonder how long the nWo and WCW would have lasted. The angle gave the nWo a boost and made the show worth tuning into for over a year.
If TNA has their way, a similar gimmick will not only make AJ Styles relevant again, it’ll play a tremendous role in making the company something special. With their newest faction running lower on steam than they should, can the new rebellious Styles be the answer?
While the Aces and Eights pale in comparison to the nWo, they have dominated TNA over the past year, incredibly similarly to the way the New World Order destroyed every top face in WCW in 1996. Much like Sting, Styles was and still is the company’s poster boy. He’s won every title and done everything ever asked of him. His turn to an anti-hero in an effort to take down The Aces and Eights is completely borrowed from the old days of WCW.
Even Styles’ change in offense is a page out of Sting’s “Crow” turn. Needing something with more “punch,” Sting turned to the Reverse DDT during his reboot. Styles, no longer he master of the spot, is using more strikes and submissions than ever before. Hes almost like a completely different performer. Could this rougher, grittier Styles entertain?
Where TNA changes things up is that they have Styles wrestle on television more than Sting ever did during the early part of his return. Aside from coming down from the rafters, Sting didn’t actually perform on Nitro for over a year. Although Styles had a lengthy hiatus, he’s back in the ring, wasting a great opportunity to build an allure for his character that hasn’t been around in years.
WCW also didn’t waste Sting on pay per-views. Styles’ upcoming match with Kurt Angle at Slammiversary will do nothing to make Styles more intriguing or marketable. While it was an enjoyable encounter and one of the better matches on the card, it only proved on thing.
TNA is out of fresh ideas.
Professional wrestling has been and always will be an ebb and flow business, but things don’t get better when you have the same stale minds booking the matches and writing the stories. Inspired by Sting’s epic storyline or not AJ deserves better.