The ongoing saga of AJ Styles’ contract situation with TNA is something that has played out over the last few months on TV, but behind the scenes the situation has been more than just a TV angle. While Styles won the TNA title then “left” the promotion afterward, he has still been appearing in vignettes and touring the world with the TNA belt which looked to be leading to some sort of dual champion situation. It’s been known for months that Styles’ contract ran out a while back, but he signed an extension which kept him working through December for the company; now that the extension has run out, it appears Styles really is gone for the time being and is officially making a return to his roots at Ring of Honor.
AJ Styles has been a mainstay at TNA since it’s beginning in 2002; at the time Styles was the centerpiece of the X-Division but throughout the years has held every TNA title numerous times and has had a pretty incredible near 12 year run with the company. There were times over the years that a jump to WWE was discussed, but Styles always opted to stay with TNA most likely because WWE wouldn’t have used him in such a prominent role. Now that Styles has become a well known name in the wrestling business, his exit from TNA has opened the door for new and fresh match possibilities outside of the promotion, and what better place to have those matches than ROH.
ROH is wasting no time as they’ve already booked Styles vs. Roderick Strong at Styles’ return show on January 4th in Nashville, a town Styles of course has a storied history in. Speaking of history, Styles really made a name for himself during his time in ROH in the early 2000s. His matches with the likes of CM Punk and Samoa Joe put those guys on the map, and now Styles can face off with a new generation of talents that will no doubt please the ROH fans.
Of course during all this, there have been on and off negotiations between Styles and TNA which may or may not lead to an eventual return to the company. TNA Impact is said to have been doing good ratings so far with their new direction which has featured many new and upcoming talents, so it remains to be seen if they will feel the need to pay the type of money Styles wants. After all, we’ve seen Styles in pretty much everything you could imagine in the company; heel, face, champion, challenger, mid-card, main event, AJ Styles has done it all in TNA so maybe the return to ROH and the independent scene will be best for both sides, at least for the time being.
Here is the promotional video released by Ring of Honor to promote Styles’ January 4th return, hopefully we can look forward to many new AJ Styles match ups that will generate good publicity and attention for ROH.