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04 January 2014

Farewell Phenomenal One


Tonight AJ Styles will make his return to ROH in Nashville, TN, the home of TNA. I've not said much on the AJ Styles story, as some of you may have noticed. Apart from my part in our Ringside reviews, I took December off from writing, but now I'm back and I'd like to share my view on this story as tonight marks what I feel is the end of AJ Styles in TNA.

Yes AJ will be on this Thursday's Impact in a Title vs Title match vs Magnus, but due to the on-going story of the Styles negotiations it's safe to say most can predict what will happen on Thursday. It's been a rollercoaster ride over the past few months, and sitting back and watching this story unfold has been something. First Styles' contract was coming up in September, then he signed an extension, then the AJ Styles World Tour began, causing us to assume he'd signed a long term deal, then we found out the extension was coming up and the two sides weren't close to a deal, then AJ announces he's a free agent, then he announces he's signed to appear at tonight's ROH TV taping. As you can see a lot has taken place in this story, but why did I have AJ announcing his ROH appearance as the end-point, well, because I truly think it was.

Some see ROH as an indy promotion, which there is an argument both for and against that idea, but it's hard to deny that if ROH are an indy promotion, they're the biggest indy promotion in the US. When ROH announced that Styles would be competing at their TV taping tonight, 99% of people had to realise it wouldn't just be a one off appearance. Styles is looking for regular work, and ROH are looking to bring in a guy like Styles as a regular for the promotion. When they agreed for Styles to appear at the taping, that would have acted as an ice-breaker, with both sides showing willingness to work with one-another. Styles said in a recent interview that he would be talking with ROH today discussing his future in the company. I doubt ROH would pass up on Styles, and considering Styles agreeing to a fee with ROH to appear, as long as they stick to that appearance fee, I expect talks will go well, and Styles will become an ROH roster member.

So I expect today will be a public end to negotiations between AJ Styles & TNA, and will really be the end of his tenure in TNA. I'll be perfectly honest, it's sad to see AJ leave TNA. To see a guy who's been there since day one to now, over 11 years later, leave a company he helped build is a shame. The Styles/Carter story could have been great, and could have really pushed Styles over the edge and made him the guy for TNA. But there is some good in this.  If you're like me and are an AJ Styles fan, it gives Styles some fresh match-ups and new surroundings. As it relates to TNA, if gives guys the opportunity to fill the void Styles left behind. With Styles gone, TNA is without a face fighting the good fight against Team Dixie, his departure gives several people the opportunity to step up and become the face that will take on Magnus & Dixie. Personally I'd like to see Samoa Joe get that opportunity, him becoming an anti-authority figure could truly revive him and take him back to his very best.

Today I say goodbye to AJ Styles. I'd like to thank him for everything he's done for TNA, as he has truly been a key component in the company's rise since its formation in June 2002. I'd like to wish him the best of luck in his career, and look forward to seeing what he can do against a fresh crop of opponents. I hope one day in the future AJ will return to TNA, as I think his return could be huge under the right circumstances and would be a highlight reel moment for TNA. I know some are upset that AJ has left, some even angry, but they say time makes the heart grow fonder, and if Styles returns to TNA, I'm sure most would welcome him back with open arms.

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