By Jonathan Williams
Before he became a “Phenomenal” standout star in Total Nonstop Action Wrestling, AJ Styles made an equally impressive debut at National Championship Wrestling and NWA Wildside, a Georgia-based National Wrestling Alliance promotion (now known as NWA Anarchy) that has been the breeding ground for numerous other professional wrestling talents such as Abyss, Gunner, R-Truth, New Jack, Evan Bourne and Jimmy Rave. With TNA returning to Georgia this Wednesday for an Impact Wrestling taping in Macon, I spoke to Styles last week in an interview for my new Georgia Wrestling History radio show, Georgia Wrestling Now.
In the interview, which will air in its entirety tonight, Styles seems frustrated by the direction his career (and TNA as a company) has been going as of late. Though he seemed poised to carry the company to new heights as the TNA World Heavyweight Champion early last year (as the Hulk Hogan/Eric Bischoff regime assumed power of TNA), he has since fallen to mid-card status while Fortune stablemates Robert Roode and James Storm have become title contenders.
Despite his victory over Christopher Daniels at Bound for Glory earlier this month, as well as Dixie Carter’s return to power in TNA (thanks to Sting‘s victory over Hogan at Bound for Glory) and Storm‘s TNA World Heavyweight Championship victory over Kurt Angle on last week’s Impact Wrestling, Styles does not seem optimistic about TNA right now.
For someone who has held every men’s title in TNA (many on multiple occasions), Styles says there is someone who “still says I don’t possess whatever ‘it’ is.” And whether he’s receiving the ire or accolades of the fans, Styles says his main goal is to entertain them as best he can.
“I prefer, first and foremost, that the fans are entertained by me,” he says. “I believe they like to watch me wrestle, so I guess that kind of makes me a good guy. But in the end it’s not me who decides what the fans want; it’s the fans who decide that. That’s the most important thing. That’s how it should be done and hopefully that’s how we’ll do it here in TNA. I’m sorry, Impact Wrestling. I don’t even know anymore. Do I say TNA Impact Wrestling or do I say Impact Wrestling TNA? I’m just going to say Impact Wrestling to go on the safe side.”