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TNA 'Slammiversary' Preview: AJ Styles vs. Kurt Angle

Former tag partners turned bitter enemies AJ Styles and Kurt Angle are feuding over The Phenomenal One's metamorphosis into a distrusting loner, which The Olympian is disgusted by when Aces & 8s is running roughshod in TNA.

AJ Styles vs. Kurt Angle will probably be the best match of the night
AJ Styles vs. Kurt Angle will probably be the best match of the night
Photo courtesy of

Grudge Match:

AJ Styles vs. Kurt Angle

The two men who won the TNA World Tag Team Championships together at last year's Slammiversary pay-per-view event are now bitter enemies once again. Styles has become a reclusive loner in the mean time, who treats his former friends and foes alike, attacking them all. The hot tempered Angle has had enough and wants to beat some sense into the increasingly crazy and unpredictable AJ.

The Road to Slammiversary

Who could blame AJ Styles for going off the deep end, after he fell for Claire Lynch's bogus pregnancy scam, a plot hatched by his enemies Bad Influence in order to blackmail and control him, and eventually was humiliated by Christopher Daniels stealing his finisher, the Styles Clash, to defeat him in the blow off match to their lengthy feud.

After that embarrassing loss, Styles disappeared and when he returned he was a changed man. Sporting stubble and a leather jacket, he refused to answer any questions about his morose new attitude, turned on former Fortune buddy James Storm and allowed him to get beaten down by Aces & 8s.

Kurt Angle started getting involved in this mess on the May 2nd episode of Impact when he decided to call AJ out and rather impolitely request that "The Phenomenal One" team up with him and Sting against Bully Ray, Devon & Mr. Anderson on next week's show. As expected, Styles blanked Angle and stared off into space in response.

The following week, Sting and Kurt Angle tried the good cop, bad cop routine on Styles, with Sting empathising that he knows how AJ feels, having been there himself, while The Olympian wasn't going to take no response as an answer. With the two being unable to get through to him, Kurt eventually snapped and started brawling with him on the ramp when he attempted to walk away again without even a word's reply.

On the May 16th Impact, Kurt still wanted to kick AJ's ass, but Mr. Anderson interrupted, announced that Styles would be patched into Aces & 8s next week and dared Angle to try and stop them. In a sign that Anderson was telling the truth for once, when Angle attacked him, Styles ran out and gave him a dropkick to the jaw to stop the onslaught.

However, it was an elaborate swerve by Styles with Angle being a victim of his game. AJ went to incredible lengths to lull Aces & 8s into a false sense of security, drinking beer with them, putting on their jacket, hugging them all and smashing Angle's knee in with a hammer whilst he was being held down by everyone else when Kurt foolishly tried to take the whole gang on by himself. But in the end, he turned on Aces & 8s too, going after them all with the hammer they had given him.

The follow up to that major angle on the Impact go home show for Slammiversary was a bit weak. Angle cut a promo about how although there is mutual respect between him and Styles, that there'll be hell to pay on Sunday and that he'd be watching AJ's match against Mr. Anderson very closely. That main event finished predictably with Angle ambushing Styles, which segued into a major brawl between the top TNA stars and the whole of Aces & 8s.

What's at stake?

Simply put, AJ Styles's sanity and soul.

A humbling defeat might beat some sense into AJ and lead him to join Hulk Hogan's crew in taking the fight to Aces & 8s alone, which is clearly Kurt Angle's goal.

A victory will mean that Styles will remain a lone wolf that takes on both the heroes like Sting and the evil villains such as Bully Ray in the promotion.

Check out Cageside Seats later tonight, Cagesiders, for live TNA Slammiversary coverage and to discover the ending to this strange grudge.

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