The controversy has died down somewhat, at least in the States, but there is still a considerable amount of concern about IWGP Heavyweight Champion AJ Styles' finisher, the Styles Clash.
Our own Keith Harris wrote extensively about some of the injuries that have occurred from the maneuver, especially three scary incidents in calendar year 2014 alone. In New Japan, those misfires have become kayfabe legend, and have been used to instill real fear in audiences for whoever Styles is targeting with the move.
In North America, though, there doesn't seem to be as much concern from workers or fans. AJ finished ACH with a Styles Clash on Sunday during Ring of Honor (ROH)'s 13th Anniversary show:
Styles was a guest on The Chad Dukes Wrestling Show last week, and offered his thoughts on the Styles Clash:
The one thing I can't control is your head, that's up to you, and there's only one thing you can't do in the move is tuck it. There's no reason for you to do that.
That comes across as a little bit laissez-faire, but he has taken a lot of criticism over the past year about his finisher - which is a well known part of his brand - and almost certainly does feel horrible about incidents like the one that left Yoshitatsu in a halo device for his broken neck. To that end, AJ says that he doesn't insist on anyone taking the move:
At the end of the day if they don't want to take it I have no problem not doing the Styles Clash, there are other things that I can do. But if the promoter wants it and everybody's cool with it that's what we're gonna do.
The former TNA triple-crown champ also spoke to Dukes about his current U.S. home in Ring of Honor, and he thinks they're being very smart about establishing themselves in an increasingly crowded pro wrestling market. He also bristles at those who say ROH is a step back for him after years on national television with Spike:
I think they're trying. You don't want to move too fast, you start to move fast and you make holes that cost you your company. I think they're doing the right thing in bringing in these guys, giving these dream matches that people want to see. To me it's not taking a step back, it's actually going somewhere having fun and having great matches.
One of those dream matches might soon be against Samoa Joe (unless the growing rumors of ROH just being a pit stop for him on his way to WWE are true). AJ wasn't thinking about those rumors when asked about bringing in the Samoan Submission Machine:
Joe coming back to Ring of Honor is huge. He and I talked before he released his statement but I was excited about him maybe having the opportunity for him to come back to Ring of Honor because it's exciting to have a guy who you know works hard and can do unbelievable things and has a history at Ring of Honor.
What do you think, Cagesiders? Should AJ keep using his finisher? Is ROH on the rise? Will Joe last long enough there to have a feud with Styles, possibly for the company's top prize?
Check out his whole appearance for more background on these topics and more at chaddukeswrestlingshow.com.