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AJ Styles' agent issues statement, and all the latest on the story behind TNA's allegations

The fine folks over at PWInsider have been busy on the story which broke late yesterday, where TNA issued a statement claiming AJ Styles, Doc Gallows and Karl Anderson backed out of an agreement to join Impact Wrestling that had been agreed upon by all parties last month.

Primarily, Mike Johnson and team fleshed out the report from Pro Wresting Sheet, corroborated by Canada's Fight Network, that representatives of the wrestlers said there was no legally binding contract in place between the trio and TNA.

Key new points in Johnson's story were that the initial December 2015 negotiations took place without lawyers present for Styles and his Bullet Club cohorts. Despite word from TNA sources that "it could not have gone better as a meeting" there were still details to be ironed out.

A plan was in place to fly the Phenomenal One to Bethlehem, Pa. for the initial Pop TV tapings with an eye toward filming teasers which would lead to a big return for the former TNA World champ at their upcoming United Kingdom shows. Dixie's team agreed to ammendments and a deal in principal was signed, per PWInsider's sources. But it seems everyone knew a real contract still needed to be executed. That was to come later... and it didn't come immediately.

Reportedly, the slowdown on Dixie Carter's end was due to the holidays. For AJ and his agent, Bill Behrens (also a former TNA employee - who allegedly was not happy he wasn't involved in the Dec. meeting), the delay raised red flags related to past dealings with the Nashville-based promotion.

Now, Insider has received an official statement from wrestling super-agent Behrens, who represents all three men:

No contract was ever finalized nor signed by the parties.

That I would need to be involved in the contract process was known by TNA prior to my involvement and understood by them.

TNA and its 1st lawyer did not present in a timely fashion a contract that accurately reflected previous discussions at all. That created great concern tied to past experiences. In that time and prior there was other interest and there were other firm offers on the table and other discussions.

TNA was aware of other interest and various conflicts. TNA was aware a final contract was required. It was creating that contract and controlled that timetable. Too much time passed early on. Other things came into play. No contract was ever finalized with TNA.

To suggest I make any decision for my clients is to misunderstand my role and diminish the role each talent has in making their own decisions, and insults the talent in the process.

The two big questions are "why now?" and "what's next?"

Public relations appears to be the answer to the first move. TNA did not want to be seen as not having made a big play for a Styles, a guy they clearly feel is someone they helped make in the business. With some positive press about their latest network relaunch and reports they have some money to spend, they wanted to keep momentum going by showing fans they at least tried to bring AJ home. Unfortunately for them, the court of public opinion seems to be ruling that this is sour grapes from a jilted suitor more than anything else.

As for next moves, there is a strategic element to putting this out after all the rumors that AJ could debut in WWE soon, possibly even this Sunday at Royal Rumble. Johnson says there is still internal debate as to whether Dixie Carter will take legal action (which would require, at a minimum, producing the informal document they claim Styles, Anderson & Gallows signed). If they're able to get Vince McMahon and Triple H to change their creative and marketing plans for their newest acquisitions, that might be a small victory for TNA.

Certainly, a big wrestling story got bigger with yesterday afternoon's posting on the Impact Wrestling website. Whether we ever learn the truth of what went on behind the scenes, and if it will make any difference to the product which ends up on our screens, is still an open issue.

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