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AJ Styles, Karl Anderson & Doc Gallows respond to TNA - 'no formal contract' was signed

Styles (center - being hoisted) celebrates with Bullet Club after winning the IWGP Heavyweight Championship in February 2015
Styles (center - being hoisted) celebrates with Bullet Club after winning the IWGP Heavyweight Championship in February 2015
By ゾーヒョー - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0

Most folks who had a chance to read through TNA's unannounced statement alleging that AJ Styles, Doc Gallows and Karl Anderson had backed out on a deal to join Impact Wrestling came to similar conclusions.

If TNA had a legally-binding deal, they'd be doing something other than issuing a Friday evening press release.

Ryan Satin over at Pro Wrestling Sheet received a response from the New Japan Pro Wrestling stars rumored to be on their way to WWE, and it pretty much says the same thing.

People described as "sources close to" Styles, Anderson and Gallows acknowledge that there was a deal in place, but that a formal agreement was pending. The meeting with Dixie Carter that TNA mentioned apparently did take place, but the wrestlers moved on to evaluating offers from other parties when the legal contract wasn't sent "in a timely manner."

TNA sources told Satin the Bullet Club trio did receive Carter's offer before working Wrestle Kingdom 10 for New Japan on Jan. 4, but never responded to it. As their earlier statement said, they eventually received word via lawyers that the three men were not taking TNA's deal.

This all put the Nashville-based promotion in a difficult position. They'd already designed merchandise for the men, and put a creative plan in place that would see Styles debut shortly after the premiere of new Impact episodes on Pop TV, with Gallows & Anderson following later.

No word on what those plans were, and it's hard to have sympathy for a business that put together a blueprint using pieces they didn't legally control. The tone of the TNA version of events does make it sound as if Dixie and team thought their history with AJ put them in a secure enough position to do so, however.

Regardless, the bottom line for now is summed up by the confirmation the representative of Styles and crew gave Satin, that "no formal contract was ever signed."

If TNA feels they had something more than that, we'll hear more. If not, this PR volley will be the end of it.

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