Despite waiting 18 years into his pro wrestling career to finally make it to the WWE, it looks like everything worked out in the end for AJ Styles.
In the middle of nearly a year long run as WWE Champion and the face of SmackDown, Styles spent the majority of his pro career working for TNA. After being with the company for 11 years, Styles left in 2013 following a contract dispute.
Styles then returned to the indies, made his mark in New Japan and the rest is history.
A little over a year before he would make his WWE debut at the 2016 Royal Rumble, Styles conducted a shoot style interview with Title Match Wrestling. In a new recently released clip from the over four hour interview, Styles was asked about rumors of TNA/Impact Wrestling asking him to take a pay cut before he entered free agency.
A fired up Styles did not hold back with his response.
“I think saying 60 percent is being generous. To be honest with you. It’s kind of crazy when that’s the first offer, you’re like ‘wait, what?’ That doesn’t make any sense. I’ve worked here for 11 years, and hard for 11 years. I haven’t gotten less popular in TNA, I’ve gotten more popular over the last year, so I don’t know what’s going on. This doesn’t make much sense to me.’”
“Not fair to the talents. Somewhere there, they wasted a lot of money. And the guys under contract, the guys that busted their butts had to pay the price. That doesn’t make sense. That’s not fair to them. There’s the ones who put their bodies on the line for TNA and took up for TNA on a regular basis. To punish them for your mistakes is a terrible thing.”
Maybe in a different time TNA/Impact Wrestling doesn’t watch the likes of Styles, Samoa Joe and Bobby Roode leave their company and have immediate success elsewhere.
Five years later Impact is a completely different company while Styles is having one of the best runs of his career in the WWE. Is this just a case of a win-win situation for all parties involved?
Just last week there even emerged reports of the WWE and Impact meeting in Connecticut.
Time heals all wounds and maybe one day we will see AJ Styles return to Impact Wrestling, not as an active competitor, but a first ballot Hall of Famer?