Wrestling / AJ Styles

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The Phenomenal One
"Get ready to fly!"
AJ Styles's old entrance theme

Allen Neal Jones (born June 2, 1977) is a professional wrestler trained by Rick Michaels who debuted in 1998 with National Championship Wrestling in Georgia as Mr. Olympia. NCW would then merge with NWA Georgia to become NWA Wildside, where he would take up the name he is much better known by, AJ Styles. AJ's exploits would earn him recognition from WCW, who briefly repackaged him as Jason Styles, then brought in his rival Air Paris and changed Jason's name to Air Styles with hopes to turn the two of them into a hot new tag team. It was not to be since that company went under, but AJ would come to be known best for his time working for TNA, being one of the four people (besides Jeff Jarrett, James Storm, and Abyss) who have worked for TNA continuously since its very first PPV up to the move to the second Impact Zone in the Spike TV era.

While Ring of Honor had already done two shows, he was at one point considered one of those responsible for building that promotion up too, being its first Pure Wrestling Champion. Unfortunately for ROH, he, tag team partner Amazing Red and a few others, were barred from continued work with Ring of Honor by TNA. He would eventually be allowed to make a few limited returns to Ring of Honor though, given the erratic relations between the two companies up until his TNA contract fell through, allowing him to show up whenever he pleased.

Among his many other wrestling accomplishments, he is an IWA Mid-South Heavyweight Champion, Pro Wrestling Guerilla Champion, an NWA Wildside Heavyweight Champion, a Ballpark Brawl Natural Heavyweight Champion, a 3X NWA Wildside Television Title belt holder, 3x NWA World Heavyweight Champion, a 4x NWA World Tag Team Championnote , a 2x TNA World Heavyweight Champion, a 6x TNA X-Division Champion, a 2x TNA Legends/Global/Television Champion and a 2x TNA World Tag Team Championnote , a Junior Heavyweight Champion in the New Korea Pro Wrestling Association and a Cruiserweight Champion in Australian WWA. He returned to New Japan Pro Wrestling in 2014 and added two IWGP Heavyweight Title reigns to his resume, picking up the FWE Heavyweight title while he was at it.

During WWE's Royal Rumble 2016, AJ made his WWE debut. He later earned his first title shot with the company, challenging Roman Reigns for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship at Payback.

As usual, The Other Wiki has a detailed profile of his career. Also, don't confuse him with AJ Lee.


"I will never find a trope list, quite like yours again."

  • The Ace
    • He's strong and fast, an excellent high flier, and he's got some great technical chops, Jack-of-All-Stats + Lightning Bruiser = The Ace.
    • He was the ace of the whole NWA, particularly Wildside, before even going to TNA. Within TNA, aside from beating Tommy Dreamer in an "I Quit" match, kicking Kurt Angle's ass more often than not, and being one of the best parts of every TNA every night, Styles also happens to be the company's most decorated wrestler, having been a four time Triple Crown Champion and Grand Slam Champion. Even more notably, he's the only wrestler to have ever won ALL SIX of the title belts ever made eligible for Triple Crown and/or Grand Slam status in TNA's history.note 
    • After Paul London was injured, AJ Styles earned a shot at the ROH Tag Team Championship belts by himself against three other teams — the Backseat Boyz, Carnage Crew and the Spanish Announce Team!
    • Despite never being a full time part of the International Wrestling Cartel's roster, he was the first person to win the IWC's Match of the year three years in a row. A time limit draw with Colt Cabana in 2003, defending the Super Indy Title against Christopher Daniels in 2004 and defeating Matt Hardy in 2005.
  • Accidental Marriage: Karen Angle seduced AJ in order to screw over Christian, and Kurt Angle further "loaned" his wife to Styles so she wouldn't distract him from focusing on what was important to him at the time (defeating Samoa Joe). Due to some poor planning and unfortunate placement on all their parts lead to this.
  • Alternate Company Equivalent
    • Michelle McCool is sort of a Distaff Counterpart to him. Starting in 2009 when Michelle started using the Styles Clash, which she renamed the Faith Breaker, as her finishing move. Later became more apparent when she and Layla started wearing hooded robes as part of their LayCool entrance. Oddly extends to Real Life as well, since both are devout Christians from the Deep South.
    • He faced John Hennigan in a two out of three falls match at Family Wrestling Entertainment on March 11th 2015. The two had frequently been compared to each other while Styles was in TNA and Hennigan/Nitro/Morrsion was in WWE.
  • Anything You Can Do, I Can Do Better
    • The basis of his feud with Jason Cross in NWA Wildside. The two were the same size but Jason was (slightly) younger and managed by Jeff G. Bailey.
    • Luke Hawx claims he can teach AJ the proper way to do the moves AJ invented.
  • Arch-Enemy
    • Jeff G. Bailey in NWA Wildside, Prince Nana in ROH.
    • In TNA it's a little harder to discern, seeing as AJ has been in the promotion since the very beginning, meaning he's feuded with just about everybody. Nonetheless, Christopher Daniels probably has the strongest claim, simply because of how many times him and AJ have feuded over the years, more or less due to Daniels's jealousy, and the fact that the other half of the time, him and AJ are best friends. Daniels went as far as conspiring with Frankie Kazarian on various ways to ruin AJ's life.
    • In New Japan he, Kazuchika Okada, and Hiroshi Tanahashi were all big time rivals for the IWGP Heavyweight Championship with allies in their corners.
    • The closest he had in ROH since leaving TNA is Adam Cole. This started with Cole's attack on AJ with the ROH World Championship title belt, then expanded into a stable war as Cole established The Kingdom and AJ's Bullet Club allies started backing him up in ROH. Even so, as late as January 2016 members of Nana's Embassy assaulted Styles in WrestleMerica, only to run into the same problem The Kingdom did.
    • His newest arch-enemy in WWE is John Cena.
  • Badass Biker: Was occasionally seen riding a Hayabusa-style moped during his last year in TNA as the lone wolf. Then he joined Bullet Club and became a good part of the reason they're said to be inspired by the trope.
  • Badass in a Nice Suit: A trademark of Fortune in general, especially under Flair.
  • Bash Brothers: The Amazing Red and Alexis Laree in Ring of Honor, whom he allied with to fight the Prophecy after Paul London was injured. Paul didn't approve of these new partners. Also when he teamed with former Prophecy leader Christopher Daniels. Then with Christian's "Problem Solver", Tyson Tomko. Tomko and AJ would eventually desert Christian Cage.
  • Big Bad Duumvirate: Was part of one with Karl Anderson as the leaders of Bullet Club in his New Japan tenure.
  • Big Guy, Little Guy: When he teamed with Tomko.
  • Big "SHUT UP!": Prone to directing them at the fans of Zero 1, which was funny because they crowd was so sedate already.
  • Biting-the-Hand Humor: Subtle, since AJ was always bursting with praise for TNA but if one read through or listened carefully enough to his "shoot" interviews, he had some comical criticism too. A recurring one regarded the difficulty of running with ladders, doing so in "the king of the mountain" concept match in particular. Another was Rob Van Dam being given the world title despite having little interest in putting over wrestlers he had not approved of prior to joining TNA. Another was deconstructing the idea that TNA gave him a lighter schedule than the other companies he had worked for. If you want onscreen examples, look no further than Christian's Coalition or Fourtune.
  • Breakup Breakout: In WCW, he was called Air Styles and half of a tag team called Air Raid with a guy named Air Paris. After WCW closed, neither WWE nor TNA wanted Air Paris, and he's since been confined to small indy feds.
  • Brick Joke: In 2016, both the fallout from Wrestle Kingdom 10 and the setup for WrestleMania 32 featured a guy from Winnipeg betraying AJ Styles.
  • Bring It: AJ screamed it at Low Ki when he made his Ring of Honor debut, and Low Ki did in fact bring it.
  • Broken Pedestal:
    • TNA to AJ, in Real Life. By the time AJ left TNA, he had a huge chip on his shoulder and "didn't shed one tear" when he bounced. AJ was the heart and soul of TNA — fans, critics, and wrestlers alike will tell you that. He busted his ass for that company, spent the prime of his career there, never causing trouble, never being an embarrassment like others had been. Even at the company's lowest, he was always bursting with praise. He gave everything to TNA. And how did they repay him? By sticking him and his equally loyal and hardworking coworkers in midcard hell, having him repeatedly job to over-the-hill wrestlers and WWE rejects, and shunted aside for Hogan and his lot, even when it was clear that what they were doing was killing the company he loved so much. And when he's one foot out the door, they try to get him to come back with an offer that constituted a forty percent pay cut. Nobody will ever blame AJ for finally having enough and leaving.
      AJ Styles: For a guy who'd been a staple of that company for 11 years, who busted his tail, never got in trouble, never did anything to embarrass your company, and what [Carter] offered me was enough for me to go, "I'm not working here." I loved that company. I did. I put everything I had into it.
    • TNA may have just nuked the bridge into oblivion. This article, posted on their website two days before AJ's rumored debut at the Royal Rumble, reveals that there were contract negotiations between the two parties. While it was in TNA's best interest to signal to fans that they at least tried to bring AJ back, the article instead came across to many as trying to throw AJ (along with Luke "Doc" Gallows and Karl Anderson) under the bus. Consequently, TNA looked like a petty, desperate, unprofessional organization trying to ruin the prosperity of a performer that, despite helping build their company from the ground up, they mistreated, in some dim hope of getting publicity. The chances of AJ returning to TNA after this are slim at best.
  • Calling the Old Man Out: Got an absolutely epic one by calling Immortal out on everything the fans had been complaining about since the start of the Immortal storyline. You could literally hear the fandom rejoicing as the crowd gave him one of the largest cheers in TNA's history.
  • Carpet of Virility: Perhaps to go with his "lone wolf" gimmick but the formerly clean shaven Styles got a lot more hairy during the time in which he "left" TNA and stayed that way for awhile when he left for real.
  • Code of Honour: Besides Ring of Honor's, which Styles had been apart of since the days when following was mandatory, Styles also claimed the X Division, of which he was a founder, had such a code.
  • Combat Commentator: For IWA Mid-South and the 37th TNA Impact in 2005
  • Combination Attack: Air Raid had a drop toe hold by Paris to a rolling senton by Styles, a double power bomb and a double hip toss face buster they called Crash N' Burn.
  • Commuting on a Bus: Sort of. TNA explained AJ's lack of points in the 2012 Bound For Glory Series as him wrestling less matches do to working with Pro Wrestling Elite in the UK (or, perhaps against it, the event was called Elite vs Phenomenal) and returning to Australia.
  • Continuity Nod: Still occasionally homages Ric Flair, despite the Fortune storyline being long over and Flair at first, then both men, putting TNA in rearview.
  • Cool Shades: His earlier runs, such as Air Raid in WCW.
  • Crossover
    • Besides the Ring of Honor's usual deals that saw AJ crossing over with TNA and CZW, or TNA's for that matter, which saw crossover with New Japan and (towards the end) Wrestle-1, he also showed up on MTV's Made alongside Taylor Wilde, Angelina Love and Velvet Sky.
    • The International Wrestling Cartel boasts that his match with Matt Hardy at No Excuses 2005 was one of the few legitimate WWE vs TNA inter promotional matches. TNA (AJ Styles) won.
    • One that particularly stood out during his supposed walkout with the TNA title, footage of him defending the belt against Judas Mesias in AAA played and he announced he would be in The Great Muta's Wrestle-1 next (where he would go on to successfully retain against Seiya Sanada). In many ways, AJ's retread of the Summer of Punk was inferior, but the one thing TNA did better is that AJ actually did take the World title to other promotions.
  • Crowd Chant: In TNA "Who's your daddy." After the Claire Lynch thing had run its course.
  • Cue the Flying Pigs:
    • Downplayed. AJ was a thought-to-be lifer for TNA, having been there since the very first show and stuck by the company through thick and thin. While his contract squabbles were known at the time, his Undying Loyalty to the company preceded him and it was thought he would re-sign. His leaving was genuinely shocking, and many fans consider it to be a sign that the company is on its last leg.
    • Despite all the rumors, reports, and even a statement on the TNA website all but confirming it true, seeing AJ debut in WWE at the Royal Rumble was absolutely surreal. Many fans still can't believe that he's really there, signed and everything.
    • SummerSlam 2016, where AJ Styles kicked out of multiple Attitude Adjustments from John Cena, including one from the top rope, which absolutely stunned Cena the way Cena usually shocks his opponents, then countered yet another AA into the second of two Styles Clashes, followed up with a Phenomenal Forearm, and pinned The Face That Runs The Place 100% CLEAN.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: He squashed Curtis Axel on his SmackDown debut match with virtually no effort aside from some early offense from Axel. Even took out the rest of The Social Outcasts (Adam Rose, Bo Dallas and Heath Slater) for good measure.
  • David Versus Goliath: AJ's not a particularly large pro wrestler, but early into his career in Georgia he was the Goliath versus 4'11 105 lbs Fantasy, who did manage to pin him at least once.
  • Defeating the Undefeatable: The only person in the International Wrestling Cartel considered more difficult to defeat than AJ Styles is…ironically, the only other person eligible to accomplish what he has in TNA. Abyss. Not only is AJ a two time Super Indy Champion, but he's never lost the title in a match. The only reason he doesn't have an even better IWC record are because of his overseas tours and because of TNA.
  • Demoted to Extra+Redemption Promotion
    • As a face, A.J. tends to be in the upper card; as a heel, he tends to be stuck in the mid-card, playing second fiddle to other more important heels. It had gotten really bad in the early goings of Fortune, where he shared second-in-command status with Kazarian under Ric Flair. Yes, Mr. TNA, The Phenomenal One, was at the bottom of the heap and needed help to beat Rob Terry. By the time it started getting better and he and Fortune were stomping EV2.0 every week…Flair soon had them join in on Eric Bischoff and Hulk Hogan's conspiracy gang. AJ was literally answering to three people before Fortune decided they were done using and dealing with Immortal.
    • Was reversed later. His run in 2012 as a face was the worst of his career, losing to Christopher Daniels with his own finishing move and playing the personal Butt Monkey to Bad Influence for months. Since his return as what can be best described as a Chaotic Neutral tweener, he has been dominant, beating James Storm cleanly and leaving havoc in his wake mostly via Death Glare.
  • Determinator: This aspect of his tends to be quite underestimated in light of his already incredible talents, but you don't get to be the face for modern American wrestlers who've never been under contract to Vince McMahon (an entirely true statement until January 24, 2016) without showing moments of superior toughness:
    • During the tournament to crown the first ROH Pure Champion, every one of his opponents targeted AJ Styles' knee, including it getting dropped onto concrete during his final match up with CM Punk. Didn't stop him from winning the whole thing though.
    • On his final night in TNA, it took the nepotistic Ethan Carter III, his minion Rockstar Spud, Lethal Joke Characters The Bro-Mans, Dumbass DJ DJ Zema Ion, AJ's ex-friends Bad Influence (Christopher Daniels and Frankie Kazarian), and finally three Death Valley Neckbreakers from Bobby Roode, combined with various abuses of referees from all the above as well as preemptive assaults beforehand on anyone and everyone who would've otherwise covered his back against them, for Dixie Carter to finally be able to help Magnus, who had made a Deal with the Devil with her, to put him down for the count and become Undisputed Champion. That's right, it took an 9-man Legion of Doom to get rid of AJ from the house that he built.
    • As The Champion of the Bullet Club in NJPW, he faced off against Suzukigun leader and all-around badass Minoru Suzuki during the G1 Climax tournament. Suzuki did everything he possibly could to break Styles and make him submit—stiffing him, tossing him into the stands, locking in vicious armbars, and even bending the man's fingers out of shape for over a minute at one point. Still, AJ not only withstood everything Suzuki gave him, he fought back and dealt plenty of damage himself, hurting and frustrating the mighty Suzuki. Even Suzukigun's Killer Elite Squad (Davey Boy Smith, Jr. and Lance Archer) came out to interfere on Minoru's behalf only to be chased off by Bullet Club's A-Team (Anderson and Gallows). In the end, Styles concluded a 16-minute classic with a Styles Clash on Suzuki for the pin, earning both points in the G1 tournament and the love of the New Japan crowd despite this being a heel vs. heel encounter. The Wrestling Observer Newsletter would name this 2014's Match of the Year.
  • Didn't Think This Through: So Christopher Daniels and Frankie Kazarian are accusing AJ Styles of getting a drunken crackhead he's trying to get treatment for pregnant and in a shocking betrayal, she believes them and sides against AJ. Whatever, it's TNA. What was dumb was that in the face of these allegations, Styles challenged Daniels to a match on the stipulation he would admit to being the father of Lynch's child if Daniels could beat him but if (when) Styles won, he'd get a paternity test to see if he was really the father or not (he wasn't, in fact there wasn't even a baby). Phenomenal wrestler or not, that AJ Styles really worked out a bad deal for himself.
  • The Dog Bites Back: Eric Bischoff treated A.J. very badly, insulting him and even making fun of his hometown. A.J. eventually had enough and broke away from Immortal, taking all of Fortune with him, dividing Immortal's numbers and costing Jeff Hardy the World Title.
  • The Dragon: As a heel he often finds himself here.
  • Dragon-in-Chief: Served as this in New Japan with Bullet Club. Karl Anderson was the de facto leader of the group (mainly due to Karl's longevity and the fact that AJ's representing the belt in the American indies while only working New Japan's major dates), but AJ was the one gunning for and holding the IWGP Heavyweight Title, making him the one to beat.
  • The Dreaded: When AJ made his WWE debut at the 2016 Royal Rumble, he got put over hard by commentary. JBL even went as far as to mention that AJ had won the IWGP Championship like Brock Lesnar had, just to give a clue to the casual fans watching at home just how big a deal he was. To top it off, Roman Reigns, the then-WWE World Heavyweight Champion, reacted with shock at his appearance, and, when AJ entered the ring, apprehension, momentarily hesitating to go charging at him like he would usually do despite the visible size difference between them. AJ was a major Wild Card considering that only a select few in the current roster had ever tangled up with him in the ring before, arguably making him the biggest threat in the first half of the Rumble.
  • Expy
    • Another Ric Flair one, acknowledged in-universe as Ric mentoring A.J. It didn't really work.
    • So TNA made him one to Sting. Particularly Sting from 1997.
  • Eye Scream: As a Heel he loves going for the eye, a standard heel trick, except he does it with objects, like pens and forks.
  • The Face: Of TNA as a whole for 11 years, and of the stable Fortune for at least one of those eleven. After leaving TNA and going to Ring of Honor and New Japan Pro Wrestling, he would become this as a Dragon-in-Chief / co-leader for the stable Bullet Club. As alluded above, prior to January 24, 2016, he was at least a great candidate for the face of modern-era American wrestlers who've never been contracted to or "made by" WWE.
  • Fingore: Thankfully, his hands still work, but his wedding ring cannot fit over his fingers anymore due to jamming them.
  • Finishing Move:
    • The Styles Clash, a move AJ created when he botched a powerbomb. Jimmy Rave claimed he was really the one to create the move, leading to them having a match with the loser no longer being allowed to use it in Ring of Honor (AJ won). Then there is the springboard 450° splash fans dubbed the Superman. Less notable are the Calf Killer (a compression lock with his shin that's actually banned in a few real sports) and a corkscrew senton he calls Spiral Tap.
    • Once joining WWE, his springboard forearm smash reached finisher status (his primary finisher at that) and became the Phenomenal Forearm. He still retains the Calf Killer (now the Calf Crusher) as his other primary finisher. The Styles Clash became somewhat of a desperation finisher, though it's already been kicked out of, twice, and it fails to pin anyone on any PPV, and the springboard 450° splash has yet to pin anyone at all. The Spiral Tap has yet to be used.
  • Fleeting Demographic Rule: AJ's "leaving with the title" storyline with Dixie Carter is clearly a rehash of CM Punk's famous "Summer of Punk II" storyline which catapulted Punk to super stardom. As such, the storyline didn't work for several reasons. For one, this trope is also known as the Seven Year Rule, and Punk's storyline occurred in 2011 — meaning that everyone still remembers it since it has only been two years since then, causing all the fans to (rightly) call it a rip off. Then there's the fact that AJ's notorious reputation as a company man, which only hurts the storyline since he doesn't blur the line between reality and kayfabe as nearly as well as Punk, who is well known for his managerial disputes and his difficulty to work with. Plus, the role of Vince McMahon has been delegated to Dixie Carter, who, to be quite honest, should not be on television. However, what killed the storyline were AJ's own contractual disputes, which, like Punk's at the time, were legitimate. Unlike Punk, AJ didn't re-sign (something that was actually shocking considering his reputation), forcing them to take the title off him in a highly contrived way and kill his career in TNA.
  • Foreign Wrestling Heel
    • In Pro Wrestling Zero 1, enough to unseat Low Ki's position as such.
    • He was briefly hired by La Legión Extranjera in AAA.
    • Has become one in New Japan teaming up with Bullet Club, a Stable of Gaijins who use underhanded methods to win.
  • Foreshadowing: When The Usos outright screwed Styles out of the WWE World Heavyweight Championship title after he hit Roman Reigns with a Styles Clash onto a steel chair, he snapped and hit his breaking point with the Club vs. Bloodline feud and destroyed Roman and the Usos with the chair before getting himself pinned off a careless Phenomenal Forearm attempt countered into a Reigns Spear. The next night on Raw, he praised Roman and then blamed Anderson and Gallowsnote  along with the Usos for costing him the match, opening himself up to a pointed accusation from his friends that he'd changed and become soft, then tried to insist they were still brothers only to be rejected in a scene that made him look foolish and erratic. Then came the following week with John Cena's return and it became clear that his Rage Breaking Point wasn't just with Roman Reigns.
  • The Hero: Formerly to Ring of Honor as a Face, particularly against Christopher Daniels' Prophecy. Then in TNA against such rogues as "The Kings of Wrestling"/Planet Jarrett, The Main Event Mafia and Immortal.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: With Christopher Daniels. They've even named their children after each other.
  • "I Am" Song: His entrance theme, and it could easily be the Trope Codifier - the original version of the song (And several remixes) is actually called "I Am" & it has actually been remixed to purely focus on the "I am, I am" refrain of the chorus on one occasion, with this now being the only part of the original theme that remains. Heck, even Fortune's theme was a "We Are" song—the team version of this trope.
  • I Coulda Been a Contender!
    • Having wrestled exclusively for TNA for his physical prime and been promoted as their top face, Styles nevertheless has had a checkered career. This was perhaps inevitable since TNA's paradigm has little use for consistent babyfaces. Over the years, Styles has been swerved by Sting, buried by Hulk Hogan after making unkind real-life remarks about him, reenacted the Montreal Screwjob with Kurt Angle, became a protégé of Ric Flair (a gimmick which died early, as the "New" Nature Boy label didn't stick), got pinned clean by Nash(!) for the Championship belt, got laid out by Dixie's hubby (with one punch), and through it all more or less remained a midcard wrestler.
    • He was obviously planned for bigger things in ROH but TNA pulled him out of the promotion while he was still the Pure Wrestling Champion. By the time AJ Styles came back, the show had gone on without him and he ended up repeatedly jobbing to former protége Jimmy Rave.
    • To be honest, for AJ it's "I Shoulda Been a Contender," since it's generally agreed upon that he should've been the face of TNA, and that the only reason he isn't is because of booking and TNA's incompetence, something that is no fault of AJ himself.
    • As the company circles the drain in 2015, TNA offered AJ an olive branch (along with a hefty sum of money) to wrestle one last match at Slammiversary in exchange for being inducted into their Hall of Fame. AJ, wanting to prioritize his ROH and New Japan career and likely remembering the way he was carelessly written out of Impact, turned them down flat.
  • I Have the High Ground: Mr. Olympia used to be known for chaining together different suplexes and being a superior mat wrestler. He took to jumping on the top rope and turnbuckle more when he found himself competing for attention with much larger wrestlers, such as Abyss in Wildside. Even after he established himself on TNA Impact, Don West would negatively contrast 'little' AJ to the towering Matt Morgan (AJ's shorter but still taller than the average American man) and argue that AJ had lost his 'hunger' when he stopped flying around as much.
  • In the Hood: He peeks out from under it briefly during his entrance. He even got hooded versions of Ric Flair's robes.
  • Incorruptible Pure Pureness: His TNA career. The fans refused to boo him even as a heel because he was such a nice guy and genuinely great wrestler who had to put up with a lot of shit. Even during the last leg of his career there, he did what he did because he had to put food on the table for his family. AJ never managed to become a real heel until he quit TNA and went to New Japan to join the Bullet Club.
  • Ineffectual Sympathetic Villain
    • As a member of the Angle Alliance. He very rarely won a match, and it got to the point where you just felt bad for him taking second-banana to Kurt Angle, Kevin Nash, etc.
    • His alliance with Ric Flair seemed to become this for a couple of months after he lost the world title belt in 2010. Then came the formation of Fortune.
  • Ironic Echo
  • Irony: One of the main reasons the rehash of the famous "Summer of Punk" storyline fell flat is because AJ was a well-known company man, but that's not what killed the storyline all together. The reason it worked the first time around is because Punk, issues with management and all, did end up re-signing. AJ, who was a well-known company man (keyword here being "was") didn't, having finally gotten sick of the bullshit the company has put him and his colleagues/friends through over the last decade. This led to one of the most over-booked matches in the history of TNA (which is really saying something), in order to take the title off him while still trying to keep him strong, making the entire storyline a failure and leaving the company grasping straws. Meanwhile, Punk's match with Cena for the title is widely regarded as the best match the WWE has had this century. His departure also started a gradual exodus of long time TNA talent (including Christopher Daniels and Samoa Joe), which reached its pinnacle in the summer of 2015 as several wrestlers such as James Storm and Austin Aries requested their release from the company. Meanwhile, Punk's storyline allowed him and Daniel Bryan to kick down several doors in the WWE, leading to a gradual income of young, prominent talent from the indies being signed (also including Samoa Joe). The parallels have not been lost on anyone. However, the greatest irony is that the culmination of these events led to AJ signing with WWE, causing the Internet to go nuts.
  • It's Personal: When he returned to ROH in 2014 he expressed his frustration at never getting to be ROH World Champion. However, he was willing to turn down a shot at the title to get at Adam Cole, who had hit him with it from behind (a big no no in ROH code, in case you're wondering. He was IWGP Heavyweight Champion anyway so not having the ROH belt didn't hurt too much). Styles would get his revenge on Cole at ROH All Star Extravaganza VI and indeed may have been set back on a title shot, had Michael Elgin not went on to lose to Jay Briscoe.
  • Jack-of-All-Stats: His arsenal is composed of various types of moves. Even his finishers is composed of a power move (Styles Clash), a submission hold (Calf Killer/Slicer/Crusher) and some aerial ones (Spiral Tap, Superman and Phenomenal Forearm).
  • Jobber: On various WWF B shows. WWE would later offer him a developmental contract but it was too little too late.
  • Joisey: During a TNA/Jersey All Pro Wrestling cross promotional event, AJ Styles tried to have all of TNA's "backstage passes" revoked on the grounds he didn't want to deal with any of New Jersey's people.
  • Large Ham: Though not the largest in the business, when compared to the non-Ric Flair members of Fortune he's pretty over the top, Ric Flair's mentoring had improved his previously lacking promo skills.
    "AJ Styles is going to make Tommy Dreamer say "Stop it A.J., stop it, I Quit A.J., I Quit!" In AJ Styles's House."
  • Let's You and Him Fight: In the Fatal Four Way Ladder Match at Hardcore Justice 2012, AJ let Samoa Joe and Kurt Angle beat the piss out of Christopher Daniels and then came in at the last moment to get up the ladder and win the match.
  • Light Is Good
    • As a face, A.J. goes to the ring with a pure white outfit surrounded by a shower of sparks with an entrance video that's red with a white background.
    • He seems to recognize this. He's always had an affinity for blue, and he tends to wear dark blueas a heel, and light blue as a face
  • Lightning Bruiser: A guy as acrobatic as him should not be able to pick up Samoa Joe or Abyss, or be able to casually stand up while caught in a jujigatame. Hell, AJ Styles has snatched Low Ki out of mid air, while Low Ki was in the middle of a phoenix splash!
  • Made of Iron: He's been dropped on his head a disturbing amount of times during his TNA tenure but still moves around well and seems to have not suffered long term mental damage from it.
  • Masked Luchador: Mr. Olympia.
  • Memetic Mutation:
    Don West: PELE! PELE! PELE! HE HIT THE PELE! IT JUST COMES OUTTA NOWHERE!
  • The Mentor: To Seth Delay in NWA Wildside and Jimmy Rave in Ring of Honor.
  • Mr. Fanservice: So he may wear his wedding ring around his neck but that doesn't stop him from getting a huge pop for showing off his bare chest and abs.
  • Oblivious to Love: A non romantic example was with Paul London, who considered AJ to be his best buddy and didn't like him hanging out with other people. In real life he reportedly is like this, not noticing many women actually into him, according to Jeremy Borash.
  • Parental Substitute
  • Perky Female Minion: Jade Chung, after she left the Embassy, as Styles was still fighting it and occasionally doing so alongside Roderick Strong.
  • Pet the Dog
    • He may be a smarmy arrogant showboat as a heel but he is loyal to Ric Flair, and his company, and the fellow members of Fortune.
    • Even as a heel he is portrayed as a consummate family man; he got injured once making sure his kid was alright. This gave the Claire Lynch storyline extra punch since his reputation was so sterling.
    • His lone-wolf darkhorse gimmick, which came partially as a result of said Claire Lynch, was eventually explained that since the rest of TNA didn't care about all he'd been through, he decided to focus only on winning matches and making money for himself…and his family.
  • Poor Communication Kills: A non-kayfabe example; in the year since leaving TNA, there have been several instances of this regarding the execution of the Styles Clash, where whether through negligence or clumsiness on AJ's part or flawed positioning on his opponent's part (the latter more frequently than the former), guys have been taking the move awkwardly headfirst, at times resulting in injury. Fortunately this got ironed out by 2015, however.
  • Popularity Power: Regardless of whether he's a Face or a Heel, A.J.'s such an awesome wrestler that he will always get the loudest pop. Even applies in WWE. His shirt sold out within less than an hour of his debut and his new entrance theme cracked iTunes' top 100 chart within a day of being uploaded.
  • Power Stable
    • Christian's Coalition, The Angle Alliance, The TNA Frontline, Fourtune (later Fortune, when keeping it down to four members proved too difficult).
    • The Threat in Independent Wrestling Revolution.
    • A hanger on to Generation Next in Ring of Honor. He wrestled the rest of them several times but was still seen as a dependable ally since he was feuding with Prince Nana's Embassy.
    • Fortune would be absorbed into Immortal for a time (because TNA loved giant stables) and AJ was also one of the many involved with TNA's "Sports Entertainment Xtreme".
    • With Bullet Club in New Japan.
  • Power Trio:
    • Amazing Phenomenon with Amazing Red and Alexis Laree.
    • Also part of Christian's Coalition with Christian Cage and Tomko, as well as Angle's Alliance when Kurt Angle stole Christian's spot.
    • Since his return to the indies and entering New Japan, he's proven to have some incredible chemistry with fellow Bullet Club members The Young Bucks.
    • Despite being kicked out of Bullet Club in New Japan, they remained close enough that Karl Anderson and Luke "Doc" Gallows' first course of action upon following him into WWE was to attack his enemies and reunite with him as the Club.
  • Real Song Theme Tune: In Ring of Honor: Also sprach Zarathustra, "Touched" by VAST, "Wherever I May Roam" by Metallica, "Demi Gods" by LabRats(a remix of Touched)
  • Red Baron: "The Phenomenal One", formerly "Mr. TNA"
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: The blue oni in most cases, he even wears blue usually. However, he's the red oni when paired with Amazing Red, as backwards as that may seem.
  • The Rival: Abyss, Ron Killings, American Dragon, Chris Hero, "The Fallen Angel" Christopher Daniels, Samoa Joe. Fought them all in several promotions but not always in bitter feuds. James Storm and Bobby Roode too, just because of how much time they spent with each other in TNA. WCW would even acknowledge on Thunder that Air Styles and Air Paris were not partners prior to WCW putting them together.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Once the truth of what he and Dixie Carter were really up to came out, he proceeded to do this to Christopher Daniels and Kazarian.
  • Sacrificial Lion: In the Fortune vs. Immortal feud, A.J. had finally regained his chutzpah, turned face and was bringing the fight to Immortal with a vengeance... until Bully Ray superbombed him through a table which paralyzed A.J. Considering A.J. was Fortune's leader, the group was looking rough until a certain individual decided to return.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: He did not leave TNA on good terms, in fact he describes his departure as "the best move of my entire career". Harsh words from the man who was seen by many as the face and outstanding talent of the company.
  • Sharp-Dressed Man: One of the few good things to come of his 2010 heel run; if you're hanging around the Nature Boy, you'd better keep up in the wardrobe department.
  • Signature Move: The Pele Kick, which became a meme thanks to Don West's overacting. Any other instance of the move being used in the USA and even many back flip kicks that only superficially resemble the one AJ does, tend to be called "Pele". Equally known for his flipping body press over the top rope to the outside. Part of what put TNA on the map were video clips of AJ doing what was previously a rarely seen move almost weekly. Equally impressive but less known is his Fosbury Flop. Some other moves he is known for are a Springboard Forearm, Cliffhanger (Crucifix hold dropped into a DTT), Phenomenon (Spring Board Moonsault into an inverted DDT), Starmaker (High-angle belly-to-back Suplex) reverse frankensteiner, inverted stf, Rack Bomb (Backbreaker rack dropped into a powerbomb) the Stylin' Crab, Shooting Styles Press (top rope to outside), Sweet Styling Music, Styles Suplex Special (German followed by a belly-to-back wheelbarrow facebuster)...
  • Summon Bigger Fish: He was brought in to shut up Drew Gulak's Campaign For A Better Combat Zone.
  • Sweet Home Alabama: Though in Styles' case is more like "Georgia on My Mind" since he's from Georgia, he's a proud southerner, possesses a fairly thick accent and is usually portrayed as a heroic figure; one of Eric Bischoff's Kick the Dog moments was him calling A.J. an inbred hillbilly redneck.
  • Tag Team
    • He's won NWA Tag Team gold with Jerry Lynn, Abyss, and Christopher Daniels.
    • The TNA World Tag Team Championships with Kurt Angle.
    • The Future with Jorge Estrada in NWA Wildside.
    • Air Raid with Air Paris in WCW.
    • TNA Tag titles with Tomko.
  • Take That: Gave one to Batista when he called A.J. a Spot Monkey and not a real wrestler. A.J. said in return, "I think it's funny that a guy who takes a bump and tears his back tells me that I don't know how to wrestle."
  • Take This Job and Shove It: To TNA, in storyline and in Real Life. Unlike CM Punk's departure from the WWE in 2014, absolutely no TNA fan, current and former, blames AJ for leaving — if anything, they were honestly wondering why he hadn't left sooner. AJ was a company man who did everything the promotion asked of him, a promotion that, in spite of his talent, his popularity, and his tremendous loyalty, treated him like shit. The Hogan/Bischoff era is what would finally wear him down, as he and the other loyal, homegrown talent of TNA were constantly shunted aside for has-beens and WWE rejects. These days, AJ considers leaving TNA to be "the best move of [his] career".
  • The Teetotaler: He is much less obnoxious about it than, say, his Straight Edge rival CM Punk, but AJ Styles has faced pressure to drink in a few angles. The first problem with the Claire Lynch story is that she described AJ as suddenly getting drunk enough to impregnate her. Turns out he was only drinking pop, which she spiked (and she was not impregnated).
  • Terrible Trio: Despite being semi regular participants in TNA main events, AJ Styles, Christian Cage and Tyson Tomko were presented as comedy acts more often than not in backstage skits. This helped contribute to the stable's popularity.
  • Tournament Arc
    • TNA held a tournament to determine who would be the NWA World Tag Team Champions in 2002, which AJ Styles and Jerry Lynn won
    • In 2004 he beat CM Punk in the finals to determine Ring of Honor's first Pure Wrestling Champion then went on to beat Colt Cabana to win the International Wrestling Cartel Super Indy Showdown then went on to win IWA Mid-south's Ted Petty Invitational, outlasting Bryan Danielson and Samoa Joe in the finals.
    • Then there was AAA's Torneo de Atomicos where he teamed with Samoa Joe, Low Ki... and Homicide.
    • One he didn't participate in, the "Who Will Face AJ Styles Tournament" of Winnipeg Manitoba held by Premier Championship Wrestling during 2006.
    • In 2009, both AJ Styles and Sting won TNA's No Surrender Main Event Qualifying Tournament (not as a team, mind you)
    • He won TNA's 2013 Bound For Glory Series, little did we know that would be the beginning of the end of his run there.
  • Tragic Hero: AJ's TNA career is a non-fatal example.
  • True Companions: Fortune seemed to be this in TNA until all the betrayals happened, but in hindsight his camaraderie with NJPW's Bullet Club is arguably much stronger. Of course, he then got kicked out after giving his notice and leaving the company…
  • Undying Loyalty: AJ was one of the few constants in the ever changing TNA. Was, because as of December 2013, he's no longer with the company. His leaving was taken as a sign by many fans that TNA was on death's door.
  • Unexpected Character: You can tell that he was the last person Roman Reigns expected see in the Royal Rumble — especially in the #3 slot, right after Reigns took out his first opponent in Rusev at #2. There's justification for this: AJ is the first performer in years to have debuted on the main roster without going through developmental first and/or be repackaged. While this used to be a common occurrence during the Monday Night Wars, where popular wrestlers jumped between the WWF and WCW, this has become so rare in recent years that the last time it happened was at Survivor Series 2014, when Sting debuted, and the last time before that was when the original Sin Cara debuted after WrestleMania XXVII — that's in 2011. The only reasons Sting bypassed developmental is because of his age, his status as a part-timer, and the fact that he was far too big a star, thanks to WCW, to go to NXT. Sin Cara skipped developmental since he was a big name in CMLL, but he was still repackaged from his original character Místico, since CMLL owned the trademark. AJ, being the biggest name to have never signed with the company after Sting did and an international star, was most likely viewed in the same capacity and allowed to bypass NXT and, since he was pushing forty and there was no way in hell the company could make him a bigger star coming in than he already was, allowed to keep his name.
  • Villain Song: His NJPW Bullet Club theme, "Styles Clash".
  • We Used to Be Friends:
    • In Korea and Australia, Gail Kim was his road buddy and tag team partner. In TNA, she was a thorn in his side that prevented him and Daniels from defeating America's Most Wanted until they had Sirelda remove it. In Ring of Honor, AJ was on fairly good terms with Homicide, who helped AJ over his student Dan Maff. In TNA, Homicide was part of LAX and had little time for gringos from Georgia.
    • The Homicide case lead up to the two of them having a "Respect" match in the International Wrestling Cartel, where the loser would be forced to admit he respected the other.
    • Roderick Strong was an ally or at least a respected coworker as part of Generation Next, but then became part of The Decade, whose mission statement was basically a personal assault on wrestlers who left Ring of Honor for larger companies.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Gave one to Jeff Hardy after his return over Jeff's showing up at a main event match drugged out.
  • Wham Episode:
    • His departure from TNA served as one for the company and its fans, as it served as a large indication as to how bad TNA was doing if their most loyal performer was leaving. When people found out Jeff Jarrett was leaving too not long afterwards, that's when fans started counting the days.
    • His debut in WWE.
  • Wild Card: For the 2016 Royal Rumble. The number of wrestlers on the active roster, let alone in the actual match, that have wrestled with or against AJ before can be counted on one hand.
  • Worthy Opponent: Generation Next in Ring of Honor, especially Matt Sydal and Austin Aries. Cedric Alexander in Premiere Wrestling Xperience after PWX: Phenomenal Debut, where they met in the main event. Shinsuke Nakamura after their Wrestle Kingdom match, emphasised by their fist pump after his loss.

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Wrestling/AJStyles