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Leaving TNA



AJ Styles

Unless something changes over the next few days, AJ Styles will be leaving TNA for the first time since the company was founded in 2002 next week.

Styles’ current contract extension expires on 12/16, PWInsider.com has confirmed. As of 12/17, he is a free agent and has already begun to accept independent bookings via his long-time agent Bill Behrens at Showbis@aol.com.

As PWInsider.com has reported for months, Styles and TNA have been far apart on money. The two sides did not really begin negotiating until Styles’ last long-term deal was close to expiring and signed a two month extension in order to continue working together while they attempted to seal a new deal.

Unfortunately, the two sides just couldn’t make a deal happen. We have heard that it was a situation where TNA just wasn’t able to offer Styles what he had been earning and he, feeling correctly that he had been a big part of the heart and soul of the company, would not agree to take a lesser deal. The situation put both sides in between a rock and a hard place, leading to the breakdown between sides.

In a lot of ways, Styles’ exit has sent a bad signal to other TNA “originals” who have deals coming up as the message being sent is that the company, which has been cutting corners, will play hardball financially even at the cost of losing their own homegrown players. Styles was one of the company’s legitimate main eventers who had been been with the company as it evolved and matured, becoming the centerpiece for the X-Division before evolving into a legitimate main eventer. While he wasn’t the draw that Sting was during Sting’s heyday in WCW, Styles was very similar to Sting in that he was closely branded as a TNA star and as someone who was loyal to the company – just as Sting was when World Championship Wrestling existed.

Styles officially finished up with the company last week at the Impact tapings in Orlando, Florida with appearances for episodes that will air in early 2014.

Styles is already moving forward with outside projects. He has an autobiography set to be released in the first quarter of 2014 and will be making an appearance next year as part of a talking tour in the UK. Initial dates for that tour had been announced but the tour will be pushed back as Diamond Dallas Page had already scheduled a similar tour for the same time period and the decision was made that it wasn’t right to compete with something already scheduled.



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34 Responses

  1. ironFNmaiden says:

    It’s sad that he’ll never get the big bucks (he made more than most of us, but lets be fair that in the world of wrestling, this guy deserved to be paid for his efforts). WWE won’t take him at his age…and if they do would he even go?

  2. Lockhart says:

    another TNA mistake from the main office. If they wouldnt of wasted so much money on Hogan, Bischoff and other blunders, they would of had enough to keep AJ around.

  3. Really? says:

    I’m sure a man of his talents will have no trouble finding “work.”

    As in, come on guys, this is probably a work. Look how many TNA guys get advertised for indy shows on this very website. They are done taping for over a month, of course guys are accepting bookings. With AJ it goes even further, considering his current storyline is that he’s left the company. Whatever may have happened at the last set of tapings, more “Friends of AJ” videos can be shot at any time and put into the show.

  4. stevie says:

    Just don’t believe this story, they’re not going to let him walk. This whole contract thing may be a work, he may be on a long term deal, only he knows for sure and he’s not going to ruin the storyline.

  5. Andrew Davis says:

    I can say from 1st hand experience, there is at least some credibility to it. Publicly he has claimed he has had no offers from the WWE, etc. But BFG weekend in San Diego, I listened to him in person talk to a bunch of the guys about the talks he’d had with WWE, & the pros & cons of ever making that jump. Now this doesn’t mean he is leaving for WWE, nor does that mean he couldn’t still end up resigning with TNA at anytime. But as of right now, his contract with TNA will expire on Dec 16th, that is a true fact. Yes he will be on some shows after that date, but that’s bc they were pretaped last week in Orlando.

  6. X-Pac says:

    All of their next 5 taped shows lead up to Styles vs. Magnus for the Undisputed Championship on Jan 16th (Genesis). So does it sound like he will come back in Jan. to lose to Magnus?

  7. Andrew Davis says:

    @X-Pac: No, they already taped that match at the last taping last week in Orlando.

  8. Andrew Davis says:

    After the match, AJ basically cut a promo that sounded very much like he was done with the company. Thanking the fans for everything over the last 11+ years. And said he didn’t know where he would end up, whether it would be somewhere else, or back here in TNA. He can always end up resigning at the end of the day, but as of right now, he will have no contract with TNA as of Dec. 17th

  9. art123guy says:

    I read the results for the shows and it seems like they left an opening for him to come back if they can work out a deal.

    I still think TNA is waiting to see what Sting decides to do. If he doesn’t resign, that would free up a ton of money that could be spread around. I love Sting, but I’d rather have Styles in TNA.

    Style in WWE would be such a mistake. They’d make him change his name (can’t have 2 AJs) and just job the hell out of him just because they could.

  10. Mr. Anti-TNA says:

    YES! Stupid TNA is a sinking ship, and I think we can all personally thank Bischoff and Hogan for the AJ departure. TNA just lost their best and longest tenured wrester, and he is about get a nice paycheck from WWE!!!

  11. Truth says:

    if anyone here thinks AJ Styles wouldnt work in WWE, I refer you to Daniel Bryan AKA Bryan Danielson in ROH and CM Punk none name change also an ROH guy, they all come from the same class of wrestling, the indy scene is amazing, but i feel he would do well in the WWE if the let him do his thing like punk does.

  12. AJ Cooper says:

    And, just like clockwork, Mr. Anti-Brains chimes in with his stupidity. Hey, Mr. Anti-TNA, people like you have been predicting TNA’s demise ever since its second year. Apparently, it pains you soo much that WWE is no longer the only player in the game of pro wrestling. If anything, it seems like you guys do enough worrying for Vince about TNA eventually becoming a threat/competition. I wonder how embarrassed you’re going to feel when Viacom comes through in the end next year, purchases Panda Energy’s stake in TNA, re-hires AJ, & finally makes your hero, your idol, VinnyMac, eat his words about not viewing TNA as a threat/competition. By the way, WWE would NEVER take someone who’s already become a big star in another company. Look at Kazarian & Chris Harris in WWE. So, keep kissing Vince’s ass & have fun bawling your eyes out when you finally realize WWE is about to have its fall from grace.

  13. Drew says:

    AJ deserves better.

  14. LOL says:

    TNA management go home yer drunk!

  15. Parallax says:

    Any way we can set up a Mr. Anti-TNA Vs. AJ Cooper match on the Genesis undercard?

  16. darthvedder says:

    I’m still going with all this is a work, and AJ will be back in TNA with “double j” and jeff hardy, and be part of Team Jarret(or whatever it will be called) vs Team Dixie in “lethal lockdown”.

    If it is really about the money, TNA is in bigger trouble, then losing the face of the company.

  17. Scott Grady says:

    Once again, Viacom buying TNA doesn’t guarantee success despite what certain people say.

    As for AJ, a fresh start in WWE could be good for him. He went from being “Mr. TNA” to being just another guy on the roster with brief occasional pushes. As for a name change, realize this. Tyler Black, Claudio Castagnioli, Jon Moxley, and Bryan Danielson aren’t on the WWE roster. Seth Rollins, Antonio Cesaro, Dean Ambrose, and Daniel Bryan do and are doing a lot better than expected. So, who knows?

    With that said, Styles is 34. He’s not the young kid he was when TNA started. WWE has made it clear that they’re not all that interested in signing guys over 30. From what I heard, his asking price on the indies has become pretty high. So, he could end up pricing himself out of a lot of bookings. His two main options in wrestling could be TNA and international tours.

  18. mackdeezy says:

    Yet Angle always claims that Dixie pays him more and more everytime he re signs his contract. If I was AJ, I would be mad too.

  19. Joseph says:

    I’m not sure if this is a work or not because didn’t they do something like this with Devon where he was television champion, then TNA and himself couldn’t come to an agreement over his contract and they parted ways, only to have him come back as a member of Aces and Eights?

  20. art123guy says:

    @Truth
    ROH is not TNA. By that I mean that Vince doesn’t view ROH as competition. I know, I know. TNA isn’t going to beat WWE and Vince says they aren’t competition, but he still wants to squash them just to show he can. Also, by showcasing a TNA guy, it’s indirectly promoting TNA. Giving their name a larger audience.

  21. Matt says:

    I think we all agree that AJ Cooper annoys the hell out of all of us. WWE sells out football stadiums. TNA can’t even sell out arenas with a 1000 people. You’re so stupid, it’s entertaining

  22. Mr. Anti-TNA says:

    @Matt Couldn’t have said it better myself. It’s not even close.

  23. Mr. Anti-TNA says:

    In case you missed, the ending to raw was awesome. If you didn’t see it AJ Cooper, YouTube and tell me if you have ever seen a crowd like that in TNA. The obvious answer is no because that crowd was 10 times bigger than TNA’s. I can understand if you’re a TNA but be realistic. I’m sure taping shows 5 weeks at a time will continue to keep the company afloat and the great business decisions they make.

  24. AJ Cooper says:

    Well, Matt, those who have said, from day one, that TNA would go out of business annoy me. In fact, they have been annoying for the past 11 years (ever since TNA left the NWA). Plus, I HIGHLY doubt that when WWE was at the point in its existence that TNA is at right now (11 years removed from the NWA & existing on its own as an independent promotion) that it was able to fill large arenas/stadiums. It would seem that the WWE fanboys have forgotten where WWE came from. Do you honestly think that 11 years out from having left the NWA that WWE would have been able to sell out buildings the size of MSG or even the Superdome? So, honestly, I’d say, if anything, the stupid ones are those who seem to have conveniently forgotten WWE’s early history. However, I don’t mind being entertaining. If anything, you being entertained by how I act does in fact prove the notion that idiots are entertained by the simplest things.

    Oh, and Scott, as far as you saying that TNA getting bought by Viacom won’t guarantee success….if you’re saying that a wrestling company being bought by a media conglomerate won’t guarantee success, then permit me to put forth Exhibit A (WCW). Or, if you want an even smaller situation, ROH has had success since being bought by Sinclair Broadcasting Group. Oh, and I feel the need to put a spotlight on what you said. Yes, Bryan Danielson, Tyler Black, Jon Moxley, & Claudio Castagnioli are NOT members of the WWE. Odds are, AJ Styles would NOT end up being a member either, if you get the point I’m making. Now, something tells me you didn’t quite think THAT point through before you typed it out, then hit “Submit Comment”. Now, let’s look at where those four WWE wrestlers that you mentioned are in their careers: NONE are champions; Daniel Bryan is being buried by The Authority to prop up Randy Orton as the Face of the WWE; Seth Rollins & Dean Ambrose’s group, The Shield, has essentially become The Authority’s lapdogs, and Antonio Cesaro is stuck in a overly-recycled discriminatory gimmick, as well as being reduced to using, as a finisher, a Giant Swing (something that would NEVER been seen as a legitimate finisher today). Hell, the last guy who used a move like that (swinging someone around) was the Eugene character (an airplane spin) & do you see him in the WWE anymore? Once again, I feel the need to say that something tells me you didn’t quite think THAT point through before you typed it out, then hit “Submit Comment”. In fact, it seems like you didn’t think quite a lot of your response through before you hit that submit button.

  25. AJ Cooper says:

    But, in the end, when it comes to people like Mr. Anti-Brains & their opinion of TNA, you just have to chalk it up to the description John Cena uses in his theme song for those who aren’t Cena fans…..”if they hate, let ‘em hate.” In the end, the people whose opinions matter most to TNA are its fans & those who support the company. So, Mr. Anti-TNA is doing NOTHING except wasting his own time engaging in something (bad-mouthing TNA) that will NEVER make a difference in the end.

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