Impact Wrestling tried to turn AJ Styles into the next Ric Flair, and there were a number of reasons why the WWE Champion didn't want that.
AJ Styles may have only been a WWE Superstar for the past two and a half years but it is already difficult to imagine the company without him. The Phenomenal One was basically a top guy as soon as he walked through the door and he has proved time and time again why he deserves that spot. Styles is the current WWE Champion, at least until Money In The Bank, his second reign with the prestigious title.
Styles actually spent a brief period with WWE in the early 2000s, although obviously, that didn't work out. Since then he has traveled the world, competing pretty much everywhere that there is to compete, making a name for himself as one of the best wrestlers on the planet. A large part of that time was spent at Impact Wrestling, but some at the company didn't see what the rest of us see.
Bruce Prichard and Conrad Thompson covered Styles' time at Impact on this week's Something Else To Wrestle. Prichard recalls first hearing about The Phenomenal One when he arrived at the company then known as TNA, and it wasn't what you'd expect. "I hear that, 'AJ, he just wants to wrestle his matches and do all these high spots, he doesn't listen, doesn't want to change, doesn't want to grow. He's a pain in the ass," Prichard told Thompson.
It sounds as if the higher-ups at Impact basically wanted to turn Styles into a carbon copy of Ric Flair. "It just wasn't a good look and AJ wasn't comfortable being Ric Flair. He didn't want to talk about being up all night with the women. AJ's happily married and a very religious guy," Prichard went on to say. In the ring most would want to be compared to The Nature Boy, but his life outside of it is certainly not for everyone.
The fact that Styles managed to power through that period and make people at Impact take notice of him just goes to show how good a performer he is. It also sounds like Prichard helped him with that when the man formerly known as Brother Love joined the Impact team. Impact was the first place that Styles really made a mark on the wrestling business, and now he is one of WWE's top assets.