There are a lot of questions surrounding AJ Styles’ future with TNA Impact Wrestling after Bound for Glory on Sunday, Oct. 20 from the Viejas Arena in San Diego.
Will he stay with TNA? Will he go?
That makes his main event match at the pay-per-view with heavyweight champion Bully Ray all the more intriguing.
Styles, who’s been with the company since its inception, shares something in common with his opponent. They have reinvented themselves.
In Styles’ case, his persona has developed an edge with a lone-wolf mentality. He says his current character evolution developed from all the things that happened to him.
“I’m able to bottle up and transform this character that I have to this darker, more evil character,” Styles said during a recent conference call. “I don’t have sympathy. My character doesn’t have sympathy to stop or not do a move or not go the extra mile to hurt someone. It’s not just about just pinning you. It’s about beating you and doing it convincingly. If he can’t beat you, he’s going to make you wish you had never gotten in the ring with him. That’s the difference between the old AJ Styles and the new.
“The fact that we are bringing both of those characters together, he is going to go all out and not hold everything back. You aren’t going to have to put him down, but you are going to have to keep him down…He is determined. The fact that AJ Styles hasn’t had the world heavyweight title for almost a year and hasn’t gotten the opportunity to wrestle for is all the drive that I need.”
With that said there are certain roads the devout Christian will not travel down.
“I think the greatest thing about working for TNA is they respect where I come from and believe in,” Styles said. “There are some things or a line I just won’t do or cross. It can be from the little things like cuss words. It may not be a big deal to some people, but they are to other people. So I don’t want to cross that line if I don’t have to. I honestly believe words are just words. It depends on how you take them, but I don’t want to be a stumbling block for someone else. So I try not to use words that may be too offensive. At the end of the day they know where I stand, and there are some things I will not do, but that’s a good thing.”
His current storyline involves TNA President Dixie Carter., who has also gone in a different direction onscreen. For Styles, it can be art imitating life at times.
“People want to feel like they are a part of what you’re doing,” Styles said. “I’ve tried to get answers for the same questions they’ve asked, and it’s becoming a real-life issue. There is stuff that I want to know, these fans want to know. I’ve called Dixie out on it, and I think that is a good thing. People want to be entertained, and they also want to have a bit of that real-life story going on. It doesn’t get much more real than what Dixie and I are doing. It’s good television. It’s not reality television, but its good television.”
The TNA original has been there for all of the promotion’s growing pains. After more than a decade, Styles can say he is used to ups and downs as the company continues to build an audience and fan base.