Review for WWE: AJ Styles Most Phenomenal Matches
AJ Styles is one of (if not THE) best in the ring today. Yes, there are those on the Indy scene or in Japan who get more Five Star matches, but for week in/week out, the best matches? You come to AJ Styles. This set is not exactly a biography and only really skims the surface of his career (I do hope a more extensive one is done, when the time is right), but this is AJ Styles' career in the WWE so far. In between matches, AJ talks a little about his career and if I am honest this is a little odd. I know I usually complain about match talk match talk sets and so me not liking them is not something new. However, I do feel that some of these sections feel a little out of order and maybe it's just me, but it just felt odd as they kept swapping from having him talk about the match beforehand (giving away the outcome of the match), to talking afterwards commenting. One or the other is fine.
From his debut in the Royal Rumble, to being propelled into the main event, championships and beyond, these are three disks to show you why he is the Face that runs the place and the Champ that runs the camp. Twenty matches are all it takes to show how great he is in the ring. In fact, you could have got that from one match, he is that good.
From Raw we have a great debut match from Raw against Chris Jericho which was a perfect way to show what AJ Styles could do. This was followed by a fun match with them two teaming up against the New Day.
Wrestlemania 32 Chris Jericho vs. AJ Styles. Phenomenal performance by both, not just AJ Styles. This was an amazing match. It would be hard to top this tonight! This proved that AJ Styles is so well respected for a reason and though I don't agree with the outcome, I can at least understand why it happened.
From Raw we have a fantastic PPV-quality Fatal Fourway for the Number One Contendership between AJ Styles, Kevin Owens, Chris Jericho and Cesaro. As I say, this could have easily been a main event of a PPV and was a fantastic showing from all involved.
Payback 2016 WWE ChampionshipRoman Reigns vs. A J Styles This match could have been a classic, but just felt like too many cooks spoil the broth. The first ending was so stupid that I don't know why they bothered as the whole crowd would have rioted if it had ended that way. The second ending was again pointless too? The interferences could have been handled better too.
Extreme Rules 2016 match for the WWE Championship between Roman Reigns and AJ Styles was better than the previous match and I am glad that WWE didn't just drop the ball on Styles. The match was exactly what I expected from an 'extreme' match and I enjoyed every minute of it. The inclusion of The Club and The Usos worked and I didn't think it could get any better... until the end and the return of Seth Rollins.
Summerslam 2016 John Cena against AJ Styles was match of the night and I don't think anyone would say otherwise. I would not be surprised if this won every Match of the Year poll. It was fantastic and what I loved about this match is that it really did feel like a passing of the torch and John Cena really did his best to show how great The Phenomenal One really is. If there were any doubts before, this match should eliminate them all.
His two matches against Dean Ambrose were great. It was surprising that they would make AJ Styles a champion so soon. Both matches are fantastic with both of them working so well together. The Backlash match was great because I honestly did not remember it and I was stunned when I saw the outcome. However, the TLC match between them was also amazing with some crazy moments, but the ending was a bit bizarre. There was a bit too much emphasis aftewards on the fact he had ripped his pants which was odd.
Royal Rumble 2017 WWE Championship AJ Styles vs. John Cena. Taken out of context of the PPV and what came before it was a good back and forth match and really when you think about dream matches this is still one that I never thought I would see. My biggest problem with this match was that the commentary was so pro-Cena that you almost forgot at times that AJ Styles was the champion and every time that Cena went for a pin my heart was in my throat... until the end when I wanted to throw up.
Ok, I don't have anything against Cena and I do think he is a much better wrestler than people give him credit for. However, him winning on his first match back is such a cheap move and it makes all the hard work of AJ Styles has been doing the last few months for nothing. The sad thing is this: This match was amazing, but as always it's the ending that leaves the bitter taste in the mouth. Cena is champion again and once again I cease to care.
From Smackdown we have a pretty good Triple Threat match between John Cena, AJ Styles and Bray Wyatt though the match itself was more for Bray and his build to his match against Randy Orton which is a bit odd.
Wrestlemania 33 Shane McMahon vs. AJ Styles was a phenomenal match (pun intended). I really did not expect this match to be this good and was blown away by how Shane was able to hang with AJ Styles in this match.
From Smackdown we have another great Triple Threat for a match against the US Champion between him, Sami Zayn and Baron Corbin. A lot of people saw this as WWE losing faith in AJ, but I saw it as just a way to show how great AJ is at all levels of the card. He was able to elevate both of these guys and this was a great match. This also lead to him winning and defending it in the 'US Open Challenge'. Also from Smackdown they include two other matches.A bizarre match with him against Chad Gable, which is fine, but not exactly memorable and a fantastic dream match between AJ, Kevin Owens and Chris Jericho for the US Championship. This was a wonderful showing from all three.
We also get to see the wonderful moment when AJ Styles unseated the utterly pointless Jinder Mahal to become WWE Champion again. After months of one of the worst WWE Champions of all time, finally someone who deserved it and this was a great match to show why he really did.
His dream match against Brock Lesnar, pitting the WWE and Universal Champions against each other at Survivor Series was a pretty good match. Taken out of the context of the PPV this match is a wonderful David and Goliath matchup (as AJ describes it). It could have been a one sided squash, but it was a pretty well balanced match and one that I really enjoyed.
Wrestlemania 34 WWE ChampionshipAJ Styles vs. Shinsuke Nakamura
I had money on this being match of the night and in a way it was a little lacklustre. I have seen better from both of them and I just don't think there was anything memorable about this match. Turning Shinsuke Heel won't make him any less popular as his entrance was one of the best I have seen.
Money in the Bank 2018 Thankfully we finally get an amazing match between AJ Styles and Shinsuke Nakamura in a Last Man Standing match. This was the match I have been begging for since they announced they would face at Wrestlemania. This was a great match beginning to end.
The set ends with a Smackdown match against Cien Almos and I don't understand why. I get that it is still a great match. However, I am not sure why they would end on some random Smackdown match. If you want to see some great wrestling from two of the best then I agree it belongs on here, but to me this match just felt odd.
The set itself is great, but I do feel that WWE should have done more with the fact they had access to all of AJ's history within WCW and WWE. They tease a look at his 2002 audition and it is surprising they don't include the whole thing as an extra. Also shown are a few clips from when he was in WCW and again it would have been interesting to have seen matches of the early AJ. Younger fans get told all the time that he has always been this good, but this was an opportunity to show that. It's also again a shame that no deal could have been made with Ring of Honor, TNA or New Japan to show more from his time there.
However, none of these matches are unwatchable and even the ones I am not to keen on out of the context of their time or PPV are phenomenal matches. There is a reason he is nicknamed that and what I love is that fact that this is only a little under three years of matches and so there will no doubt be a Volume Two before he hangs up his boots. If you want to watch some of the best wrestling in the WWE, then this is where you come to watch some that this simply PHENOMENAL.