WWE has changed a lot over the last few years. Some of that change is probably being forced by Triple H who has signed a lot of great talent and put them all on WWE NXT. Due to this, NXT has become an incredible show which WWE now sees dollar signs in. WWE is planning to make NXT a third touring brand, and while they will not be used to the extent of the WWE RAW and SmackDown brands, they will be touring some major cities this year.
In 2016, WWE plans to push for NXT to tour potentially a couple days a week. This could lead to NXT working televised events on the road just like RAW and SmackDown.
Due to all of this, WWE needs names to tour with which is why they have renewed interest in former TNA standout AJ Styles according to The Wrestling Observer. WWE was uninterested in Styles when he left TNA back in 2013. AJ Styles simply was not interested in sticking around with TNA when he thought he could be of better value on the Indy scene. Styles was quoted in saying that he made more on the Indy scene in 2014 by the Fall than he did his entire last year with TNA. That says a lot.
AJ Styles then began working with Indy promotions of all kinds including Ring of Honor and New Japan Pro-Wrestling.
When Prince Devitt left for WWE and became Finn Balor in WWE NXT, NJPW needed a big member added to The Bullet Club faction. The top wrestling faction in the world needed a face which Styles was able to give them and he has remained at the top and even won the IWGP Heavyweight Championship with them. He considers NJPW his home, but WWE wants him now and that feeling could change Styles’ mind.
So why was WWE uninterested before and suddenly have interest now? A few reasons. Back then, WWE just signed a lot of guys at AJ’s size from the Indy scene like Adrian Neville, Sami Zayn, etc. They were also younger. WWE didn’t know what they had with all of the smaller guys, and due to this there was a lot to still learn. WWE NXT was not nearly as big as it is now. Now that the “wrestling” has become a major focus, NXT has become more and more popular and smaller guys are one’s WWE values in a major way at this point.
While WWE had guys like him before, they now want more and Styles fits this. WWE wants to tour with NXT more and they need big names for that. AJ Styles happens to have the kind of name on the road to draw money for WWE. There is also a big chance that he could make it to the main roster eventually when WWE sees what he can bring to the table.
AJ Styles is still under contract with NJPW and he is about to be 38 years old. So the window on using him is closing. While he is older, he could still be a valuable addition to NXT especially for touring purposes. He could also sign a similar deal that Samoa Joe has, which would allow AJ to work various dates for Indy companies potentially including NJPW. AJ would also make a lot more money with WWE than anywhere else in the world, and for a guy who will retire eventually….it’s good to take the money where you can.
Triple H values talent like AJ Styles, which is why he has signed so many top Indy names and plans to do so even still. People such as Uhaa Nation were just signed and there are expectations that Triple H could hire a lot more by the end of the summer. It is possible that AJ Styles is part of his list, or in WWE by 2016. While Styles is nearing 40, he has not slowed down at all and has only grown in popularity since leaving TNA. So he is well worth bringing in if WWE can manage to lure him away from NJPW.
[IMG Credits: voxcatch.fr, solowrestling.com]