AJ Styles is an eminent American pro wrestler who is well-known for his appearances on promotions like the National Championship Wrestling (NCW), Total Nonstop Action (TNA), World Wrestling All-Stars (WWA), Ring of Honor (ROH), World Wrestling Federation (WWF) and many others. He is currently signed to the World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE), frequently featuring on WWE brand SmackDown Live and Raw.
Styles’ wrestling career, which has spanned over two decades, is decorated with numerous achievements as he has clinched many championships, including the WWE World Championship, IWGP Heavyweight Championship, TNA World Heavyweight Championship, and TNA Legends/Global Television Championship among several others.
AJ Styles Began His Professional Career in 1998
After undergoing training from the iconic Rick Michaels, AJ Styles made his first wrestling appearance against Michael Brooks in the National Championship Wrestling promotion in 1998. Although he lost the match, he would later go on to clinch the NCW Television Championship.
Soon after that, AJ moved on to make numerous appearances in several wrestling promotions like TNA, WCW, WWF, ROH, among several others. During his stint at TNA, he became the inaugural TNA X Division Champion weeks after signing a non-exclusive contract with the promotion in May 2002. After his failed attempt to win the NWA World Heavyweight Championship in a match against defending champion Jeff Jarrett in February 2003, AJ won the NWA World Heavyweight Championship in June 2003, defeating Jarrett and Raven in a three-way match. In the process, he emerged as the TNA Triple Crown winner.
Later in April 2004, AJ Styles became a two-time NWA World Heavyweight Champion after defeating Jarrett once again in a steel cage match. He successfully defended the title in subsequent matches before losing it Ron Killings in the following month. AJ claimed his third NWA World Heavyweight Championship in January 2005 after beating Jeff Jarrett again at Hard Justice match. He afterward won the TNA World Tag Team Championship with Tomko in 2007.
The dexterous wrestler later clinched his first TNA World Heavyweight Championship in August 2009 after beating defending champion Kurt Angle, Matt Morgan, Sting, and Hernandez in a five-way match. He successfully retained the title for 211 days before losing it to Rob Van Dam on Impact.
Although AJ tried to regain the title at the Sacrifice match, he once again suffered a loss at the hands of Van Dam. He then went on to become the No. 1 contender for TNA World Heavyweight Championship at Bound for Glory in 2013 and subsequently emerged as the winner after defeating Bully Ray.
He Won The IWGP Heavyweight Championship In 2014
Gradually gaining momentum for his confidence and charisma, AJ Styles began wrestling in several independent circuits after departing from TNA in 2014. In March of that year, he returned to New Japan Pro-Wrestling and signed a contract with the promotion. He later attacked Kazuchika Okada, the IWGP Heavyweight Champion, and challenged him to a title match where he revealed himself as the newest member of the Bullet Club which consists of Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson. AJ was victorious over Okada at Wrestling Dontaku and thus, became the new IWGP Heavyweight Champion. He became the second American Champion after Brock Lesnar who won the championship in 2005.
AJ Styles would later lose the title to Hiroshi Tanahashi at King of Pro-Wrestling in October 2014. He, however, later got a chance to regain it from Tanahashi after pinning him in an eight-man tag team match. At The New Beginning in Osaka event in February 2015, AJ became a two-time IWGP Heavyweight Champion. He reigned as champion for five months before losing it to Okada. He later left the NJPW for WWE.
AJ Styles Won The WWE Championship in His First Year
Having been regarded as one of the best pro wrestlers in the world, as well as the most phenomenal in-ring performer, AJ Styles gained the nickname The Phenomenal One after joining the WWE. He has made mind-blowing exploits since joining the promotion in 2016. After making his re-debut at the Royal Rumble Match for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship which he failed to claim, he moved on to become WWE World Champion in September 2016 after defeating Dean Ambrose at Backlash.
AJ defended the title for 149 days before his reign was ended by John Cena who defeated him at the 2017 Royal Rumble match. In July of that year, he recorded a victory over Kevin Owens during a WWE house show held at Madison Square Garden and then became the United States Champion for the first time. He lost the title to Owens a few weeks later before reclaiming it on July 25th on SmackDown, hence, becoming a two-time United States Champion. His second reign lasted for 75 days.
He Has The Longest WWE Championship Reign on SmackDown
After confronting and attacking then-WWE Champion, Jinder Mahal, on SmackDown in October 2017, AJ Styles moved on to become a two-time WWE Champion following his victory over Mahal in Manchester, England. He successfully defended the title for 371 days, defeating the likes of John Cena, Dolph Ziggler, Kevin Owens, Baron Corbin, and Sami Zayn to become the longest-reigning WWE Champion in the history of SmackDown, as well as the 8th WWE Champion to have recorded a continuous reign of a full year.
In April 2019, the eminent wrestler was drafted to the Raw brand and he went ahead to clinch the United States Championship for a third time in July 2019 after defeating Richochet at Extreme Rules. His reign was ended by Rey Mysterio at 134 days. Making a return to Raw in May 2020 after going on a short break, AJ Styles participated in the Intercontinental Championship tournament and emerged as the winner after defeating Daniel Bryan on SmackDown in June 2020.
Other notable achievements by AJ include being named 2016 Wrestler of the Year by both Wrestling Observers Newsletter (WON) and Pro Wrestling Illustrated (PWI). He is also a WON Hall of Famer.
AJ Styles Signed His Last Contract With WWE in 2019
This is the newest member of my family. Also, I’ve signed a new contract with the WWE. What a cute little guy. pic.twitter.com/PNqh9shgTH
— AJ Styles (@AJStylesOrg) March 18, 2019
In March 2019, AJ Styles signed a five-year contract with WWE which he called his final contract with the wrestling promotion despite having an amazing career since joining WWE in 2016. Prior to that, it was rumored that the pro wrestler had negotiated a deal with the All Elite Wrestling. Following the speculation, he was offered a better deal by the World Wrestling Entertainment which he accepted and would continue to fascinate the WWE fans with his formidable tactics until 2024 when his current contract expires.
Why He Wants to Quit Wrestling
On September 8th, 2020, AJ Styles revealed through a Twitch stream that he would be retiring from wrestling in 2024 in order to be spending more time with his children and be part of their lives. He cited that having a wonderful family time due to the Coronavirus pandemic hugely influenced his decision as he got to see his kids’ practices, with his first son participating competitively in his school’s football games.
Having made the decision to quit his in-ring career, The Phenomenal One is seriously considering working as a WWE talent scout once he hangs his wrestling boots.
AJ Has Been Married To His High School Sweetheart For Over Two Decades
AJ Styles got acquainted with his wife Wendy Jones during his studies at Johnson High School, Gainesville. They kicked off their relationship on the 14th of February 1996 before solemnizing their union on the 5th of August 2000. Together, the couple has four children; sons Ajay Covell Jones (born on 5th May 2005), Avery Jones (born on 14th February 2007), Albey Jones (born on 15th September 2009), and daughter Anney Jones (born on 8th October 2014).
Despite her husband’s wealth status, Wendy has continued working as a secondary school teacher. AJ shares a very strong bond with his wife and children whom he tattooed their initials and date of birth on his torso. He has been together with his better half for over two decades and they still have the spark for each other. The doting parents cherish spending time with their kids which can be seen from Style’s social media posts.