Sitting in my college dorm watching the 2016 Royal Rumble feels like it was just yesterday. Roman Reigns came out first and honestly I was just hoping for Vince to say, “you know what, Roman won’t win the rumble.” It turns out Triple H would win the rumble match, which meant the championship. But that’s not what this blog is about. The third entrance in that rumble that year was Aj Styles. The arena exploded when the graphic “I am phenomenal” appeared on the titan-tron. Soon enough, Styles walked out of the curtain the biggest free agent signing the WWE had in years.
I remember watching him in TNA putting on five star match after five star match. I would of never thought he would make his way back to WWE. But then he did.
No one thought that he would be one of the top faces in the company. He’s second behind John Cena in merchandise sales! We’ve seen guys who came over from other companies, come in and fall flat.
Finn Balor had a great run in NXT, but since he won the Universal title and gave it up the next night on raw a few years ago, he’s been floating around doing nothing pretty much. Booby Roode was a great heel in NXT but he has done nothing since then besides having a crappy U.S. title reign. HE IS IN A FUED WITH MOJO RAWLEY. Look at Gallows and Anderson, the only time they are relevant is when they are paired with Aj or Finn.
Aj has been the top champion since he won the title from Jinder Mahal last November. And I’m going to get this out of the way real quick. I’m not even counting Brock Lesnar’s title reign that lasted 500 days. The guy defended it what, five times in the past year and a half? The whole reign was a joke (sorry Frank). That’s the only reason Roman got cheered when he beat Brock at Summerslam, they were all SICK of Brock Lesner.
A major reason why Aj has had a reign so long is because of what he does in the ring and that translates well to the fans who are watching him do what he does best. The things he does in that ring, is a major reason why the fans back him. And he’s just a likable guy. Even when he was a heel, he was getting cheers.
The list of superstars that Aj defended the title against and put four or five star matches on with is a long one. I’ll give you a run down and this includes live events and dark matches, as well as PPV’s and Smackdowns.
Jinder Mahal-five times
Kevin Owen-two times
Sami Zayn-two times
Baron Corbin-one time
Dolph Ziggler-one time
Shinsuke Nakamura- four times
Rusev- one time
Samoa Joe- one time and counting
Aj Styles has defended that title since he won it last November 13 times, and more than half of those matches were at least four stars. One was even a six pack challenge just before Mania. The past title defense against Joe at Summerslam was a damn good match.
Now the only thing that you could say is that he hasn’t closed out any of the duel branded PPV’s. While that is true and his matches have been in the middle of the card for those events, are we really going to blame Aj? Why would we when Vince is running the show and Roman is on the card. If Triple H was running things, Roman wouldn’t close out every PPV.
Anyway, Aj recently broke JBL’s smackdown record for longest WWE championship reign. And I would be fine with him breaking CM Punks record at 434 days which is the longest WWE title reign in the modern era. I read an article online that WWE may let that happen, just because the bad blood is so bad between them and Punk, hence the reason Brock had a 500-plus day reign. And Aj is on the cover of WWE 2K19, so having him promote that game with the title around his waist/shoulder is a good move for business.
The question is when does Aj lose the title? He’s going to break the 300 day mark in I think ten days? I may be wrong on that, but he’s going to do it and then the next goal is the 400 day mark that would be somewhere in early December if my math is correct. So if they want that to happen they could certainly do it, and then have Aj lose it at the rumble, which is what happened when Punk lost the title to the Rock to end his reign.
Regardless of what happens in the coming months, whether Aj holds on to it, or loses the title to a guy like Samoa Joe or The Miz, which I can see happening, Aj’s second reign as WWE champion has elevated the WWE title to the top for the first time in years. Yeah the IC title or the Universal title may be the actual top titles right now, but to everyone else not named Vince McMahon, Aj is the guy that should be closing out PPV’s with the WWE title around his waist.