Allen Neal Jones was born in June of 1977
in Jacksonville, North Carolina. More specifically, he was born on Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune,
as his father was serving as a Marine. At just a year old, Jones family moved to Gainesville,
Georgia, which is where he grew up. Jones grew up with his brothers, his mother,
and his alcoholic father. His father would “come home looking for a fight” after
a night of drinking and “took it out on his kids and sometimes his wife”. However,
Jones is adamant in saying that despite his faults, he knew his father loved him.
Unlike most wrestling fans growing up, Jones didn’t watch WWE or WCW much as it wasn’t
really available to him. Growing up, Jones’ family was quite poor and could barely afford
basic TV. So instead, Jones grew up watching Georgia Championship Wrestling, though even
that was limited due to poor TV reception. Admittedly, he wasn’t really a huge fan
of wrestling as a kid anyway. Living in poverty, the family of 6 was crammed
into a small trailer, where he and his brothers were stuffed into one room together. These
were not easy conditions to live in. As you may know, Allen Jones is a very religious
man. He stated that he would go to church every Sunday as a child with his family, but
religion was never forced upon him by anybody, and that he decided for himself that the Christian
faith was “where he belonged”. He’s been a devout Christian since the early 90’s.
Allen has been an athlete ever since he was a kid. He played football, basketball, and
baseball as he simply loved sports. He also has a background in amateur wrestling, but
didn’t enjoy it as much given that the conditioning was so intense.
Jones attended Johnson High School in Gainesville and graduated in 1996. From there he went
on to Anderson College in South Carolina on a partial wrestling scholarship to study Physical
Education. However just as spring break rolled around his first year, Jones decided to call
it quits and move back home. He didn’t have a real backup plan, but decided to just get
a regular job instead of staying at school. One day Allen’s friends decided to go to
a wrestling school and convinced him to tag along. When he made it there, Jones decided
that he was already there and may as well give it a shot. As soon as he got in the ring,
Jones instantly knew this was something he would be good at.
Jones was officially trained by Rick Michaels and debuted in 1998, just two years after
graduating High School, in the Georgia-based National Championship Wrestling. Here he would
go under the name Mr. Olympia. He would lose in his very first match to Michael Brooks,
but would begin to prosper soon after. By August of 1999, Mr. Olympia was the promotion’s
Television Champion. Just like most of the wrestling origins videos,
I’m not going to cover every single independent promotion Jones wrestled in, just the larger
ones. But just for fun, I’ll list off a bunch of the smaller ones he competed in.
Great Canadian Wrestling, All Pro Wrestling, United Wrestling Federation, One Pro Wrestling,
Game Changer Wrestling, Valhalla Pro Wrestling, and International Wrestling Cartel. And that
is only scratching the surface. Speaking of the independent circuit, in 2001,
now going under A.J. Styles, he would compete in All Pro Wrestling’s King of the Indies
tournament, but was eliminated in the quarter finals by Christopher Daniels.
Just a few months later in X Wrestling Federation, Styles would lose in a battle royal for the
XWF Cruiserweight title against the likes of Christopher Daniels, Juventud Guerrera,
Kid Krash, and Psicosis. Moving forward a few more months, Styles would
debut in Australia’s World Wrestling All-Stars in early 2002. Styles would compete in some
big matches here, but failed to capture the Cruiserweight Championship. However, that
changed when Styles defeated Super Nova and Jerry Lynn to win a tournament for the title.
Shortly after the win though, Styles would vacate the belt.
Styles would also compete in IWA Mid-South later that year, along with Frontier Wrestling
Alliance in the UK. Going back to 1999 for a second, the A.J.
Styles name was born after two wrestling promotions, NCW and NWA Georgia, merged to form NWA Wildside,
the developmental territory of WCW. Here Styles would capture his second Television Championship
in January of 2000, only to lose it and regain it one more time in the span of a year.
In early 2001, WCW scouted both A.J. Styles and Air Paris from NWA Wildside, placing them
in a tag team called Air Raid. The team would have a short stint in WCW, appearing on WCW
Nitro, but nothing really came from it as just 5 months into Styles’ main roster career,
the promotion went under. Following WCW’s demise, Styles went back
to NWA Wildside where he would quickly become NWA Georgia Champion after defeating Rick
Michaels. After 2002 however, Styles only appeared in Wildside for the odd appearance,
as at this point he was signed to the newly founded TNA. He would wrestle against some
big names in Wildside, but his main focus was elsewhere.
Speaking of 2002, it was a big year for Styles’ career. Before the TNA offer was even on the
table, Styles made two appearances for WWE. The first was in January of 2002 on an episode
of Metal, where he lost to The Hurricane. The second was a dark match before SmackDown,
which he lost as well. However, in April of 2002 WWE would offer
Styles a developmental deal that required him to relocated to Cincinnati, Ohio to wrestle
in the Heartland Wrestling Association. However, Styles declined the offer on the ground that
relocation was not an option, as his wife was trying to pursue college and this would
interfere. Bear with me, I will get to his TNA career
soon, but first let’s cover Ring of Honor. In 2002, Styles made his debut in ROH and
quickly became a main eventer. Here he would be the first to hold the “Number One Contender’s
Trophy” which was considered a secondary championship. After a few failed attempts
at the ROH Championship, Styles decided to pursue the Tag Team titles, which he won with
Amazing Red. The two would hold the belts for a while, defeating the Briscoe Brothers
on three occasions, but lost to Christopher Daniels and Xavier, a team known as The Prophecy.
Styles would win the tag titles back, however with a new partner named Homicide.
Styles would later jump back into singles competition and took fellow Georgia wrestler
Jimmy Rave under his wing. Styles would defeat Bryan Danielson to become number one contender
for the title, but lost to the champion Samoa Joe. However, Styles would become the first
ROH Pure Wrestling Champion after defeating CM Punk in the finals of a tournament. Styles
would also defeat Punk in the rematch for the belt, but due to controversy over in TNA
where he was under contract, he was forced to leave ROH and vacate the title.
Styles would return to ROH in 2005 and 2006 where he would have a feud with former protégé
Rave which featured the memorable moment of Styles being suffocated with a plastic bag.
Styles would go on to defeat the likes of Roderick Strong, Austin Aries, and Abyss,
but would lose to Bryan Danielson for the ROH World Championship.
Now, back to TNA, where A.J. signed a non-exclusive contract back in May of 2002 just as TNA was
starting up. In fact, Styles may have been the first wrestler ever signed to the promotion.
Here he was referred to as “The Phenomenal” A.J. Styles. Styles would spend over a decade
in TNA, where he would become the face of the company.
Styles started off by becoming the inaugural TNA X Division Champion after defeating Jerry
Lynn, Low Ki, and Psicosis. He would also win a second title, the NWA World Tag Team
title, with Lynn soon after. Not too long after that though, the tag team would fall
apart and Styles and Lynn would feud to no avail. Styles would also lose his X Division
title to Low Ki, but would regain it in late 2002. However, Styles would once again lose
it, but this time to Lynn. In 2003, Styles began to focus on the NWA
World Heavyweight Championship and finally won it in June of that year to become the
first TNA Triple Crown winner. He would hold this title for a few months, defeating numerous
challengers, until he lost it to Jeff Jarrett who insisted Styles abandon the Heavyweight
title and return to the X Division. Style’s would refuse, but after winning and dropping
the title one more time, he decided head back. In 2004, Styles would quickly become X Division
champion and had a memorable feud with Petey Williams. Styles would lose and regain the
title a few times throughout 2005, with some memorable matches along the way. By far the
best match he had during this run was a three way between himself, Samoa Joe, and Christopher
Daniels which was given a prestigious 5-star rating by Dave Meltzer. It was also runner
up for match of the year. In late 2005 and most of 2006, Styles would
team up with Daniels. The two would win the NWA World Tag Team Championships after two
failed attempts, but would eventually lose them in a Border Brawl match to Homicide and
Hernandez, the Latin American Xchange. In November, A.J. Styles would defeat Chris
Sabin for his sixth X Division title after dropping the tag team belts to LAX. In the
following months, Styles would begin a feud with Rhino and turned heel in the process.
From 2006 to 2008, Styles would be involved in the Christian’s Coalition storyline,
which featured Christian Cage and his team facing off against Kurt Angle and his, as
well as the TNA Front line story in 2008 and 2009 where Styles allegedly got married to
Karen Angle, prompting a feud with Kurt. In 2008, Styles would also wrestle a few matches
in New Japan as part of a partnership between the two companies. He would make four appearances
here, getting his first real taste of the Japanese wrestling scene.
From mid 2009 to 2011, Styles once again pursued the TNA World Heavyweight championship. He
would win the title in a five-way match from Kurt Angle. Styles would also face Sting just
a month later in a match that became a favourite amongst TNA fans. Styles would prosper and
would retain the belt despite numerous elite level challengers including Kurt Angle, Samoa
Joe, and his former tag partner Tomko. During this reign, Styles would become the longest
reigning TNA World Heavyweight Champion in history, surpassing Sting. His reign finally
ended when he dropped the title to RVD after 211 days as champion.
Styles would continue to work in TNA through 2013, working some notable matches in that
time. Those include Styles vs Christopher Daniels in 2012, Styles and Angle vs Daniels
and Kazarian in 2013, and Styles vs Austin Aries in 2013 as well. However late in that
year, contract negotiations between Styles and TNA broke down and it was reported that
he would become a free agent after 12 years with the company.
Styles was extremely frustrated with the company, making critical remarks about the TNA product
in a podcast interview with Brady Hicks after leaving.
At this point, Styles began taking bookings to work in various independent promotions
such as CZW, PWG, and IWA Mid-South. He also made his return to ROH in early 2014, where
he defeated Roderick Strong in his first match back. He would also go on to defeat Jay Lethal
and Chris Hero as well. Also in 2014 after leaving TNA, Styles decided
to sign a contract with New Japan Pro Wrestling, where he would be revealed as the newest member
of the infamous Bullet Club. Now, Styles was still working on the American circuit full-time,
so he was only in New Japan for the bigger events. Despite that, Styles quickly became
IWGP Heavyweight Champion, the sixth non-Japanese champion in history and the first American
since Brock Lesnar in 2005. Styles would defend the title successfully
twice before dropping the belt to Hiroshi Tanahashi as the Bullet Club was prevented
from interfering. However, in 2015, Styles would once again become champion and would
reign for five months. Skipping forward a bit, Styles would challenge Shinsuke Nakamura
for his IWGP Intercontinental Championship. This was an excellent match that nearly attained
5 stars, though Styles lost. However, the very next day, Styles gave his notice to New
Japan as he was signing with WWE. This resulted in Styles being kicked out of the Bullet Club
the next night during his final appearance for the promotion.
On January 20th, 2016, WWE confirmed that A.J. Styles had signed a deal with the company
after weeks of speculation and rumours. Apparently, Styles was in talks to return to TNA first,
but WWE offered him a deal that he couldn’t refuse, which also brought over his friends
Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson. Styles would make his debut at the 2016 Royal Rumble, lasting
28 minutes only to be eliminated by Kevin Owens.
From there Styles would feud with Chris Jericho where he would come out on top. However soon
after, the two would form the tag-team Y2AJ. The pair would be unable to capture the WWE
Tag Team belts, which led to Jericho turning on Styles. This culminated with a match at
WrestleMania 32, which Jericho won. Following that, Styles would reunite with
Bullet Club members Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows to form “The Club”, which has
essentially turned Styles heel. He would face Roman Reigns for the WWE World Heavyweight
title at Extreme Rules, but was unsuccessful. Most recently, Styles began to feud with the
returning John Cena which culminated in a match at Money in the Bank. Here Styles would
pick up the win through the help of The Club, despite signing a contract stating The Club
could not get involved in the match. And that was Wrestling Origins: A.J. Styles.
This was a long video but as a lot of you said on the last one, you like the videos
to be longer rather than short. Anyways, if you enjoyed the video you should definitely
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sure to let me know in the comments. As always, thanks for watching!