February 18, 2005
REAL NAME: Alan Jones
Born Allen Jones in Georgia, Styles spent the early part of his career in and around his home state. After being trained by Chris Michaels at the NCW Training School, Styles made his debut in 1998 wrestling under a mask as Mr. Olympia and losing to Michael Brooks. NCW would also be where Styles first tasted the gold when, in August 1999, he won the NCW Television title.
Styles first began to gain notice when he competed in the NWA Wildside organization, where on January 8, 2000, he defeated K-Krush (future TNA opponent Ron Killings) to win the NWA Wildside TV title.
Styles was briefly in WCW where, in early 2001, he teamed with Air Paris. Air Raid, as the team was known, defeated Disqo and Alex Wright on a February edition of Thunder. The team went on to compete in the Cruiserweight tag team tournament, losing to Elix Skipper and Kid Romeo in the first round.
His stint in WCW over, he returned to the NWA Wildside area. Styles and Paris teamed in NWA Wildside for several months before Styles began competing in singles competition. On October 13, 2001, Styles defeated Christopher Daniels on the NWA 53rd NWA Anniversary show. In addition to NWA Wildside, Styles saw action in the IPW, where he defeated Scoot Andrews to win the IPW Championship on November 24th, 2001. Styles would, however, return to NWA Wildside where he defeated Rick Michaels on December 22, 2001 to win the NWA Georgia Championship.
On January 26, 2002, Styles appeared on WWF Jakked, losing to the Hurricane. Shortly after battling David Young to a 20-minute draw on the Tojo Yamamoto Memorial Show on March 31st, Styles was offered a developmental deal from WWE that would have paid him $500 a week. With his wife still in college and unwilling to leave her behind, Styles turned down the offer.
Instead, Styles went to work for the WWA, where on April 13th, he defeated Nova to win the WWA Cruiserweight Championship.
Styles then began wrestling for the newly-formed NWA-TNA organization. After teaming with Low-Ki and Jerry Lynn to lose to the Flying Elvises, Styles defeated both of his former partners and Psicosis to win the X Division Championship.
While defending the X Division Championship, Styles teamed with Lynn to defeat the Rainbow Express to win the NWA tag team titles on July 3rd.
While competing in NWA-TNA, Styles also made appearances in the Philadelphia-based Ring of Honor organization, battling Low-Ki, Jerry Lynn and Christopher Daniels among others. Before his August 7th loss of the X Division title to Low-Ki, Styles even defended the championship in ROH in a three-way dance against David Young and Adam Jacobs.
A week after losing the X Division title, Styles and Lynn lost the tag team titles when the belts were held up after a title defence against Ron Killings and Jeff Jarrett.
A second reign as X Division Champion began with a victory over Syxx on October 23, 2002 and ended on November 6th with a loss to Jerry Lynn. Three days later, Styles traveled to ROH, defeating the Amazing Red in a #1 Contender's Gauntlet match but lost to the ROH Champion, Xavier, on December 7th.
In addition to battling the Amazing Red, Styles also teamed with him, winning the ROH tag team titles from Christopher Daniels and Xavier on March 15, 2003 in Cambridge, MA.
In April and May, Styles teamed with D-Lo Brown but the partnership ended when both men decided to take aim at the NWA World title. Styles faced and defeated Brown in a number one contender's match on June 4th. A week later, Styles reached what is perhaps the pinnacle of his career, winning a three-way dance that included Raven and Jeff Jarrett to win the NWA World Heavyweight Championship. Styles defended the championship for several weeks, including several matches against his former partner, Brown as well as Jerry Lynn and Raven.
Styles added to his list of titles, defeating Christopher Daniels and Chris Sabin to win the Maximum Pro Wrestling Television Championship on September 12th, 2003. With the NWA World Championship still in tow, Styles traveled to Helsinki, Finland on September 27th to defend the title against Jonny Storm. Shortly after his return to the United States, Styles dropped the NWA title to Jeff Jarrett with a loss on October 22, 2003.
Following the loss, Styles split time between TNA and ROH. He lost to Samoa Joe during a ROH title match on November 29th and then to Jeff Jarrett during an NWA World Championship match on December 3rd. However, in January 2004, Styles was given the title of "Mr. TNA".
On February 4, 2004, Styles attacked Abyss during Abyss's match against El Leon, and then was forced to team with Abyss later that night. The impromptu pairing netted Styles and Abyss the NWA World tag team titles, when they defeated Red Shirt Security (Kevin Northcutt and Legend). Things weren't smooth between the new tag champs. Indeed, Abyss walked out during the title match, forcing Styles to challenge for the titles in an almost handicap-type situation. Three weeks later, Abyss defeated Styles (with help from Lex Luger) to gain control of the tag team titles, and the two men feuded for a while.
On April 21st, Styles defeated Jeff Jarrett to begin his second reign as NWA World Champion. After successfully defending the title against Raven, Ron "the Truth" Killings and Chris Harris before Killings won a "Deadly Draw" match (involving Styles, Harris and Raven) on May 19th to win the Championship.
On June 4th, two days after Styles came up short in a "King of the Mountain Match" that saw Jarrett regain the World title, Styles became the number one contender to the X Division title and on June 9th, defeated Frankie Kazarian to regain the championship. However, Kid Kash and Dallas attacked Styles after the match as well and interfered in several other of Styles' matches. Former partner D-Lo Brown came to Styles' aid during this feud.
Even after losing the X Division title on July 28th, Styles continued to feud with Kid Kash, battling him in a street fight and later a "3 Tables" match.
In September, Styles traveled to IWA Mid-South, where, over the course of several days, he competed in and finally won the Ted Petty Invitational Tournament. He would return on October 21st to win the IWA Championship.
At the NWA-TNA's pay-per-view, Victory Road, Styles came up short in his attempt to wrest the X-Division title from Petey Williams but was victorious when he teamed with Randy Savage and Jeff Hardy when they faced Jarrett, Kevin Nash and Scott Hall at Turning Point on December 5th.
At Final Resolution, Styles defeated Petey Williams and Chris Sabin in an Ultimate X match to begin another reign as X Division Champion. In his first major title defence, Styles outlasted Christopher Daniels in an Iron Man Match during February 2005's Against All Odds pay-per-view.
Daniels would rebound to defeat Styles for the X-Division title at Destination X but it would be Styles who would make the biggest rebound of all. He defeated Abyss at Lockdown to become the number one contender to Jarrett's NWA Championship.
The month of May 2005 turned out to be one of the biggest months of Styles' life. On May 3rd, Styles gave birth to a son, Ajay and then on May 15th, Styles defeated Jarrett to win a third NWA World Heavyweight Championship at Hard Justice. The third title reign was short-lived, however, as Styles dropped the title a month later to Raven during a King of the Mountain match at Slammiversary.
Styles has rebounded with a feud against Sean Waltman and advancing in the Super X tournament.
With a bright future ahead of him in NWA-TNA, the respect of his peers as one of the most innovative workers in the business as well as the ability to make appearances on indy shows around the country, A.J. Styles continues to prove that you can be a big name in the professional wrestling business without working for Vince McMahon.
-- compiled by John Milner