AJ Styles Makes Surprise Slammiversary Appearance: “We Transcended Wrestling”

AJ Styles Slammiversary

AJ Styles made an impact during his career at TNA and at Slammiversary, he made one more with a surprise video appearance.

Impact Wrestling put its past, present, and future on display as the company celebrated its 20th Anniversary at Slammiversary on Sunday, June 19th. Nostalgia and returns included Aces and Eights and Impact Originals in matches as well as an appearance by Dixie Carter, and videos from Kurt Angle and Sting. But Impact proved they could pull out all the stops along memory lane when they showed a pre-recorded video of the one and only, AJ Styles.

A huge part of Impact’s 20-year history, Styles spoke about how important and special it was for him to have the opportunity to share in this momentous occasion. Styles opened his video by talking about the first match he ever took part in for Impact Wrestling. 2002, Huntsville, Alabama. Styles had teamed with Jerry Lynn and Low-Ki to take on the Flying Elvises. Not only was it Styles’ first match for the promotion, but it was also the first match Impact had aired period, exactly 20 years ago to the day. And while Styles lost, that match was only just the beginning of what would be an extraordinary legacy and career with Impact and in wrestling in general.

“AJ Styles would still be AJ Styles but how phenomenal would I be without Impact Wrestling?” AJ Styles mused in his Slammiversary video.

In addition to reflecting on his first match, Styles talked about the X-Division which was comprised of a group of wrestlers who didn’t match the traditional mold. Referring to guys like himself, Christopher Daniels, and Samoa Joe, Styles noted, “No we weren’t six-foot-five, jacked, but we changed things because of who we were. It wasn’t about weight limits, it was about no limits in the X-Division and we changed things. We transcended wrestling.”

And Styles isn’t wrong. The X-Division was a revolutionary idea that truly offered fans something that no other company was at the time. In the process, it created a place for new stars to be made and for wrestlers to showcase their talents alongside competitors of equal stature. Legacies were made through the X-Division, and none more than Styles, who used that platform to catapult himself to one of the best wrestlers in the world. The fans agreed as Styles was named the top X-Division wrestler and top male wrestler in Impact’s 20-year history.

But the fans aren’t the only ones to respect Styles’ legacy within Impact. In an interview leading up to Slammiversary, Moose heaped tremendous praise on AJ Styles, one of the all-time greats.

“When you think of Impact Wrestling, the first name that comes to mind is AJ Styles,” Moose told TV Insider’s Scott Fishman. “What he showed with the company is you can become a superstar at Impact Wrestling.”

Impact World Champion Josh Alexander echoed those sentiments, telling the Battleground Podcast, “I mean, I think it begins and ends with AJ Styles. I think he’s the figurehead for this company, regardless of whatever happens in the future and all this other stuff. I think if people want to close their eyes and think about TNA, he’s the first name that comes up.”

Styles certainly became a superstar, a household name, and a champion the world over. The road to that success all started in Impact Wrestling.

To close his video, AJ Styles thanked WWE for allowing him to take part in Slammiversary knowing how special this was to him. It would not have been reasonable to expect Styles to have made an in-person appearance at the event, but even a video could have been problematic should WWE have chosen to prevent it. Perhaps there is more than meets the eye to the change of power structure at the top now that Stephanie McMahon has taken over the interim CEO seat…Whatever the reason, seeing Styles back on Impact television was likely as special to fans as it was to him.

“Impact Wrestling, if I had a glass in my hand,” Styles said as he presented a toasting gesture, “I’d say here’s to the next 20 years.”

Stay tuned to the Last Word on Pro Wrestling for more on this and other stories from around the world of wrestling, as they develop. You can always count on LWOPW to be on top of the major news in the wrestling world. As well as to provide you with analysis, previews, videos, interviews, and editorials on the wrestling world. You can catch IMPACT Wrestling on Thursday nights on AXS TV and Twitch.TV as well as all the time on IMPACT Plus.