AJ Styles: Nature Bitch

Some heel turns work. Edge? That worked. Batista? Working great. Hollywood Hogan? Worked like a mother-wrote-my-lyrics.

AJ Styles? Not so much.

For those who haven’t nibbled yet on the TNA bait, Styles was a good guy people genuinely liked. If you’re a WWE fan, think John Morrison with less glitz. Well, apparently the next step was to turn AJ into the next Ric Flair while being managed by, well, Ric Flair. *waits for you to get a couple ‘Wooooooooooo!’s out of your system…it’s OK*

Here’s how Flair apparently decided to (1) pass the torch (2) to young AJ:

For the past 20 years, people have said, ‘Nature Boy, who’s gonna be the next Nature Boy?’ Well, the answer was simple: nobody! Until 6 months ago, I started watching TNA and I saw the great Kurt Angle, the greatest wrestling technician of all time. No.

And then I saw Sting. Sting, wherever you are, you’re great, but you’re not Ric Flair. And then all of a sudden, about a month ago, I saw a young man in the ring who now I’ll be working with until I’m out of this business, and I’m talking about the great AJ ‘Stylin’ and Profile’ Styles. *He* will be the next Ric Flair.

The problem is *only* Ric Flair can be Ric Flair. That has become even more apparent in the month since the Genesis pay-per-view, which has seen AJ Styles absolutely butcher his Ric Flair impression.

For proof of AJ’s newfound douchebaggery, see for yourself (via YouTube):

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RMnH5nhUUZI&NR=1 (skip to the 4:45 mark for Styles, or stay for the whole Flair rant)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3jp5n9CJEpo (much shorter clip, but still valid)

The thing is, though, that Styles and Flair will probably hold the TNA championship for a long time yet. That could mean one of two things — Styles grows into the gimmick and makes it work, or he keeps falling on his face and TNA has to scramble to give this bit a merciful end.

For the next step, watch at 9 tonight on Spike.

RIP, ECW

Tuesday was the official end of the bastardization of three of the most popular letters in professional wrestling.

E-C-F’n-W.

The original version was absolutely nuts. So much so, in fact, that I wished I’d actually known about it before the bastardization began, when it played a bit role in the most botched angle in wrestling history (note: if you really don’t know, look up the Invasion). It eventually disappeared, then came back for one pay-per-view. It disappeared again, only to come back, stick around for nearly four years and become one of Syfy’s highest rated shows.

Tuesday night was the end of it. All of it. And what a way to go out, too — The Miz and Big Show make an appearance and retain their tag team belts over Yoshi Tatsu and Goldust, low- and mid-carders alike run in one-by-one on The Abraham Washington Show, and Ezekiel Jackson beats Christian in a bloodless TV-PG Extreme Rules match to become the 27th and final ECW champion.

Thanks to DVR, I only wasted about 40 minutes of my life, instead of the hour-plus it was live.

For the final episode of ECW, the WWE could’ve went wild — maybe added an hour, brought in some old ECW guys to spice things up, had more than two matches, or even broken out some of footage from the past. Instead, Vinnie Mac decided it was best to pimp his new supposedly groundbreaking show, WWE NXT, and the upcoming PPV, Elimination Chamber. (note again: Yes, Elimination Chamber. Apparently, No Way Out didn’t give enough of a hint that this would be the PPV with the elimination chamber matches).

If you want the Reader’s Digest version, just read this: Tuesday night’s ECW was a waste of an hour, just as Vince McMahon must’ve thought it was every week. It’s mercifully gone, without a sendoff even worthy of a main event. I’ll have to wait until Impact to be entertained this week.