Backstage News on the AJ Styles – TNA Situation, Reason for TNA Statement, Legal Speculation, More

AJ Styles

– As noted, TNA issued a statement on Friday that said they had been in serious discussions with AJ Styles for the past several months and that those talks escalated into Doc Gallows and Karl Anderson also coming in. TNA claimed the talks culminated on December 14th at Dixie Carter’s home in Nashville, where a “handshake and written deal” between Styles, Anderson, Gallows and TNA “was agreed upon and signed by all. Start dates were determined, creative decided, merchandise designed and plane tickets purchased.” TNA noted that the wrestlers stopped communication after the Christmas holiday, and after lawyers had finalized the long form agreement. They added that Styles’ lawyer contacted TNA and stated the wrestlers changed their mind, and would not be honoring the commitment to TNA.

Styles’ agent and lawyer Bill Behrens is saying that no contract was finalized or signed by any parties involved. According to PWInsider’s TNA sources, word going around is that once Behrens learned Styles signed an agreement without his supervision and involvement, he did not react in a positive way and was against the deal. Behrens started communicating with TNA, who was having their lawyers work on the long form contracts going into the Christmas holiday.

Styles and TNA apparently started talking in November and the company wanted him bad. They did not talk while Styles was under contract to New Japan Pro Wrestling. There was a feeling that Styles returning along with the new TV home on POP would be a good way to show fans they were turning things around. The talks went on daily through November and December, leading to the idea of Gallows and Anderson coming in with him. Both were looking to leave NJPW for several reasons and Gallows was not under contract while Anderson was then and still is until February 1st. TNA bought plane tickets for Styles to attend their Bethlehem, PA Impact Wrestling tapings in early January and the plan may have been to have him film vignettes at a local hotel, that would then be inserted into the POP TV broadcast as a big surprise. TNA was then looking to have Styles return to their ring during the UK tour that kicks off this month. The plan was for Styles to return and once Anderson was able to, he would come in with Gallows.

The December 14th meeting at Dixie’s home in Nashville had Carter, Styles, Anderson, Gallows, TNA’s John Gaburick and others. The group met all day at what was described as a summit, and one that “could not have gone better.” They locked in start dates, came up with a logo, worked on creative storylines. Styles, Anderson and Gallows were presented with a contract and after meeting privately, they came back with requested amendments that TNA agreed to, according to PWInsider’s TNA sources. Styles deal was reportedly for at least three years with an option for one more year.

After the holiday, TNA stopped hearing from Styles, Gallows and Anderson – calls and text messages were not returned. Behrens later contacted TNA and told them that the deal was not happening. TNA was shocked by this as they felt they had already signed the trio and out of nowhere their big reboot storyline was gone. Plans that were finalized at the big meeting in Nashville were supposed to carry TNA through most of 2016. There was also the feeling within TNA that Styles was the one “TNA Original” that they couldn’t live without, according to some fans, and they finally brought him back but he disappeared before they could lock him in.

TNA sources are adamant that all three wrestlers signed agreements with TNA officials. There were no lawyers involved but it was decided that all three would be coming in. As of this week, TNA had not heard from Anderson or Gallows personally but Styles has made some sort of communication where he told them he was going to do what is best for his family.

Regarding the statement TNA put out late Friday, they were said to be frustrated over communications stopping, the wrestlers backing out of the deal and the feeling that TNA did the “right thing” but were still wronged. One source noted to PWInsider that officials didn’t want to look like a “patsy” and look like they let “their Sting” leave for WWE without letting people know they tried and wanted to get him back. TNA executives reportedly wanted what they believe is the truth to be out there for the fans.

There’s a lot of speculation on if TNA will pursue legal action the three, or perhaps WWE, but word is that as of late Friday no decision had been made yet. There’s also a lot of speculation that TNA timed their statement with the idea that it could put a potential AJ Styles WWE Royal Rumble debut in jeopardy.

We’ll keep you updated as more information becomes available but needless to say, it could be an interesting week.

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Source: PWInsider