AJ Styles, one of the most synonymous names from IMPACT Wrestling history, made his first appearance for the promotion in almost a decade during Slammiversary!
The 2022 Slammiversary pay-per-view served as a means to celebrate twenty years of IMPACT Wrestling and Total Nonstop Action. It’s impossible to do this without the presence of AJ Styles, arguably the one name everyone thinks of when they hear the company name.
‘The Phenomenal One’ was, surprisingly, on-hand in Nashville, albeit via satellite. Styles submitted a pre-taped face-to-camera piece, discussing the legacy he’s had on IMPACT and vice versa. AJ noted his famed Unbreakable 2005 clash with Christopher Daniels and Samoa Joe as one of the best he’s ever been involved in.
Admittedly, this appearance will come as a surprise at first glance. AJ Styles addressed how WWE allowed him to send in a video to celebrate twenty years of the Anthem-helmed promotion, expressing his gratitude to his current employers:
“I wanna thank WWE for allowing me to do this, cause they understand that this is a special moment for me.”
— IMPACT (@IMPACTWRESTLING) June 20, 2022
AJ Styles is unquestionably one of the most crucial names to the legacy and continued success of IMPACT Wrestling in its fledgeling years. Wrestling in IMPACT’s first ever match against The Flying Elvises, the former Bullet Club man would become the inaugural X Division Champion just one week later. Five additional reigns with the championship would follow, as would runs with all of the company’s other male championships.
His tenure with IMPACT Wrestling came to an end, officially, on 17 December 2013 after contract negotiations between the two sides broke down. His final match – which crowned the undisputed World Champion after he “walked out” while champion – aired on the 9 January 2014 (taped 5 December) edition of IMPACT, where he lost to Magnus.
Slammiversary marked AJ Styles’ first IMPACT-related appearance in any way since this loss. The likes of Kurt Angle and Sting, both of whom enjoyed notable matches against Styles, would also send in pre-tapes that aired throughout Slammiversary.