Arn Anderson has discussed AJ Styles’ trademark move, the Styles Clash, and claims that it was banned in WWE by Vince McMahon.
Speaking on his ARN podcast, the WWE Hall of Famer was discussing Fastlane 2016, an event that saw AJ Styles have his first singles pay-per-view match in the company. Anderson discusses the move being banned and how it was Styles’ opponent that night, Chris Jericho, that helped convince McMahon that it was safe to use.
“I heard one guy got hurt with it but I think it was that guy’s fault when it was reviewed exactly what happened.”
Anderson’s co-host Conrad Thompson interjects to explain that Roderick Strong is among a few wrestlers who have been injured taking the move. Suffering injuries after taking the move from Styles during a match in Ring of Honor.
“I’d have to see it to look at what might have went wrong. I can only compare it to things that happen today. I know a lot of guys try to make guys finish look even bigger than what it is when it doesn’t need it. It doesn’t deserve it.
I’ll give you an example: Matt Hardy on his finish with the Twist of Fate. Which basically – you twist into it, the guy lays out on his stomach, easy peasy. It’s not a dangerous move per se but I see guys try to elevate themselves and make it more of a downward motion rather than a flat on their stomach motion. It’s similar to a Diamond Cutter, similar to an RKO, it’s a belly bump. The audience understands that. When guys try to make it bigger, there’s a risk of getting hurt.
I would have to see what happened on the Roderick Strong thing to know, well, was he pushing too hard to make a bigger bump? Was it a mistake on AJ’s part? I don’t know because it’s not in front of me.”
“I’m not a fan of anybody getting hurt because of recklessness, I hate recklessness in this business. Nine times out of ten it could’ve been avoided. But I bet you AJ Styles hit that move thousands of times successfully.”
Arn Anderson then goes on to discuss the use of the Styles Clash in the match with Styles and Jericho, including Jericho kicking out following the move:
“I’m not a fan of kicking out on guys finishes either. I think the Styles Clash was not established already as a finish which is the reason Jericho could do it. It’s not gonna do any damage and he knew that. The guy just got here, we don’t know what his finish his. That big forearm off the top obviously is his finish. The springboard forearm, it looks the part; it is a finish. So I’ve no issues with that. Chris was trying to show Vince the move, totally believe that. I don’t think you hurt AJ by kicking out of it because it wasn’t established – not with WWE, maybe other places.”
Anderson then responds when asked if he was shocked to see the move in the match, considering it was banned:
“I don’t know if I was privy to that set of guidelines but I would’ve been shocked. I would’ve been very shocked. If it’s a banned move – for it to just suddenly happened would’ve shocked me because I know the heat that would’ve gotten. That would’ve been viewed as just, straight defying Vince’s edict. And that never works.”
Styles would defeat Jericho at Fastlane using his Calf Crusher submission hold. He would go on to use the Styles Clash as part of his move set to this day in WWE.
Arn Anderson discussed a lot in his podcast, including making an unusual comparison for WWE Superstar Kevin Owens.