TNA Claims AJ Styles Signed Contract: Making Sense of the Situation


A closer look at the situation between TNA and three top talents in AJ Styles, Karl Anderson and Doc Gallows.

Yesterday, we noted how TNA made accusations that AJ Styles, Karl Anderson and Doc Gallows signed contracts to join the company, but all backed out after stopping communication around Christmas. They released a lengthy statement on their website to inform the fans of this.

Since this came out, more statements have been made. Styles’ agent/lawyer, Bill Behrens, issued this response to PW Insider. It basically says how no contract was ever signed by the parties involved. Fight Network is also claiming the same.

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In the same PW Insider report above, they note that “the company didn’t want to be a ‘patsy’ and give the appearance they let their ‘Sting’ just walk into WWE without at least letting people know they wanted and tried to get him back. TNA executives wanted what they feel is “the truth” out there for the masses.”

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To make matters even more bizarre, before the statement from Behrens and this extra information came out, Wrestling Observer’s Dave Meltzer took to the website’s forum (h/t Wrestling News) to comment on what he has heard.

"“Was told they didn’t sign ****. And in the case of Anderson, TNA opened itself up to a tampering lawsuit with New Japan.”"

Meltzer makes a valid point here. Anderson is under contract with New Japan for the rest of the month while Gallows is on a per-appearance deal and Styles is done. As long as one is signed to a deal, another company cannot speak to that talent about a contract. It’s considered tampering and is something that is frowned upon in professional sports leagues. Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban was fined $100,000 in 2010 for making comments about LeBron James before he hit free agency (h/t ESPN).

Meltzer put out this second comment.

"“One of the three for sure, if not all three, were not looking at TNA for leverage for WWE, and it was WWE going to them after hearing they may go to TNA and making a better offer.”"

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  • Again, this makes sense. WWE went to these guys when they heard TNA was going for them. If they found out a deal this trio signed a contract with Dixie Carter and company, why would they be going after them? WWE had interest in Shinsuke Nakamura before he re-signed with NJPW on a one-year deal around this time last year. Then they seemingly backed away (although nothing was confirmed) and re-opened negotiations, leading to his upcoming WWE arrival. Nakamura still hasn’t signed a deal because he’s still under contract, but should be good to go by next month. It’s the proper way of doing business.

    As for TNA, claiming Anderson signed a deal while under contract with NJPW is something that may come back to haunt them. It could turn into a legal mess if NJPW and WWE get involved.

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    Even if proof of signatures on TNA contracts come out, there seems to be no way they will come out unscathed because they would have signed someone else’s contracted employee.

    It comes down to someone in this predicament is lying. If it’s the side of Styles, Gallows and Anderson, then TNA’s statement has legitimate proof to back it up. If it turns out to be TNA at fault, though, then they may be at risk of hurting an image that isn’t good as it is. Trying to draw false sympathy from the public isn’t something that people will take well. If anything, it may turn others away from the product.

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    This situation is far from over and we will see what the final outcome turns out to be. If AJ Styles is seen at the Royal Rumble on Sunday night, chances are he never signed a deal with TNA.