There was a point in time where current WWE Champion AJ Styles was “Mr. TNA” (IMPACT Wrestling). Styles earned his claim to fame in the professional wrestling industry during his tenure with the promotion. “The Phenomenal One” began a run with IMPACT that lasted well over a decade starting in 2003.
Styles won virtually every belt under the sun in IMPACT. That includes six TNA X-Division Titles, two World Heavyweight Titles, and a trio of NWA World Title reigns. Eventually, Styles would depart for the likes of Ring Of Honor (ROH) and New Japan Pro Wrestling (NJPW).
In 2016, despite offers for a return to IMPACT, Styles signed a contract with WWE. He made his debut at the 2016 Royal Rumble, entering at the number three spot. Currently, Styles is the current WWE Champion in the midst of his second reign. He has held the belt for well over 300 days.
Recently, Styles was interviewed by Title Match Wrestling to talk about his career. During their conversation, they touched on his time in IMPACT Wrestling. A key reason he decided to split ways with IMPACT and eventually sign with WWE, was getting his pay cut by over 60 percent:
“I think that saying 60% is being generous, to be honest with you. That’s kinda crazy when that’s the first offer you know like, ‘wait what!
“That doesn’t make any sense! I’ve worked here for 11 years and hard for 11 years. I haven’t gotten less popular here in TNA, in fact gotten more popular, especially in the last year, so I don’t know what’s going on.’”
Styles is a dedicated family man, and a pay cut of that magnitude wasn’t going to work for the Georgian:
“I am a family man. That’s my job, and my job is to take care of them. You don’t know how much I made, or how less I made. But if you are going to take a pay cut at your job, I’m gonna take a pay cut at my job. But think about that! Because you’ve got mouths to feed.”
What do you think of IMPACT cutting Styles’ pay by so much?