AJ Styles was always a hot talent. A few years after his debut, he was tapped as someone with a lot of potential, a lot of upside.
R-Truth was also viewed as a wrestler with potential in the time between his first and current WWE stints. It’s in that period between the two that he really showed what he had in-ring.
AJ Styles vs. R-Truth
The rivalry has its roots in the defunct Georgia-based indy NWA Wildside where Styles and Truth were both based. Styles was the NCW TV Champion in August 1999.
R-Truth—as K-Krush—won the belt from Styles in November and a month later it became the NWA Wildside TV title. Part one of their NWA feud ended in January 2000 with Styles reclaiming the belt.
Later in 2000, Truth made his WWE debut after going through their developmental system. His time in WWE developmental ran close to his time in NWA Wildside which worked with youngsters heading to WCW.
Instead, A.J Styles would be the one to join WCW alongside tag partner Air Paris as the Air Raid tag team.
The tandem was brought in to inject some youth into the company’s aging roster and bolster the cruiserweight division which had established a tag team title.
Looking at their first runs at the big time, neither run was impressive. R-Truth was paired with Road Dogg and gone so fast you’d forget he was in the company.
WCW was closing down months after Styles signed. Once both left the big time, they returned to the indies were bigger than the southern independent scene.
Missed Chance At A Rivalry In TNA and WWE
Things kicked off again in TNA as both Styles and R-Truth both signed on in June 2002. Their first one-on-one showdown was in March 2003 but they didn’t wrestle each other in singles action that often.
Most of their encounters came in tag team action or multi-man matches. This was the last time in their careers where they could’ve rekindled their rivalry from NWA Wildside.
By the time A.J Styles arrived in WWE, R-Truth was an established star who hadn’t really touched or dwelled in the main event. The opportunity is pretty much missed unless WWE pulls off the greatest booking job of all time and take R-Truth from comedy act to at least when he had Lil Jimmy in his corner.
Plus, neither of these guys are in their early 2000s prime but 20 years can season wrestlers a lot. They would most likely deliver a match with both sizzle and steak today.
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