It’s tough to come up with a truly great wrestling character and/or gimmick, folks. There are very, very few pro wrestlers who nailed it the first (or second, or third) time out. Let’s not forget about Terry Boulder, Rocky Miavia, Dude Love, or a million other well-known examples. And even though everyone’s current favorite wrestler, AJ Styles, has been “AJ Styles” for basically as long as we’ve been aware of him, he had some pretty bad ideas once upon a time about the type of wrestling character he wanted to be.
During an appearance on Georgia Rock 100.5’s “Bailey and Southside” morning show (which is your new fanfic name for shipping Bayley and CM Punk), Styles talked about his very first ideas for a wrestling character. He really, really wanted to be a masked wrestler. With a really, really bad name.
“I wanted to wear a mask! I loved those [masked wrestler] guys. I’m so glad that didn’t happen … You can’t breathe in masks. I don’t know how these guys do it. I wanted to wear a mask and call myself ‘Velocity.’ What a terrible name. But I could do flips and everything. That was easy for me to do in the ring …
“I did my first match ever, I was ‘Mr. Olympia.’ I wore a mask, and wore my old singlet that I took from my college, turned it inside out, and I wore wrestling shoes, and I looked absolutely ridiculous. And my next match, I didn’t have a name, and everybody always called me ‘AJ’ anyway, so I stuck with AJ. And then, [the promoter] is like, ‘yeah, you’re tagging with Damien Steel. We need a last name. Styles! Go!’ That’s it. That’s how the name [came] about, AJ Styles. I hated it. I hated Styles for a really long time.”
He went on to give a shout-out to Air Paris and talk about the fact that for one match, he was billed as “Air Styles.” But he went from Velocity, to Mr. Olympia, to AJ Styles in the course of two matches. And that was all she wrote.
An immensely talented American wrestler wanting to wear a hood in his early days is nothing new. Just take a look at some notables who began their careers in CHIKARA, or maybe take a look at Daniel Bryan, who actually lived his dream and was “The American Dragon” when training under Shawn Michaels. That was a mask for the ages.
RIP Velocity. We hardly knew you. Well, actually, we NEVER knew you. To add insult to injury, Styles also never got to WRESTLE on Velocity. His two WWE tryout matches back in the day were a dark match, and a match on WWF Metal. Booooo.