It might be time to have a conversation about the Styles Clash. One where we don’t yell at each other on the Internet, I mean.
The former TNA stalwart’s been one of the best performers in the business since heading to New Japan Pro Wrestling, but his finish came under fire last month when it broke two bones in former WWE talent Yoshi Tatsu’s neck. The move’s had a history of accidentally breaking necks, but when we posted a link to the match and a GIF of the botch, we made sure to point out why it happened: the person taking the move is supposed to tuck their head back, not forward, and if you tuck it forward (like you would on any number of other bumps) you’ll get your neck broken. Despite explaining that and linking to videos where Roderick Strong, Kazarian and British wrestler Lionheart all did the same thing, people still got defensive and claimed we were “blaming” Styles.
If you want a Styles Clash botch where we’d blame AJ Styles, try this one.
Styles tried to execute the move on Satoshi Kojima during a match on 11/29 and things went awry yet again. This time, Kojima did what he was supposed to do. He held his head back, and didn’t tuck it. When he did that, AJ slipped and fell backwards instead of forwards. You can guess how that went.
The good news is that as bad is it looked, Kojima walked away without injury. “Being Kojima” probably helped. The phrase “almost killed another guy” in the headline is a little hyperbolic and I’m not gonna tell a guy who’s botched his finish 5 notable times in probably 10,000 attempts to stop wrestling how he wants to wrestle, but dude, be careful with peoples’ necks. Maybe that springboard forearm you do could be a finish? Half the guys you’re wrestling use a clothesline. Hell, Scotty 2 Hotty made all the money in the world hopping in a semi-circle, doing the worm and dropping a light chop. You’re doing a move that best case scenario drops a guy on his face from a few inches up and lands with all your body weight on their legs. You probably should’ve switched it up years ago. Maybe do that now, when it’s endangering more than a few people in a row?
Let’s move the conversation from “who’s to blame for THIS one” to “what can we do to keep this from happening again?” If we can’t, we’ll be back here in January with a GIF of him accidentally paralyzing Captain New Japan.