Current IWGP Heavyweight Champion and former “TNA Sting” AJ Styles has made headlines over the past year for the curious increase in broken necks caused by his signature move, the Styles Clash. If you’ve never seen it, he holds you upside down by the thighs, steps over your arms and falls forward, driving your face into the mat. It’s not a bump wrestlers are always used to taking — it requires you to throw your head back instead of tucking your chin — and that can lead to tragedy. Former WWE star Yoshi Tatsu had his neck broken with the Styles Clash and months later he’s still bleeding from holes in his head.
Styles spoke with The Chad Dukes Wrestling Show about the move and why he continues to do it, and it’s the same explanation you’ll see in comments sections of any AJ Styles post. He’s not going to shoot on you with a convoluted upside-down flapjack, but if you’re cool to do it, you’d better know how to do it.
“The one thing I can’t control is your head, that’s up to you, and there’s only one thing you can’t do in the move is tuck it. There’s no reason for you to do that. At the end of the day if they don’t want to take it I have no problem not doing the Styles Clash, there are other things that I can do. But if the promoter wants it and everybody’s cool with it that’s what we’re gonna do.”
Fair enough. Detached from arguments about how having other things you can do that don’t accidentally make people retire and bleed from head holes and making the executive decision to do those things exclusively aside, what can you do? If you’re like, “here’s a move I do,” and everybody knows it and is fine doing it, the botching’s an accident. You can break a guy’s neck doing lots of things. Ricky Steamboat had his career ended taking a bad back bump that on tape looks like nothing at all. Don’t tuck your chin.
The other positive is that Styles is very aware of what the move has done to people, and besides that time he fell over backwards and almost killed Kojima he’s not going to break you if you take it correctly. He’s done 100,000 Styles Clashes and crippled people during what, four of them? Five?
Let’s look forward to years and years of AJ not dropping people on their heads on purpose.
aw jesus nevermind