When AJ Styles jumped to WWE’s main roster without stepping foot in NXT a lot of people were thrilled to see what The Phenomenal One could do. But as AJ started his career in WWE some fans noticed he had stopped doing his previous finish, The Styles Clash and adopted his Phenomenal Forearm as his most powerful move.
It took a little while for the Styles Clash to actually happen in WWE and there’s good reason why because it was on the list of banned moves.It was teased a couple of times, but the move wasn’t actually executed because AJ’s unique face-planting move had a bad reputation. Some workers had been injured because of the move in the past. Even AJ has to look down and make sure his opponent’s chin is in the right position so they don’t break their neck.
Tons of people wanted to see the Styles Clash but it was banned sight unseen from Vince McMahon apparently. Thankfully, Chris Jericho was the first to see how valuable this move would be to AJ Styles in WWE and he wanted to change its banned status.
“When A.J. came in I believed he was going to be a huge star which of course he is” Jericho told Baby Huey & Bimbo Jimbo of 107.7 The Bone. “He had this finishing move called the Styles Clash which was kind of unofficially banned in the WWE because there was rumors that people had gotten hurt from it and all that sort of thing, but I knew it was a great move. I knew it was an easy move to take. I knew it was something that could give AJ an extra color to paint your pictures with. I basically…started using it (taking it) during matches just so Vince could see it. I figured if he saw it and didn’t want me to do it then he would know…and people were so mad at me because I was kicking out of the move like ‘Jericho’s burying A.J…’ It’s like shut up you idiots I have a plan here.”
“Eventually I went to Vince and said ‘Did you see that move that AJ did?’ Never using the words the Styles Clash because I knew…that name is taboo. Oh, the Styles Clash you can’t do it. So, I said you know that move where he picks me up and dumps me on my face?…He should use that as a finish! ‘Yes, absolutely use it as a finish.'”
“So, I was able to kind of indirectly able to get the move unbanned by just doing it, and not asking for permission, and never using the name Styles Clash when I talked to Vince about it. Now it’s one of AJ’s biggest moves. I believed it could work. I wanted to stand up for it, but once again you have to be kind of sly about it sometimes. It was actually a pretty cool process and it makes for a great story in the book for sure.”
So there you go. If you are ever sure someone will reject something by name alone, then just do it anyway and get permission to keep doing it by calling what you’re doing something different. It might sound confusing in principal but if it works, it all comes out in the wash.