Late in 2013 AJ Styles ended his 11-year run with TNA/Impact when they lowballed him a contract offer. Reports stated that TNA wanted him to take a 60 percent pay cut and Styles responded to that claim during a shoot interview with Title Match Wrestling, that was just uploaded this week.
"I think saying 60 percent is being generous," Styles said. "It's kind of crazy when that's the first offer, you're like 'wait, what? That doesn't make any sense. I've worked here for 11 years, hard for 11 years. I've gotten more popular over the last year, so I don't know what's going on. This doesn't make much sense to me.'"
TNA began having financial problems shortly after bringing in Hulk Hogan and others on big-money deals. Styles talked about how the long-time TNA wrestlers were forced to suffer, financially, from TNA's failed deals.
"Not fair to the talents. Somewhere [TNA] wasted a lot of money. The guys under contract, the guys who busted their butts are the ones who have to pay the price," stated Styles. "That doesn't make sense. That's not fair to them. They're the ones who put their bodies on the line for TNA. To punish them because of your mistakes is terrible."
Some TNA fans thought that since Styles had been compensated well in the past, then he should have been a "company guy" and taken a lesser deal. Styles hit back at that reasoning and said him being a company guy for so long is why he should not have had to take a pay cut.
"I've been a company guy for 11 years," Styles said emphatically. "That's exactly who I've been. I've always protected and took up for TNA. I'm in the prime of my career and I've learned so much. I'm able to deliver exactly what they want better now than ever. This is what I do for a living. This is how I support my family. They want me to take a paycheck so I can be a TNA guy-that doesn't concern me. I'm a family man, that's my job.
"Everyone thinks that we make millions of dollars. That's not how it works. That's not what we do. You have to pay your agent, pay to be on the road, pay your taxes. The reality is that it's not as much as people think. I'm not about to take a pay cut after everything I've done. "
Styles then said that if TNA offered him the same money he was already making in a new contract, then he would have taken that offer. But they didn't offer the same deal or anything close to that.
"Because TNA mismanaged their money, I have to pay the price? That's not how it works and I will not take a backhanded slap like that," said Styles.
If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit Title Match Wrestling with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.