Paul Heyman has been in the professional wrestling business for over 30 years. And after watching him take on Brock Lesnar in a champion versus champion match at Survivor Series, Heyman said nobody in that time compares in the ring to AJ Styles.
"I'm shocked, because I've been an AJ Styles fan since before I was supposed to be an AJ Styles fan," Heyman said in a backstage fallout video for WWE's YouTube channel. "I watched AJ Styles before anybody here was supposed to watch AJ Styles. He is more phenomenal than he gives himself credit for. If you're not an AJ Styles fan, you shouldn't be watching WWE. He's everything that Shawn Michaels and Bret Hart and Ric Flair were to their generation and he's updated it. He's evolved their styles to truly be the single most phenomenal performer I have ever had the honor and the pleasure of watching up close. I've been doing this my entire life, no one in the ring has ever compared to what I witnessed tonight where I had the best seat in the house and got to see AJ Styles up close."
Styles certainly has a resume to support that claim. "The Phenomenal One" made a name for himself on the independent scene, most notably in his 11 years with Total Nonstop Action (now Impact Wrestling), where he put on classic matches with the likes of Samoa Joe, Sting, Kurt Angle and Christopher Daniels. He left TNA in 2013 and increased his prominence over the wrestling world as the new leader of the Bullet Club in New Japan Pro Wrestling and Ring of Honor before signing with WWE in 2016.
His championship accolades include two WWE Championship reigns, five TNA World Heavyweight Championship reigns (three of which were labeled as the NWA World Heavyweight Championship), two runs as IWGP Heavyweight Champion and two "Wrestler of the Year" awards from the Wrestling Observer Newsletter.
Styles and Lesnar put on an excellent 15-minute match from the Toyota Center in Houston on Sunday night. The reigning WWE Champion threw out almost every move in his arsenal - the flying forearm, springboard 450, Pele Kick and Calf Crusher to name a few - and nearly but the unstoppable "Beast Incarnate" down. But Lesnar caught Styles in mid-air late in the match and slammed him into the mat with an F-5 for the win.