AJ Styles Gets an Unexpected Visit Backstage at SmackDown Live

AJ Styles reunited with an old friend Tuesday night at SmackDown Live.

The man who helped Styles first become recognized nationally in the wrestling industry was backstage at SmackDown in Nashville. That person? None other than 2018 WWE Hall of Famer and Nashville native Jeff Jarrett.

WWE posted a video of the two stars reuniting backstage as part of their WrestleMania Diary series on YouTube, the first from this year.

Styles began competing for Jarrett's TNA Impact Wrestling upon the company's inception in 2002. Over the next decade, he became arguably the biggest star in TNA before switching his attention to Ring of Honor and New Japan Pro Wrestling. That path eventually brought Styles to WWE in 2016 at the Royal Rumble.

Before founding TNA with his father Jerry Jarrett in 2002, Jarrett was a fixture on the wrestling scene going back to the 1980s. He became well known in his native Tennessee before starring in WWE and WCW. Upon WCW's closure in 2001, Jarrett and his father began laying the ground work for a new promotion to give North American wrestlers another option for work as the possibility of a WWE monopoly loomed over the business.

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Jarrett eventually left TNA in 2014, then returned as part of an invasion angle in 2015 with his short-lived Global Force Wrestling group. After another return to the company in 2017, it was announced that GFW and Impact Wrestling (the company had since dropped the name TNA) would merge as one. Finally, last fall, it was announced that Jarrett was no longer with Impact Wrestling.

It will be interesting to see how Jarrett's role in the business over the last 15 years will be addressed during his WWE Hall of Fame induction. WWE typically does not like to acknowledge their North American rival, but it's hard to honestly talk about Jarrett's contributions to the business without mentioning the company he founded and helped run for most of the 2000s.