News

AJ Styles Comments on WWE Debut Five Years Ago, What He Knew Before Royal Rumble 2016, Favorite Matches, More

There’s a new edition of the documentary series WWE Untold on WWE Network that airs on Sunday. It’s called “WWE Untold: AJ Styles’ Royal Rumble Debut.” I will review it, of course.

AJ’s WWE debut was Royal Rumble 2016 in case you forgot and we’re coming up on the five-year anniversary of when the WWE Universe greeted Styles with a huge pop. Styles has gone on to win the WWE Title two times in his career and you could argue he’s been the best wrestler in WWE for the five years that he has been there.

To help promote the WWE Untold episode about his debut in WWE, Styles has done a number of interviews in the last few days. Here are some highlights of AJ’s interview with Bleacher Report covering a lot of topics.

Styles commented on when he would make his WWE debut after signing a contract in January 2016:

“I was told zero things. Nobody kept me in the loop, so I was waiting around thinking, ‘I hope I can get into the Royal Rumble. That’d be cool, but I’d understand if I’m not.'”

“I didn’t really tell anybody because it was one of things where I didn’t really know. Was I actually going to be in the Rumble, or was I going to be doing something in the Rumble? I didn’t know, so yeah, I didn’t tell a soul, as crazy as that sounds.”

During the WWE Untold documentary, we find out that AJ’s good friend from the TNA days Samoa Joe picked him up at the airport and drove him to the arena that night.

Styles talked about getting acclimated to the way WWE does things:

“Talent, timing, circumstances, being able to adapt and learn. The thing is, when I got to WWE, I still had a lot to learn with the way things are done there because it is done differently. Trust me when I say this. You have to be told one time. That’s it. And you have to get it right. You don’t want to make the big man mad, so you want to be able to listen, understand and get it right the first time. I was able to do that.”

“Don’t get me wrong, there are things I still screw up like everyone else. I’m not perfect, but that’s what it was about. And humbling yourself, too, by the way. There have been some humbling experiences I went through in WWE that I appreciate to this day.”

Styles even revealed that he almost debuted in WWE without the AJ Styles name that he was using in other places:

“I remember Triple H and I talking, and he said, ‘I don’t know if we’re going to be able to keep your name. I said, ‘That’s fine. I have no problem. Just so you know, I have this huge tattoo on my side that says AJ. It’s not my name—it’s my kids’ initials and birthdays, but just throwing that out there.’ Luckily, I was able to keep the whole name AJ Styles, and it worked out for the best.”

Styles also commented on how he wasn’t that close to ever leaving WWE during his last contract negotiations although he does miss his buddies Gallows and Anderson, who are now in Impact Wrestling and even in AEW as well:

“Like I said, this is a business. I’m going to go where business is best for AJ Styles. I like WWE. I like everything about it. And I know it. I’m used to it. I don’t want to leave. This is a business, though. This is what we do for a living. Was it close? I wouldn’t say it was close for me. Like I said, I want to be in WWE.”

“The situation with Gallows and Anderson, you know, with everything that’s going on, they should have went ahead and went that route when their second contracts came around. But hindsight is 20/20. You’ve read the dirt sheets and whatnot, and you know how pissed I was about the whole situation. Not at them, but at the situation. I think they’re happier doing what they’re doing now. If that’s the case, then I’m happy for them and, like I said, everything happens for a reason.”

Styles commented on some of his favorite matches:

“I’ve had so many that I’m proud of. Whether it be with John Cena at the Royal Rumble, so many matches like that where you go, ‘Wow.’ We didn’t go outside the ring. We didn’t hit the floor. We stayed in the ring. There was a match [Hiroshi] Tanahashi and myself had to see who would go into the finals, and it was so great. There was something about it with him being so great at what he does.”

“Even the Triple Threat I had with Christopher Daniels and Samoa Joe in TNA. There’s so many matches like that throughout my career like, ‘Woah, that was big.’ But we’re not done yet. There’s still some matches that can be done that I’m excited to have as well.”

Styles is 43 years old and when he signed a new WWE deal in 2019, he told Newsweek he thought that was his last full-time contract. The length of that deal is not known. Styles talked about the future while noting it’s a matter of how he feels as he continues to wrestle:

“It’s really whenever it feels right. Some days, I feel like I can go five, six more years. And then some years I’m like, ‘Oh, man, I can be done this year.’ As you get older, it’s just changing. You have to listen to your body and figure out what it can do next.”

“With my style, it’s a bit different, so I like to push it still to this day. I’m going to go as long as I can, as long as I can stay healthy and see what happens and where it takes us.”

There’s plenty more in AJ’s interview with Bleacher Report including his memories of WrestleMania matches with Shinsuke Nakamura and The Undertaker, plus who his WWE theme song was originally intended for and there’s more as well.

The WWE Untold documentary about AJ’s debut airs this Sunday on WWE Network. I’ll leave you with a trailer video about that.

More News