From beginning in TNA Wrestling, winning the IWGP Heavyweight Title and then going to the WWE and becoming a two-time WWE Champion, few wrestlers had a more exciting and successful 2010 decade in wrestling than AJ Styles. Styles recently sat down with Busted Open Radio to reflect on what the last decade has been like.
“I’ve been very blessed to be with TNA at the time, doing what I was doing over there, but then betting on myself and going somewhere else from Ring of Honor to New Japan and then that transitioned into WWE. If that were the end of my career that is pretty darn good.”
Styles went on to discuss how many doubted that he would ever make it in the WWE, due to his size and southern accent.
“Who would have thought that a guy with a southern accent would be talking so much? It’s pretty cool to be needed like that where I am told that I am needed to be at the majority of the shows sometimes and told that you are not just in the first segment or the middle segment, but you are also in the last segment as well. I’m like, oh my God, it’s the whole show. It’s really cool but you have to be ready to step up because you may never get the opportunity again, that’s for sure.”
Styles finally talked about leaving TNA after 12 years and the chip on the shoulder that he carried after they decided to drastically cut his salary.
“I was scared. I didn’t know what was going to happen. Nothing is promised. I had no idea where this was going to lead, but I think at the time my ego was crushed because TNA basically said to me that I am not worth the money that we are paying you no matter how hard you work. My ego took a blow there and I had a chip on my shoulder, but it was still scary because if it was just me it would have been easy. I would have probably left TNA a long time ago but I have four kids. At the time I had three kids that I had to support and my wife had to take care of the kids. That is scary not knowing if you are going to be able to put food on the table.”
“It always feels good but even though we’re talking about 2013-2014 going in there with a chip on your shoulder trying to put on great matches, it never really stops. I had to do the same thing once I got into WWE. I had to show people that I belonged here and went in there with a chip on my shoulder and get after it. You then still have matches where you say, ‘Okay, they put me in a position where you don’t know if they think it’s going to be a good match but we’re going to show them’, stuff like that.”
“There is always moments of showing people that you either still have it or you can still do it, or it doesn’t matter who you are in the ring with you can still go after it.”
Thank you to WrestlingInc for the transcription of the quotes.
Matt’s Musings: When you make a list of the top wrestlers of the last decade, AJ Styles will without a doubt be near the top of that list. No matter what Styles has planned for the new decade, he can rest assured that his Hall of Fame spot is secured.