AJ Styles has been praised heavily by a WWE Hall of Famer that used to work closely with him.
In 2016, AJ Styles made his WWE at the Royal Rumble to a thunderous ovation. Styles joined WWE after working for TNA Wrestling for 11 years followed by a very successful run in New Japan Pro Wrestling. Styles was a World Champion in TNA and NJPW, but there were fans that might have thought that would be tough to do in WWE.
Styles would go on to have a phenomenal (had to do it) 2016 as he became one of the biggest stars on the Smackdown Live brand at a time when Smackdown finally became a live show on Tuesday nights. At the September 2016 Backlash pay-per-view, Styles beat Dean Ambrose to become the WWE Champion for the first time.
The 45-year-old Styles is a former two-time WWE Champion, Intercontinental Champion, a three-time US Champion and he was a Raw Tag Team Champion with Omos.
After retiring as a wrestler, WWE Hall of Famer “Road Dogg” Brian James ended up working backstage for WWE, including a role as the lead writer on Smackdown when Styles was the top star on the brand. Road Dogg talked about Styles on a recent episode of “Oh You Didn’t Know” podcast with a lot of kind words about how great Styles is as a pro wrestler. At first Road Dogg was asked if he thought Styles was a better sports entertainer than Bret Hart, but Road Dogg didn’t want to go there.
“No, no, I’m saying he’s a better wrestler. I wanted to back out of that gracefully. I think AJ Styles is if not the best, right now. Look and let’s say then, he has been working very hard ever since this, he showed up at the Rumble that year. And so he’s older now and he’s slower now and he’s like, wants to work smarter now. But in his [mind], when he first got here, and I still think he was very much in his prime.”
“The road puts it on you, you know what I mean? TVs, on the road and that kind of life? You know, be careful what you wish for because it ain’t easy. And so he’s tired now, but man when he first got there, there ain’t nobody.”
As he continued, Road Dogg praised AJ Styles for wrestling like nobody else.
“Nobody works like he does. He works like everything he does in the ring from bell to bell is real. And that’s what I love about AJ Styles. He is just like, I love to have fun when I was in the ring, but when I was involved in the physicality I always liked to think it was real. You know what I mean? Unless I was having fun or something.”
“But AJ worked so hard on making every single thing he does look real. It’s so admirable and such a lost art that it’s still great to see him do it. And I know people go oh Kenny Omega, oh this guy, oh that guy… I don’t care who you’re talking to. If you’re asking me my opinion, AJ Styles is one of the best, if not the best wrestler I’ve ever been in the ring with, you know what I mean? At home like a fan watched in the arena like a fan. He’s one of the best I’ve ever seen. And that’s my opinion on AJ Styles.”
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