AJ Styles was instrumental in helping a former WWE King of the Ring sign his first wrestling contract.
Long before they were racking up championship wins in WWE, AJ Styles and Xavier Woods worked together in IMPACT Wrestling, then known as TNA.
At Bound for Glory in 2007, Woods stepped in to team with R-Truth as a replacement for Pacman Jones. Woods and Truth faced off against AJ Styles and Tomko in the match.
Speaking in a new interview with Jeff Zito on Celebrity Jobber, Woods opened up about the day and how Styles’ recommendation after the bout led to him signing a contract with TNA.
“I was in college, I was a senior, and my goal was to try to get a contract with a major wrestling organization before I graduated. I ended up getting a shot on a big show because a guy by the name of AJ Styles vouched for me. He vouched for me, and I was in this match, sight unseen, and they let me wrestle on TV on the largest show of the year for them and I was in the first match against AJ and his tag team partner, and I was teaming with R-Truth.
“After that, I got a contract, and I hit my goal. I was a contracted TV wrestler before I graduated college because AJ took a chance on me.”
Continuing, Xavier Woods spoke about a mutual friend getting him in touch with Styles to help him train, and the rest is history.
“One of my good friends, Sal Rinauro, he hit me up and said, ‘AJ has been in a tag team for a minute, he wants to go back to singles and get in ring shape for that. Do you want to come train with us?’ It was about two hours from where I was. I asked my boss, I worked in a daycare at the time, she knew how much I wanted to be a wrestler. She gave me the week off work, and I went up there every day and we worked out for four or five hours each day.
“After that, he called me up and said, ‘Are you busy this weekend?’ ‘No.’ He got me on the show and we went from there. It’s nothing but love to AJ.”
SmackDown star Karrion Kross recently praised AJ Styles as well, calling the former WWE Champion “amazing to work with.”