AJ Styles talks WWE, NXT, Jeff Jarrett, infamous Claire Lynch saga, more
Has there been a pursued interest by WWE to get you into NXT and join both Samoa Joe and James Storm: I haven’t had a call from someone who wants to hire me so nothing really and I’m okay with that and that’s not a big deal to me. I think it’s more of the fans wanting something like this to happen than what I am wanting to happen. I want to be able to retire in a couple of years so I am going to go wherever that takes me. But I have no problem doing the Independents, I love it. I have a great time on the Indies. I’ve had a lot of great opportunities to wrestle a lot of great wrestlers. Also doing Ring of Honor and Japan that’s a good combination.
Before you retire do you even want a full time spot in NXT since that seems to be the gateway to superstardom in the WWE: Like I said before, I want to support my family and I am going to go wherever that takes me. Would I like to have a “WrestleMania moment”? Sure. But I am very content with having a “Wrestle Kingdom moment” in front of 60,000 fans. I think that is pretty awesome walking down that long ramp of the Tokyo Dome in probably one of the bigger matches on the show. There is probably a couple other people out there that want to do the same thing.
On the botched and now infamous Claire Lynch Saga in TNA: You’ve got to understand that it was going to be a great storyline and the little things that needed to be in the story to make it work weren’t. “Claire” had to be the niece of Dixie Carter, that was very important. Because why would AJ care? I would never stick my neck out for someone who was a family friend because what’s that got to do with me? Why would you just help them. Where if it was her (Dixie’s) niece that the key would be to keep her from bad publicity and I’ll make sure that no one knows about it. That was a big deal and also Claire had to be smoking hot. I mean unbelievably hot, to the point where you go “wow, if AJ did have sex with her I don’t blame him”. That’s what we needed to have but it was quite the opposite. So it was the little things that destroyed that momentum that we had and people thought I may be with Dixie and it was a great thing and we had all that momentum and “this Claire” comes out and screws it all up.
How he approached the Hogan/Bischoff ERA in TNA and his reaction to Hulk Hogan’s lack of enthusiasm to promote TNA on outside media appearances: First of all, I just tried to stay positive. Pretty much anything Hulk Hogan touched at least at the beginning turned to gold. But it didn’t obviously because I don’t think he knew the roster that was in front of him and that was the problem. The names, the people who were the “brand names” of TNA that they had no idea who they were. If they didn’t know who they were they just did whatever they wanted with it. They wanted me to dye my hair blonde and be “Little Ric” and just because they didn’t know me. Instead of being Ric Flair I needed to be AJ Styles with Ric Flair. Being with Ric I’ll hopefully get the rub from Ric there is no doubt about that and Fortune could have been great but they broke up Fortune a little bit too early and we were really getting some steam and they broke us up and noting came about it. It was things like that that got weird and Hogan seemed like he didn’t have much to do with TNA and seemed like he was embarrassed of the show because he never said anything about TNA at all. Even when he was on shows he just never mentioned it. I believe that he was ashamed of what was on TV. I believe if TNA were doing a lot better he would have been a lot more gung-ho about saying a lot more about it but he didn’t say a word and it bothered me but thinking back I understand it now.
Has Jeff Jarrett approached AJ about joining Global Force Wrestling and his relationship with Jeff: It’s a good relationship. I think a lot of Jeff. He put me on top in TNA, we’ve had our weird moments with Jeff being the boss but for the most part it’s very positive and I’ll never forget what Jeff has done for me and gave me an opportunity and gave me a stage to make AJ Styles a name. We had talked about it (competing in GFW) when it was first getting started but with Ring of Honor and New Japan I had no time for pretty much anything else. Just schedule wise it never really came about that I could be on it.