AJ Styles Wasn’t Sure He Would Be Able to Keep His Name in WWE

Jan 18, 2021 - by James Walsh

In an interview with Bleacher Report, AJ Styles spoke about his arrival in the WWE back in 2016 and how he wasn’t sure he would even get to keep his name or brand. Here are highlights:

On not being sure he’d keep his name: “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.”

On having to learn how things were done in WWE: “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.”

On if he would have gone to NXT: “I would have, I think, gone to NXT for a couple of months to get familiar with what’s going on and how it’s done there, but I felt like as far as my career is concerned, I didn’t really have the time to spend in NXT. I knew it had to be on the main roster so that, somehow, some way, I could make myself a bigger star. In the end, this is a job, and I’d like to make more money—as much as I can before I retire.”

On if he was ever close to going to AEW in 2019: “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.”

On when he might retire: “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.”

On Swoggle dressing as him in Impact: “I didn’t see it, but I saw pictures. Hilarious. Good for him. The Weenomenal One is hilarious to me, so if he’s able to make a little money off The Weenomenal One, then go for it.”

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