WWE Superstar AJ Styles was the special guest on a brand new episode of Lilian Garcia: Making Their Way to the Ring. During the interview, Styles discussed turning down a developmental deal with WWE in 2002, when he first knew pro wrestling was for him and more.
Highlights from the interview are as follows:
AJ commends John Cena:
When you’ve got a guy who has been in the business just as long as you have, but he’s been in the ring with so many amazing performers in the WWE, and I’m talking about John Cena. You can learn a thing or three from this guy, and a half. It was such a blessing to get in the ring with someone like him; to learn from him, because the WWE is completely different than the independents, or this place or that place, or Japan. It’s different.
When AJ knew pro wrestling was for him:
I didn’t watch wrestling as much when I was growing up because we didn’t have the opportunity. I always liked it. So when it got really hot and everybody’s watching, well sure, why not? Why not try it, see if I can do it? I think I can do something like that. Literally as soon as I took that first bump in that ring, when he was just showing me what to do , it’s like, I can do this. You couldn’t have told me any different. First bump.
Why he turned down 2002 developmental deal with WWE:
At the time I was married and I didn’t think it was right to move to Cincinnati, even though my wife said, go. It wasn’t right to leave her, have her move back in with her mother. My job is to take care of her. So I turned down, respectfully, the developmental deal with WWE. Then within a few months TNA started up, which I thought was just another independent thing that was probably happening. It wasn’t a big deal to me. But within six months it’s like, OK this might be something. As it grew on, I grew to love that place, because I felt that it was something I and other guys were building.
If he had a hand in Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson joining him in WWE:
[WWE] were like, well we’re just interested in you right now. I’m like, um OK. That same week they go, no, we want all of you. So it was like, yes! I didn’t want to pull them away and then get their hopes up and then oh, sorry guys, just kidding. So I’m so glad that they got to come with me and it made a huge difference.