Number One contender to the TNA World Title, AJ Styles joined Mike Riker and Dave Lagreca on SiriusXM's Busted Open. You can hear Busted Open on Sports Zone; Sirius 92, XM 208 and on the app. They sent us these highlights from the interview:
The journey through the past year: "Well, it's definitely been a journey. The ups and downs. The roller-coaster that has been A.J. Styles. Going from wrestling James Storm and Bobby Roode and having it all on the line and couldn't wrestle for TNA World Heavyweight Title, it could have been James Storm or Bobby Roode or myself. Lucky me, I had the opportunity to lose that match and it really set me in a different mindset and losing to Christopher Daniels in a match that I should have never lost but when your head is all screwed up as it was, it send you to a whirlwind of 'I don't knows and I don't know who I am' and problems occur and its reality and that's what happens to a lot of people in life. They may lose their job, they may lose a marriage and stuff like this happens. Sometimes people forget who they are and what's there purpose in life and that's the same thing that happened to A.J. Styles."
Deserving the respect: "I do and that's what bothers me a lot, that I didn't get that respect and when I called Dixie (Carter) out about it, she showed her true colors. She has shown who she really is. She's a snake. She's a money hungry person. She's out for 'what's best for Dixie', not for what's best for the boys, what's best for the company and what makes her the most money and if you don't, well, she's going to cut the fat."
Being back in the Main Event: "It feels awesome. I'll tell you what feels better than being better in the main event; it's having the crowd behind you. They know what they want out of A.J. Styles now. They know what to expect, when before they did not know what to expect, they didn't know who I was or what to expect and to tell you the truth, I didn't. But I think these fans know who I am now and what I'm after and who I have to beat to get it and that's a great thing when you step into an arena and people are going crazy for you. It gives you that extra boost of energy that you can't explain until you step into the ring or you step onto the field where all these people are cheering for you. It's an amazing feeling."
Bring reality to pro wrestling: "I would love to tell you that it's not all real but there is some truth that came out. Here is the reason why you know it's the truth because it's the same way you felt. I said what you would have said if you were standing in that ring and that's what I intended to do. I think people needed to know that I understand them, I hear them and if I can make a change, I will. But it all comes from the top and we will start there. Now you see what happens."
Being relied on: "What was bothering me was is that, you called on me every time you needed someone to take you to the next level to have that great match, you called on me. Then when it wasn't called on me than what's the deal. Then I realized for a second, I'm pissed off because I like being the go-to guy. I want to be that guy. Now that you are not giving me that chance, it's pissing me off. That's basically what I was saying. I enjoy being that go-to guy. I love being the guy that you're going to give the ball to when it's fourth down. I want to be that guy you give the ball to and I think a winner wants that. They want the ball in their hands when the championship is on the line or when the match is on the line but that fact that I wasn't getting it is what really bothered me. You talk about not being in the main event, that's exactly what I'm talking about here. I want to be the go-to guy but if you don't give me the opportunity, how can I do that and what is stopping you and it was stuff like that, that really bothered A.J. Styles through the whole thing."
Top priority re-signing with TNA: "Here is the reality. I love TNA. I grew up there. It's who I am. You said it before when people think of TNA, they think of A.J. Styles. I take pride in that. But something has to change and I want to be there. I don't know any other way to say it. I love the place. I'm not saying I love what happened to it but I love that place and I want to see it grow. I know we have the talent. We have everything we need. The puzzle is not put together yet but once you get those pieces in there, you will see how it connects. Then you will be like: 'Wow, we really got something' but we need someone in charge that knows what to do with it once they see what's going together well.
Changes if A.J. Styles was in charge: "Well, there would be some guys that we can bring in. We need to open up. The one thing that separated TNA from the beginning was the talent. The fact that they were from all over the world, from a lot of different states, having different wrestling styles. When you're from the south, it's a little different. When you're from the Northeast, it's a little different. When you're from the West Coast, it's a little different and that's what was so great about TNA. We had guys from all over the nation and doing all different styles of wrestling and that's what separated everyone else. We weren't cookie cutters. We were all different and I think we need to bring that back. We can't be focused on certain people. Don't get me wrong, there is talent in the other place that can definitely come here and do well in TNA. But there are also talents in the independent circuit that deserve a chance too. I'm not saying they need to come here for a terrible contract to whatever it is. Give them a credible contract and come in here and show these people what they've been doing on the independents and doing well. We got to open up that door for younger talent to come in here because I was one of the first guys here and I'm getting older."
Thoughts on Hulk Hogan: "I think he opens up doors that we may or may not be able to open. I think that's the biggest thing with Hulk Hogan. But we got to know on how to utilize him, use him and make the best out of Hulk Hogan. If we are going to sign him, he's got to help us out. 'We will scratch his back and he'll scratch ours.'"
Attitude in the TNA locker room: "Not everyone is going to be happy. Not everyone is going to be happy with the storyline that they are in, that's just professional wrestling. Everyone wants to be at the top. Everybody thinks that they deserve more and you can't blame them. You're in a business where it's going to take its toll on them as they get older and they want to make as much money as they can and think they have the ability to but when you're not in that spotlight and believe me I know, it bothers you. I don't want to say that we all are like: 'This sucks,' because we're not. There are a lot of us just having fun but there is always going to be disgruntled guys in the back. It happens, it's a cycle. You have to go through your turn of: 'Oh crap, ok. Here we go.' It's one of those kinds of things. The locker room to me is not bad but it's never going to be perfect. I don't care where you're wrestling at."
Thoughts on the Bound for Glory Series: "I wish the Bound for Glory series was a little further back. That why there is more time to see who's wrestling who at Bound for Glory. You know within a month, month and a half of who is wrestling at Bound for Glory. I think we need more time to really stretch that out and prepare for Bound for Glory from the Bound for Glory series."
Thoughts on Kurt Angle going to the TNA Hall of Fame: "He's a machine. I know you guys must have heard that a million times but it's true. He is one of the best professional wrestlers in wrestling. He's got it all. He can get on the microphone and entertain you there or he can get you in the wrestling ring and do the same. I definitely think Kurt Angle deserves to be in the Hall of Fame. That's the things that bother me the most is that our Hall of Fame is that our guys are still wrestling. Ultimately wait until they are retired because they still have more work to do. Image all the good things you can say about them and then they have the match of there life after we induct them to the hall of fame. You got to bring that up. But those guys, Sting and Kurt deserve to be in the Hall of Fame and I have no bad feelings towards them because they are great guys."