As previously reported, WWE SmackDown Live's AJ Styles was recently a guest on E&C's Pod Of Awesomeness. Among many other things, Styles talked about WWE Chairman Vince McMahon in depth. Specifically, Styles discussed his WWE debut at Royal Rumble (2016), the coaching from McMahon that has made "all the difference" in Styles' current WWE run, and the importance of establishing a relationship with McMahon for WWE talents.
According to Styles, his WWE debut at Royal Rumble was just about perfect, though he heard that McMahon worried about the reception 'The Phenomenal One' would receive in his WWE debut.
"I didn't know if anybody was going to know who I was. I was gone for almost two years and now I was debuting in Orlando [Florida], which benefited me in WWE."
Styles said, "the way that they did it, with coming out number three, it couldn't have been any better. It really couldn't've. The reaction was unbelievable. I did not expect that. It's one of those things in WWE history that will be forever there because it was that kind of reaction that I didn't expect. I don't think anybody expected that. I definitely don't think Vince expected that because I've heard stories that he's like, 'nobody's going to know who this guy is and you want him out number three!' So it definitely worked out to my benefit."
Edge pointed out that McMahon is so wrapped up in his own empire that the Walt Disney of WWE has little knowledge of things outside of the WWE Universe.
"If anybody is in a bubble, it's [McMahon] because of the sheer… he has it all, so outside of WWE, he's probably not going to know what's going on, so he doesn't know your résumé and all of those things. And he's not going to be able to sit down and watch [Styles'] New Japan stuff and really know what he's getting truly until you get in there and start showing him basically."
Christian assumed that the positive crowd reaction to Styles' WWE debut would have surely changed how the higher-ups viewed 'P1'; however, Styles claimed that McMahon thought the reception was a "fluke" or a "one-off". Instead, Styles had to continue to prove himself. Apparently, Styles had a match early on with WWE that McMahon was not impressed by and McMahon challenged the former WWE United States Champion to be more aggressive.
"I had a match and it was just your typical babyface match and Vince going, 'I've got tons of guys that can have that match.' He goes, 'where's this freaking pitbull, this attack dog?' And I'm like, 'oh, you want that guy? I can be that guy.'" Styles added, "when he said that, it was a relief because I was like, 'oh yeah, I can be that guy.' And so I think the next thing was a MizTV and I just beat up Miz. And I think he's like, 'uh huh! That's the guy! That's the guy I want to see!'"
In Styles estimation, having a relationship with McMahon makes all the difference in his present WWE run.
"It made the biggest difference and I learned that he wants to talk to you. He wants to have a relationship with you and it's up to you to do that. I mean, the guy's super busy, so I try not to bother him unless I have something that I think is important, but it's nice to know that there's one guy I can talk to and he'll tell me 'yes' or 'no' and that's it."
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Source: E&C's Pod Of Awesomeness