As noted, WWE SmackDown Live's AJ Styles was recently a guest on E&C's Pod Of Awesomeness. Among other things, Styles discussed a backstage meeting that took place during his TNA days where then-boss Dixie Carter put out an open invitation for unhappy talents to leave. Also, Styles talked about the fun he had working with Christian, aka Jay Reso, in TNA. Finally, Styles shared his thoughts on his TNA bittersweet departure.
During the interview, Christian and Styles recalled a meeting in TNA where Carter told the roster that they were free to leave if they wanted. 'The Phenomenal One' admitted that he would have walked out if Christian did.
"Well, let's be clear here and Jay knows this as well, there was a point and this was the whole roster is sitting in the Impact Zone and Dixie Carter said, 'if anybody doesn't want to be here, then it's okay if you leave.' I literally looked over to see what Jay was going to do because had he gotten up, I would've went with him."
Additionally, Styles claimed his run with Christian was some of the most fun he has had in pro wrestling.
"It was so much fun." Styles continued, "it was probably the most fun I had. Like, it was one of those things where I was having so much fun playing [Christian's] lackey."
Styles said his run as Christian's lackey helped him show a different side of himself.
"I was just having fun as that guy, like just how ridiculous can I be today and what stupid thing can I do?'" Styles added, "we just did whatever we thought might be funny and it was. I had so much fun there and a lot of people were upset that I was this goofy character, but I thought it was opening up a new part of AJ Styles that people haven't seen."
According to Styles, his turning point with TNA came when the company ran into financial issues due to poor management.
"I take a lot of pride in what I do in the ring, but at the end of the day, if I'm not supporting my family, then why am I here? And so, it came down to a money issue and they were having problems, but that isn't my problem. I contributed the best I can and did everything I could to help make TNA a good company that people would want to work for and they abused their money terribly. They just didn't know how to manage their money and so they basically, after I won the championship, and we knew, we were in negotiations, and we just extended my contract till December. My contract was up in August. We extended it till December." Styles recalled, "I mean, my contract was up, but I was done negotiating. Yeah, it was a scary thing because this was the job I had for 11 years. And I just felt like it was the right call. I wasn't sure where it was going to lead, but it was the whole principle of the thing, that you can't just treat somebody like that and think that they're going to stand by your side. And despite the money that they may or may not have come up with, it was just, 'you know what? I've got to move on.' It was scary."
Although Styles put out feelers to see if WWE was interested in signing him, nothing came of it at the time.
"I was in the TNA bubble for so long that I didn't realize what was out there." Styles remembered, "I did reach out to WWE to let them know I wasn't under contract with TNA anymore. I never really heard anything back. It's just one of those things, 'okay, we'll keep rolling, keep doing what I'm doing.'"
Check out the podcast here. If you use any of the quotes that appear in this article, please credit E&C's Pod Of Awesomeness with an H/T to WrestlingINC for the transcription.
Source: E&C's Pod Of Awesomeness