WWE's "The O.C.", consisting of United States Champion AJ Styles, Karl Anderson, and Luke Gallows, were recent guests on Lilian Garcia's Chasing Glory Podcast. During their interview, the trio of WWE superstars opened up about their different positions in the company leading to some rifts in their desire to travel together.
"We were miserable. [Styles] would want to ride with us but we would kind of blow him off," Anderson admitted. "We blew him off purposely because we didn't want him to listen to us complain. Because every ride - I don't know if it was healthy or unhealthy - but every ride we were riding, we were pissed."
"Not blow him off," Gallows corrected, "But we knew we were so miserable we were going to bring him down and listen to us complain on those plane rides. Every single day of our life, whether we were at work, on the road, or at our homes, we were talking to each other about where we were going when we leave, our outside contracts, and everything else, because we were miserable."
"It messed up my home life too," Karl added. "I was miserable at home. My wife was like, 'Why are you bringing this home?'"
Gallows explained that despite their wives not being able to relate to the anxiety associated with being an international performer, they still help make the process easier.
"[With our wives, we] helped each other. Our pissed off was like a pissed off determination because we knew that we were better than this," Gallows said. "Wives in this business - they understand, but they don't understand what we were going through as a performer with the anxiety that we have. And I think they were probably not getting along as well, and were like, 'Why are you bringing this home with you?"
Current WWE United States Champion AJ Styles understands the frustration that Anderson and Gallows had with feeling underutilized in the company. He admitted to having a sense of guilt for his friends feeling this way, explaining that it was his initial idea for them to come to WWE together.
"I mean, I get it and I can understand where they were coming from because I was doing well and they weren't. At the same time, their excuse was that they were in the first part of the show and I was in the main event so they would say that they were going to get to the hotel first. That was their excuse," Styles recounted. "I knew [we were in different spots] and it sucks to be in that position. It sucked for me too because I felt that I was responsible for these guys because I asked them to come with me, and if they're not doing well then what can I do for them to do well? I know that they're better than what they are showing and they're not getting the opportunity to get to where they are, so, how do we get there? We were always searching. Even if they didn't believe it, I was always trying to find a way to get us together. Even when I finally came over and lost the championship, I go, 'Okay, alright, so maybe we can get The Club back together?' And I kept pushing, kept pushing, kept pushing, hearing, 'Not yet,' kind of stuff like that. And then overnight, they were like, we are going to do this."
Now, with a reinvigorated attitude, the stars all hope to stay out of catering and continue performing on RAW each week. Styles feels responsible for their future success and reflected back on the times when things weren't going as well.
"We know what we have together so let's do it. Let's do it! When we were miserable, it wasn't about us wanting to win matches or win titles, we just felt like we were so underutilized," Anderson explained. "We weren't doing anything on TV or anything."
"We just wanted to perform," Gallows added. "Coming to eat at catering, it wears on you. And you have these long TV days where you have nothing to do, and nobody is talking to you, and you're just going, 'Alright'."
"I feel responsible for them, and when we came together, it was like, 'Okay guys, we are going to kill it.' And then, suddenly, we went into a different direction and had nothing to do with what I wanted or anything; it was just the way it went. They stayed on RAW and I went to SmackDown, and I had no idea what was going on," Styles admitted. "For a little bit they won the RAW [tag] titles and thought we were good."
Anderson believes that it's easy for any superstar to get lost in the mix of WWE creative if they aren't going out of their way to stand out. He's hopeful of where "The O.C." can go with a clear direction and camera time.
"You can get lost in this creative direction quickly if you don't stay on top of it," Anderson said. "I think you have to build good working relationships with everyone that is in charge, and they need to know that we are willing to put in all the work to deserve it and it's all gotta mesh together. And I think they finally realize that after putting us back together."
All member of the O.C. signed new deals with WWE earlier this year. Styles stated that the contract would be the last one that he signs.
"I have no doubt that this is what I was going to do for my career and you couldn't have told me any different," Styles said. "I can tell you that the contract that I signed with WWE is my last. This is it for me. This is where I am going to end my career no matter what happens. I want to be there for my kids."
If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit Chasing Glory with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.
Peter Bahi contributed to this article.