AJ Styles is out of action indefinitely due to a shoulder injury that he suffered during the men's Royal Rumble match. Styles took to his Mixer channel to explain how he got injured in his spot with Edge, and Booker T gave his reaction to the injury on his podcast, The Hall of Fame With Booker T & Brad Gilmore.
"I'll tell you: AJ is one of those guys that has been very durable throughout his career. He's been one of those guys that has been able to go out there and perform at a very high level and still maintain [the ability to] not get hurt, not getting injured to the point where he had to take off a substantial amount of time or anything like that," Booker T said. "It's definitely gonna be sad having AJ on the shelf because he's one of my guys that I love. If I'm gonna watch the show, AJ Styles is a guy that I can watch each and every time because he's just that good. He is phenomenal."
Gilmore talked about the repercussions that could arise from Styles' injury, mainly missing a WrestleMania match. Styles has said that he will be back for WrestleMania 36. Booker T talked about the financial cost of missing out on WrestleMania.
"I'll tell you right now: if you're sitting on the shelf and you're thinking about a WrestleMania, it's almost like some sort of divine intervention; you want to go find a witch doctor, anything to try to get you well because you know, at the end of the day, at WrestleMania, it's a big check," Booker T said. "A huge check especially if you find yourself anywhere close to the main event working with one of those main event guys."
Gilmore asked Booker T on how Styles should approach his injury. WrestleMania 36 is only two months away, and Gilmore expressed concern that Styles could try to come back too soon at the cost of re-injury down the line. Booker T spoke from personal experience talking about his knee injury that he suffered and the lack of rehab that he did.
"It definitely could. I remember with my knee injury, I said, 'I'm not going to rehab. Let me do this myself. I'm just gonna get in the gym, get on a treadmill.' I wasn't pushing myself off," Booker T said. "I'm literally on the bike and as soon as I get off I'm having ice cream sandwiches. I came back and blew the knee out all over again. I was on the shelf for six months."
Booker T talked about how an injury like this is seen as a vacation backstage. He also reflect on how Styles has succeeded in WWE especially after staying with TNA for an extended amount of time.
"This kid, well I wouldn't call him a kid, he's a kid to me; AJ has been running hard since he came to WWE. I don't know how bad the injury is, but we called this a vacation. AJ, he's got kids and a family. He'll be able to sit back and enjoy the fruits of the labor: finally making it to WWE wondering if he had the tools to actually be able to go out there and make it literally that next level. He did. A lot of people wondered, and I'm sure he wondered himself because AJ stayed away from the company for as long as I did.
"AJ was like, I'm gonna stick this TNA thing out as long as it runs.' Soon as the money ran out, he said, 'man, I gotta run out of here.' Just like WCW: the money was gone. It's like being out on a boat that's sinking. If the boat is sinking, what're you're gonna do? You go jump off the boat."
If you use any of the quotes from this article, please credit The Hall Of Fame With Booker T & Brad Gilmore with an H/T to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.