AJ Styles was a guest on a recent episode of After The Bell. He and Corey Graves talked about AJ Styles start in WWE including his WrestleMania match with Shinsuke Nakamura. Nakamura has said that he wanted better matches with Styles, especially after their Wrestle Kingdom 10 match. However, Styles says that expectations were too high for that match.
“Expectations are way too high,” Styles thought. “I know Nakamura [thought so] too because no matter what we would have done in that match, the expectations were way too high. Here’s what a lot of people don’t understand. Crowd, fans, the WWE Universe, New Japan and all that stuff, their fans are everything. They’re everything. They set the tone on what is a great match.
“It’s how they respond to it, and in Japan, they’re so respectful. When they do respond, it’s huge. Wow, this is such an amazing match, but had that same match been done in a WWE ring without the same response, it’s not going to be declared as that great of a match. Fans are everything. They dictate a great match. It’s just the reality and the truth of the whole thing, and a lot of people don’t understand. The expectations, they were so high because what we did at Wrestle Kingdom. I was like, ‘oh man.’ I still think it was a great match.”
Styles brings up Hulk Hogan and The Rock’s WrestleMania 18 match when referencing the power the fans have. He also praised John Cena for his ability to hear and react to a crowd.
“I mean you look at Rock and Hogan,” Styles mentions. “I went and watched that back. It wasn’t that crazy of a match at all, but the reaction that the fans had. It was just a classic because of that. I’ll be the first guy to tell you that I learned just as much as anybody in a WWE ring from the response of crowd. The opportunity to be in the ring with John Cena. This guy has one of the best ears for how a reaction needs to be moved around. It’s just amazing, and you need that. The ring rust is real is basically what I’m trying to say.”
Styles hopes to have another match with The Undertaker in the future with fans in attendance. As for the Boneyard Match, Styles talked about the worries he had in terms of audience reaction.
“The match that I want to have The Undertaker if there’s still an opportunity to have another one, is for everybody, fans just going nuts,” Styles wishes. “Not only did I have the opportunity to wrestle The Undertaker at WrestleMania but we were set up to do something different and that different could be good, could be bad. We’re going to find out. It was fun while we were doing it, but I’m still like, ‘oh man, I only hope this works,’ because I’m not sure how people are going to feel about these cinematic matches. The New Day and the Wyatt Family had done one, and I loved it. I thought it was cool. Everything about it was cool, but I didn’t hear a ton about it after it was done, whether it was liked or hated. So I didn’t know what to expect from me and Undertaker and this Boneyard Match.
“So many people on my stream on Mixer, we were doing this and they were like, ‘hey, what’s that Boneyard Match?’ I go listen, I got it. It’s whatever you think a Boneyard Match and it’s exactly what it is. That’s the way I left it. Whatever you think it is is exactly what it is. That way most of the the ideas that they had were pretty much true.”
If you use any quotes from this article, please credit After The Bell with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.