“The Phenomenal One” AJ Styles returned to his weekly Twitch stream to chat with fans about all things pro wrestling and video games. This week, Styles discussed how his busy schedule makes it difficult to keep up with watching promotions other than WWE.
“I’m going to be honest with you, I don’t get the chance to watch [Impact or AEW]. But I know Anderson and Gallows are in Impact, and I know the [Young] Bucks are at AEW, I know Kenny Omega is at AEW, I know Eric Young is in Impact,” AJ listed. “So, I think it is a great time to be a wrestling fan. Now we just get past this COVID and really jump into wrestling and enjoy it the way we’re supposed to. And competition makes everything better – that’s a good thing.”
When it comes to New Japan, one star that AJ is exceptionally proud of is the former IWGP Heavyweight Champion, Jay White. Styles looked back at his time in Japan working alongside White, and he thinks it’s incredible that Jay has grown into the performer he is today.
“I’m so, super proud of Jay White. I’ve talked about this before. Just seeing where he was in New Japan and seeing where he’s gotten to is just, oh man, it’s awesome,” AJ stated. “He has worked so hard. Jay White, I would like to work with him I think, just because I’ve seen his progression and it’s amazing. I’ve never seen him complain, or whine or anything, or not work hard in New Japan. So, I’m stoked for that kid.”
In his current home of WWE, Styles has continued finding success in the form of standout matches and championship gold, similar to his runs in Impact, New Japan, and Ring of Honor. Styles believes that part of this was due to the opportunities Vince McMahon gave him that other people, like former WWE star Eric Young, may not have received.
“We’ve had some talent that maybe they didn’t have the opportunity [to impress Vince]. I think of guys like Eric Young, who is unbelievably awesome, and I don’t know if we got that opportunity,” Styles explained. “I wish we would have seen more of him on WWE television. So, he’s been one of my favorite guys since he’s been around TNA and WWE. Man, he was just awesome. I enjoyed working with him, being around him, and everything.”
Styles emphasized how it’s important to show Vince that you can give him exactly what he’s looking for on TV. Upon his debut, Styles says that Vince was unimpressed with his in-ring work. It wasn’t until he showed that he could follow direction well that Vince showed interest in working together regularly.
“You’ve got to find a way to make a name for yourself and everybody has to do it. It’s when you get an opportunity to get into the ring, you hope that Vince is watching or someone else. You hope that there is a reaction, right? That was the great thing that I had… the reaction that I got at the Royal Rumble 2016 was awesome,” Styles explained. “It was amazing, but Vince didn’t really believe that – [he thought] that it was a fluke, basically. That’s what he thought it was.
“I wasn’t even going to be on RAW the next day, but they convinced him otherwise,” AJ revealed. “I had a match and I think he was [unimpressed], like, ‘Whatever, I’ve got guys that can do this’. And he literally told me that. But once Vince sat me down and said, ‘This is what I need from you’. After he told me what he needed, I had one chance to show him exactly who he wanted. And that’s what happened.”
Back in 2018, AJ had mentioned in an interview that Vince McMahon wanted him to be a “pitbull” following his debut. Styles felt like that descriptor fit his character perfectly.
“I was anxious, I was worried of what was expected of me,” Styles said. “I talked to Vince. He goes, ‘We’ve got guys that can do what you do, that’s not a big deal. I need a pitbull.’ And I thought, ‘Oh! That’s who I am.'”