The WWE Intercontinental Champion AJ Styles returned to his Twitch stream earlier this week to discuss two of his favorite things: pro wrestling and video games. One viewer asked AJ for some advice when it comes to starting out in the pro wrestling industry, and AJ told the fan to ask himself a number of questions before commiting to a training program.
“I was able to find a school that wasn’t that expensive, and I wish I could tell you how great that school was at the time but it really wasn’t,” AJ said. “It really wasn’t that good. I didn’t learn much, but I was able to get into the ring much sooner than I should have. And I was able to learn a lot faster because I was in the ring wrestling with other guys.
“So, if you’re looking for a school, research them,” he continued. “Research them all, you know, what are you willing to do? What are you willing to pay? Do you know any guys that went to that school? Does that school have the ability for you to get in and wrestle, like, does that school run shows? To me, that’s important because when you’re done training, you have a place to run shows and have a place to wrestle.”
AJ noted that any person who is interested in the pro wrestling industry should expect to “get hurt” often. He recalls the first time he hit the ropes, and just how painful that experience was to him.
“You can’t be afraid of injury, you can’t be afraid to get hurt. There’s injured, obviously, and there’s getting hurt. You’re going to get hurt,” Styles emphasized. “You’re going to hit those ropes, if you haven’t already, and you’re going to go, ‘Oh my God!’ I remember that was my reaction, like, ‘Oh my God, why’s this hurt?'”
AJ is recognized as one of the single greatest performers of this generation, with legends like The Undertaker even giving him praise during his recent The Last Ride documentary. But AJ revealed that if MMA had been as popular of a competitive sport when he graduated high school, he likely would have never started pro wrestling.
“If MMA would have been as popular as it is now, I would have been one of those guys right out of high school, probably, right into MMA school, learning everything and doing it,” AJ admitted. “There’s no question. But you’re talking about kids nowadays that are, like I said, right out of high school jumping into this, or earlier. So they’ve got a leg up on everybody. They’ve been training for a while.”
With the legacy he has created in the squared circle, the name “AJ Styles” is known around the world for the memorable matches he has delivered. AJ admits that he’s a bit surprised he’s kept his “AJ Styles’ ring name through the majority of his career.
“That’s the incredible thing about ‘AJ Styles’, is I’ve been able to keep it everywhere I’ve been,” AJ noted. “Once I had it – Now, there’s been a time, one match, I was called ‘Air Styles’ in WCW. But thank God that didn’t last, I hated that name too. I mean, they may have went with that the whole time too – Air Styles.”
When he was still a part of TNA/Impact Wrestling, AJ was present during the unforgettable “woo off” between Jay Lethal and Ric Flair. As seen above, the two stars traded some words until it escalated into the two men shouting “woo” back and forth. AJ remembers how hysterical this was, especially considering that it was all unplanned.
“If you guys have never seen the ‘woo’ off between Ric Flair and Jay Lethal, it was one of the most incredible things I’ve ever seen and it was off the cuff,” AJ explained. “They had what they were going to go with and then Ric goes off script, Jay goes off script, and we’re left there to keep from laughing in the ring with Ric. And me, Frankie Kazarian, James Storm, and Bobby Roode, and it’s almost impossible to not laugh. I mean, it was unbelievable.”
If you use any quotes from this article, please credit Twitch with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.