“The Phenomenal One” AJ Styles returned to his Twitch stream last week to have a discussion with his fans about all things pro wrestling and video games. During this episode, AJ opened up about how his family reacted when he first told them he wanted to become a professional wrestler.
“My family was like, ‘Cool, man! That’s cool! Do your thing.’ You know, they were very supportive,” AJ explained. But there were a lot of people in the business that were very much doubting what I could do in the business. It was just – you saw it. It’s okay; I think I’ve proved them wrong at this point.”
Although it wasn’t the most memorable of appearances, AJ Styles was actually a part of WCW for a brief period of time in 2001. He provided fans some details on how that deal came to be, noting that a dark match before WCW is what set the deal in motion.
“The place where I was working independently and where I started wrestling was NWA Wildside. At that time, it was doing well,” AJ said. “It was small but it was doing well, and WCW used it kind of like, I don’t want to say a Performance Center, but they used it as a developmental areas so they could see their guys in front of people working. And the higher ups came to watch their guys and see how they’re doing, but they saw me and a guy named Air Paris working and having a great match. So we were invited up to have a dark match in WCW, and we kind of did what we did, and next thing you know, we got hired to wrestle in WCW.
“Man, I am so glad – and this is going to sound crazy – I am so glad that when WCW got bought out by WWE, that WWE did not pick up my contract,” AJ stated. “I was not ready at all to be in the WWE. I would get a plain F at that time. I was not ready to be there, and everything happens for a reason; timing is everything.”
AJ, whose real name is Allen Jones, also mentioned how his ring name first started forming when he was playing football in school. There, he picked up the nickname AJ. The last name of ‘Styles’ was spawned by his first trainers in NCW.
“So everybody while I was in high school, especially during football, everybody called me AJ. So, I liked that. My real name is Allen Jones, and that’s pretty much everywhere. So AJ kind of stuck, and I was tagging with this guy and his last name was Steel. And they didn’t have a last name for me, so they just, ‘Uh, Styles – You’ll be AJ Styles and that’s good enough’. That was it. I didn’t come up with my name, they gave me the name in NCW where I started.”
AJ admits that he was definitely intimidated the first time he met WWE CEO, Vince McMahon. Nowadays however, AJ looks forward to seeing Vince and discussing future ideas with him.
“He was an intimidating man, you know? It’s Vince McMahon, so you’ve got to think of this guy that you’ve seen on TV for so long and now you have the opportunity to meet him. But now, I enjoy seeing the guy, like I enjoy being in the same room as him, saying hello, giving him my ideas, learning from him. The guy is – more than once, and I’ve said this before, more than once I’ve had to go up to him and go, ‘You were right’. I know a lot of people don’t want to believe that, but it’s true.”
AJ talked some about his entrance music, detailing the call he received when he first arrived in WWE and needed a theme. He also revealed that the entrance music he ended up with today was actually intended for former Impact Wrestling star James Storm while he was in NXT.
“As far as entrance music goes, when I first started with WWE, I got in contact with our guy and he goes, ‘Hey, tell me kind of what you like, what you don’t like.’ And I was like, ‘Dude, I’m kind of a rap guy.’ I just told him a bit of what I liked, and that’s what they came up with – the music that I have, which is awesome,” AJ said. “But, truth be told, it was made for James Storm when he was doing NXT.”
When asked about a potential future where wrestling companies work in unison, AJ told viewers that this is unlikely in WWE. He explained that with a company so massive, it doesn’t seem like much of a benefit to bring anyone else on to the same level.
“I don’t think [there will be crossover], especially not WWE. The WWE is so huge, big, I mean, who wins? That’s like RAW wins at Survivor Series or SmackDown wins at Survivor Series, but like, at least they’re a part of the same company so nobody really gets hurt. You know what I mean? Like, saying ‘this is the better company’ would be really difficult. I can’t see that happening,” AJ finished.
If you use any quotes from this article, please credit Twitch with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.