He is certain that Vince McMahon did not know who he was before joining WWE.
This weekend, WWE is presenting their Night of Champions Premium Live Event from Saudi Arabia. The show is going to feature the crowning of a new World Heavyweight Champion as Seth Rollins and A.J. Styles meet in the tournament finals.
Ahead of the title bout, Styles joined Mark Andrews on his My Love Letter to Wrestling podcast. He talked about his arrival to WWE in 2016 and said there’s no way Vince McMahon knew who he was before he joined.
Styles went on to share that McMahon had no plans for him after the Royal Rumble and he was not supposed to be at Raw the next night. He said he ended up having a basic match against Chris Jericho on Raw because he thought McMahon would want to see a ‘babyface be a babyface’.
I’m not sure how I snuck in there. I think maybe the success of the BULLET CLUB helped for sure with maybe some of the (WWE) writers if they asked him, ‘What do you think about A.J. Styles?’ I don’t how it worked out but I can tell you this, Vince McMahon had no idea who I was. There’s no way because he had no plans for me after the Royal Rumble. I wasn’t supposed to be at Raw the next day. Yeah, so he just thought it was a fluke that I got the pop that I did in Orlando and I didn’t need to be on TV but I was and I had a very basic match because I thought that Vince wanted to see a babyface be a babyface. He brung me back and he sat me down and I’m so grateful that he did, he says, ‘Listen, I got a thousand guys that can do what you do’ and I said, ‘Hmm.’ He goes, ‘I need a Pitbull’ and I go, ‘Oh, oh! I know that guy’ and that’s exactly the guy I was in New Japan and everywhere else. So it was easy for me to come out and be that guy that he wanted to see and that’s when I think I gained his trust. Like okay, this guy sees my vision and is gonna go out there and show it and so, yeah, that’s the way that worked.
When asked what is left for him to accomplish in wrestling, Styles stated that he wants to finish his career on his own terms.
I would think that going out the way that you want to, not going out the way you have to, that’s all I want to do. I just wanna be able to finish and go out the way I want to and I know that’s a hard thing because injuries are the reason for a lot of retirements. For Edge, his first one, he thought he retired because he thought his career was over and that’s the way it is for a lot of us and what we do. So I’m just hoping to finish. I wanna finish and I wanna finish my way and not due to injury.
POST Wrestling’s John Pollock and Wai Ting are going to preview the Night of Champions card on the 5/26 episode of Rewind-A-SmackDown.
If the quotes in this article are used, please credit My Love Letter to Wrestling with an H/T to POST Wrestling for the transcriptions.