Earlier this year, the WWE announced the truly stunning news that they were signing several top stars from New Japan Pro Wrestling, including AJ Styles and Shinsuke Nakamura.
While Nakamura is currently starring in NXT as he gets used to the WWE's style of wrestling and improving his English-speaking promos, Styles has been absolutely flying on the main roster since day one.
However, it wasn't supposed to like that, as the WWE's original plans for Styles have apparently been revealed. And they don't look good.
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According to the most recent edition of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter, written by respected wrestling journalist and insider Dave Meltzer, via NoDQ, Styles wasn't originally going to be anywhere near the main event in the WWE.
"Styles is the other example. Two years ago, when TNA wanted to cut his salary significantly and he was looking out, WWE made him a joke of an offer and he ended up going to New Japan, which really made his career," Meltzer started off as saying.
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The Mid Carder
Apparently, after proving himself to be one of the best wrestlers in the world during his time in Japan, the WWE wanted him back.
They got him, but they only wanted Styles to be a mid-carder at best. Someone who would be fighting for the Intercontinental or United States titles rather than taking on Roman Reigns and John Cena in back-to-back feuds.
"He got enough buzz that WWE was willing to bring him back, and let him use his name, in January."
"But he was not planned whatsoever to be a main eventer. He was booked to be low on cards and perhaps work the middle."
Thankfully, the truly incredible reaction that Styles received at the Royal Rumble earlier this year, where fans nearly blew the roof off the arena, showed Vince McMahon and co that AJ was a legitimate superstar.
"But the reaction at the Royal Rumble, and even more so at the house shows where he was getting either the first or second best reaction even with almost no WWE television, changed the perception of him and now he’s considered one of the company’s five top regular stars."
Styles entered the match at number three and lasted for nearly half an hour before being tossed over the top rope by Kevin Owens. The Phenomenal One eliminated two WWE stars during his time in the squared circle, Tyler Breeze and Curtis Axel.
Ever since then, Styles has shown that he can be a big star, elevating his feud with John Cena above anything that Rusev could manage last year.