The Royal Rumble is one of the best pay-per-views on the WWE calendar as it can sometimes provide many surprises as the company prepares their build for their biggest show of the year, WrestleMania.
The 2016 Royal Rumble was no different, as, during the Royal Rumble main event, AJ Styles made his debut in the WWE, shocking fans watching live as they never thought a wrestler of his stature would make his debut in the company unannounced.
Recently speaking to the Orlando Sentinel about several different wrestling topics, The Phenomenal One reflected on his debut at the Royal Rumble almost two years ago, revealing that he was actually worried about how his debut would be received.
Styles said that he was nervous when making his WWE debut at the 2016 Royal Rumble as he was concerned that spending the last two years as a star in New Japan Pro Wrestling that fans in the United States might have forgotten who he was.
He said: "Everything pales in comparison to the Royal Rumble. … The response I got that night from the fans, after a couple of years out of the U.S. mainstream, is something I'll never forget. I was really worried about how much the people would actually remember me, but that response made it something really special."
The 2018 Royal Rumble will mark two years since Styles made his WWE debut, and it's been a two-year period in which The Phenomenal One has established himself as one of the best superstars in the company today, and one of the best wrestlers in the world.
Recently, Styles was awarded Match of the Year by WWE for his 2017 Royal Rumble match with John Cena, a match which he was defeated for the WWE Championship, giving Cena his 16th WWE title reign. Styles says he takes a great pride in having quality matches.
"I take a lot of pride in what I do. No matter who I'm in the ring with, I want it to look like what it's supposed to be. We call it sports entertainment, but it's supposed to be a contact sport. I want to make that in-ring contact as real as possible, and [also make it real] outside the ring."
As for his 2017 Royal Rumble match with Cena, Styles said, according to Wrestling Inc: "That rivalry was something people wanted to see and thought would never happen. People knew what they were in store for: Two guys who bring out the best in each other. If you saw me before this match, you'd see a smile on my face because I knew something great was about to happen."