AJ Styles has been one of, if not the, top names in the world of professional wrestling for the better part of the past decade.
"The Phenomenal One" has cemented himself in wrestling history as one of the greatest in-ring technicians and performers the industry has ever seen. The former IWGP Heavyweight Champion has wrestled all over the world and for the biggest promotions that the professional wrestling world has ever seen.
He finally came to the WWE in January of 2016 when he debuted in the Royal Rumble match. Since then Styles has won the WWE Championship twice and is currently in his second reign with the strap.
At WrestleMania 34 he will make a historic title defense against Shinsuke Nakamura, the 2018 Men's Royal Rumble winner, in what many fans are calling a dream fight.
Recently, Styles was interviewed on former WWE ring announcer Lilian Garcia's podcast, Chasing Glory, to tell his story. The former TNA star discussed how his former promotion was beginning to go into a decline (quotes via IWNerd):
“When you want to become a lesser version of something else, and when I say that, I mean WWE Light, you’re not giving people an alternative. If they want to watch WWE, they’re going to watch WWE.
"You’ve got to be something different, so they went with a regular square ring. I thought that was a big mistake. You [brought] in guys that I don’t know people wanted to see anymore because they had grown so used to a certain style of wrestling that was happening at TNA.
"There were a lot of things that [brought] it down and it was guys like Christian and Kurt [Angle] who came over before all this happened that really sparked TNA and made it something bigger.
"It was growing because of them. But around 2009, 2010, around there, they forgot who they were and didn’t rely on the guys that got them there to the ballgame in the first place, the big game, anyway.
"And therefore, it started going downhill.”
He then expressed why he ultimately made the decision leave TNA after several years of being the face of the promotion:
“Despite all that, I saw myself as, ‘this is my home,’ and I was loyal to TNA.
"But when you don’t allow me to provide for my family the way I think I should be able to by all the time and all the years I put in, well then, it’s not making much sense to me.
"And so, ultimately, that’s why I left, because they wanted me to take less than I was making. I hadn’t done anything wrong and I tried to be the best ambassador for the company that I could.
"A lot of things I thought I did right, but they didn’t see it that way, so I left. I bet on myself and I left.”
Styles then explained how he almost returned to TNA after having a good meeting with Dixie Carter, but ultimately came to a great deal with Triple H to bring him to WWE:
“It wasn’t too long after that [NJPW stint] that TNA came back to me and said, ‘okay, we’ll give you pretty much when you’re asking for to come back.
"I said, ‘well, I’m not coming back without somebody. I need Anderson and Gallows.’ I said, ‘I want them to come with me.’ We actually had a meeting over at Dixie Carter’s house.
"There were still some things we weren’t sure about and I had talked to WWE a little bit, but they hadn’t gotten back to me, so I just assumed they had other things going on.
"They didn’t need AJ Styles, which… WWE is a big place. I get it. I’m not the most important person in the world. I know that.
"But luckily, Triple H and I, we had a great conversation, like a 30-minute conversation the first time we talked. I said, ‘oh, this is going well.’ And within a week, the ball really started rolling.”
What are your thoughts on Styles saying that he almost re-signed with TNA before making the decision to finally join WWE? Do you think that Styles ultimately made the right call in coming over to the WWE? What was there left for Styles to accomplish had stayed with the promotion instead of signing with WWE? Have YOUR say in the comments section below, and the fourth episode of GiveMeSport’s WWE podcast is here!
Check it out via this link: https://soundcloud.com/user-818579649/gms-wwe-podcast-money-in-the-bank-fallout
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