AJ Styles' debut has become one of the most highly anticipated events in the WWE since the rumors started stirring that he had signed with the company earlier this month alongside several other NJPW stars.
Since then, many have questioned whether or not the former TNA star would join the main roster or the NXT division upon his arrival, but, now, there is clarification over this matter.
According to a report by Grahame Herbert of WhatCulture: "AJ Styles won’t be appearing for WWE in the Royal Rumble, and will instead debut on the post-Rumble Raw."
SIGN UP NOW
Want to become a GMS writer? Sign up now and submit a 250 word test article: https://gms.to/haveyoursay4
The reason behind a debut on the Raw after the Royal Rumble, and not at the pay-per-view itself, is down to one factor, recognition. Herbert's report stated that Bryan Alvarez of the Wrestling Observer believes the majority of WWE fans will not know who AJ Styles is and his history.
A wise decision, as the WWE can then prepare for his arrival the correct way and build it up with video packages this week, rather than keeping it as a secret until he suddenly appears as a surprise entrant at the Royal Rumble on Sunday. You would expect that some WWE fans will be disappointed not to see their favorite indies star in the famous 30-man match.
What kind of push AJ Styles will be given after his debut remains to be seen. He certainly has the talents to main event, but the likelihood is he will be a mid carder for the majority of his time in the WWE. Hopefully, the company will give him a nice rivalry to head into WrestleMania 32 later this year so that fans can get behind him and recognize the awesome talent he has.
He could hold one of the minor titles and have a go for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship during his time with the WWE, but don't keep your hopes up for much more. After all, he'll turn 39 later this year, and his high-flying style of wrestling is going to eventually take its toll on his body.