AJ Styles on Being Turned Down by WWE, His Turning Point in TNA
Friday, August 4, 2017
WWE Hall Of Famer Edge and former World Champion Christian recently interviewed WWE Superstar and WWE United States Champion AJ Styles in their E&C's Pod Of Awesomeness. Below are the highlights from the interview:
On admitting that he would have walked out if Christian had when Dixie Carter held a backstage meeting in TNA years ago and told talent that they were free to leave if they wanted to: "Well, let's be clear here and Jay knows this as well, there was a point and this was the whole roster is sitting in the Impact Zone and Dixie Carter said, 'if anybody doesn't want to be here, then it's okay if you leave.' I literally looked over to see what Jay was going to do because had he gotten up, I would've went with him."
On his run as Christian's lackey and how it helped show a different side to his character: "It was so much fun. It was probably the most fun I had. Like, it was one of those things where I was having so much fun playing [Christian's] lackey.
"I was just having fun as that guy, like just how ridiculous can I be today and what stupid thing can I do?' We just did whatever we thought might be funny and it was. I had so much fun there and a lot of people were upset that I was this goofy character, but I thought it was opening up a new part of AJ Styles that people haven't seen."
On his turning point in TNA coming when the promotion began dealing with financial issues due to poor management: "I take a lot of pride in what I do in the ring, but at the end of the day, if I'm not supporting my family, then why am I here? And so, it came down to a money issue and they were having problems, but that isn't my problem. I contributed the best I can and did everything I could to help make TNA a good company that people would want to work for and they abused their money terribly. They just didn't know how to manage their money and so they basically, after I won the championship, and we knew, we were in negotiations, and we just extended my contract till December. My contract was up in August. We extended it till December. I mean, my contract was up, but I was done negotiating. Yeah, it was a scary thing because this was the job I had for 11 years. And I just felt like it was the right call. I wasn't sure where it was going to lead, but it was the whole principle of the thing, that you can't just treat somebody like that and think that they're going to stand by your side. And despite the money that they may or may not have come up with, it was just, 'you know what? I've got to move on.' It was scary."
On putting feelers out to WWE at that time but not hearing anything back: "I was in the TNA bubble for so long that I didn't realize what was out there. I did reach out to WWE to let them know I wasn't under contract with TNA anymore. I never really heard anything back. It's just one of those things, 'okay, we'll keep rolling, keep doing what I'm doing.'"
You can listen to the entire episode of E&C's Pod Of Awesomeness interview featuring AJ Styles at Art19.com.