It feels strange to call the 39-year old, 17-year veteran AJ Styles a “rookie”, but 2016 was his first year as a WWE Superstar, seen by many to be the top of the mountain in any wrestling career. And even at his relatively advanced age, Styles showed he can still be one of the very best wrestlers in the world, immediately becoming one of WWE’s biggest stars, ending his first year with the company as WWE World Champion. In a recent interview, Styles talked about his 2016, debuting for WWE after years of thinking it would never be something he did.
Styles on the possibility that he would have retired without ever wrestling in WWE, and how he felt when he finally got the chance to sign with the company:
“It was one of those things where I just realized it just wasn’t in the cards for AJ Styles, that he never would be in WWE, and I was OK with that. I’d come to grips with that it was one of those things that just isn’t meant to be. And that’s not a bad thing. I’ve been pretty successful wherever I’ve been and enjoyed wherever I’ve been. It was just icing on the cake when the opportunity presented itself to come to such an amazing roster and company.”
“It’s one of those things like ‘Oh, wow.’ I hope I’m able to continue kicking tail. Nothing’s going to change. I’m going to go out there and do what I do and keep working hard. It’s hard to look back and reflect. There may be glimpses of ‘Oh wow, I can’t believe that happened. All right, back to work.'”
On his favorite matches since his WWE debut:
“I have a lot of great matches in 2016. There are some I was real proud of. With Roman Reigns — and don’t get me wrong, WrestleMania was also a big one, too — but I just felt like my matches with Roman Reigns set the tone of how AJ Styles was going to be presented in 2016, like this guy who gets after it and has great matches with just about anyone on the roster.”
On who he still wants to work with in WWE:
“Randy Orton and Bray Wyatt and all those guys I’m going to have the opportunity to get in the ring with. And Seth Rollins is on that list as well. That’s going to happen. There’s no doubt. At some point this year, hopefully there will be another draft. And whatever happens, at some point, before him and I both retire, we’re going to see each other in the ring. There’s no doubt about it.”