AJ Styles is regarded as one of the best in the wrestling business. However, it took a conversation with Vince McMahon to make him feel comfortable in WWE.
AJ said Vince told him he needed a pitbull. He had this to say on the After the Bell Podcast:
“Vince brought me to the back. He goes, ‘I got guys that can do what you do. I got guys that can do that. I got guys that can do what you just did out there. What I need is I need this. I need this pitbull. That’s what I need,’ and I go, ‘oh, I know that guy.’ I was trying to be what I thought a babyface is supposed to be in WWE.
“When he told me that, now I was like, ‘OK, I can be this guy who just wants to eat freaking people alive. It got to a point where, I think it was a make-or-break when it was Miz TV on RAW I think it was. It could’ve been SmackDown. Who knows? A couple guys came up to me and said ‘listen, you got to put it on. Like what? Like you gotta put it on him. I was like what? Of course, I go out there, and I’m just super intense doing doing it. I didn’t get him with any shots or anything. I wasn’t gonna do that, but what they wanted to see was that intensity. I think that that’s what changed everything.”
With all the recent releases, AJ Styles is definitely missing some of his friends, but he is trying to stay positive. He’s also helping some other guys who might not be thrilled with their direction at the moment.
“The guys like Ricochet and Cedric Alexander, like I’ve wrestled those guys on the indies. It’s really kind of showing them my support, like guys I get it, and trust me, I’ve been there. It may not be in WWE that I’ve been where you’re at right now because sometimes you don’t know where you’re going, what direction they have you go in. You have no idea what’s going on, but it is a roller coaster ride, and you just have ride it and see where it takes you, but if you’re positive and have a good work ethic, then it will benefit you in the long run. You just got to stay at it.
“So I just try to help those guys have a positive attitude because the attitude changes everything. Once your attitude turns sour, your performance turns sour as well.”
Hopefully, AJ Styles is helping those guys as others helped him. I’m sure it can be frustrating when those in charge don’t recognize your talents.
Thanks to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription of the quotes.