AJ Styles interview: His ‘turning point’ in WWE, how he stays motivated
AJ Styles recently spoke with Joshua Caudill for Dirtfork while promoting WWE 2K19 and Summerslam; you can read a few highlights below:
AJ comments on his second title run, being the guy WWE depends on:
I can tell you, man. The first is always the most exciting but the second time around, I feel like it has been the most awarding. Winning the WWE Championship from Jinder Mahal in England is something that WWE never had before. Pretty cool. Holding it now, I’m the longest reigning WWE SmackDown champion in history so that is also very cool.
I enjoy being the guy that people depend on. That’s rewarding to me. To be able to hold on to the championship this long means I’m doing something right. I’m just going to keep doing what I’m doing. My job is to make sure that people are entertained and at SummerSlam, it will be no different. I can promise you that.
Styles speaks about his ‘turning point’ in WWE where Vince McMahon saw something in him:
From my understanding, I was looked at as a mid-card at best in the WWE. That was the plan and I was okay with that because it was still a great job, a great payday and a great way to take care of my family. I didn’t necessarily think that’s where I was going to be but there was that time when I made my debut and fans knew who I was in Orlando. They made some noise and it was pretty great. Vince [McMahon] assumed it was a fluke. He didn’t think too much of A.J. Styles.
I don’t even think I was supposed to be on Raw that next Monday. But the turning point where Vince really saw something in me was when I had a regular match, a babyface match, went out and did my thing. I came back to gorilla and Vince says, ‘Come here for a second. I’ve got other guys who can do exactly what you just did out there. You didn’t do anything special. I need a pit bull. I need a guy who just attacks. I need a guy who gets after it.’
I said, ‘Well, I know that guy. I know exactly who that guy is’ and there was the opportunity to be on Miz TV and I handled it just like I was ready to eat this guy’s lunch and basically, I think the way that turned out was the turning point for Vince. The next thing you know, after WrestleMania, I’m beating Chris Jericho and I’m the No. 1 contender for the WWE Championship against Roman Reigns where we had a couple of fantastic matches. That was the turning point. That’s when things changed and that’s how I became the A.J. Styles that you know now.
Styles reveals how he stays motivated:
I’m motivated because I always feel like I have a chip on my shoulder from things that have happened in the past. The truth is, this is something I have dealt with my whole life. I’ve never been the biggest guy. I’m the runt of my family. I was the smallest brother. I’ve just always done everything with a chip on my shoulder and a little bit harder than everybody else and that’s what keeps me motivated. Because I know how people have looked at me and that makes me want to train harder, work harder and take nothing for granted and makes me want to earn everything.