Kevin Eck of The Baltimore Sun has an interview up with TNA World Heavyweight Champion AJ Styles. Here are some highlights.
What it means to be the TNA World Champion right now:
“I?ve held the NWA-TNA title before, but it was NWA. Now, it’s TNA. We?re standing alone, and for me that means a lot more. It’s more prestigious to me and it’s an honor to hold the world title. I?ve been with TNA for seven years and I take a little bit more pride in our product than someone who may have been from somewhere else. So, yeah, it’s kind of a big deal for me to be the world champion.”
On turning down a developmental contract from WWE in 2002:
“I definitely wondered what would have happened. I?ve got a pretty good idea what would have happened, because I would have went to Cincinnati [where WWE developmental territory Heartland Wrestling Association was based], and they stopped using Cincinnati not long after I was offered the contract. They moved all of their stuff down to Florida. I just don?t think I would have been one of the guys to have been picked up. When I turned them down, I didn?t tell them, ?Hey, you guys are idiots. You?re not going to pay me enough money.? I didn?t say anything like that because it wasn?t about the money. It was about the fact that my wife was in college and I couldn?t leave her, or have her move in with her mother or whatever. But I definitely was like, ?Oh God, I hope that was a good decision.? Because who knows when that may happen again, where I?ll have the opportunity. But luckily, not too long after that, TNA started up.”
On having a brief run in WCW towards the end of the company:
“I think I wrestled a grand total of five matches ? two house shows and three TVs. I can?t tell you how exciting it was for me to be able to say that I made it and got in there with WCW, which I watched more than the other company. To make it and then not be picked up after WCW was bought out was heartbreaking. I got a little depressed, but that didn?t last long. I said, ?It’s just a bump in the road,? and I went back to the independents, and here I am with TNA.”
On changing his in-ring style over the last few years:
“It’s definitely about working smarter. Psychology has a lot to do with it. Before it was just move after move after move, and it didn?t make any sense. To build up to a move that everybody wants to see, that’s what it’s all about. That’s where I?m at in my career, and it’s something that I could have been doing from the get-go, but it’s what every young guy goes through. They just do everything in the book and that’s just the way it is.”
To check out the full interview, click here.