AJ Styles Talks About Skipping NXT, What Concerned Him About His WWE Debut

During an appearance on Ryan Satin’s Out of Character podcast, AJ Styles talked about skipping NXT and going straight to the main roster when he debuted with WWE in January of 2016:

“Timing. I think that had a lot to do with it. Being in Orlando was a huge thing for me, being in TNA for so long. Then, to have the opportunity to be number three, as crazy as that sounds, in the Royal Rumble, was huge for me. It was huge.”

“The fact that Samoa Joe was still in NXT and I was able to jump the line I was like, ‘Okay.’ I was not going to argue with them about it. I was happy to get the opportunity.”

Styles also commented on concerns surrounding his debut:

“I had no idea what was going to happen. There was talk of, ‘Hey, I don’t know if we can keep your name.’ I said, ‘Well, that’s fine, I’ll be whoever you want me to be but I have this huge tattoo on my side that says AJ, but you can call me whatever you want.’ Listen, I was worried about this southern accent that I can’t shake, that Vince was going to make me wear overalls and come out to a little country song or something with a banjo. I was more worried about that.”