AJ Styles Explains Why He Almost Returned To TNA Before Signing With The WWE

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WWE Champion AJ Styles recently appeared on Lilian Garcia’s podcast (via Wrestlinginc.com). Here are the highlights:

TNA’s decline in 2009-2010:

“When you want to become a lesser version of something else, and when I say that, I mean WWE Light, you’re not giving people an alternative.” Styles added, “if they want to watch WWE, they’re going to watch WWE. You’ve got to be something different, so they went with a regular square ring. I thought that was a big mistake. You [brought] in guys that I don’t know people wanted to see anymore because they had grown so used to a certain style of wrestling that was happening at TNA. There were a lot of things that [brought] it down and it was guys like Christian and Kurt [Angle] who came over before all this happened that really sparked TNA and made it something bigger. It was growing because of them. But around 2009, 2010, around there, they forgot who they were and didn’t rely on the guys that got them there to the ballgame in the first place, the big game, anyway. And therefore, it started going downhill.”

Why he left TNA:

“Despite all that, I saw myself as, ‘this is my home,’ and I was loyal to TNA,” Styles reflected. “But when you don’t allow me to provide for my family the way I think I should be able to by all the time and all the years I put in, well then, it’s not making much sense to me. And so, ultimately, that’s why I left, because they wanted me to take less than I was making. I hadn’t done anything wrong and I tried to be the best ambassador for the company that I could. A lot of things I thought I did right, but they didn’t see it that way, so I left. I bet on myself and I left.”


Almost returning to TNA before his WWE debut:


It wasn’t too long after that [NJPW stint] that TNA came back to me and said, ‘okay, we’ll give you pretty much when you’re asking for to come back.’” Styles elaborated, “I said, ‘well, I’m not coming back without somebody. I need Anderson and Gallows.’ I said, ‘I want them to come with me.’ We actually had a meeting over at Dixie Carter’s house. There were still some things we weren’t sure about and I had talked to WWE a little bit, but they hadn’t gotten back to me, so I just assumed they had other things going on. They didn’t need AJ Styles, which… WWE is a big place. I get it. I’m not the most important person in the world. I know that. But luckily, Triple H and I, we had a great conversation, like a 30-minute conversation the first time we talked. I said, ‘oh, this is going well.’ And within a week, the ball really started rolling.”

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