WWE Champion AJ Styles recently spoke with Al.com to promote Saturday’s SmackDown live event at Legacy Arena in Birmingham, AL. Here are the highlights.
Do you have a favorite match from 2016?
“I have a lot of great matches in 2016. There are some I was real proud of. With Roman Reigns — and don’t get me wrong, WrestleMania was also a big one, too — but I just felt like my matches with Roman Reigns set the tone of how AJ Styles was going to be presented in 2016, like this guy who gets after it and has great matches with just about anyone on the roster.”
How do you and the creative staff adjust, if at all, when your popularity as a bad guy gets you over with fans as more of a good guy in terms of how the crowd receives you?
“Sometimes I feel like if I’m not getting people to boo me, then I’m not doing my job right. So that’s on me. I need to be better about being the bad guy. And sometimes they just refuse. These fans just refuse to accept me as the bad guy. That has a lot to do with how much time I spent outside the WWE and coming here and doing so well, they respect that, I guess you could say. But it’s up to me to make sure that these fans find a way to boo me. And I think that when you’re in the ring with guys like John Cena where people love to boo him but when you cut a promo the way he did last Tuesday night, you’ve got to love that. You’ve got to love the passion that he presents, and that ultimately makes me the bad guy when someone with that passion comes at you like that. It was a really great moment.”