AJ Styles recently had an interview with Busted Open satellite radio. Here are a few highlights.
On if there was any thought to dropping the storyline with Dixie Carter after the appearance of Claire: “Absolutely. I thought, ‘This did not go as planned and didn’t come out the way we wanted it to.’ But there’s a backstory to it. It’s almost a blessing in disguise, and I wish I could tell you what hopefully is going to happen, and you’ll be a lot more excited about it because it’s more than you know. There’s so many unexpected things that are about to happen that you never would’ve thought A.J. Styles may have done.”
On the storyline in general: “People can say what they want like, ‘Oh this storyline sucked.’ You watched it. And the thing is, trust me, there’s been a lot worse storylines than this one. At least these guys who are in it, and the women that are in it, are really into it. We believe it.”
On Claire: “Here’s the problem: Nobody knows who Claire is. She’s not important to anybody. We’ve invested zero time in her, but that’s going to change. You will get to know her, as you should. Like I said, there’s a backstory to everything that’s going to happen and has happened. We’re not going to leave any holes. The only hole that I need to address is Serg punching me in the face, which is fine because he punches like a little girl, so I’m OK with that. We never did address that, the fact that it came out and I still haven’t received an apology from him on the phone, text, or anything like that. But like I’ve said, he might as well have hit me with a cotton ball.”
On storylines having holes: “I think that was TNA’s biggest problem in the past; that we always left holes, we left doors wide open. Whatever happened to Samoa Joe and the abduction? There’s a lot of stuff like that that was left open, and that’s unacceptable. I think we’ve done things now to change that. That’s what’s so great about storylines. When you tell them the whole story and you leave nothing out, when it finally comes together at the end, it’s perfect. At least you have the answers to the questions.”
On going live this summer: “Live has made a huge difference. When you go in to the Impact Zone, yeah it’s still the same Impact Zone, but it’s different. That’s what we needed. Honestly, I was getting to where I hated the Impact Zone because it was the same people who were coming who weren’t enjoying it. Or the fact that so many fans who didn’t know about Impact were just there on vacation and were like, ‘Oh, I know Jeff Hardy.’ There was no time invested in the characters that we’ve put so much time into and who’ve been here since the beginning. But now, it’s different.”
On the biggest difference in TNA besides going live: “The communication between the higher-ups and the wrestlers has changed. There was a big deal between Hogan and I, and even Bischoff and I, but that’s all been squashed. That’s in the past. I am so grateful that I get to work with these guys now and understand where they’re coming from and can see this vision. It was just a growing process and getting to know each other and being able to talk to each other about what’s going on and what’s important. It’s a good relationship.”
On resolving his conflict with Hulk Hogan: “We talked about it like men. We got it out of the way. At some point you have to grow up and say, ‘Listen, we have to talk about this,’ instead of avoiding each other, which did happen. A business can’t grow when there’s animosity and friction. We just went out there and worked and tried to make TNA what it is right now, a better company. I think it was a growing process. Did he know A.J. Styles very well? Probably not. And I think that had a lot to do with the problems that we were having in the beginning, because he didn’t know the talent very well. That’s all changed. I don’t want to say something now that will make Hogan think, ‘Oh come on Styles.’ I don’t want to do that. We have a great relationship right now, and I don’t want to do anything to ruin that. It’s a good thing right now.”
On his tag team title match at Slammiversary: “With the talent in the ring at Slammiversary, you can’t go wrong. Kurt Angle suplexing everybody, I’m surprised he didn’t suplex me just for the fun of it! It was amazing, everybody was busting out stuff they haven’t done in a long time, including myself with the shooting star press. I haven’t done that in years, but that was the time to do it. I’m lucky I didn’t kill myself. It was such an awesome match.
“For the first time in a long time, when we were walking to the back, there were people standing up clapping. To get the respect from your peers and the people that you work with, it doesn’t get much better than that. I really enjoyed that match, it’s one of those matches where you’re involved in it, and it’s magic.”
On if we could see him and Daniels back in the X Division vying for the title: “To tell you the truth, nope. I’m not saying it’s a lesser title, but it’s doubtful that you’ll see guys like that in the X Division. I hate to put these guys over, but it’s almost our Intercontinental Championship. A lot of the guys who are really great would wrestle with this belt and make it what it is, but then they’d move on to the heavyweight division and that’s where they’d stay. But I’m not saying it’s not an important title, because it will always be important to me. Being the first guy to win the X Division title, I take pride in that belt.”
On Bobby Roode: “Bobby Roode is probably the best champion we’ve ever had. I think he looks the part, he acts the part, and he’s very good in the ring. He’s got everything you need to be a great champion, and he should be the longest-reigning world heavyweight champion. He does it well, and that belt is bigger than it has ever been because of Bobby Roode. That’s just my opinion, but I think he’s definitely the best world champion we’ve ever had. And don’t get me wrong, I was a world heavyweight champion; he’s good.”
On how much longer he’ll be wrestling: “I would love to give you a specific date, but if I can make it five more years, I’ll be a happy man. I don’t know. My body’s really starting to feel it now. All those bumps and the bumps that I’m going to continue to take are taking their toll on me. Everybody talks about a ‘bump card.’ I’m getting close to the end of my ‘bump card’ but hopefully, I can keep it up for a little bit longer.”