Debuting at the WWE Royal Rumble event can be scary as the crowd may not know who you are when the buzzer goes off for your entrance.
While speaking to Ariel Helwani of BT Sport, AJ Styles reflected on his debut in the 2016 Royal Rumble match. The Phenominal One entered at number three with his introduction to the WWE Universe on the seven-year anniversary of his debut:
"I was scared a little bit that no one would know me. We were in the perfect place in Orlando, where I been for so long, where people would remember me. But it's WWE, who knows?" [0:56 - 1:17]
Despite having some inner doubts about being recognized in Orlando, Florida, and despite making a name for himself at Universal Studios for TNA, the crowd quickly had a huge reaction to him.
However, Styles mentioned that there were no plans in place for him after his debut since Vince McMahon did not find anything great about him:
"I don't know that they planned anything. ... I don't think Vince believed that anyone would know who I was. From what I heard, he saw nothing great about AJ Styles, even after the pop at the Rumble. I wasn't even going to be on the RAW the next day. [02:35 - 03:08]
Styles has definitely had some memorable moments since his debut in the Royal Rumble. He is a two-time WWE Champion and the 22nd Grand Slam Champion in history.
Will AJ Styles return for the 2023 WWE Royal Rumble match?
AJ Styles announced on Twitter that he suffered a broken ankle at a live event in late 2022 and will be out of the ring for the longest time since the beginning of his career. It does not bode well for a potential return before the Royal Rumble match.
The O.C. hasn't been on television much since Styles' injury. It doesn't seem likely that he will be able to return to the ring by Saturday after suffering the injury on December 29, 2022. However, it shouldn't be too long before we get an update on his recovery and return heading into the WrestleMania season.
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