WWE News: AJ Styles opens up about almost returning to Impact Wrestling prior to his WWE run
The Phenomenal One almost made a return to Impact Wrestling back in 2016.
What’s the story?
In a recent interview with former WWE ring announcer Lillian Garcia on her podcast, Chasing Glory, current WWE Champion AJ Styles spoke about almost making a return to Impact Wrestling back in 2016, instead of signing a contract with the WWE.
In case you didn’t know…
Often regarded as “Mr. TNA”, current and two-time WWE Champion AJ Styles is indeed one of the homegrown superstars of Impact Wrestling, where he initially made a name for himself in the Pro Wrestling industry.
Styles, who made his Impact debut in 2002, has won several championships with Impact Wrestling, including the company’s World Heavyweight Championship on two different occasions. “The Phenomenal One” is also a former six-time TNA X-Division Champion, two-time TNA Tag Team Champion, and a five-time First TNA Triple Crown Champion as well.
Styles, however, parted from TNA (Impact Wrestling) in 2013 and made a return to the independent circuit and eventually to top American promotion Ring of Honor in the year 2014. Later in the same year, Styles made a return/re-debut for Japanese promotion New Japan Pro Wrestling, for the first time since the TNA-NJPW partnership in 2008.
Upon his arrival in Japan, Styles immediately challenged for NJPW’s top prize, that is, the IWGP Heavyweight Championship as the Georgia native took over the legendary faction, the Bullet Club, from Prince Devitt (Now Finn Balor in WWE). During his tenure with NJPW and Bullet Club, Styles captured the IWGP Heavyweight Title on two different occasions and was associated with the likes of The Young Bucks, Tama Tonga, Kenny Omega, and current WWE superstars and former Raw Tag Team Champions Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows.
The heart of the matter
On Lillian Garcia’s Chasing Glory podcast, AJ Styles pointed out a rather interesting fact about himself and Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows, as he claimed that prior to his WWE debut at the 2016 Royal Rumble, Styles was apparently in talks with Impact Wrestling for a possible return to the promotion in a stable alongside both Gallows and Anderson.
"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. I said, 'well, I'm not coming back without somebody. I need Anderson and Gallows. 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."
Following his successful WWE Title defense at Fastlane, AJ Styles is currently focused towards his upcoming dream match against Shinsuke Nakamura at WrestleMania with the WWE Title on the line. As noted, the two men have previously squared off in an NJPW ring, back at Wrestle Kingdom 10 for the IWGP Intercontinental Championship during which Nakamura came out on top.
A return to TNA for AJ Styles would’ve been huge for the promotion, but, I’m glad that it eventually did not happen because of the success and fan-following Styles has been receiving in the WWE, ever since signing for the promotion.
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