In 2016, AJ Styles made his WWE debut at the Royal Rumble, and now, one year later, he is headlining the event as he defends his WWE Championship against John Cena. When Styles left New Japan Pro Wrestling, he ended up starting right out on the main roster and not in NXT as most everyone does. Many wondered about that and why he never began in the company’s developmental program, but Triple H has finally revealed the true reason for Styles bypassing it.
On Thursday, Triple H held a media conference call to promote NXT Takeover: San Antonio and the Royal Rumble, and the subject of AJ Styles came up. Triple H spoke of how there are not many superstars who will jump straight to the main roster of WWE without going to NXT, but Styles is one of them.
Within the last year, Styles isn’t the only one to bypass NXT as Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson did the same after they left NJPW. Many wondered why these three were allowed to head right up to the main roster, and Wrestling Inc. had Triple H’s answer to it.
“At the time, the thought process was that these guys were available and there’s an opportunity there.”
It’s a simple response, but a very valid and understandable one. AJ Styles is one of the best wrestlers in the world and having him in NXT would have been beneficial, but it was time to bring him straight into WWE. Triple H thought that and Styles thought the same thing at the time, but his mindset has changed a bit now.
According to WrestleZone, Triple H said he has since discussed this decision with the WWE Champion, and Styles wishes things had been different. Yes, he has been extremely successful, but Styles doesn’t believe that any other incoming talents should bypass the required time in NXT.
“He [Styles] felt that everyone should have that little period of time to go through that process because the learning curve is so sharp and so steep,” he continued. “You can come in the door thinking, ‘I don’t want to do this and I’m good to go,’ and then it hits you and you’re like, ‘Wow! This is not what I was thinking.'”
Even for the most polished and experienced wrestlers, Triple H says that there is a “learning curve” to working in WWE as opposed to other promotions. In NXT, even some of the most decorated superstars can learn that before heading up to the main roster.
Triple H continued on to say that going straight from another promotion to the main roster is a very hard transition because “the gap is too big” to overcome. Even though Styles, Gallows, and Anderson have been successful on SmackDown LIVE and Monday Night Raw, it is doubtful that anyone else will bypass NXT.
There are a number of stars who have spent a lot of time in NXT before being called up, and it is evident that this is the way the WWE is going. Bobby Roode, Asuka, Hideo Itami, Austin Aries, Samoa Joe, and Shinsuke Nakamura are just a few who could easily compete with those on the main roster at any point, but they’re going to do things the right way first.
No one can deny what AJ Styles has been able to do in different promotions around the world, and it is obvious that he’s already been extremely successful in WWE. From starting at the Royal Rumble, to defending his title at the same event a year later, Styles was brought up right away to the main roster because it was what Triple H thought was best. Now, both of them agree that everyone should get their chance and shot in NXT because it is best for everyone.
[Featured Image by WWE]