The WWE’s newest superstar, AJ Styles, talked about his initial meeting with company chairman Vince McMahon during his appearance on Chris Jericho’s Talk is Jericho podcast this week.
Rumors of Styles allegedly having backstage issues (heat) with McMahon despite not having been with WWE for a month surfaced yesterday. However, based on Styles’ comments to Jericho during the podcast, McMahon is putting a lot of time into helping the “Phenomenal 1” develop a WWE persona.
“Him and I did sit down and talk and we talked about this character. I know this character who he’s talking about because I was [a] heel. This guy whose had to fight for everything.”
Coming into the WWE as a surprise entrant in Royal Rumble a few weeks ago, Styles has been the recipient of tremendous crowd reactions and fan appreciation. However, the former TNA and IWGP Heavyweight Champion’s reputation amongst his fans does not change his stature in a land of giants.
Standing at 5-feet-10-inches tall and competing at a billed weight of 218 pounds, Styles does not boast the massive look that WWE is known to love. However, McMahon’s suggestion to Styles about his on-screen persona is designed to help the 17-year veteran blend into the WWE’s core of top superstars.
“When I wrestled in high school and college, I always thought that ‘how dare this guy get on the mat with me and think that he’s gonna beat me?’ I take that as an insult so now you’re going to have to pay the price for being on the mat with me. I’m going to hurt you, I’m not going to [just] beat you, I’m going to hurt you in the process of beating you. So, I know that guy he wants to see and that’s an easy guy for me to be.”
Some of that aggressiveness has been put on display during Styles’ short WWE career. During an appearance on The Miz’s talk show segment MizTv this past Monday on RAW, Styles took some frustration out on Miz.
With the former main eventer from Wrestlemania 27 verbally berating Styles, the Georgia native decided that he had heard enough.
Aside from that beatdown of The Miz, Styles has also picked up three victories in singles competition since debuting at the Royal Rumble. The night after, Styles defeated Chris Jericho in his first televised WWE match. On Thursday night SmackDown that same week, Styles defeated Social Outcasts’ member Curtis Axel.
Last night on SmackDown, Styles defeated The Miz as revenge for his comments from days prior via a Calf Crusher submission. Following that bout, a rematch between Styles and Jericho for next week’s SmackDown was made official.
Heading into his second pay-per-view (WWE Fastlane) and with Wrestlemania 32 on the horizon, Styles’ role on the show will become more established. However, his on-screen character — as instructed by McMahon himself — will have to be more on the gritty side and Styles, based on his comments, has consigned himself to that fact.
“The character that he explained to me is very close, very similar to [the guy I am]. He brought it up ‘this is the way you need to be. You’re not the tallest guy, you’re not the biggest guy, but you’re a pit bull.’ I know that guy, I could be that guy.”
[Image via WWE]