Anyone who ends up being signed by WWE will usually make their way through NXT, which is kind of a developmental territory but not really. NXT has truly become a brand that is just as strong as the two on the main roster, but it is extremely beneficial to all of those who end up going through it. Unfortunately for one current champion, he didn’t get that chance as he feels as if he was simply too old for it.
Over the years, many longtime veterans have signed with WWE and spent their time in NXT as most often do. Samoa Joe, Finn Balor, Shinsuke Nakamura, Drew McIntyre, and many other superstars have been overly successful on the yellow brand and even enhanced their movesets.
When AJ Styles joined WWE in January of 2016, he made his debut at the Royal Rumble and immediately hit the main roster. He had been signed after his contract with New Japan Pro Wrestling expired and was a full-fledged member of the main roster without ever setting foot in NXT.
Styles is the current WWE United States Champion, and it is his third time holding that title since joining the company. He’s also a two-time WWE Champion with a lot of time left in his career for many more championships and accomplishments.
Could NXT have given him anything he didn’t already know, though?
Styles recently spoke on a number of topics with WWE Now, available to view on YouTube, and revealed that he honestly would have loved to have been in NXT. Unfortunately for him, he realized that it simply didn’t make much sense for him to begin his time there before heading to WWE’s main roster, as transcribed by Ringside News.
“I wasn’t the youngest guy. Going through NXT, for me, wasn’t going to be an option unless you’re talking about a month just to get used to everything and learn how WWE works. Literally everything worked out the way I needed it to. Sometimes I’m very jealous of the people who went through NXT because they know each other so well. But at the same time, time is of the essence for me to get to the main roster and do what I do.”
A lot of superstars do end up working their way through NXT as a way to get used to the style and format of WWE. They already are very accomplished in their movesets and skills, but all promotions are different and could be run in alternate ways of which aren’t familiar to them.
AJ Styles is one of the most decorated wrestlers/superstars in the entire world, and he will go down as one of the greatest to ever step in a ring. His time in WWE has been legendary, and it is far from over, but there is a small part of him that wishes he could have experienced the world of NXT.