AJ Styles debut at the 2016 Royal Rumble has gone down as one of the biggest moments in recent Royal Rumble history. Styles was one of the hottest properties in the wrestling world following his match at Wrestle Kingdom 10 against Shinsuke Nakamura in January 2016, and the rumour mill went into overdrive as to where he would end up next.
However, the world wouldn’t have to wait too long to find out, as Styles debuted at number three in the 2016 Royal Rumble to a thunderous ovation from the Orlando, Florida crowd.
By this time it had common practice for new WWE signings to compete in NXT to adapt to the WWE style before stepping up to the main roster. Proceeding Styles’ debut, the likes of Kevin Owens, Samoa Joe and Finn Balor all had stints in NXT before moving up to Raw or SmackDown. Styles however, came straight onto the main roster, missing that step entirely.
“I would have, I think, gone to NXT for a couple of months to get familiar with what’s going on and how it’s done there, but I felt like as far as my career is concerned, I didn’t really have the time to spend in NXT,” he said. “I knew it had to be on the main roster so that, somehow, some way, I could make myself a bigger star. In the end, this is a job, and I’d like to make more money—as much as I can before I retire.”
During the same interview Styles would go on to indicate that retirement is something that he has thought about, and that some days he feels that he might be done this year. The Phenomenal One has also
expressed a desire to face Triple H, after having the “absolute pleasure” to come up against The Undertaker at Wrestlemania 36.
The full interview can be read here. Catch WWE Untold: AJ Styles’ Royal Rumble Debut when it hits WWE Network on Sunday.