Arn Anderson has spoken about the 2016 Royal Rumble Match and added his thoughts about the potential of AJ Styles winning on his debut.
As a one-time agent for the company, the former Four Horseman had extensive experience both helping to book and oversee Royal Rumble Matches from 2001 onwards when he joined then WWF following the downfall of World Championship Wrestling.
Speaking with Conrad Thompson on the latest episode of ARN, ‘Double A’ revealed his thoughts on a potential AJ Styles victory during the star’s debut in 2016. When asked, “what if”, about ‘The Phenomenal One’ claiming the win, ‘The Enforcer’ had this to say:
“It would have been incredible and it would have sure helped you on that path of getting Roman of where he needed to be which was a years long struggle. You see where he is right now? Go back to our first conversation about Roman whenever that was, you and I. What did I tell you he should be. Who did I tell you he really was and where we were really going with him. Boy, now we walk into WrestleMania Roman Reigns challenging him for the title. Roman would have failed at the Rumble, right? AJ Styles would have won, now Roman is the challenger. Don’t you put him in a position to come out of that thing a heel?”
Conrad also asked ‘Double A’ on whether he was surprised about the vociferous reaction for the former leader of the Bullet Club’s debut:
“Nope. There are other things in this world than WWE and AJ Styles had had a tremendous career up until this point. Been around the world and gained his notoriety and had gotten over universally and when he came out. It was one of those things that you thought you might never see and were a little down about that and all of a sudden you do get it.
Arn Anderson went on to say that the debut was a selling point for the annual PPV:
Everybody’s not on the Internet. Everybody’s not on social media. Everybody doesn’t know he was gonna be there of your audience and when you’re sitting at home on your couch and you did not have a clue and you hadn’t heard a word, out comes AJ Styles: that’s why I buy the Rumble. There is your selling point for the Rumble. ‘What’s going to happen during the course through this thing that’s going to make my teeth fall out and that was one of them.”
Despite the early entry number of three, AJ Styles would last nearly 30-minutes in the elimination extravaganza. Triple H went on to claim victory that year and with it the WWE Championship.
Since then, Styles has only appeared in one other Rumble in 2020, where the returning Edge eliminated him following a serious shoulder injury as a result of a spear, with 2021 being only the third of his career.
Inside The Ropes will have live coverage of the 2021 Royal Rumble.
Credit for the interview and transcription: WrestleZone.