For much of the last 15 years AJ Styles has been widely-regarded as one of the greatest wrestlers in the world.
The Phenomenal One has enjoyed success all over the globe. His career has taken in impressive stints in IMPACT, New Japan Pro Wrestling and latterly WWE.
Following a glittering two-year run in NJPW, Styles signed for WWE in January 2016. The former two-time IWGP Heavyweight Champion debuted at the Royal Rumble of that year, before going on to win the WWE Championship.
Speaking on the latest episode of his Jim Cornette’s Drive Thru podcast, the legendary wrestling personality has given his thoughts on Styles’ two decade long career.
Answering a question from a listener about Styles’ legacy, Cornette praised The Phenomenal One for his sustained success.
“AJ has been a great talent. Over a long period of time, he’s been very consistent, because he was so athletic. His early years, the promos were not earth-shattering, but I’ve heard him of late speak with more confidence. He’s had a great career.”
Cornette went on to explain that he felt that Styles’ time in Japan helped him, especially in regard with joining WWE, as he wouldn’t be seen just as a “TNA guy.”
The former manger of the Midnight Express, expanded further, commenting that Styles had many more years left as a performer, meaning his legacy “is yet to be written.”
Reflecting on Styles’ career before he joined WWE, Cornette broke down why it was better for Styles to stay away from WWE, until they began using more ‘smaller’ wrestlers as their main stars.
“The WWE wasn’t going to use him properly unless he had been to those other places and also waited for the right time, because if he would have gone to the WWE when he went to TNA, he’d have been on their equivalent of whatever 205 Live! was at that point in time. They weren’t ready yet. But after the Daniel Bryan’s and the guys, that made it more acceptable, it made it easier for whoever was his backer or champion or proponent in WWE to sell to Vince [McMahon] ‘Hey, I know he’s only five foot, seven, but look at him, he’s phenomenal.’
It wasn’t his fault, there was no place else for him to be. And make guaranteed money. He was making money in TNA, even if he wasn’t drawing any. That wasn’t his fault, cause’ nobody else was either. So I think he was better off to stay there, where they would use him on top. People could see how good he was. He’d make a decent amount of money. And wait for the time, when the WWE caught up to the idea of using a guy that can perform well, even if he’s not that big.”
AJ Styles is currently preparing for WrestleMania 37 where he will team with the debuting Omos to challenge for the RAW Tag Team Titles.
Meanwhile, speaking on a media call prior to NXT TakeOver: Stand & Deliver, Triple H revealed that Styles has been “pestering him” for a WrestleMania match.