LaBar: AJ Styles talks signing with WWE

AJ Styles makes his WWE debut at 2016 Royal Rumble.
AJ Styles makes his WWE debut at 2016 Royal Rumble.
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| Thursday, March 24, 2016, 2:51 p.m.

In January at the Royal Rumble, AJ Styles finally debuted in WWE as a full-time performer after 18 years in the professional wrestling business, during which he became the top guy for every other promotion around the world.

With WrestleMania 32 approaching, the Tribune-Review spoke with Styles about his WWE experience thus far.

Q: Finally in WWE, what's your experience been so far compared to expectations?

A: The pun is intended when I say it's a phenomenal experience. It's an amazing place to work and I'm just happy with what's going on.

Q: What was it like walking through the WWE doors? Reaction from your peers, interactions with Vince McMahon?

A: Everything has been great as far as the roster. Honestly, I didn't expect that. Not going through the same route they did. It's got to be a little uneasy for a guy to come out of nowhere, but they didn't treat it like they that. They looked it at as we've seen this guy, he's a hard worker, we appreciate that and they welcomed with open arms. I can't say enough great things about them.

Q: One of the things that made a lot of fans happy is you're coming down the WWE ramp as “The Phenomenal One” AJ Styles. In the world of entertainment and business, that's not always possible to take what you've been called previously. How important was it for you keep the AJ Styles brand alive?

A: I think it was just as important to me as it was WWE. I think they noticed that when “I am Phenomenal” popped up on the screen and I haven't even walked out yet to be seen on Royal Rumble. I haven't been seen but the fans went nuts and you could hear the reaction. I think it was very important for both parties that we keep that name and it seems to be working out well for both of us.

Q: A lot of hype and chatter of some old friends of yours coming to WWE. What's your reaction when you hear this?

A: Well, it is exciting. The fact some old friends, like you said, may be joining me soon or joining the roster soon is exciting. I don't know what's going to happen, but the fact some guys might be on their way, it gives us something to look forward to.

Q: Fun travel stories? Who are you spending your time with when you're away from the ring?

A: Well, there are guys I've known for a while like Xavier Woods. I mean, we were in Cornelia, Ga., together. We hang out and talk video games. Not that I have these crazy stories yet, but I'm sure they will come. Just to have a good conversation about video games with someone who loves them as much as I do is pretty fun.

Hear the full conversation next week on TribLIVE Radio.

Justin LaBar is a Tribune-Review staff writer. He can be reached at or via Twitter @JustinLaBar.

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