If he isn’t in the top five of the WWE’s most talented Superstars, he’s quickly heading there. AJ Styles was an independent wrestling darling prior to joining the WWE and for years, he was the best wrestler not to be a full-time WWE talent. That changed at the Royal Rumble in 2016 when he debuted in the Royal Rumble match itself. Since that point, he’s skyrocketed to the top of the WWE totem pole, earned the Heavyweight Championship along the way, and now holds the WWE United States Championship. But, the road wasn’t always easy.
The WWE has a number of rules wrestlers have to follow. From which moves are permitted to entrances and what you can and cannot say, one might think that any Styles change would have been wrestling related. After all, Styles is one of the best technical wrestlers in the world and his move set is seemingly unlimited. But as Styles attested to, the change wasn’t a maneuver or style related adjustment. Instead, the change came in terms of production.
Like most wrestlers who were not grown inside the WWE system, the sheer volume of cameras, lights, crew and other production related items can be overwhelming and are visible everywhere. It takes some getting used to, especially as an independent wrestler of many years. This was the biggest problem for AJ at first. He explained, “The only difference was that WWE has a lot more cameras facing you than the independent circuit, but I think that was just a learning curve that you need to go through and it has really helped me.”
Styles adjusted well, and like fellow former TNA talent Bobby Roode, Styles is taking advantage of his opportunities in the WWE. There are rumors that “The Phenomenal One” will eventually clash with Shunsuke Nakamura at WrestleMania 34, and if that happens, it’s a huge match, a major success for independent wrestlers, and a bout that will have thousands of cameras on it. Between the many fans and the WWE production crew that gets a little extra boost come WrestleMania time, all eyes will be on AJ Styles. He’s sure to make the most of it.
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