In case you missed it, “The Face That Runs The Place” AJ Styles joined Chad Dukes Versus The World in preparation for his match with John Cena this past Sunday at the Royal Rumble.
While he didn’t leave the Rumble victorious, the Phenomenal One has had an excellent first calendar year in WWE. In the interview, Styles discussed what he’s learned during this year, his thoughts on John Cena, being the current face of SmackDown Live, NXT, and more. Most notably, in light of the questions surrounding the WWE Championship match for WrestleMania following the Royal Rumble, Styles discussed his dream opponent on the WWE roster.
Dukes: “You’ve been tied up with a couple of guys for a while. Who else on the roster are you eyeballing? Who’s somebody that you would like to work with?”
Styles: “Well, I think there’s that one person that everybody would like to see me work with, and that’s Randy Orton. Randy and I have yet to even touch in the ring, I don’t think I’ve hit him with anything, or he’s hit me. None of that’s ever happened. I think that’s gonna be something special when it does.”
As discussed earlier this week, this insight poses an interesting third option into the current “John Cena or Bray Wyatt” discussion in regards to who Orton will face at WrestleMania.
Listen to the full interview below and hit the jump for more quotes from the interview.
Thank you to AJ Styles for his time. You can follow him on Twitter @AJStylesOrg and catch him every Tuesday Night on SmackDown Live!
On John Cena and what’s he’s learned in WWE:
“John Cena has made AJ Styles a better performer, there’s no doubt about that. AJ Styles has learned a lot from being in the WWE, but I think the thing that I’ve had the opportunity to do more while being in WWE is actually mic work. In time, you do something a lot, you’re going to get better at it, and I’ve certainly gotten better at getting in the ring and speaking. There’s a number of things that I’ve gotten better at since being in the WWE. I’m a better performer because of it.”
On fan reactions to his performances:
“I kind of feel like maybe the audience thinks, ‘Oh, that’s one of us. That’s one of our guys. He’s not this gigantic man, he’s like one of us.’ And I feel like that’s the reason why there’s a connection. This guy didn’t go through the process of the WWE, he came here, debuted here after being in the business, for sixteen years, before I came to WWE. The fact of the matter is I just feel like people think, ‘He’s one of us and no matter what he does sometimes, we’re not gonna boo him.’ The great thing about that is when you’re in there with someone like John Cena, he knows how to capture a crowd, no matter what they feel about him, and he finds a way to get them behind what he’s doing and saying.”
On NXT and making it directly to the main roster:
“There was never a discussion of NXT with me. I needed to be to the main roster fairly quickly because I’m no spring chicken. But if they’d said ‘we want you to come down here and experience it,’ sure, I mean I have no reason that I wouldn’t go down there and experience it because that’s what everybody does. But regardless, I was happy to be on the main roster. It was a little bit of a learning curve there, there’s a lot of cameras, a lot more cameras than anywhere else I’ve ever been. It was a great opportunity for me. You got to think about, when I did make my debut, there were a lot of main stars hurt. So, I think that may have had a lot to do with their decision.”