AJ Styles is among the many high-profile stars in WWE. Because making his WWE pay-per-view 5 years ago, he has actually accomplished more than countless long-time pan thought. Three United says Championship reigns, one run v the Intercontinental Championship, and a two-time WWE Champion status can’t it is in overlooked. There is no question, “The Phenomenal One” has actually punched above his weight, ending up being one of the company’s marquee stars in the process. However, if you were to ask fans of Styles’ chances in WWE in the early on 2010s, they might not have been optimistic. Styles’ WWE career appropriate began in the 2016 imperial Rumble match.

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It’s crucial to keep in mind that, for years beforehand, layouts been connected to various other promotions. Most notably, he offered as the flag bearer for Total Nonstop activity Wrestling, later recognized as IMPACT Wrestling, for twelve years. He ended up being perhaps the most decorated star in the background of the promotion. During this time, he amassed five human being title reigns, among other achievements. Styles would additionally enjoy success in New Japan agree Wrestling, coming to be a two-time IWGP Heavyweight Champion. This doesn’t even start to covering the success he found in various other promotions, Pro wrestling Guerrilla and also Ring the Honor included.

AJ styles was, because that a time, the wrestler that hardcore wrestling pan latched onto. Lock admired his job-related ethic and consistency transparent the years. Thus, once it was rumored the he to be bound for WWE, plenty of fans were doubtful at best and worried in ~ worst. WWE hasn’t had actually the ideal track document of special wrestlers that made your names live independence of the company; why would formats be any type of different? together time showed, it would be fair to say that the veteran wrestler indigenous Gainesville, Georgia fared well because that himself.


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Leading to the 2016 imperial Rumble

Rewind to the start of 2016. In January of that year, AJ layouts was part of a prominent match at Wrestle Kingdom 10, NJPW’s many important present of the year. On this show, he battled Shinsuke Nakamura for the IWGP Intercontinental Championship. Throughout this time, layouts was the leader that the nefarious Bullet Club while Nakamura was part of CHAOS. This was a fight of wrestlers indigenous feuding stables, but an ext importantly, it significant the an initial time Styles and Nakamura ever touched in singles competition.

Styles and also Nakamura would go top top to have actually one of the many well-received matches of not just the show however 2016 in general. Despite a solid effort native Styles, that couldn’t get over the reigning champion in Nakamura. Post-match, Styles and Nakamura showed common respect v a fist bump. Not long after the enhance concluded, it to be reported that formats was departing NJPW and making his way to WWE. Come say that this rocked the wrestling human being would it is in an understatement. Even WWE i stopped the flames with an short article teasing that they may have not only signed Styles, however Nakamura, Karl Anderson, and also Doc Gallows.

Even after various reports floated about the internet, by and also large, the wrestling world didn’t understand what come believe. On the surface, neither Styles, Nakamura, no one Anderson seemed favor stars WWE would certainly be interested in. Furthermore, Gallows had already appeared on WWE programming in years previous in different roles, including a Kane doppelganger. Leading to the 2016 royal Rumble match, the rumors didn’t die down. Beforehand into the enhance in question, at the very least one the the rumors in question would it is in confirmed, do for very early contender because that the many shocking moment of the year.


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AJ Styles appears in the 2016 imperial Rumble Match

On January 24th, 2016, in ~ the Amway facility in Orlando, Florida, WWE organized the 2016 royal Rumble event. The year’s Rumble would certainly be different from year prior. Because that the first time because 1992, the WWE civilization Heavyweight Championship itself to be up for grabs. Roman Reigns, the champion at the time, gone into the complement at number one. Needless come say, that would have actually a lengthy night, finish with twists and also turns, front of him.

Rusev, now recognized as Miro in AEW, entered the Royal Rumble match at number two. In reasonably short order, Reigns got rid of “The Bulgarian Brute.” relaxing in the corner, Reigns awaited the following contender. The timer counted down, the audience in Orlando audibly counting down v it. ~ the buzzer sounded, an unfamiliar design template played, lot to the confusion of Reigns and the audience. However, on the huge screen, the expression “I to be Phenomenal” flashed. Cue a raucous ovation native the crowd; AJ layouts had arrived.

As the crowd ongoing to cheer, formats slowly made his way to the ring. Every the while, Michael Cole spoke on commentary, “It has actually been rumored because that weeks the the hottest complimentary agent in sporting activities entertainment to be headed come WWE. Formats is here!” Byron Saxton and also JBL speak him up as well, listing just a sampling of his credentials. In brief order, pan unfamiliar v this new entrant realized that he was a large deal. Hardcore fans never ever would have fathomed the principle of layouts in WWE, in any type of capacity. Nonetheless, over there he was, share the ring with, in ~ the time, WWE’s height babyface.


It’s important to note that while this to be AJ Styles’ first WWE pay-per-view appearance, to speak to it an main debut for the agency would it is in untrue.

In 2001, a young layouts was just gaining his feet wet in the professional wrestling industry. In July of the year, he had actually his very first tryout complement for the World rings Federation. That wrestled a dark match versus Rick Michaels, that not just trained formats but came to be a multi-time titleholder for the National wrestles Alliance. Layouts would do a couple of other appearances for the WWF, including wrestling The Hurricane ~ above an illustration of Metal in 2002. Regardless of not signing with the agency at the time, it would prove to be the finest move in hindsight; over the years, formats etched a legend career roughly the world.

Styles’ power in Rumble wasn’t there is no its highlights. First, that stood toe come toe v Reigns, hold his own versus the guy he would encounter multiple times in WWE. Second, in the Rumble itself, styles scored eliminations end Tyler Breeze and former WWE Intercontinental and also Tag Team Champion, Curtis Axel. Third, styles had one of the longer times spent in the match, lasting just shy that 29 minutes before ultimately being eliminated by Kevin Owens. Because that his an initial night as a contracted WWE Superstar, styles performed admirably. However, the best was still yet to come.

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The WWE Success that AJ Styles


Following the 2016 imperial Rumble, AJ Styles became featured in influential programs. After ~ spending a variety of months working v Chris Jericho, both in singles however tag team competition, Styles collection his sights on roman inn Reigns and the WWE world Heavyweight Championship. Though layouts would be unsuccessful in his attempts to dethrone “The huge Dog,” it to be this feud the made the a main occasion star in WWE. That both reaffirmed come long-time fans and also showed brand-new viewers the he lived approximately his “Phenomenal” moniker.

Styles would go top top to have a tremendous first year in WWE. In enhancement to well-received matches versus Reigns and also John Cena, styles reunited through Bullet club running mates karl Anderson and also Doc Gallows, the last of whom went back to his old WWE alias that Luke Gallows. Alongside Anderson and also Gallows, styles saw tremendous success together a heel. The complying with September, at Backlash, he bested Dean Ambrose to victory his an initial WWE civilization Title. This wouldn’t it is in his only people title success in WWE, either.

From there, it seemed like layouts only continued to add accomplishments to his already extensive resume.

Even when he was in the United states or Intercontinental location picture, Styles’ presence made those accolades feel much more important. In this situations, the title didn’t make the wrestler, however rather, the wrestler elevated the title. In just five years, Styles sculpted a career in WWE worthy of a future room of reputation induction.

There have been many surprise Royal Rumble entrants over the years. While numerous of these to be guest spots, serving as methods to excite audiences and lend unpredictability come the matches, others had actually long-standing value. In a issue of a few years, styles solidified himself as a optimal star in WWE. His successful debut and also performance in the 2016 royal Rumble match came to be the platform for him come carve a deeper pro wrestling legacy.

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