A.J. Styles says the key factor that led to him leaving New Japan was the distance from home. And, after considering offers on the table (including TNA), he decided that WWE offered him the most financial security.
“I think the jump was due to timing,” Styles told Justin Sarachik for Rapzilla.com in a new interview. “Being in Japan, being away from home, was pretty scary because if something happened, I would have to jump on a plane and go home, and that scared me.”
As for which promotion would get his services after wrestling for New Japan, Styles said, “There were a lot of offers out on the table and I thought I’d contact WWE, and there was no money left on the table there.”
Styles said he does not consider his WWE debut being too late in his career, as he feels like he is still in his prime. His only regret is not being able to wrestle Daniel Bryan on the big stage.
“We had unbelievable matches and selfishly I was hoping I’d have the chance to wrestle Daniel Bryan and have one of those classic matches that we had years ago. I know we could definitely do that,” Styles said.
“It’s unfortunate what had happened and he handled it better than I handled it. That was very emotional for him and he seemed pretty strong and confident that everything is going to be okay. A class act. I can’t say enough great things about him.”
Styles said Bryan’s retirement has made him pay attention to his physical condition to ensure his longevity in WWE.
“Until something unexpected happens, I’m going to keep doing what I’m doing. You have to keep listening to your body, protect it, and also take care it. Don’t wait until the last second. Injuries are going to happen and being in pain is part of the lifestyle we live,” Styles said.