SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
The Phoenix New-Times interviewed WWE World Hvt. Champion A.J. Styles about a range of topics. Here are some highlights:
-On how wrestlers approach house shows differently than televised events: “Absolutely. We can get away with a little bit more and go a little bit longer. There are definitely some restrictions that are loosened, if you will. Bend ’em but don’t break ’em, that kind of thing. … Absolutely. And we get to interact with the fans. That’s a big part of it. Everybody gets to do their thing, whether you like the guy or love the guy or hate the girl. We get to interact with the fans more and that’s huge.
Keller’s Analysis: This doesn’t get talked about a lot, but wrestler do typically “enjoy” house show matches more because they can let loose and there aren’t time constraints and commercial breaks and other issues changing their ability to just do their thing and tell their story more their way. The downside, though, is they aren’t taped or broadcast so a smaller audience sees them and they tend not to survive as matches seen for years to come.
-On Mauro Ranallo saying he wants to see Styles face Shinsuke Nakamura: I think Shinsuke Nakamura’s going to have to work his way up to where I am. I don’t have to work myself to where he is. I’m the World Heavyweight Champion. So if he wants a piece of A.J. Styles and can find a way of getting onto the Smackdown roster, he can come and get some. It may sound cliché, but he don’t want none. But, would people like to see that matchup? Absolutely. And I would love to give it to them.
Keller’s Analysis: The main downside of Nakamura being in NXT is that every month that goes by is one less month of him having matches against A.J. Styles in front of more people. Barring injuries to either of them, it seems inevitable this match will happen and, like in New Japan, it’ll be great. I like Styles talking to a local newspaper and staying in character, so to speak, and already building the match with a little trash talking.
-On the possibility of the TNA tape library becoming property of WWE and available on WWE Network: “Sure. I mean, there’s a lot of guys that worked there that went through there, especially me, where having the library would be pretty beneficial. From Sting to me to Samoa Joe to [R-Truth] … even Road Dogg went through there. There are several guys that went through that brand and to have all that [footage] would be great. … Well, I think it would make it easier for everyone to get caught up on who A.J. Styles actually is. Where I started and where I spent the majority of the career. So that would be a good thing to me.
-On whether he wants to WWE absorb TNA: “I don’t know. I think that I would love for them to be them and us to be us. Competition’s a good thing and to see some of my friends maybe losing their jobs, that’s never good. So I would love to see them continue to exist and do so.”
Keller’s Analysis: I’m sure Styles has mixed feelings. He put his heart and soul into TNA for many years, and the majority of his prime athletic years were there, so having them available for the world to see for decades to come is cool, but he also wouldn’t want to see friends lose jobs.
-On his goal now that he’s World Champion: “In this year? Well, I want to retain the World Championship. That’s a big deal to me. Yeah, I’ve had championships before, but this one is the WWE World Championship and that means a lot more to me than any other one. So I want to hang onto it as long as I can. This is just my first year, so I want to be a part of every pay-per-view on Smackdown that I can possibly be a part of.”
NOW CHECK OUT THE FULL INTERVIEW HERE WHERE HE ALSO TALKS ABOUT BULLET CLUB.
[Thanks to PWTorch correspondent Mike K. for sending in this link.]
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