The matches between AJ Styles and John Cena are now hailed as some of the best of the past decade. Their feud received a lot of love from the fans, and the two men seemed to have enjoyed their work together as well.
Before Styles inked a deal with WWE in 2016, Cena believed that the company was better off without the Phenomenal One in it.
On a recent episode of the ARN Podcast, WWE Hall of Famer and former WWE Producer Arn Anderson revealed that John Cena was against the signing of former TNA Superstars like James Storm, Bobby Roode & the man who’d become one of his top rivals – AJ Styles.
Cena allegedly told Anderson that WWE has NXT, where they make their own stars, and therefore, they didn’t need any veterans from the outside coming in.
No, I wasn’t surprised [they signed AJ]. I was pleasantly surprised and I pushed for AJ. It was at a point when TNA was doing well. I would watch there, sitting with Cena one afternoon, and I said, ‘It would really beef up the company if we went out and stole Bobby Roode, AJ Styles, and ‘The Cowboy’ James Storm. If you brought those 3 guys in it would give you a whole plethora of new opponents, it would give a lot of guys new opponents.’ John looked at me and said, ‘We’ve got NXT, we make our own stars.
Anderson said that he realized that Cena was just speaking Vince McMahon’s mind. He believed that all these men would end up becoming formidable opponents for the Leader of the Cenation.
I’m sure he was just transferring Vince’s psychology to me when he said that, but I knew at that time what those guys could do in a match for John. If you just gave them 6-9 months to come in and get over – these guys had their experience, they were ready. You could bring them on day one and you have a player. They were all on my radar for a while before they ever made it.
Upon arriving to the company, AJ Styles had to prove a lot of people wrong, including Vince McMahon. Now the Phenomenal One is not only a multi-time World Champion, but he also got to be the Undertaker’s last opponent in the company at WrestleMania 36’s Boneyard Match.
Thank you to Wrestling Inc for the quotes.