AJ Styles made his debut in WWE back in 2002, where he was largely used as enhancement talent. During that time, his most notable match was against The Hurricane. However, his run was ultimately short-lived.
During WWE Untold, AJ Styles discussed his first run in WWE. Styles revealed that his first match was against Rick Michaels. Styles then revealed he was worried about the structure of matches in WWE at that time.
“My first match in WWE was with Rick Michaels. I think when you are coming up it’s more about the spots. The reason why you think like that is because you’ve got to get some attention. You’ve got to have someone wanting to see what you’re about to do next. And, if I watch it back today, I will hate it. Because it’s all about the story. And there’s a story that can be told within the wrestling match that makes sense, when you can put in those flips and whatnot. But it doesn’t all work the way that, you know, the way that I put it together way back then. The only way you get to that point in your career, when you understand that, is experience.”
Styles then revealed the important piece of advice given to him by Triple H during his first run in the company. The Game advised AJ Styles to ‘slow down’ if he was going too fast.
“It was pretty cool because, after that, I’m walking to the back and Triple H comes up to me and he says, “Hey. Just, uh… you wanna make sure you slow down… if you think you’re going too fast, just slow down a little bit more.” I said “But…”, and we were just moving through it, and I wish I hadn’t said anything. Because nobody likes a ‘But’ guy. “But, but, but…” Nah.”
Styles returned to WWE during the 2016 Royal Rumble and has been one of the top Superstars in the company since then.