The 16-time World Champion was of the opinion that the WWE did not need the services of AJ Styles, who at the time was working for TNA, now Impact Wrestling.
It is hard to imagine what the WWE would be like without AJ Styles today. He is easily one of the most recognized stars in the promotion. It is even harder to imagine that John Cena did not feel like the WWE needed the Phenomenal One’s services.
One of the legendary 4-horsemen and former WWE producer, Arn Anderson has revealed that top guy Cena, was not too keen about the idea of stealing Styles from TNA. Instead, he preferred the company built their own stars through their developmental brand, NXT.
John Cena did not want AJ Styles to join the WWE
“I was pleasantly surprised, Arn Anderson recalled on his ARN podcast. “I pushed for AJ. There was a point in time when Cena had run out of opponents. I was on that whole ride with John for all those years, over a decade I should imagine. I was sitting there and I was talking to him, and it was when TNA was doing well.”
Anderson named AJ Styles, Bonny Roode and James Storm as the guys he wanted to bring over from the then TNA. With John Cena running out of opponents in the WWE, he believed that the trio would give them a multitude of new matchups.
“I remember I was sitting there with Cena one afternoon,” Anderson continued. I was sitting backstage at a table and I said, ‘You know John, it would really beef up the company if we would go out and steal Bobby Roode, AJ Styles, and The Cowboy — James Storm. If we just brought those three guys in, it would give you a whole plethora of new opponents. It would give a lot of guys new opponents.’
“That’s just those three guys, and I singled them out because of their work and their psychology. I knew I could have been a fit helping them; and they would catch right on and they would be a very, very, good fit. John said, ‘Hey, we got NXT, we make our own stars.’
I am sure he was just transferring Vince’s psychology to me when he said that. I knew what those guys could do in a match for John if you gave them 6 to 9 months to come in and get over.”
In the time since, John Cena and AJ Styles have worked several matches. The pair were involved in a storyline running through 2016 and culminating at the 2017 Royal Rumble. That match is considered one of the best in a WWE ring and the rivalry is easily one of the most memorable of the last decade.
It should be safe to assume that Cena has since changed his mind about the Phenomenal one.
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