AJ STYLES is the first person to win the NWA
World tag team championship (with Jerry Lynn), the NWA X Division championship and most recently the NWA World Heavyweight
championship, which he lost to Jeff Jarrett on October 22, 2003. Mr. Styles is a former Ring of Honor tag team champion (with Amazing Red,) and a former NWA Wildside champion. This
interview was conducted on October 29, 2003 in the TNA Asylum, hours before Styles would confront the new champion Jeff Jarrett.
Alan Wojcik: Where did you grow up and being
a fan of wrestling did it lead you to becoming a wrestler?
AJ Styles: I grew up in Gainesville, Georgia. I didnt have cable growing up so I didnt
see it too often. Actually I kind of fell into wrestling. I ran into a friend at K-Mart who told me that he found a place
to train. I thought about and eventually went with them. They quit and I stayed and here I am sitting with you doing this
AW: Who were you trained by and how did the training
AJ: I was trained by Rick Michaels who showed
me the basics. When I say the basics I mean the BASICS. The rest I learned from guys I was in the ring with. That is the way
to learn, from experience.
AW: Who was your first opponent and what do you
remember from that match?
Brooks was my first opponent. I wrestled under a hood as Mr. Olympia. I lost but it was a great match. I was just glad to
be in the ring.
AW: When did you begin going by AJ Styles, plus
then and now how much of Allen Jones is AJ Styles?
AJ: My second match I was turned to AJ Styles.
Allen Jones is the AJ part. The last name of Styles came about from my partner Damien Steel. The names Steel and Styles kind
of fit together. How much of me is AJ Styles? There is always part of you that is your character unless you are Tom Hanks.
But very little of him is me because Im not that cocky.
AW: This might bring up bad memories so I am
sorry. What led you to being teamed with Air Paris in WCW under the name of Air Raid?
AJ: This is the deal. We were lucky to be picked
up by WCW after a dark match in Baltimore. We signed with them the next week as Air Paris and AJ Styles. We had some good matches with the
group. By the fourth and last match on TV we were turned into Air Raid. I became Air Styles. I hated everything about it from
the name to the outfit. But if they wanted me to be a fighter pilot, I was gong to be the best fighter pilot they had ever
AW: Not many people know you are a Christian.
What was it like to work for the Christian Wrestling Federation of Texas?
AJ: Its great. I know there are lots of things
wrong in the business but I am doing something right when I work for CWF.
AW: How did you come to work for NWA Wildside
and what were your initial impressions of Bill Behrens?
AJ: NWA Wildside was the group that bought out
National Championship Wrestling. Bill came along with them. At first I didnt like him I thought he had too many old school
idea. Over the years he has become a great friend and father figure to me.
AW: During your stay you were the NWA Wildside
champion. You beat Rick Michaels for the title and lost it to current NWA: TNA star David Young.
AJ: The last match Rick and I had was unbelievable.
It led to a three way with Rick and David coming after me. David won the belt from me that night. Some of my best matches
have been with David and we hook up on the indies from time to time.
AW: You also worked for IPW Hardcore of Florida.
Any memories from wrestling Scoot Andrews and then Mike Sullivan and Christopher Daniels?
AJ: The first night there I wrestled Scoot and
we had a great time. The next one was with Mike, Scoot and Daniels. The next night I wrestled Daniels and I think from that
match my career got a big push. Chris put me over and that really got my name out to the indies. I feel it got me here with
AW: Probably the most asked question in your
interviews has to deal with you turning down the WWE developmental deal. My question to you is do you regret turning the WWE
AJ: Absolutely not. I think if I regret it then
I dont like when I am now. I was the NWA World champion, it doesnt get better than that.
have been in several indy tournaments. If you allow me I have some questions on a couple of them. Like the 2002 J-Cup where
you wrestled Colt Cabana and Reckless Youth.
AJ: That night was the first time I wrestled
either of them and its always fun to meet up with someone new. I have had the
chance to wrestle Colt since then and we have had some great matches. Unfortunately I have not met up with Reckless but man
he is great in the ring.
AW: You have worked for what many consider the
elite tournament, the ECWA Super 8. You wrestled there in 2002 against Xavier, Amazing Red and Donovan Morgan.
AJ: There is a great atmosphere created by the
fans and Jim Ketner. The finals match we began with a slap to the face and then a handshake. When you begin a match like that
you know its gong to be a good one.
AW: You have also worked overseas with FWA, WWA
and Zero-One of Japan. What is it like to work for Zero-One?
AJ: It is great when you get to wrestle Otani
and Takawa. I looked up to them watching their New Japan tapes. I also got to wrestle Low Ki. The fans knew who I was so that
makes your day. Japan is where you want to be.
AW: This question may make you want to end this
interview. Being a Christian was it difficult for you to work for 3PW run by former adult entertainer Jasmine St. Claire?
know what everyone has their faults. I have them and she had hers. I wont judge her. That was her thing. It didnt bother me
it was just another wrestling promotion. I love the Blue Meanie and Jasmine was very business like to me. I had a good time
AW: Since we are talking about northeast based
groups, you got to wrestle former NWA Jr Heavyweight champion Jimmy Rave on a Combat Zone Wrestling show.
thought CZW was great the two times I have been there. You are in Philly and you cant go wrong there. I liked wrestling Jimmy
on their show.
are currently working for two different groups, NWA: TNA and Ring of Honor. I would like to talk about ROH first. How did
you come to work for ROH and did you like the idea of the code of honor/no gimmick style?
AJ: I like the ROH code of honor; its more of
a Japanese style. I love the Japanese work style. I dont remember who called who but I am happy working for ROH.
AW: Working for ROH, you got to wrestle American
Dragon Brian Danielson. What is it like to wrestle him?
AJ: We went with a collegiate style at the beginning
of a match and we got the biggest pop I have ever received. We got tons of respect for going toe to toe.
AW: You held the ROH tag titles with Amazing
AJ: I have never worked so well with anyone.
Red seems to work well with everyone. We did lots of cool things in our matches. We never had a team finisher but we gelled
AW: On October 16, you wrestled CM Punk.
AJ: I just watched the match a few minutes ago.
I must have hugged him a few dozen times after that match. I cannot wait to work with him again.
AW: How did you come to join NWA: TNA and when
it was first presented to you, what did you think of the weekly PPVconcept?
AJ: The first time I heard about it was when
the WWE thing was in cahoots. I was praying TNA was going to take off because I didnt know if turning down WWE was a good
thing or a bad thing. Luckily I had wrestled in WWA when Jeff saw me on the Australia tour. Then Jerry got to see me here
in Nashville. It is great to be here.
AW: You were the inaugural X Division champion
at he same time as holding the NWA World tag team championship with Jerry Lynn. What did you think when they told you that
both belts were going around on your waist at the same time?
AJ: Why would you want to put titles on me is
what I thought. The X title was enough then they put the tag titles on me. I couldnt complain. Im glad I dont own the place
or people would think I was doing it to myself. I was so happy and I am happy now even though I have no gold around my waist.
It was an honor to hold both belts.
AW: Did you like being tag champs with Jerry
and also feuding with him at the same time?
AJ: I thought it would get much better than that.
I knew I would have a great partner and great opponent. So I was all about that, bring it.
AW: After you lost the tag titles you went solo
and one of the first opponents was the Living Legend Larry Zybszko.
AJ: I didnt know what to expect. He was making
me laugh during our matches. He is so good; I didnt know what moves he was putting me in until I was there (laughs). It was
fun to wrestle him.
AW: What did you think of the Sports Entertainment
Xtreme angle when it was presented to you?
AJ: I wish we hadnt done it but it ended up working
out for people like XXX (Low Ki, Elix Skipper Christopher Daniels.) I thought it was too much like the NWO but Im not the
AW: You were a partner and an opponent of DLo
Brown right after he came over from WWE.
AJ: If Red and I were a good tag team in ROH,
DLo and I were just as good if not better here. We had a double team finish and other cool stuff to do in the ring. Feuding
with him was better. I wont forget being put through that table actually I dont remember it because it knocked me right out
(laughs.) It was certainly something to watch on tape.
AW: On June 11th you got to achieve
the ultimate dream and win the NWA World championship in a three way match with then champion Jeff Jarrett and Raven. What
was your reaction when you were told the title was coming home with you?
AJ: I dont think anyone expected it and until
they told me I was going to win it neither did I. Both of those guys had been heavyweight champions in huge companies, I was heavyweight champion in
NWA Wildside. You think of the names that held the title, plus how huge it is in Japan and overseas. I had to
keep thinking I am going to be the NWA World champion; it is still hard to believe it happened.
AW: In that match you became a heel. Do you like
being a heel and being paired with Vince Russo, Trinity and Sonny Siaki?
AJ: I love being a heel. It is fun and I am having
a good time with it. I liked being paired Trinity, Ekmo and Sonny. We had great chemistry.
AW: What did you think when youre told tonight
theres a tag match where your opponents are going to be Jeff Jarrett and Sting?
AJ: All I knew was that Sting was going to give
me every finisher he ever used and he did. It was real neat.
AW: On October 22 you lost the belt back to Jeff.
Any feelings on the match and losing the title?
AJ: You cant be the champion forever. It was
great to have it because you get to work your way back. All I care about is that it is a great match.
AW: There have been several deaths in wrestling
in the past few years like Brian Pillman, Rick Rude, Curt Hennig, Miss Elizabeth and most recently Road Warrior Hawk. Does
that affect you as a wrestler and does it affect you seeing childhood heroes passing on so early?
AJ: I got to know Hawk pretty well with our meetings
here at TNA and at indy dates. He was a super nice guy to be around. I know Hawk is in a better place. Mr. Perfect was someone
I looked up to when he came to TNA. Its a shame they are dying so young. I am grateful I got to spend time with them.
AW: In the most recent PWI 500 you were the highest
independent wrestler at #11. Who told you and any feelings on being #11?
AJ: Jimmy Rave called me and I thought it was
crazy. It is hard to consider myself an indy guy even though I work indy shows since I work here at TNA. We are on the map
and WWE might be a little bit threatened by TNA.
AW: You recently worked for MXPW in the South Florida region. Any memories of wrestling Chris
Sabin and Christopher Daniels in a three way dance?
AJ: Just look who I was wrestling, you know it
was a great match. I was excited to be in there with them. You need to see it to believe it. I just seem to be surrounded
by great workers in my matches.
AW: If you could single out some people, who
do you consider a favorite opponent?
AJ: Christopher Daniels and Jerry Lynn. Those
two have taught me more than anyone else. I am like sponge every time I wrestle. I would love to wrestle them any day of the
AW: Past or present, who would be your dream
opponent and why?
AJ: Its got to be either Chris Benoit or Eddie
Guerrero. Both of them have such charisma and intensity in the ring and if I could have half of that I would be amazing in
the ring. They put on such a great show every time they come through the curtain.
AW: If the WWE called tomorrow would you accept
AJ: I would accept an offer to look at an offer.
Im not a retard. But I am signed with TNA so I am not going anywhere. I turned them down once before and it was over money,
because I couldnt support my family with what they offered. I didnt think I was better than them then or now. It comes down
to being happy and I am happy right now where I am. Something might happen and TNA will become the number one competitor.
AW: What will the fans find when they log onto
AJ: It is an unbelievable site. It was a fan
site but I got with the guys that run it so we made it my official site. The
fans can leave me messages on the forum and I will answer them. They can see matches, photos and I am working on putting my
schedule up so people can travel to see AJ Styles.
AW: What do you hope the future holds for AJ
AJ: To keep on being the wrestler I am. Not too
broken down or fat enough to wrestle. I want the fans to know they will get a great match each time they see me.
My thanks to AJ Styles for his time. Also thanks
go to Jody Davis and Tim Welch of NWA: TNA for making my trip to Nashville a success. Be sure to log onto www.nwatna.com. For information on Ring of Honor log onto www.ROHwrestling.com .