AJ Styles recently spoke with Graham Matthews of Bleacher Report and said he was not close to leaving WWE in 2019 to reunite The Bullet Club in AEW.
There had been rumors on Styles’ first WWE contract expiring in 2019, along with current Impact World Tag Team Champions The Good Brothers. Doc Gallows and Karl Anderson ended up leaving in April 2020, and admitted that they made a mistake by not leaving earlier when they had the chance. There were rumors of Styles, Gallows and Anderson debuting together on the first episode of AEW Dynamite, but Styles says he wasn’t close to leaving WWE.
“Like I said, this is a business,” Styles said. “I’m going to go where business is best for AJ Styles. I like WWE. I like everything about it. And I know it. I’m used to it. I don’t want to leave. This is a business, though. This is what we do for a living. Was it close? I wouldn’t say it was close for me. Like I said, I want to be in WWE.
“The situation with Gallows and Anderson, you know, with everything that’s going on, they should have went ahead and went that route when their second contracts came around. But hindsight is 20/20. You’ve read the dirt sheets and whatnot, and you know how pissed I was about the whole situation. Not at them, but at the situation. I think they’re happier doing what they’re doing now. If that’s the case, then I’m happy for them and, like I said, everything happens for a reason.”
The Bullet Club ended up reuniting on AEW Dynamite earlier this month, with Gallows, Anderson, AEW World Tag Team Champions The Young Bucks, AEW World Champion Kenny Omega, but no Styles. AJ commented on how joining the stable after debuting in NJPW changed his career for the better and took him to the next level, and said he’s happy for his friends in other companies.
“It’s one of those things where it’s like, ‘How did this get over so well?’,” AJ said. “It’s because you had guys that genuinely wanted to hang out together. We weren’t just together when it came to wrestling. We were together outside of the wrestling ring, too.
“We were actually hanging out, and I think that’s why it worked so well for us at that time. We all hang out together, so seeing those guys, I’m happy for them. It’s cool they’re able to continue what they started, whenever it was.”
The 43 year old Styles signed a new multi-year contract with WWE in 2019 and previously said this will be his final contract as a pro wrestler. There’s still no word on how many years the deal is for, but it could be for 3 years or 5, or somewhere in between, meaning AJ could potentially retire as early as 2022. AJ says he will retire whenever it feels right.
“It’s really whenever it feels right,” AJ said after asked when he will hang up the boots. “Some days, I feel like I can go five, six more years. And then some years I’m like, ‘Oh, man, I can be done this year.’ As you get older, it’s just changing. You have to listen to your body and figure out what it can do next.
“With my style, it’s a bit different, so I like to push it still to this day. I’m going to go as long as I can, as long as I can stay healthy and see what happens and where it takes us.”
Styles is currently scheduled to participate in the 30-Man Royal Rumble Match at the WWE Royal Rumble pay-per-view on January 31.