This week on the “ARN” podcast, Arn Anderson and Conrad Thompson cover the 2016 WWE Royal Rumble pay-per-view.
The show featured several title matches including a Last Man Standing Match between Dean Ambrose and Kevin Owens, Charlotte Flair vs. Becky Lynch, and The New Day against The Usos. Triple H won the 30-man Royal Rumble match by eliminating Ambrose and this was also the show that featured AJ Styles’ WWE debut.
Here are some highlights:
Arn was asked if he was watching TNA at this time and noticed AJ Styles:
“I sat John (Cena) down. I don’t remember the year, but I could feel that things were getting a little stale. WWE needed an influx of not just bodies and people coming from NXT, no knock on that, but seasoned veterans. People that were considered stars. I sat John down and said, ‘You know John, there’s some guys with the other company and that we can steel and blend in to work with you.’ My conversation was that it was Bobby Roode, Cowboy (James Storm), and AJ Styles. I said, ‘These guys can go. I’m talking about talk shelf performers and they will freshen everything up.’ He looked me right in the eye and at this time John had 100% stroke, power, it was his call on everything that had to do with him. He said, ‘Why would we want those guys? We make our own stars.’ So yes, he was on my radar. AJ Styles was one of those rare talents that only come along every 20 years or so that can do it all. I knew that then. I knew that now. It will be the same thing that, barring injury, a year from now. So yes, definitely on my radar. I was pushing for the three of those guys.”
Arn said Charlotte never needed Ric Flair in her corner to get over:
“Let me put a blanket statement out there. Whoever thought Charlotte had to have Ric ringside to get over was so shortsighted. She never needed Ric to get over. Ric has never needed anybody in his corner to get over when he was performing at his peak. Charlotte is incredible, as are many of the women. That character is, here it is, she’s herself. She does think she’s the queen. She is a Flair. She looks at her heritage as putting her at the top of the heap, no matter what. Her quality of work matches her ego. She can go out and back it up. She has all these things going for her. She does not need Ric as a prop. She’s never needed him as a prop. Sometimes things would go into a match and get forced in there and wedged in there to just get a reaction, but when you look back at the story, you didn’t need it. Anytime you have Ric ringside, if you’re trying to push Charlotte as a heel, Ric is going to get a lot of positive reactions. The wooing can’t be prevented. You know what that comes across as? Positive reaction. So, you’re butting heads during the course of the match trying to get heat on Becky (Lynch), but everybody in the building is wooing. Those are mistakes you have to talk about. You got to go, ‘Hey guys, they don’t need this.’ ‘Yea, but when you have a chance to get Ric Flair on the show, it’s always a positive.’ Yea, it is a positive, but don’t put someone else’s success necessarily aligned with having Ric in the corner because she definitely doesn’t need it. Never has.”