When AJ Styles made his WWE debut at the Royal Rumble pay-per-view event in 2016, there were a lot of unknowns regarding how he would be used and seen by WWE officials including Chairman Vince McMahon, who oversees all creative for both Monday Night Raw and SmackDown Live.
Before Styles became a two-time WWE Champion and the face that runs the place on the blue brand, he had to earn the respect of McMahon.
This is something that former WWE creative team member Jimmy Jacobs talked about during a recent interview with Sean Ross Sapp of Fightful.com. Jacobs recalled McMahon being skeptical of Styles at first but was quick to become a supporter of “The Phenomenal One.”
“When AJ Styles came into WWE, Vince McMahon was skeptical of him for every reason you might think. He came in at Royal Rumble, got a great reaction when he came in and Vince was still skeptical and said ‘well that’s just one audience.’ Can he talk? What’s his character? Does anybody know who he is? All the reasons you would think. But it was Vince McMahon’s idea to have AJ work with Roman Reigns a few months later. We had all pitched our ideas and figured you’d want to give him a strong heel. The strong heels we had at that point were Chris Jericho and Kevin Owens, and Vince was like ‘we’re going with AJ Styles.’ You have to give the devil his due in those moments.” said Jacobs.