The following is a summary of tonight’s new Stone Cold Podcast on WWE Network, featuring AJ Styles talking to Stone Cold Steve Austin. Highlights coutesty of WrestleZone.
Austin talks about Styles’ promo on John Cena on tonight’s RAW, followed by an attack, and asks about fitting in with WWE. Styles says he wasn’t sure about the response he would get, but he’s happy and keeps working hard to prove he deserves the spot he’s in. Austin talks about Styles’ world travels and Styles says his dad was a Marine, and talks about being disciplined too much due to his father’s drinking. Styles says his father going overboard and beating him definitely affects how he raises his own family, but says he still knew his dad loved him and supported him.
Austin talks about Styles’ faith and upbringing, noting that he didn’t finish school and went back to work, and just knew he’d marry his girlfriend. He says he didn’t really have a plan after dropping out of school, but some of his friends ended up getting him into the wrestling business. He talks a little about influences in his move set, noting he wasn’t afraid of being a high flier. Styles noted Terry Taylor and Lance Storm as early influences, but said Shawn Michaels was another one later on due to how well Shawn made little things matter in storytelling.
Styles talks about getting signed to WCW and later having the company go out of business, and Austin asks what happened. Styles says John Laurinaitis signed him to WCW and told him WWE wouldn’t pick up his deal, so it was a bit of a blow. He says he never would have made it because he wasn’t ready then, so his planned then turned to going to Japan. Styles says from there, he met Christopher Daniels and they worked so well together that he credits working with him to help his career take off. Styles says WWE then called back and offered a developmental deal but he said no because he didn’t want to interrupt ask his wife to leave college and move.
Austin brings up TNA and Styles says he was there for a long time and he signed one of the first deals there, and he had some amazing matches with Low Ki and Jerry Lynn. Styles says he didn’t put much thought into it, but Panda Energy came in and then it started to feel really big. Austin asks his thoughts on Dixie Carter buying the company, and Styles says things really started to pick up after this, noting the signings of Samoa Joe, Christian and Kurt Angle as where things blew up.
Austin asks if the TNA stars ever thought they could be competition for WWE, and Styles says that was the goal. Austin asks if Styles ever felt like he played second fiddle to some of the bigger name signings in TNA, and Styles says he did for a bit. He says he knows you can’t be at the top all of the time, but it’s up to you to work back to that top spot. Austin also asks about the six sided ring, and Styles says he always did and still believes different is good, and that ring set them apart, but working in a square ring is like paradise, citing a story about taking suplexes from Kurt Angle.
Austin asks about who the “Phenomenal One” is, and Styles says he is the guy that thinks he can pull off anything at anytime, and he’s having fun and Austin says he loves to hear that. He asks why Styles left TNA, and Styles says he was asked to take a paycut which he thought was unfair, and he bet on himself and knew he could go to Ring of Honor and New Japan and prove his worth. They talk about the differences between Japanese and American wrestling crowds, and Styles says the crowds in Japan are quieter, but the wrestling is the same. Styles leads to the story about joining Bullet Club, saying he started right at the top and it followed Finn Balor leaving the group for NXT.
Styles says he worked in Japan before, but this time he was surprised and it was unbelievable because he really didn’t know how good Okada, Nakamura and current talents really were. Austin asks about how Styles has been able to innovate so much, and Styles says he just wanted to be very different, and he wants fans to think of his moves as unique. He says he wants to put his own twist on things, and Austin references Nakamura’s strong style, and asks about Styles putting a little extra into some strikes. Styles says he hasn’t heard anything negative, and he likes to bring it and wants to
Styles talks about his big moments, and talks about how great the reaction was at the Royal Rumble, and Austin asks why now was the right time. He says he reached out to WWE but initially didn’t hear anything and says he was OK with that. He talks about how he wanted to come home to his family after New Japan, and talks about how talks resumed between him and TNA. He says then Triple H called and he just knew WWE was where he needed to be, and he had to let New Japan know, citing Karl Anderson as the one who told NJPW’s Gedo they (Styles, Anderson, Gallows) were all leaving the promotion.
Austin talks about the differences between WWE and other companies Styles worked for, and Styles says he’s been completely happy. Styles talks about knowing who to go talk to here, where before he wasn’t sure who he could go to. He says WWE has given him every opportunity to succeed, and talks about Vince McMahon telling him what he expected out of him. Austin asks about Styles’ first Wrestlemania moment, and Styles says it was awesome and talks about the lack of crowd noise because of how big the stadium was.
Styles tells a story about how his kids were a little disappointed that he lost at Wrestlemania, but he says he knew a bit about the plans for the next night (the #1 contender’s match). He says he made sure his family was there for that, but he didn’t go home unhappy because he was at Wrestlemania.
Styles talks about after his career winds up and says he hopes there’s a job here for him later on where he can help people. Styles says right now, he is only scratching the surface as to what he can do, and he says there’s a lot more to come but he’s saving it so it remains special. Austin sums up Styles’ WWE accomplishments so far, and thanks him for coming on the show.