AJ Styles Talks Joining Monday Night RAW and Signing His Last Contract

The rise of AJ Styles in the WWE has been swift and, no pun intended, phenomenal. After debuting at the Royal Rumble, the Phenomenal One rose to the top of the company by putting on amazing matches and winning championships. His name became synonymous with SmackDown Live, the show the WWE sold to Fox for $1 billion last year.

NowStyles has been moved to Monday Night RAW thanks to the post-Mania Superstar Shake-Up, and a new chapter begins for the 20-year veteran. Although he fell short in his first shot at the Universal Championship, losing to Seth Rollins at Money in the Bank this past Sunday, RAW means a clean slate for Styles as he fights for another shot at the show's top title.

Newsweek caught up with AJ Styles to talk about his transition to Monday Night RAW and his current position in WWE.

Note: This interview has been lightly edited for clarity and length.

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Do you feel the move to RAW is a fresh start?

The fact that I have never been on RAW since the brand split it's definitely fresh, and different, for me. It's something I look forward to when I got pushed to RAW. I needed that. Everyone did. They wanted to see what it would be like if AJ Styles was on RAW and now we got it. You got one great match under your belt now let's see what comes next.

You get to interact with different superstars backstage now that you've gone to RAW. As a veteran of the business do you take it upon yourself to be a locker room leader?

There's always people that will respect what I've done in the business and they would come to me for advice. They see me as one of the older guys that they can talk to and ask questions.

And I take it upon myself to be encouraging because I know how the business can be. It's not easy — and not easy to survive in — because there are so many ups and downs. To have someone there to talk you through it makes it easier. I had that someone in my career and I hope to be that kind of guy in their career.

Mr. McMahon implemented the Wild Card Rule. Do you understand what it is?

The way I understand it, it's first come first serve. So if you're first, then so be it. That's the way it goes down. There's always going to be a reason behind it. I'm not sure what that'll be I don't know if you can win a championship on RAW or SmackDown. Still don't know all the rules, but we'll find out. The best part is that you could see your favorite RAW or SmackDown superstar on either show that's why you have to tune in to watch, that's why it's live.

Do you feel the Wild Card Rule works for you now that you get to be on SmackDown once in awhile?

It's always great to go back home. I'm sure it won't be long before someone goes "this is my house now. You're gone, you've been evicted," like we've heard before. We'll see what happens. It's supposed to be Monday Night Rollins, but if I take the Universal Championship from him in the future I guess I'm building a new home.

Were you surprised you crossed paths with Seth so soon after coming to RAW?

I think everyone was a little surprised that it came so soon, but it may have been the right decision. At first I thought it was way too soon but, at the same time, now that it's over it was the right decision.

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The weeks leading to your Money in the Bank match with Seth you were leaning more toward the "heel" side.

I don't think I was a "heel" in that match, I'm just always aggressive. As a baby face or heel you'll always find that in AJ Styles that's the way I work.I'm a bulldog, man. I get after it! I'm not big enough to hit you with one big move and the match is over, I have to stay on the guy.

You used to be heavily involved with your good brothers, Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson. When are we getting that again?

If it were up to me, we'd be together right now. Those two and myself, we have chemistry, man. It's not something you can teach. And they can be very entertaining. Who knows? Maybe soon we'll be back together again and put on some entertaining matches. But who knows when that'll be. I would love to be back with those guys.

SmackDown is moving to Fox in the fall, you're on the RAW roster but do you feel like you want to be a part of that move?

I don't really know what will happen and how it'll go. The Fox deal is huge. If it's up to me I'll be the first one on that show. I want to be a part of that as well. It's new and fresh and it's going to be fun.

Does the move to Friday make it easier for you guys?

It does make it a little more difficult, to be honest. There is that time in between, and people in our production work both SmackDown and RAW so that may be a bit difficult for them. But for us, it's a little easier because you do have that time in between, but no matter where you put that show there will be difficulties. It is what it is, man. We'll find a way to work around it and make things better.

There's a rise in the independent scene and with new promotions do you feel the WWE benefits from that competition?

As far as the indies and whatnot, I don't think they should ever be competitive with the WWE. They should compete with themselves to make sure they get better everyday because there's no competition, if you want me to be honest. WWE is globally huge. It's unbelievable to know how big the WWE is. People don't understand it.

If you want to succeed, don't compete. Be something different, be the alternative. There's a lot of people that have a good chance, but competition is always a great thing. I hope any company does well so they can be that competition. Competition will always make a better product.

You've done a lot in your relatively short time in the WWE, is there anything you haven't done that you are working towards?

Being the Universal Champion, obviously. There's a lot of things I want to do and they don't involve having every belt I can. That's not what it is. I want to be a household name. I want them to know that when they hear my name they think WWE or when they hear WWE they think AJ Styles. I want to be entertaining and take it to the next level. I want to make people watching from home laugh out loud. There's a lot of things I want to do and they don't always revolve around championships. Just to go out there and entertain.

You just signed your new contract with the WWE, what made it the place you want to continue working?

I can tell you that this contract that I've signed is my last. This is the perfect place for me to be. It's family-oriented, I have no problem taking my family to the shows. It's a PG product, which Ienjoy. I'm in the best place I can be for my career.