During his career, which began in January 1999, AJ Styles fought in the most important wrestling federations in history: World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE), World Championship Wrestling (WCW), Extreme Championship Wrestling (ECW), National Wrestling Alliance (NWA) , New Japan Pro-Wrestling (NJPW), Total Nonstop Action Wrestling (TNA), Ring of Honor (ROH), Asistencia Asesoría y Administración (AAA) and Consejo Mundial de Lucha Libre (CMLL).
Styles first appeared in WWE (then the World Wrestling Federation) in 2002, but turned down a developmental contract he was offered with the company. He signed a multi-year contract with WWE fourteen years later in January 2016, making his full-time debut that month and going on to win the WWE Championship in September.
With his second WWE Championship victory in Manchester, England in November 2017, Styles was recognized by WWE as the first wrestler to win the title outside of North America.
AJ Styles on TNA wanting to cut his pay
On the latest edition of the After The Bell Podcast, Styles explained how TNA wanting to cut his pay.
“If you want to put a chip on my shoulder, go ahead and basically tell me what I’m not worth what I’m asking for. I feel like that’s what happened to me. Everything you did for us, it was great, but you’re not worth as much as you’re thinking you are.
OK, I’m gonna go show you, I’m gonna show everybody, I’m gonna bet on myself. And that’s what they didn’t understand either, is that these guys who were ripping me for not being loyal to TNA, they didn’t understand that not only was I leaving and going to pursue something else, I was literally betting on myself" Finally, AJ Styles said, "That’s a risk not a lot of people are willing to make, and it paid off.
This is how I support my family. Loyalty can only go so far, and trust me, when you’re not getting the job done in the ring, or wherever they need you, where’s the loyalty there? This is a business, and they have to do what’s best for their business and I have to do what’s best for mine”.