As previously noted, current and defending WWE Champion AJ Styles recently spoke with Lilian Garcia for the former WWE ring announcer’s podcast Chasing Glory. Among many other things, Styles talked about his feud with former WWE Champion Jinder Mahal, how Mahal took losing the title to Styles prior to Survivor Series (2017), possibly main eventing WrestleMania 34 with Shinsuke Nakamura, and why earning something is better than deserving it.
On the subject of working with Jinder Mahal, Styles indicated that the Canadian grappler was not accustomed to working like a top guy.
“At first, it was different.” Styles said, “Jinder Mahal came in and went straight to the top when he came to SmackDown and it was a position he wasn’t in. And when you get to this upper level, things change in the way that you work in the ring, the way you act, everything. And he had to learn really quick basically how to be a big star in WWE, which sounds easy, but it’s not.”
Styles went on to say that Jinder Mahal was a good brother about dropping the WWE Championship to ‘The Phenomenal One’ before Survivor Series. While it appeared as though WWE stalled Mahal, Styles suggested that things are cyclical in WWE and ‘The Modern Day Maharaja’ will get another shot at WWE’s top spot in time.
“He took it well. I literally said, ‘Jinder, what do you think?’ I wanted to know what he thought, if he was okay with it, because that’s important to me that, ‘I’m not better than you. You’ve been a great champion. What do you think, man?’ and he was okay with it. Again, he has been in the business for a while now, so he was very mature in the way he handled it and I appreciate that.” Styles continued, “sometimes you have to wait for your tour and sometimes it takes longer than you’d like, but eventually you’ll be back on top.”
Styles, who did not main event WrestleMania last year, discussed having the opportunity to close the show at ‘The Showcase Of The Immortals’ this year with Nakamura. In Styles learned view, if his world title match versus ‘The Combat Artist’ does not go on last, WWE is going to wish it had.
“There could be a chance of headlining WrestleMania this year. I’ve got to make it through Fastlane before I can do this, but if I get the opportunity to wrestle Shinsuke Nakamura at WrestleMania, a match that no one has seen on U.S. soil, and only happened once in Japan, this could be huge.” Styles explained, “I need some payback [for NJPW Wrestle Kingdom 10], but he doesn’t have the home field advantage this time. So it’s exciting to think that something like that could happen, even if it’s not the main event. They’re going to wish it had been. I expect this match to be amazing. Nakamura is a great talent here and I feel like we’re going to tear the place apart, to be honest with you.”