The response to The Undertaker’s apparent retirement at WrestleMania last month was unprecedented in its size and scale. In an interview with Inside The Ropes, AJ Styles became the latest to discuss what was seemingly "The Phenom’s" farewell moment.
"I can tell you I was emotional because he's my friend. He and I have got a relationship ... Both of us have the same friend that we're very close to, so he and I developed this relationship without even knowing each other that well,” Styles said. “But it was heartbreaking a little bit because this is the guy that's been here for so long and has shaped the WWE into what it is now. And, is he gone? I don't know, but you would assume.”
“I think there were some tears from the fans that were probably (because) they may have seen the last of The Undertaker. At the end of the day, if he's done, I respect the heck out of him for doing it his way and doing what he wanted to do in his last match. He is everything to the WWE and I'm thankful I had the opportunity meet him and have a great conversation with him. He’s a great guy, and if he's gone and that was the last one, he will be missed."
Though Undertaker's dramatic sendoff certainly seemed to signal the end, his retirement is still unconfirmed even if highly likely. Following Undertaker's return in November 2016, some fans hoped to see a match between him and Styles as ‘The Phenomenal One’ surged in popularity at the end of last year. However, it simply wasn’t mean to be with The Undertaker’s solitary 2017 singles match instead coming against Roman Reigns. On that same night Styles opened the main card, facing Shane McMahon in a match that was certainly controversial on paper. Many felt that it was a waste of Styles’ ability but nonetheless, inside the ropes, the pair undeniably delivered and began the show in style.
"I'm absolutely proud of that match. I also think that most people go 'Ugh! Shane McMahon and AJ Styles?!' Their expectations were very low, which made it easier for Shane and I because we could only go up,” Styles continued. “Shane puts 110% into everything he does, especially what happens in the ring. I was very happy with that; I felt like we did very well. I don't know if it was the match of the night, but we gave them something they totally didn't expect."
Now with his first WrestleMania victory in the books, Styles sets his sights on the United States title as he faces Kevin Owens at next Sunday’s Backlash event. and to see Inside The Ropes' original video with Styles, click here.