Arn Anderson says he pushed for AJ Styles and other TNA Originals to make it to WWE long before they ever were on the radar.
AJ Styles signed to WWE in 2016, immediately making an impact. Bobby Roode signed later the same year and took NXT by storm. Arn Anderson is now revealing that he tried to sign both TNA Originals long before WWE ever thought of hiring names with such experience.
On his podcast, the former WWE producer and current AEW manager, discussed telling John Cena directly that he felt making these hires would give him and others greater opportunities and fresh opponents.
“I pushed for AJ. There was a point in time when Cena had about run out of opponents and I was on that whole ride with John, you know, for all those years. You know, more than a decade, I would imagine. We were sitting there and I was talking to him, and it was when TNA was doing well and I would watch their show. You know, not every week, not every other week, probably because I was just too busy and suffering from burn out on wrestling,” Arn began. “But, I was sitting there with Cena one afternoon, we're sitting out there backstage at a table. I said, 'you know, John, it would really beef up the company if we would go out and we would steal Bobby Roode, AJ Styles and, Cowboy, who was James Storm.' If you just brought those three guys in, it would just give you a whole plethora of new opponents. It would give a lot of guys new opponents and that's just those three guys that are singled out because of their work and and their psychology and just things that that I knew I could benefit [and] help them and they would catch right on and they would be a very, very good fit.”
John Cena was less than receptive suggesting that WWE makes their own stars.
“The fact is, John looked at me and said, 'hey, we've got NXT, we make our own stars.' I'm sure he was just transferring Vince's psychology to me when he said that,” recalled Arn. “But I knew at that time what those guys could do in a match for John. If you just gave them six to nine months to come in and get over, but you would have to push him the right way, just like they were a fresh, 25-year-old body guy that you had hoped the stars for. You know, that's what comes from the top. That's the deal. 'We want them young. We want them to have great physiques, great athletes, and we'll bring him in and we'll build them.' Well, these guys had their experience. They already had their teeth cut on the indies, TNA, they were experienced. They were ready. You could bring them in day one [and debut them on Raw or SmackDown] and you had a player. AJ Styles, and Bobby Roode, and Cowboy, they were all on my radar for a while before they ever made it.”
During their time in TNA, all three men were members of Fortune. That group was inspired by The Four Horsemen and led by Ric Flair.
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