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Raven Says AJ Styles Was Just A Non-Stop High Flyer With No Fundamentals In His Early Days


During a recent edition of “The Raven Effect” podcast, WWF/WCW/ECW/TNA Veteran Raven discussed Jinder Mahal losing the WWE Championship to AJ Styles. Below are the highlights:

Host: Jinder had been in like some seriously scrub gimmicks like just enhancement talent style stuff and then when the brand extension or split happened, he was given this opportunity and now he was WWE Champion for a while. Had wins over Randy Orton.

And it just kind of, I guess, if you believe what the internet had to say or just look at ratings, it just really wasn’t catching fire. This is a guy who put in a ton of work, got his body looking great, he definitely like upped his game, but when sort of put in the position to be a champion he just couldn’t really get people behind him as a heel, as the face of the company.

When you see stuff like that, do you think about like the programs they’re putting him in, do you think that this might be a guy who just didn’t have that fifth gear and wasn’t sort of meant to be in this sort of position? Like having been there yourself. What does it mean to be their top guy? Like what does it take?

Raven: There’s a sort of unique connection you have with the fans. First of all, you have to really connect with the fans on an emotional, visceral level. Some people do and some people don’t. Some people are just never going to connect that way. Some people are always going to connect whether they’re being jobbed out or not. That’s rare, but it happens. I mean that’s really charisma.

It really all depends and then like you can look at Rey Mysterio. They put him in the sh*ttiest programs. He was the only World Champion ever at that time to get beat regularly in non-title matches and yet he still drew. It didn’t matter how little he was because he was so magnetic.

You beat him and you beat him, he’s still over. That happens to heels a lot as they get beaten and beaten because people think that they’re invincible, but nobody is invincible and you can break somebody as well and break their drawing power, but you can always reheat them up, get them going again.

Host: I met AJ Styles when he was super young. Bob Ryder brought AJ around a couple times when AJ was in NWA Wildside and he was super young. I met him and I was just like “oh man, this kid’s gonna a big star”.

It wasn’t because of his size. I mean he was already super athletic and could do great things in the ring, but he just had a sort of, I don’t know, like a presence and he sort of certainly took his time finding himself.

Raven: I’m not sure I saw that. When I first saw him I was also prejudiced because he’d been put over so hard by the sheets and he was just a non-stop high flyer. I thought he had no fundamentals. I could tell he had the star power, he had the ability to be a high flyer, but whether he was going to be any more than that was up in the air because his personality wasn’t quite there and his fundamentals weren’t. But like I said, when I started working with him, he was the fastest student I’ve ever seen.

I mean it is so hard to take some of these advice especially with something that’s physical. You have to translate to physicality and apply it because it’s a mental. The mental thing is you have to change the way you’re thinking or so you have to do that.

But then you have to change the way your body physically reacts to it and so often people just can’t. It takes them a while. You have to keep putting it in their head. But him, you put in his head and boom. So at a certain point, yeah I absolutely saw that he had potential but in the beginning I saw a potential for high-flying status, but I didn’t see it for what he became which is fantastic actually.

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