The beginning of AJ Styles’ career in the WWE had some unknowns about how WWE Chairman Vince McMahon would use him considering that he didn’t work in WWE NXT before making his main roster debut.
Former WWE creative writer Jimmy Jacobs talked about this topic while doing a recent interview with Sean Ross Sapp of Fightful.com.
Jacobs started out by stating that McMahon was skeptical of him for every reason that most people could think as he made his debut at the Royal Rumble in 2016 and got a great reaction from the fans. Despite this, McMahon “was still skeptical and said ‘well that’s just one audience.’ Can he talk? What’s his character? Does anybody know who he is? All the reasons you would think.”
However, McMahon was the one who made the decision to have AJ work with Roman Reigns a few months later as they had pitched ideas and figured you’d want to give him a strong heel. He recalled Chris Jericho and Kevin Owens being strong heels at the time. Instead, McMahon stated that Styles would be the guy.
“You have to give the devil his due in those moments.” said Jacobs.