AJ Styles | Vince McMahon Not a Fan at First, Who Stepped In

The story behind AJ Styles joining WWE is an interesting one. Who convinced Vince McMahon to sign him, and who was his theme music initially intended for?

AJ Styles theme music and his debut at WWE's 2016 Royal Rumble in a black leather vest [Photo courtesy of WWE.com]
AJ Styles debuts at WWE’s 2016 Royal Rumble [Photo courtesy of WWE.com]

The Story Behind the Theme Music of AJ Styles

To hear an interesting story about AJ Styles and his theme music, watch the Table For Three episode on the WWE Network with Road Dogg Jesse James, Jeff Jarrett, and Elias. You will see a great show featuring all three singing a rendition of “Baby Tonight,” as if the 2018 Hall Of Fame version wasn’t enough.

Long-time friends Jarrett and James chatted about the good old days while Elias sat there quietly eating his food looking somewhat out of place. The conversation inevitably moved along to music considering all three have a great connection with it. That’s when the topic of AJ Styles’ theme music popped up.

It turns out it wasn’t made for him at all, but James Storm, one half of Beer Money with Bobby Roode in TNA, who also had a very brief stint in NXT. WWE wrote what is now Styles’ entrance song for Storm, but The Cowboy decided against staying with the company and went back to TNA instead.

Related: James Storm on the Best Rib He Ever Pulled

“That was originally written and developed for James Storm,” Road Dogg describes, “and James passed [on the theme song] and went a different direction. AJ stepped in, and it just worked out perfectly.”

How the WWE Signed AJ Styles

When AJ Styles first arrived in the WWE, Vince McMahon wasn’t taken on him at all. Now I know that’s not exactly shocking considering McMahon’s track record with smaller guys, but what may come as a surprise is who convinced Vince to sign The Phenomenal One. That man? Triple H. The Game has been behind many notable signings for the company over the past few years, and he practically begged Vince to sign Styles to a WWE contract. Luckily for us all, The Chairman caved in.

In a 2017 media call, Triple H had this to say about it. “At the time, the thought process was that Styles was available and there’s an opportunity there. [Styles] felt that everyone should have that little period of time to go through that process (NXT) because the learning curve is so sharp and so steep,” he continued. “You can come in the door thinking, ‘I don’t want to do this, and I’m good to go,’ and then it hits you and you’re like, ‘Wow! This is not what I was thinking.’”

With AJ Styles in New Japan, he was in talks with TNA to return. A handshake and written deal between AJ and TNA were agreed upon, but as fate would have it, negotiations fell apart shortly after. AJ wanted a return to America, but couldn’t find a door ajar. As it turns out, the door he would eventually find would be in Stamford, Connecticut, home to WWE. It didn’t take long for Styles to walk through. In fact, it was more like a sprint.

“It ended up that WWE had paid no attention to AJ at all when he left TNA the first time, and all of a sudden after two years of proving he’s a top star, Triple H got in touch and said, ‘Hey, we’re interested!’” AJ Styles’ agent, Bill Behrens, recounts in an interview with CBS Sports.

Behrens continued to say, “WWE made it easy to get the deal done. Unlike negotiations with TNA, WWE attorneys conducted themselves professionally, and the contracts offered didn’t include any one-sided ‘gotchas’ that are commonplace in entertainment agreements.”

Not long after the agreements were signed, AJ Styles emerged through the curtains and into the WWE Universe at the 2016 Royal Rumble to a thunderous ovation at the Amway Center in Orlando. His arrival reinforced what fans had known for years; he belongs in WWE. And as for Triple H, it proved that his gamble paid off. It’s just a shame it took so long for WWE to realize AJ’s worth.

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James Klonowski
James Klonowski is a contributor for Pro Wrestling Stories. He has done work for WrestleTalk, Total Wrestling and also PowerSlam. He can be reached on Twitter @JK_CFC3.