While his current WWE contract is set to expire next month, former WWE Champion AJ Styles is reportedly close to singing a new deal with the WWE in the coming weeks.
PWInsider's Mike Johnson reported on Monday via multiple backstage sources that Styles and the company have come to an agreement on every major point of his contract, though they couldn't confirm that he has already signed his name on the dotted line.
We have been told by several sources that the two entities had agreed on all the major points for a new deal," Johnson wrote. "There are some within the company who believe the new deal has already been signed, but we have not been able to 100% confirm that."
Johnson added that there was extra pressure from WWE to get Styles under a new contract, as there was reported concern that he might join All Elite Wrestling if he hit free agency.
After making a name for himself on the independent scene for nearly 15 years in TNA/Impact Wrestling, Ring of Honor and New Japan, Styles finally signed with WWE in 2016 and made his debut during that year's Royal Rumble event. In the past three years he has won both the WWE and United States Championships twice. The last of his reigns as world champion clocked in at 371 days, making him the first wrestler to hold WWE's top prize for more than a year since CM Punk's 434-day reign in 2011-13.
Styles is currently booked to take on Randy Orton at WrestleMania 35 on April 7. Styles threw out the challenge on the most recent episode of SmackDown Live after Orton mocked his background as an indie wrestler, and the WWE made it official several days later.
In an interview with ESPN back in September, Styles explained how he had to break through Vince McMahon's initial expectations in order to avoid getting stuck as a midcard wrestler.
"From my understanding, I was looked at as a mid-card at best in the WWE. That was the plan and I was okay with that because it was still a great job, a great payday and a great way to take care of my family," Styles said. "I didn't necessarily think that's where I was going to be but there was that time when I made my debut and fans knew who I was in Orlando. They made some noise and it was pretty great. Vince [McMahon] assumed it was a fluke. He didn't think too much of A.J. Styles."
"I don't even think I was supposed to be on Raw that next Monday. But the turning point where Vince really saw something in me was when I had a regular match, a babyface match, went out and did my thing," said Styles. I came back to gorilla and Vince says, 'Come here for a second. I've got other guys who can do exactly what you just did out there. You didn't do anything special. I need a pit bull. I need a guy who just attacks. I need a guy who gets after it,'" he continued. "I said, 'Well, I know that guy. I know exactly who that guy is' and there was the opportunity to be on Miz TV and I handled it just like I was ready to eat this guy's lunch and basically, I think the way that turned out was the turning point for Vince," he said. The next thing you know, after WrestleMania, I'm beating Chris Jericho and I'm the No. 1 contender for the WWE Championship against Roman Reigns where we had a couple of fantastic matches."0comments