AJ Styles was the last man to hold the WWE Championship, the company's top prize, for more than a full year with his 371-day run from November 2017 to November 2018. Styles was supposed to face then-Universal Champion Brock Lesnar in a non-title match at that year's Survivor Series, but days before the show he dropped the title to Daniel Bryan on an episode of SmackDown after Bryan cheated to win. Bryan went on to recreate himself as "The Planet's Champion" and had a memorable WrestleMania feud with Kofi Kingston, while Styles has remained in the upper midcard ever since.
During a recent Twitch stream, Styles revealed the backstage reason why his title reign ended the way it did.. Simply put, WWE thought fans wouldn't want to see a rematch between Lesnar and Styles after seeing it at the same show a year prior.
"I think the reason why you saw that happen was because you already saw Brock Lesnar / AJ Styles and — oh man, I'm just not going to go there," Styles said (h/t Wrestling Inc.). "Not you guys, I'm sure you guys would like to have seen the rematch of AJ Styles and Brock Lesnar but [WWE] didn't think anyone else would."
Styles and Bryan clashed back in May on an episode of SmackDown to crown a new Intercontinental Champion after Sami Zayn was forced to vacate the title. Styles won and has since defended it against Drew Gulak, Matt Riddle and Gran Metalik.
Styles' former OC running buddies Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson recently made the bold claim in an interview that they were trying to get "The Phenomenal One" to return to Impact Wrestling.
"He [Styles] called when he knew that it was actually confirmed but, you know, he's busy doing his schedule in WWE and we were busier than we've ever been," Gallows said. "Putting together all the stuff we're working on so he called and said he was happy once it was done but I don't think we ever actually went to AJ for advice on whether we should do it or not.
Anderson added, "Ultimately, we're going to talk AJ Styles into coming back to Impact. That's what we're doing every single day. We're texting him and telling him to come back."
Styles addressed those comments in a separate Twitch stream.
"I don't know what to think about that; you guys know how I feel about that," Styles said. "Yeah, Gallows and Anderson are trying to get me back [in Impact Wrestling] is what they said. Never say never but I also have said that I would like to finish my career in the WWE. So, we will see."