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AJ Styles talks thinking he'd never make it to WWE, Enzo's injury and why Shawn Michaels is the best on Sportscenter

Which is crazier... that former TNA World champ and IWGP Heavyweight champ AJ Styles is main eventing WWE pay-per-view (PPV) events, or that there was a very chance he'd wrestle for two decades without ever stepping foot in a WWE ring?

The Phenomenal One told Jonathan Coachman on SportsCenter last night, in the video you can see above, that he'd made his peace with the fact he might never make it to the biggest wrestling company in the world:

I had learned to live with it. I mean you watch so many PPVs and WrestleManias that you just go "well, it's not ever gonna happen for me", so I just accepted it. It was just the way it was. I was happy doing what I'm doing but to never be on WrestleMania... it's a pretty sad thing.

Coach and AJ also talk about his emotions when he finally made his debut at Royal Rumble, and the importance of social media in his being immediately recognized by the WWE Universe (also a nice plug for the company's excellent online numbers in the face of stagnant traditional broadcast ratings).

In this clip, Styles names his "dream opponent", none other than the Heartbreak Kid, Shawn Michaels:

Well, I mean, Shawn Michaels made everything mean something. Whether it was a punch, a slam, a kick or whatever he did, it meant something. Even if he didn't do anything crazy, you always walked away with like, "wow, what a great match!" And you really can't explain why, and it's because he did all the little things that mattered, that made it a great match. And that's what I admire about Shawn Michaels. That's someone I want to be like.

That match will likely remain a "dream" however. When the host mentions what great shape Michaels looked to be in at Mania 32 and wonders if AJ could convince him to have that match, Styles responded:

I've heard someone ask him before, and it doesn't sound like he's coming out... ever. But I don't blame him - the time that he's put in, he deserves the retirement.

Their interview actually opened by touching on Enzo Amore's injury from Payback, something AJ descibed as "a little scary to watch". It's interesting that WWE knows there's interest in the knockout (similar to how there would be in non-scripted combat sports), despite it calling attention to concussions in pro graps. They are sure to have everyone mention their post-concussion testing protocols, so it serves as a plug for those as well.

SportsCenter also included highlights from Chicago and the next night in St. Louis, but they seem to have done away with the "Top" moment callouts.

Still a great highlight package - which is no surprise coming from ESPN & WWE.

They also did a "Post-to-Post" feature where Coach asked quick questions while they walked around the ring. They covered, among other things, AJ's love of hip-hop (including a misleading question about DMX doing his entrance music), college football and video games:

AJ Styles is doing high profile press appearances for WWE as a main eventer. Perhaps it is a "new era"?

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