Upon joining WWE full-time in 2016, the first man AJ Styles ever shared the ring with was Roman Reigns, in that year's Royal Rumble match. The two faced off in major bouts since then, most notably for Reigns' WWE championship at a couple of pay-per-views that spring.
Styles affirmed to the Irish Sun that his matches with Reigns went a long way in boosting his standing with the company.
"You have this indie guy in 2016. This guy from Japan just walked right in there and step in the ring with Roman Reigns," Styles recalls. "Now the perfect scenario was in place because not everybody loved Roman. Now he is definitely one of the biggest stars but not everyone loved Roman then and so you have this indie darling, right? And it was like, oh, they made it easy for me to be in there with Roman, because Roman is such a huge star.
"It only got better from there when I had the opportunity to get in the ring with Roman, one of the pay per views, actually a couple of pay per views I think. When I’ve got a title opportunity, it was against Roman Reigns. Unbelievable match. I’ve watched it back. Wow. I can’t believe we did all this stuff that was really good. So, yeah, Roman Reigns is a big part of the reason why my career’s where it’s at."