Back at the 2016 Royal Rumble, AJ Styles made his WWE debut after spending his career wrestling for the likes of TNA, New Japan Pro-Wrestling and Ring Of Honor. The Phenomenal One made an instant impact entering at number three and he would eliminate Tyler Breeze and Curtis Axel before being tossed over the top rope by Kevin Owens after 28 minutes.
WrestleMania 32 was the subject of a recent episode of the ARN podcast and Arn Anderson noted Styles would have been a good choice to win the Rumble and then face Roman Reigns in Arlington.
"If you backed all the way up to the Royal Rumble, that was our first sighting of him, what if [AJ Styles] would have went over? You just temporarily, just for a moment, moved Roman out of that spot. Now, AJ Styles on his inaugural introduction to WWE, wins the Royal Rumble, goes out and what if he would've beat Triple H for that championship and gave him another four to five weeks to get ingrained in people's psyche," Anderson said.
"If you just took Roman and put him aside for a second, and let AJ get over till SummerSlam, could you imagine how hot he would've been by SummerSlam? Now you have Roman challenge the new guy, the babyface, AJ Styles and screw him out of it. Now you've got that guy that you have today, the heel Roman which I've said from day one he should've been a heel all this time so that by now, you would've had to turn him babyface. You wouldn't have been dealing with all the backlash."
While he wouldn't win the WWE Championship in his debut match, Styles did win the title later that year at Backlash 2016 and he has held the belt a combined 511 days across two reigns.
H/T to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription