AEW manager and pro-wrestling legend Arn Anderson spoke about WrestleMania 32 on the latest edition of his ARN podcast. The Enforcer breaks down why he thinks AJ Styles was booked to lose to Chris Jericho, his first high-stakes matchup since signing with WWE earlier that year. He also talks about how happy everyone was for Matt Cardona (fka Zack Ryder) for winning the I.C. championship in the show’s opening bout. Highlights are below.
Says Styles losing to Jericho at Mania 32 stalled his progress, and that the decision for him to lose was potentially done to see how Styles would react:
Of course [this could be a case of Vince McMahon wanting to beat Styles to see how he’d react]. It’s not the fact that you slow down his [AJ Styles’] progress and the ability to help the company. I never saw anybody — let me just make this statement. Put it in parentheses, put an asterisk by it. I never saw anybody in the history of my time in this business that lost his way into getting over. Name one. Any historians out there, name one and I will gladly bow my head and go, ‘I stand corrected.’ You have to win and you have to have momentum and you have to be in some wars and you have to earn your way and you have to beat some guys that you’re not supposed to beat to be in a position to draw money and all this did was stall AJ Styles I think, who I think a lot of people would say is as good as there is.
On Matt Cardona winning the Intercontinental championship on the same show:
You know who more importantly really dug it? Almost and I’m gonna say almost every piece of talent in that match. When the word got out who they wanted to go over, almost everybody was thrilled. It just energized the room, I heard it from the talent themselves. Everybody was on board because let’s see, Zack Ryder, he looks like a million dollars, he’s a nice kid, he’s on time, works his ass off, is a good worker, went on social media during a time it was said, ‘Go grab the brass ring.’ He went and grabbed it and just got his ass in a sling for his trouble. He did all the right things and he was finally gonna get his due. My God, couldn’t you have just left that on him for a month and see where it went? Again, to cut his water off 24 hours later was insane but he had his moment with his dad that was real. His dad coming in the ring was a real moment and you could see on Zack’s face, he’s going, ‘Jesus dad, get out of here. I don’t think you’re supposed to be in the ring.’ But it was a feel good moment when a nice kid who’s done all the right things finally gets his due. We were all happy for him.
(H/T and transcribed by Post Wrestling)