AJ Styles
AJ Styles attempting to land a forearm strike on Finn Balor. WWE


  • AJ Styles suffered a nasty ankle injury during a house show match in December
  • A cloud of uncertainty hovered over the career of Styles
  • Styles is set to face Seth Rollins at Night of Champions on May 27

AJ Styles made his return to in-ring action on the May 12 episode of SmackDown after months of being on the sidelines due to an ankle injury, but it had him thinking that his career was over then.

Styles revealed as much in an interview with the Daily Mail.

"It was a simple thing, something I've done a million times... I was taking a backdrop, and I could have hit my back on the apron a little bit, but in that couple of seconds of landing on the outside my ankle, depending on the mat and where it was, turned in on me and snapped," Styles was quoted to have said.

"I knew right when I did it, it was one of those things, it was like 'I'm done'. As far as rehab is concerned, as soon as I'm able to rehab, I'm on rehab and it's crazy how being in a boot for a while you forget how there are certain things we take for granted—like walking and running and jumping."

Styles suffered the injury during a WWE house show in Hershey, Pennsylvania as Finn Balor countered his Styles Clash finisher by flipping "The Phenomenal One" over the top rope.

The referee initiated a ten-count that Styles was able to break by entering the ring, but fans in attendance believed that him hobbling in the ring was a part of the in-match story.

It was only when he immediately tagged out of the match plus a roll-up pin finish did the severity of Styles' condition become emphasized as the referee threw up the dreaded "x sign" to the trainers in the back–signifying that Styles really was injured.

WWE heralded his return to the squared circle by having him be involved in a tournament for the remodeled World Heavyweight Championship, with Styles representing the SmackDown bracket as he was brought there via the WWE draft.

Styles would go on to defeat Edge and Rey Mysterio in a triple threat match and then also beat Bobby Lashley in the semifinals for the right to win the new title at the Night of Champions pay-per-view this coming Saturday, May 27 against Seth Rollins.

"[The doctors] said the reason why it's hurting so bad is because there's so much inflammation. Once I realized that and that I wasn't going to tear or rip anything I got after it because I wanted to get better. I was able to focus on jumping and running and stuff like that and it was like overnight it changed," Styles later added.

Since joining WWE in 2016, Styles' star has never waned despite him growing his resume under Total Nonstop Action (TNA) Wrestling as his charismatic presence on the mic coupled with his high work rate inside the ring saw him shoot to the top of the pro wrestling giant.

With him having two WWE Championship reigns under his belt, adding the new-look World Heavyweight Championship to his resume will only further underscore his greatness inside the ring.

AJ Styles, Royal Rumble
AJ Styles (center) during the Royal Rumble match. WWE