AJ Styles took the WWE by storm in 2016, making his debut at the "Royal Rumble" and then winning the WWE world title and beating John Cena on more than one occasion to hold onto it. In a recent podcast with Sam Roberts, AJ Styles said that he gives samoa joe the credit for paving the way which he followed when he entered the WWE.

How Samoa Joe changed the WWE

Before Samoa Joe arrived in NXT, the WWE usually took wrestlers from other companies like an AJ Styles and renamed them, giving them a new gimmick, and then sending them out pretending that no one knew who they were.

Kevin Owens actually was one of the first to change it because he kept his gimmick but still changed his last name in the WWE. However, Samoa Joe showed up and debuted under his own name with his gimmick intact, and the announcers mentioned his past wrestling in the "indies." He then took fire, with fans cheering for him madly until he won the NXT title and dominated NXT during his time there. Now that Samoa Joe is on the main roster, it is interesting to see how many wrestlers have entered the WWE and kept their names and gimmicks.

AJ Styles and his instant WWE success

AJ Styles did something almost no one else did - he made his WWE debut on the main roster and did it in the Royal Rumble match.

He then started to dominate after his debut, winning a feud with Chris Jericho and then winning the world title in his first year in the WWE. By the time Samoa Joe finally made his main roster debut, AJ Styles had been a world champion, beaten John Cena on multiple occasions, and had the best matches of any WWE superstar in 2016.Of course, Samoa Joe has done well for himself since making his debut and many other wrestlers owe him a debt of gratitude as well for letting them keep their names and individual personalities - from Austin Aries to Bobby Roode to Shinsuke Nakamura to Eric Young. The WWE even brought in the guys from the Cruiserweight and European tournaments and changed almost nothing about them. It is a new era in the WWE, and as AJ Styles says, Samoa Joe paved the way.