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01.08.2018 15:59
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WWE world champion AJ Styles has been on a whirlwind ride over the last 10 months. Since making his WWE debut at the Royal Rumble in January, hes had memorable showdowns with Chris Jericho, Roman Reigns, John Cena and Dean Ambrose?--?to say nothing of James Ellsworth.The most shocking element is how quickly hes accumulated a massive following in the WWE, after decades in the wrestling industry working for every other major company in the world, and risen to the top of the ranks in the company.With Tuesdays release of WWE 2K17, ESPNs Tim Fiorvanti had?the chance to talk with the face that runs the place on SmackDown Live about his love of all things video games, his incredible run over the last year, dream opponents and much, much more.ESPN: AJ, its pretty well documented that youre a big gamer. I saw a video from about 10 years ago where you had a PlayStation 2, an Xbox, a GameCube and a SEGA Dreamcast with a video screen attached, among a great many other things in your game room at home. Whats the setup like these days?AJ Styles: If were talking about my setup now we could talk about all the retro games that I have, like my collection of hand-held systems that most people have forgotten about, but I also still have systems that can play the old games like a RetroN 5 and other craziness. I also have my arcade machines, and then we can move on to the PS4, and the Xbox One, but I like to play my Xbox 360 as well. So I have pretty much everything, man -- I have an addiction, and I admit that.ESPN: When youre on the road, how much of that do you end up taking with you? Is it more about the consoles or the handhelds when youre done wrestling for the night?AJ: Well I actually take my Xbox 360 on the road. I still enjoy playing my 360 because the last game that they made for college football was 2014, so I have it just so I can play that game. There are also some games [for that system] that I never really got into, but now I really enjoy them, like this game called Bullet Storm. I didnt realize how fantastic this game was at the time, but Im rocking it right now and its awesome. Its to a point where a lot the guys will go, What game is that dude? Im like, Dude its actually kind of old. So yeah I still like rocking the 360.ESPN: You have three kids -- are they as enthusiastic as you are when it comes to video games? Have you instilled that in them?AJ: Theyre not as well rounded as I am. My oldest son likes Madden. Thats the one he wants to play, or baseball on the PS4. My second-oldest son, he cant wait for me to get home and take him WWE 2K17. My third son, hes on the Wii U, enjoys Mario Maker and whatnot. So theyre all involved, but theyre all in different age groups.ESPN: Lets talk about WWE 2K17 for a little bit. I think its pretty cool, at least for somebody whos followed your career, that in 2016 in a WWE video game you can have AJ Styles face Samoa Joe. What is that like for you, considering all the different places both of your careers have been?AJ: Its pretty neat. I remember Joe telling me when he signed with WWE, and how cool I thought it was that my buddy is going to come in and make a difference, and I knew he would. Then he makes it in time to be in the game this year, which was unbelievable. I dont know how many people made me in 2K16, but Ive seen a lot of different AJ Styles, and the fact that they dont have to do it this year Im sure is a relief to them. Its just really neat being a part of it all, man.ESPN: In terms of some of the guys who you faced prior to signing with WWE, like a Joe, like a Nakamura, how much are you looking forward to the opportunity to showcasing those kinds of matches for a WWE audience in the future?AJ: Absolutely, I am. I mean, the chemistry I have with both those guys, and other guys that are coming up through NXT or a part of NXT, its kind of one of those things where you cant rush it. But all this stuff is gonna eventually happen. We just have to be patient.ESPN: As the WWE World Champion, you are playing a pretty massive role in whats going on in Smackdown Live right now, where everythings been very well received. For you in particular, we have as our No. 1 in our Power Rankings and were certainly not alone. What is it like to have your work recognized and your level of performance recognized to the degree it has since you joined WWE?AJ: Its huge. Thats what you work for, is to be recognized. Its nice to know that the hard work that youve put in all these years is finally getting the, I dont want to say praise, but you know. I busted my tail for so long, Im just glad its getting recognized now as part of the WWE. Because lets face it, the WWE is the biggest company out there when it comes to wrestling. Im just happy that Im being recognized as somebody who works hard, I guess.ESPN: Ten or 15 years ago, maybe even further back, when you thought about having a career in the WWE, is this sort of what you imagined? How does it compare in terms of what your dreams were and how its actually playing out?AJ: I dont think you really can compare this to anything. Who would have thought that Hey man, by the way, as soon as you get to the WWE, youre gonna get a rocket attached to you. Its gonna be unbelievable. The Royal Rumble being as crazy a night as it was for me, and then within nine months Im the world champion. Thats huge. I dont think anyone expected that, including myself. Time has everything to do with that. I dont think that would have happened years ago. The WWE has changed so much since then as well. Who knows -- if there had been no Daniel Bryan, would there have been no AJ Styles here in WWE? So theres a lot of factors that come into play when talking about the past and where I would see myself in this situation years ago.ESPN: Im curious, do you feel like theres a match or a series of matches that really helped you raise your game, raise your profile, and really put you over the top in terms of actually coming to the WWE?AJ: I dont know. I dont know that they go out and look at other matches and go Thats a guy we need in the WWE. I dont know how that process happens. I think there are definitely guys I worked with before that now work here in the WWE, and they might go This guys great, lets give him a shot.ESPN: What about from your side? Is there something you feel like you picked up while you were in Japan thats really kind of been key to your success that youve had here in the WWE?AJ: I think that I made a lot of noise in my career, and with my work ethic when I was in Japan. I think a lot of people were noticing what was going on. Especially with Tanahashi and Nakamura, having so many amazing matches with those guys. Whos to say? Do I think Vince McMahon was looking at my matches in Japan going We need him? No. He wasnt, hes too busy. Theres no way. But somebody may have been looking and going all right, I like this guy. Lets give him a shot.ESPN: For people who havent watched New Japan or dont really know what its like, what was your experience like being able to main event a Wrestle Kingdom show in front of a Tokyo Dome crowd?AJ: I was also a fan of Japanese wrestling [before I went there]. I watched a lot of VHS tapes from Japan, and to be able to wrestle in the Tokyo Dome at one of the biggest shows of the year was really cool for me. It was my Wrestlemania moment before I had a Wrestlemania moment. And to be able to say that I did a WrestleKingdom and a Wrestlemania in the same year, I dont think theres too many people that can say theyve done that. And I love that. I love being one of those guys that can say that I was on two of the biggest shows of the year.ESPN: Given the chance, whether you have three or five or 10 Wrestlemanias ahead of you, is there a list you have, like a must-face guy or a dream opponent that you would like to face at some point?AJ: I always say when it comes to dream matches that is not up to me, thats up to the WWE Universe. Thats up to the fans. But there is a guy on SmackDown that I have yet to wrestle yet thats certainly gonna happen at some point, and thats Randy Orton.ESPN: My very last question, Ill swing back to WWE 2K17. If you have to choose one of your greatest opponents to face in the game ...AJ: Sting.ESPN: Okay, Ill make it harder -- one of your great opponents who has never been in a WWE video game to be in a future edition of WWE 2K, in an AJ Styles story mode or just to be able to use them in the game.AJ: Oh man. Thats never been in the WWE. Wow, thats tough, man. That may be the most difficult question Ive ever had. I mean think about that, who would you love to see in there that hasnt been there at least in one of the games, because theyve had so many legends in there before. Phew.How about Jushin Thunder Liger. When you think about all the maneuvers and stuff that hes come up with and what hes done in the ring, thats a pretty big gap to fill. So thatd be pretty cool. DaRon Payne Jersey . William Carrier opened the scoring for Cape Breton (6-4-2), but Andrew Ryan tied the game and Brent Andrews put the Mooseheads (8-6-0) in front for good with a short-handed goal at 13:49 of the second period. Redskins Official Jerseys . Robredo, ranked No. 16, bounced back from an upset loss to Leonardo Mayer in the second round of the Royal Guard Open in Chile last week to down Carreno Busta in 1 hour, 25 minutes. On a day filled mostly with qualifying matches, fifth-seeded Marcel Granollers of Spain also entered the second with a 7-5, 3-6, 6-2 win over Aljaz Bedene of Slovenia, while Guido Pella of Argentina defeated Guillermo Garcia-Lopez of Spain 7-6 (6), 6-4 to advance. . -- Yogi Ferrell orchestrates pretty much everything in Indianas offence. Geron Christian Jersey . The news was first reported on Gonzalezs Twitter account and confirmed by the Rockies. Gonzalez has a six-week window before position players have their first workout at spring training in Arizona. Derrius Guice Jersey . -- San Francisco 49ers linebacker Ahmad Brooks was fined $15,570 by the NFL on Wednesday for his hit on Saints quarterback Drew Brees last Sunday. When it comes to megawatt star power, Saturdays UFC Fight Night in Salt Lake City is lacking -- but it might offer an early look at a future champ.Featherweight Yair Rodriguez, of northern Mexico, sure looks like a stud in the making. The 23-year-old won the inaugural season of The Ultimate Fighter: Latin America in 2014 and is now 4-0 in the UFC.His last performance, a vicious head-kick knockout over Andre Fili in April, turned heads and likely played a part in him headlining his first event.Hell face 28-year-old Alex Caceres, a fellow TUF contestant who has held his own in the UFC but struggled with consistency. His overall UFC mark is 7-6.Lets take a closer look at Saturdays featherweight main event. Dont agree with these picks? Let me know on Twitter: @bokamotoESPN.Main eventYair Rodriguez (8-1) vs. Alex Caceres (12-8) Featherweights Odds: Rodriguez -310; Caceres +255Its no secret the UFC wouldnt mind having a young Mexican star on its roster right now. It wouldnt mind having several of them.In 2013, the UFC launched a development program that handpicked Mexican prospects to live and train in the U.S. This group eventually became the first TUF Latin America cast, and Rodriguez emerged as the cream of the crop.In some ways, hes an anomaly to mixed martial arts in Mexico. Generally speaking, Mexican fighters have a lot of ground to catch up on in the grappling realm with most coming from a single-discipline background. Rodriguez, on the other hand, rose to the level of black belt in taekwondo before the UFC laid eyes on him. He also trained in judo multiple years and had some experience in boxing, karate and Brazilian jiujitsu.These days, he trains with striking coach Mike Valle, whom he met in the development program. His wrestling coach is Mark Perry, a two-time NCAA Division I national champion out of the University of Iowa. His style is creative and nontraditional -- the phrase effectively wwild comes to mind.ddddddddddddThe best way to stifle him is probably to take him down. Hes a dangerous guy to shoot in on, but the last thing you want to do is give him freedom at a kickboxing range. He frequently switches stances, and the footwork -- and angles -- he uses to set up his offense is downright artistic. He figures to have a pretty significant power advantage over Caceres, although Caceres should be a breath faster.To be clear, getting Rodriguez to the floor isnt a sure path to victory. He has an active guard and has demonstrated an ability to throw nasty elbows off his back. That doesnt mean you cant score points (or hurt him) from top position, but its not necessarily a picnic doing so.Caceres is unpredictable in his own right, which, if nothing else, should make for an entertaining fight. Caceres isnt the type to take a physical, clinch/takedown-heavy approach. Hes relatively small for the division and he tends to fight as such. He relies on speed and timing on the feet and scrambling ability when bigger opponents look to take him down. Hes a talented featherweight, but stylistically, hell have to beat Rodriguez in elements of his own game.The fact this is a five-round main event might favor Caceres. As flashy as he can be, hes also pretty calm. Rodriguez is aggressive, and the risks he takes in the Octagon have big potential payouts. They also require energy. Im not sure I expect this to make it to the fourth and fifth rounds, but if it does, it would be interesting to see if Caceres has an advantage in the gas tank and how hes able to use it.Prediction: People tend to underrate Caceres, and theyre doing it again ahead of this one. That said, its tough to outright pick him against an opponent with such prolific offense. Rodriguez via second-round TKO. Cheap Nike NFL Jerseys Wholesale Black NFL Jerseys Cheap NFL Womens Jerseys Wholesale NFL Autographed Jerseys Cheap NFL Jerseys Authentic China NFL Jerseys White Cheap NFL T-shirts ' ' '

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