"I don't think you have to be a Mensa member to figure out that it had an influence on decisions that were made. I was working with the developmental kids in NXT and enjoying that, and got called in for that job. It was a very unique night, to say the least. Ric Flair was coming off maybe the most traumatic time of his life. Reid Flair had recently died of a drug overdose. In hindsight, it might not have been the most timely booking, to get him in that environment. And then you can look at the other side and say maybe it's a good thing to get him out around friends. As it worked out, you'd probably lean more to the former than the latter. But here's the deal. I was conductor of a runaway train. I was supposed to keep it on the tracks and that didn't happen. So I don't have any issues taking responsibility. Did I envision that it would help facilitate my exit? No. But I could see the thinking behind it."
- Jim Ross
"I don't think they give a s--t about (indies) buzz. They only care about their own buzz, which makes sense. You can't solely cater to the niche fan base — it's a tricky demographic to deal with. But you can see somebody get over with those fans and think maybe they can do it in WWE, too. And they see someone who has the passion to chase the dream, traveling around the world. If you have passion, if you're a good performer, those are two of the most important things in wrestling, and they're things you can't manufacture. Some people are naturals. Take Big E Langston; he has such a perfect match of athleticism and charisma, and he looks like an action figure."
While there are still people under the belief that this entire thing is a story line, AJ Styles has now been booked for various independent wrestling shows, including a big match against former WWE signee Kassius Ohno in January, from now until March.