At the exhilarating WWE live event on December 29, 2022, AJ Styles endured a distressing setback as he suffered a grievous ankle fracture while executing a daring maneuver over the top rope. Subsequently, Styles was compelled to observe a lengthy hiatus until his triumphant comeback in May, wherein he engaged in a scintillating triple threat encounter against Rey Mysterio and Edge.
Following this remarkable display, he subsequently partook in a captivating singles confrontation against the formidable Bobby Lashley, all as part of the esteemed WWE World Heavyweight Title tournament. During an interview with Mark Andrews on My Love Letter to Wrestling,
Styles was prompted to reflect upon his journey back from injury.
At least they didn't throw me in two matches and then throw me in a world championship match as soon as I get back. Oh wait, they did," he said. "If you've ever been hurt, there is nothing like being in wrestling ring shape. The only way to do that is getting in a ring and wrestling. It doesn't matter how much cardio you do outside of the ring, it doesn't prepare you for in-ring. A little worried, but after being in the ring, I was like, 'I'm okay, I'll be alright.'"
Styles continued, "This is the longest I've ever been out with an injury. I say this to people, after 24 years, I was due to have a pretty good injury. The last injury I had that kept me out was in TNA and I was out for six weeks, I tore my hip labrum. I was in a boot for a while, and I felt like I was trying to learn how to do things again. 'Hold on a second, I've been doing this for 45 years, how did I not know how to walk right?' It was really painful in some places.
I went and got another MRI and once I realized it was this inflammation, the bones pretty much healed, the inflammation is pain, once I knew that in my head, 'Okay, I'm not going to tear anything, I'm not going to re-break anything, I can get after it.' Once that mental block was gone, it was easier for me to focus on what I needed to do and it seemed like it progressed a lot quicker."
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