AJ Styles is the new face of WWE 2K19.
“So many things have been unexpected for me in the WWE, and this is one of them,” said Styles. “There are a lot of other people that deserve to be on the cover, I could name several, but there have only been a few who’ve actually done it. To be one of those few is huge to me.”
Styles has made a career out of proving people wrong, including high-ranking WWE executives who thought the longtime TNA star would be out of place in the big leagues of WWE.
“My road to becoming WWE champion was not an easy one,” admitted Styles. “Throughout my career, I encountered many obstacles, but my journey led me here to the WWE, a place many said I’d never reach. So many times in my career I’ve heard it said, ‘Never say never.’ I am humbled and honored to announce that I will serve as your WWE 2K19 cover superstar.”
“Never say Never” will serve as the official global campaign theme for WWE 2K19, which will be released worldwide on October 9 for PlayStation 4, XBox One, and Windows PC. Styles replaces Seth Rollins on the cover of WWE’s video game franchise with 2K.
“Seth, you’re out, dude,” said Styles at a WWE 2K virtual press conference. “And not only will I appear on the cover of this year’s game, but I’m a massive gamer myself. I can’t wait for you to learn and see what Team 2K has in store for you this year.”
The 41-year-old Styles is the reigning WWE champion, successfully defending his title Sunday night at Money in the Bank in a memorable affair against Shinsuke Nakamura. He issued a new challenge to anyone who believes they can beat him in the game: the WWE 2K19 Million Dollar Challenge.
Eligible entrants will have to beat a to-be-announced new mode in the game, as well as submit a promotional video that details why they will beat Styles, then advance to the semi-finals of this competition and, finally, defeat three other semi-finalists. The winner will then compete against Styles, one-on-one, in WWE 2K19 with a million-dollar prize for tapping out the “Phenomenal One.”
“The problem with the whole ‘Million Dollar Challenge’ is I don’t like to lose,” said Styles. “I’m not going to make it easy. If they’re going to win a million dollars, I’m going to put them to the test. I know there are some gamers out there who will dedicate themselves 24/7 to making sure they are the best, and I’m looking forward to the competition.”
“If you win the contest and beat me in WWE 2K19, you can win one million dollars,” said Styles, who is not going to make fans dribble a basketball 15 consecutive times to win the prize. “So, let’s get right to it, never say never. Let’s make the moment come alive that was never supposed to happen until now.”
For those who think their chances of winning are next-to-impossible, Styles relayed a message that buoyed him throughout his journey.
“Too many times in my career I heard that said,” said Styles. “But never say never. So let the quest begin to face me for one million dollars. WWE 2K19 and the Million Dollar Challenge are going to be nothing short of phenomenal.”
Although the talent roster has not yet been released for WWE 2K19, the game will allow for some dream matchups between wrestlers from past and present generations. Styles was asked if he has dream opponents in WWE.
“Of course there’s Samoa Joe,” said Styles. “He’s on the SmackDown roster now, so I’m assuming, sometime or another, that’s going to happen. Also, I’ve really only wrestled Randy Orton one time, so I could see that happening again. Right now, SmackDown is easily one of the toughest rosters. There are many match-ups I’d like to be a part of that certainly can happen now.”
Styles also touched on whether there are any stars in NXT who he would like brought up to the main roster.
“I gotta admit, I don’t get to watch NXT as much as I would like,” said Styles. “There’s a time and a place for guys to come up and make their debut on the main roster. Sometimes it’s a little bit of a different style in NXT, so there’s a little bit of change that comes to the main roster. They have to develop their style to see how it’s going to work on the main roster, as well. There are a lot of guys and a lot of cool things happening in NXT, so it won’t be long before you guys see some of your favorite NXT stars in WWE. SAnitY just made their way up, so I’m really excited about that with [fellow TNA alum] Eric Young.”
In many ways, the 2K cover star is the promotional face of the company for the next year, and Styles plans on representing the people who helped place him in this position.
“I hope that people who look at this go, ‘He’s one of us, we watched him a few years ago in the U.K. on an independent show,’” said Styles. “I’ve heard people who were recording my [WWE] debut in 2016 say, ‘He’s one of our guys,’ and I hope that they still think that way. I spent a lot of time in the indies, I spent a lot of time everywhere, it seems. I just want to be your guy, the guy who did pretty much everything to get to this point in his career.”