Following a successful defense of his WWE Championship against Shinsuke Nakamura at Money in the Bank, AJ Styles was bestowed with another honor. During a press conference on Monday, it was announced that Styles would grace the cover of the latest WWE 2K game, WWE 2K19, which will be released on October 9, 2018.
“As a hardcore gamer and ambassador of everything it means to ‘Never Say Never’ in both my professional and personal life, it is a dream come true to be selected as the WWE 2K19 cover Superstar,” Styles, who first made his appearance in 2K17, said during the press conference.
— Gurdeep Gill (@GurdeepG1993) June 18, 2018
Dating back to 2011 and WWE ’12, which was the first game since WWE Smackdown! vs. Raw to feature a singular superstar on the cover (Vince McMahon), AJ Styles joins an exclusive club of cover stars that includes Randy Orton, CM Punk, the Rock, John Cena, Stone Cold Steve Austin, Brock Lesnar and Seth Rollins. While recently things seem to have gone well for the cover stars such as Lesnar, the current Universal Champion in the midst of a 440+ day reign, and Rollins, who won the Intercontinental Championship to complete his career grand slam, some of the early cover stars didn’t fare as well. Similar to the well known Madden Curse, which suggests that individuals to grace the cover of Madden are doomed to have an injury-plagued or unsuccessful season, WWE had the same issue with Orton (suspended for a wellness policy violation), Punk (walked out on the company) and Rock (returned to Hollywood).
You have no idea how glad I am. I've been your fan since around 2003 and always wanted you in WWE. I think you deserve it!!! The PHENOMENAL ONE!
— Ishtiaque (@onikrulz) June 18, 2018
But there should be no worry of any sort of curse, whether real or purported, affecting AJ Styles, who has not slowed down at all since he first stepped foot in a WWE ring on January 20, 2016. In the span of just over two years, the 41-year-old and back-to-back Pro Wrestling Illustrated Wrestler of the Year (2016, 2017) has also been a two-time United States Champion and two-time WWE Champion, of which he is in the midst of a 223+ day reign. His Summerslam match with John Cena in 2016 was PWI’s Match of the Year. Week in and week out Styles, who was named to the Wrestling Observer Newsletter‘s Hall of Fame in 2017, consistently puts on some of the best matches of the card. Not to mention, he has become the face of the blue brand, referring to Smackdown Live as “the house that AJ Styles built.”
In 2017, after Survivor Series, Paul Heyman had this to say about AJ Styles:
He’s everything that shawn michaels, and bret hart, and ric flair were to their generation and he’s updated it. he’s evolved their styles to truly be the single most phenomenal in-ring performer i have ever had the honour and the pleasure of watching up close.
Simply put, there really is no better choice for the 2K19 cover star, than the “Champ that Runs the Camp,” the Phenomenal One himself, A-J Styles!
— Ashan Deep (@iamashandeep) June 18, 2018
Million Dollar Challenge Puts You Against AJ Styles
In addition to his role as the cover star, thanks to Styles’ love of gaming, 2K announced that fans will have the opportunity to challenge the champion in a new game mode that has yet to be released.
The WWE 2K19 Million Dollar Challenge will give regular game players a chance to face Styles, where if they win, they’ll receive the grand prize of one million dollars. To enter, players will have to beat the new mode and then create a promo-type video detailing why they think that can beat the Phenomenal One.
From there, four semifinalists will be selected for a competition and the winner of that will compete against Styles for the chance to win the prize. Complete rules on entry and eligibility requirements can be found at 2K’s website.