An injury had never kept A.J. Styles away from the ring this long, and the break gave him a new perspective on what life will be like when he finally steps away for good.

Styles, 45, broke his ankle at a WWE live event in December and thought when it happened it might cost him a month of action.

Instead, it cost him four.

It was his first time breaking anything in wrestling and he brushed the reality aside a bit, saying he was “long overdue” for an injury that he “couldn’t play off and let it heal on its own” during his 24 years in the business.

The injury came at an unfortunate time as friends Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson had just returned to WWE from New Japan Pro-Wrestling in October and “Michin” Mia Yim was added to their O.C. (Original Club) faction in early November.

The group’s momentum got cut off on TV with its leader out of action.

A.J. Styles and The O.C.

“It was a big break and one that unfortunately took some time to heal,” Styles said of the injury. “It is what it is. It’s part of what we do. It was unfortunate timing for everybody, but we’re gonna come back stronger than ever.”

Styles said the longest he had ever been out of action previously was six weeks with a torn hip labrum in TNA in 2011.

There was no rushing back from this one.

“I thought it would be a month or something,” Styles said. “The bone heals, you’re good, boom. It’s not like that, not with the break that I had. It takes time if you want to be able to get after it. If you want to get after it, get in the ring and hit springboards and all the stuff, it’s gonna take some time to heal.”

That time allowed him to be home, fully away from wrestling for the longest he’s ever been.

Styles said the hardest part was being injured and physically “not being able to do what you want to do when you want to do it.”

While he admitted that drove him a little crazy, being out of the ring did not.

“It was also good for me to know once this whole thing is over, once I’m done wrestling, I can enjoy being at home, too,” Styles said. “I realize that. It wasn’t going to be where I go stir crazy, ‘I can’t wrestle, arr!’

“I got plenty of things that I can do. I got four kids that I need to take care of and be there for and stop missing so many things that they do. I was OK. That whole thing, it was a good experience.”

With that being said, Styles sees this as a great time to be returning to WWE.

He will face Seth Rollins at Night of Champions in a match to crown the new World Heavyweight champion in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia on Saturday (1 p.m., Peacock).

A.J. Styles

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Styles has also yet to have a match with the Tribal Chief version of Roman Reigns, the Undisputed WWE Universal champion, and the company has formed a number of factions on SmackDown with which the OC can now interact, such as Hit Row, the LWO, The Bloodline and The Brawling Brutes.

“I think it’s the perfect time [to be back] because there are so many groups so there are so many matches that you can have,” Styles said. “And it can be for everybody and not just for A.J. Styles, or for a tag team or for Michin. There’s a lot of different things that’s gonna be a lot of fun when it comes to these different groups.”