Styles first appeared in WWE (then the World Wrestling Federation, or the WWF) in 2002, but turned down a developmental contract he was offered with the company. He signed a multi-year contract with WWE fourteen years later in January 2016, making his re-debut that month and going on to win the WWE Championship in September. Both PWI and the Wrestling Observer Newsletter (WON) voted him Wrestler of the Year for 2016 and in 2017 he was inducted into the WON Hall of Fame. With his second WWE Championship victory in Manchester, England in November 2017, Styles was recognized by WWE as the first wrestler to win the title outside of North America. At 371 days, this reign is the longest in SmackDown history under the brand extension, shattering the previous record of 280 days held by John Bradshaw Layfield from 2004–2005. The reign is also recognized as the eighth-longest overall (tied with Randy Savage's 1988–1989 reign).