When All Elite Wrestling was launched in 2019, Joey Janela’s was a name that intrigued a lot of people. Janela had forged his own brand on the independent scene with things like his Spring Break shows, and seemed a good fit with the DIY approach which also gave us Being The Elite and ALL IN.
He was initially featured prominently, too. Janela feuded with Jon Moxley in AEW’s first year, en route to Mox winning the company’s World title. But over the last couple years, the Jersey native’s spent most of his time on Dark. Lately, he’s had more matches on the indies than in AEW.
It led to his repeatedly being asked if he was one of the original talents rumored to be on the way out, or if he would be sticking with Tony Khan’s company when his initial contract ends. Janela had been saying “yes”, or “I hope so.” But in a new interview with Denise Salcedo, the Bad Boy had a new answer:
“My contract’s up on May 1. And I am gonna have to say no now. I am not interested in signing with AEW. Re-signing with them.”
Janela says he was hesitant to return to the indies, and wasn’t sure how many promoters were interested in meeting his new higher booking fee. But it looks like fears were unfounded, and he says he has company pitching him matches and telling him, “We want that Joey Janela back.”
He also says there are no hard feelings with AEW, which he views as part of his development process:
“I am happy and I am satisfied with what I did in those three years in AEW. It was a learning experience, and I am gonna say this in the most positive way possible without looking negative. AEW, those three years, was developmental for the rest of my career. I am so much sharper now, not only in-ring but business wise, I’ve learned so much in those three years.”
It was a Janela superkick that sidelined Eddie Kingston with a broken orbital bone recently, and he thinks that may have doomed his run with AEW:
“But I think they had plans for me, Tony kept on saying ‘after this we’re bring you back to TV’ but unfortunately I think a lot of it has to do with a situation where I worked with Eddie Kingston in Charlotte, and I superkicked him in the face a little bit too hard, came in a little bit too hot, I had been squatting probably 50 more pounds than I am used to be squatting, and doing a hundred pounds more on the leg press and I don’t know, I didn’t realize I had that type of power in my legs and I gave him a superkick and I broke his orbital bone. He was going into a feud with Chris Jericho, and I feel that may have been the straw that broke the camel’s back.
“A lot of guys, maybe some older heads that believed my hype and believed that I was some kind of dangerous professional wrestler. I’ve had times where I’ve injured people of course, everyone has. But once you get that reputation, it’s hard to break that. I’ve had a string of bad luck throughout my AEW career and that may have been the straw that broke the camel’s back but I don’t know because they don’t communicate with me. They did the same thing to Marko Stunt. They just stopped talking to him. But I appreciate them. If you have talent relations, I know Christopher Daniels would love nothing more than to tell me I am no longer with the company. But it is what it is. I am not sad, I am not mad, I am not mad at anyone, I had a wonderful experience.”
In addition to Janela’s story, and his mention of Marko Stunt, Chavo Guerrero recently told Wrestling Inc’s Nick Hausman his relationship with AEW ended with the company essentially ghosting him. It’s only one side of the story, but along with TK’s handling of Big Swole’s criticism after she left the company, it paints an interesting picture.
Regarding Joey J, he has a WrestleMania week show with GCW coming up, and we’ll see what’s next for him beyond that. Hopefully he knows his own strength now.
You can check out his entire conversation with Salcedo here.