Joey Janela appeared on Denise Salcedo’s YouTube channel this week in which he revealed he will not be renewing his contract with AEW.
“My contract is up on May 1, and I’m going to have to say no now. I’m not interested in resigning with AEW,” Janela said.
“I was a little scared getting back into the independent wrestling world and making money. You take those things for granted. You’re getting a paycheck every two weeks, and a pretty good paycheck,” he continued. In your head, you’re like, sh*t, when this is over, this is going to disappear. But I was born a hustler in this business. I was scared to get back into the world.”
“But now I’m no longer scared because back in the day before AEW, I was going to wrestle for basically nothing. I was just doing it because I love it. I would do three or four shows a week. I would rack up small paydays from the promoters plus my merchandise and I’d be satisfied. I’d be making a lot of money.”
“But now my price has gone significantly up. So I didn’t know if the promoters were going to welcome me back with open arms. But recently I realized the promoters know the situation and they realize what the situation is going to be. They’ve been hitting me up big time.”
Talking about independent promoters, Janela shared, “They said, ‘We want you to come back here. We want you to wrestle some of the newer guys we have. We want you to wrestle some of the older guys. We want Joey Janella back.’”
“I’m happy and I’m satisfied with what I did in those three years in AEW. It was a learning experience. I’m going to say this in the most positive way possible without looking negative. AEW, those three years, was developmental for the rest of my career.”
“I’m so much sharper now not only in the ring, but business wise. I’ve learned so much in those three years that now not only am I sharper in all facets of the wrestling business, but also I can go to a young guy, I can go to a Nick Wayne and teach him some of the stuff I’ve learned in those three years.”
“I did everything I wanted to do there within six months I started there. My goal was to wrestle Jon Moxley and Kenny Omega, main event TV, and main event pay-per-view. I did it all. The only thing I didn’t get was an action figure. It’s over now and we’re just moving forward. I have no complaints. I thank Tony.”
“They’ve been doing this to people. They’ve been radio silent on the people that they are letting the contracts expire. That’s why you have talent relations to talk to your talent and tell them what the situation is,” he said. “If they’re going to have a paycheck coming in, or they’re going to be signed to a per appearance deal which some of the guys have agreed to. I would never agree on a per appearance deal anywhere. My per appearance deal is going to be when I’m booking myself all over the world. I’m booked in six different countries coming up per appearance on the independent scene.”
“I want to be my own boss. That’s how I’ve got my name out there,” Joey continued. “I was my own boss and I had the most buzz outside of the Elite. That’s why I had this opportunity at AEW. That’s why I had the opportunity at All In.”
“People say to me on the internet that the only reason I worked at AEW was because I was friends with the Young Bucks. I met the Young Bucks twice before AEW. I was one of the most successful self-promoting wrestlers in the world at that point, so I’m not sad about anything. I thank everyone there.
“I learned so much. I had ups and downs. You know, COVID really killed me wrestling for the no crowd. I really lost motivation. My back was shot out. The doctors told me my back is shaped like an S because of all the wild stuff I’ve done in my career. You know, that’s something that’s scary to hear, and that’s why you’re not moving the way you should at 31 years old. It’s because your spine is shaped like an S. But that’s been fixed. I feel great. I’m back in shape.”
“I just wish there was less radio silence on their end with me. I consider Tony a friend. I hung out with Tony a lot in the beginning days of AEW. I just wish they would talk to me. I know it’s come to an end, but I appreciate them. I appreciate the experience I had and I’m going to take everything I learned there and bring it with me for the rest of my career.”
“It was weird because we’re doing this whole angle with Sonny Kiss. I basically booked the whole thing top to bottom. It was hitting on all cylinders for their internet TV show. It wasn’t on TV. People were bombarding us to put it on TV because it was so good. The emotion was there and people were into it.”
“People started to hate me because I turned on Sonny Kiss. I said ‘Listen Sonny, you’re over now to a degree, but I want to get you to the next level with this storyline.’ If I knew otherwise, I would have had Sonny Kiss go over in our final street fight in Universal Studios, which was a greatly received match. I would have had Sonny go over me and I would have walked into the sunset. But I think they had plans for me. Tony kept on saying, ‘After this, we’re bringing you back to TV.’”
“But unfortunately, I think a lot of it has to do with a situation when I wrestled at Eddie Kingston in Charlotte. I super kicked him in the face a little bit too hard. I came in a little bit too hot. I’ve been squatting probably 50 more pounds than I’m used to squatting and doing 100 pounds more on the leg press. I didn’t realize I had that type of power in my legs, and I gave him a super kick. It broke his orbital bone, and he was going into a feud with Chris Jericho. I feel like that might have been the straw that broke the camel’s back. A lot of guys, maybe some older heads that believed my hype and believed 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, you know, it’s hard to break that. I’ve had a string of bad luck throughout my AEW career and that might 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 Marco Stunt. They just stopped talking to him. But I appreciate them. I know Christopher Daniels would love nothing more than to tell me that I’m no longer with the company. But it is what it is. I’m not sad. I’m not mad. I’m not mad at anyone.”
“I’m happy for Penelope Ford who came up with me. She was my girlfriend at one point and we made this thing happen from CZW Dojo Wars which was in a storage unit somewhere in South Jersey, all the way to these bigger shows, to us getting a full blown deal for three years with All Elite Wrestling. She’s doing wonderful right now. I did everything I ever wanted there, and to me, I’m going to make basically the same money this year doing independents, but working twice as hard.”
To view the entire interview with Joey Janela, check out the video at the link below.
If you use any portion of the quotes from this article please credit Denise Salcedo with a h/t to WrestlingNews.co for the transcription.