Joey Janela will be departing AEW when his contract expires this May.
In an interview with Denise Salcedo that was released on Wednesday, Janela detailed why he isn't interested in re-signing with AEW. His contract is set to expire on May 1 of this year.
Janela has been part of the AEW roster since the company launched in 2019 but recently has only appeared on AEW Dark and AEW Dark: Elevation.
Janela responded when asked if he'd like to re-sign with AEW:
I said in a couple interviews with Sean [Ross Sapp] in September, that was All Out weekend I believe, I said 'yes.' As recent as an interview with Barstool Sports I said 'yes.' 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.
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. A pretty good paycheck. In your head you're like 'sh*t, when this is over, this is gonna disappear.' But I was born a hustler in this business. I was scared to get back into that world but now I am no longer scared. Back in the day before AEW, I was going out to wrestle for basically nothing. I was just doing it because I love it, I would do 3-4 shows a week. I would rack up small paydays from the promoters, plus my merchandise and I'd be satisfied and 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 gonna welcome me back with open arms. But recently I've realized that the promoters know the situation, they realize what the situation is gonna be and they've been hitting me up big time. They say '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 that Joey Janela back.'
Janela said he's happy and satisfied with the time he spent in AEW, but he wishes there was less radio silence from the company in their communication with wrestlers whose contracts are expiring. Janela said he isn't interested in a per-appearance deal with AEW.
And 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. Now not only am I sharper myself, in all facets of the wrestling business, but also I can go to a young guy, I could go to a Nick Wayne and teach him some of the stuff I've learned in those three years. Or I can go to GCW or I can go to another promotion and teach them what I've learned on the other side of the curtain.
I am not sad at all. I did everything I wanted to do there. Within the six months I started there, my goal was to wrestle Jon Moxley, Kenny Omega, main event TV, main event pay-per-view. Did it all. The only thing I didn't get was an action figure. So be it. It's over now and we're just moving forward. I have no complaints, I thank Tony [Khan]. I just wish they were more... they've been doing this to people, they've been radio silent on the people 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. If they are gonna have a paycheck coming in or if they are gonna 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 gonna be when I am booking myself all over the world, I am booked in six different countries coming up. Per appearance on the independent scene, I wanna be my own boss. That's how I got my name out there, I was my own boss, and I had the most buzz outside of The Elite and that's why I had this opportunity at AEW, that's why I had this opportunity at All In. People say to me on the internet, 'the only reason why you worked at AEW is because you were 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.
I am not sad about anything, I thank everyone there, I learned so much. I had ups and downs. COVID really killed me wrestling in front of 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 have done in my career, that's something that is 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 am 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 am gonna take everything I learned there and bring it with me for the rest of my career.
Janela said he thinks the straw that broke the camel's back for him in AEW may have been an incident where he accidentally injured Eddie Kingston, but he doesn't know because they don't communicate with him. But Janela said he isn't mad at anyone, and he had a wonderful experience in AEW.
Well it was weird because we were doing this whole angle with Sonny Kiss, that I basically booked the whole thing top to bottom and 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 and the emotion was there. People were into it and people started to hate me because I turned on Sonny Kiss. I said listen Sonny, 'You're over now to a degree, but I wanna 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 great 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 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. I am happy for Penelope Ford, who came up with me, she was my girlfriend at one point, we made this thing happen from CZW, to 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 and she's doing wonderful right now and I did everything I ever wanted there and to me I am gonna make basically the same money this year doing independents, but working twice as hard this year.
It's no big deal to me and I appreciate everyone there and I appreciate everything that I got to do. I am just happy right now, I am more focused, more motivated than I've ever been in my career. You could see it in my work. There's been nothing but good Joey Janela matches over the last eight months. Whether it be my matches that I did at AEW Dark, or my GCW matches, or my match with Nick Wayne which is arguably the best independent wrestling match of last year. I am back to where I wanted to be and I feel 10 years younger. I am not gonna change a thing, it was great. Great times and I am having a great time right now.
Janela spoke about his goals going forward and wanting to be his own boss:
One of my goals is to really have a run in Japan, which is something I've wanted since I was a child, I've done shows in Japan, but I've never had a steady run there. That will be in the works very soon. I wanna continue doing what I am doing. No matter what the crowd is, no matter if it's 100 people, 600 people, 3,000 people, I wanna give the same effort every time. I wanna wrestle new talent, I wanna find new talent, I am gonna bring new talent to GCW, to wrestle better guys and get themselves recognized and ready for a contract somewhere whether it be the WWE or AEW or maybe New Japan.
I want to wrestle two, three, four times a week. No matter how my body feels. There's nothing more rewarding than doing an indie show and after your match saying 'damn I am beat up, how am I gonna wrestle tomorrow? How am I gonna wrestle the next day?' And then wrestling those three days, and giving it your all and giving matches that people are talking about all over the place. And when you get home that Monday and you lay in your bed at 9 o'clock in the morning because you haven't slept for three days and you're beat up and you sleep till 8 at night, there's nothing more rewarding than that.
Who knows what's going to happen? I don't think I'll sign another contract in my career quite personally but who knows, strange things have happened and I can see right now on the string of matches I've had in the last eight months and the run I've had in the last eight months. I see people that turned on me when I started to get lazy in AEW and started to get more out of shape, and I see those people coming back. I see a lot of those fans coming back to me... that's rewarding to me, for all the fans that believed me and stopped believing in me and now they are coming back to witness another chapter in my life.
It's gonna be great to see where 2022 leads me. Because I know nothing but positive is coming my way. As long as I keep focused and I stay healthy, that's all. I wish everyone luck. I wish everyone in AEW, all my friends, that I don't get to see anymore, I wish them luck. I know they feel the same way about me, they know how much I love professional wrestling and how I love nothing more than helping people. I put everyone in front of myself, I always put everyone in front of myself, and I will continue. I just hate politics, I hate the political aspects of this business, but that's every business and that's why I am gonna be my own boss and no one is gonna tell me nothing because I know I am right and I know that I am one of the best wrestlers in the world. I need to be me, a hundred percent, I can't have anyone tell me what to do. I don't want anyone to tell me how to wrestle, how to live my life, how to portray myself on social media. I don't want that. I am Joey Janela, this is how I got my name out there and I am gonna be Joey Janela and this is the year that I am gonna be the platform that proves that I am one of the best. 100 percent.
GCW Joey Janela's Spring Break 6 parts one and two are taking place in Dallas on Thursday, March 31 and Saturday, April 2. Janela vs. Sean "X-Pac" Waltman is set for part one.