AEW star Joey Janela spoke with Bleacher Report’s Off the Top Rope to talk all things pro wrestling. Highlights are below:
Signing with AEW after working constantly in the indie circuit:
If you’re not in the business to make a living and get to that point, I don’t know what you’re doing it for. Some people say they do it for the love, but there’s got to be an endgame when you’re killing yourself week in and week out.
My body right now is not as bad as you think it would be, but I’ve been doing this for half my life now—15 years. I feel it. I have to get adjusted, get massages and all that stuff to make sure I’m good to go every week for TV and for the future.
You need to make money and you need to have an endgame to make it to a mainstream, national wrestling company. It’s never been closer for a lot of these new people getting into the business.
I remember when I first started it was almost unattainable to get to that point, to get to WWE. Yeah, TNA was still in town but to get to WWE was so hard. Really just the cream-of-the-crop guys made it in: the CM Punks and Bryan Danielsons. It was almost unattainable back then.
Now there’s a light at the end of the tunnel, and if you work hard enough and bust your ass, you can not only get to a national wrestling company, now you have your choice of them.
His back and forth online beef with famed wrestling personality Jim Cornette:
With my knee injury, you have to realize, I haven’t even had the full year to work. So, I’m really happy with what I’ve done. I had two good matches at Joey Janela’s Spring Break, with Marko Stunt and Jungle Boy, when I wasn’t 100 percent ready to be in the ring again. But I had to get in there and do what I had to do.
For a month or so after that, I was hurting. I did a show in Alaska two weeks later and I could barely walk because of the cold and the way my knee was doing.
It lit a fire under me, and now I’m better than ever in the ring. I think I’m having a great year. Guys like Jim Cornette, of course they’re not going to watch the matches that people say are great matches. They’re going to watch the matches where the craziness happens and try to pull out things to engage his followers. It is what it is.
I think me and Cornette, we rub each other’s back when it comes to getting each other publicity. So I have no problem with it.
His wrestling style:
I don’t have a set move set or a formula. A lot of these guys, they get lazy. They develop a formula which they use every match. And it makes their matches lack excitement.
I’ve always been a good technical wrestler. I’m pretty good at adapting to my opponent. I wrestled a match with Zach Sabre Jr. a couple years ago where we went to a 30-minute time limit draw. Thirty minutes of technical wrestling. That’s the kind of match my critics are never going to watch, because they don’t want to admit I have that aspect.
His match with David Starr:
Starr is one of the best wrestlers in the world and easy to wrestle. And that’s what happens. The crowd was very involved from the beginning of that match, because we’d built a storyline over three years. They showed us the proper respect and were into the story we were telling.
The match was organic. We didn’t call it in the back. We just went out there and did it. We talked about the high points, what we were going to hit and the rest was done in the ring organically in the ring. It was one of the finest performances of my wrestling career. Fans were telling me the hour flew by, which is something that’s hard to do in a one-hour match. I’m happy with it.
It’s taken me 15 years to get to this point, and I’m ready to learn other phases of the business. I’m not too nervous about it. Every time I’ve gone out for a pay-per-view for AEW, I’ve smoked it. I don’t think it will be any different on TV. I think I’m going to excel on TV.
A few years ago, people were doubting my ability, saying I was just a stuntman. I proved a lot of those people wrong, and they became huge fans.
Now I’m dealing with that on a larger, mainstream level. A lot of people who watch the TV show are going to be surprised at how much I grasp every element of professional wrestling. It’s going to be fun doing a lot of interviews and stuff I haven’t done too much of. And it’s also going to be great on my body, giving it a rest and not having a crazy schedule like I’ve had over the last couple of years.
Outside of TV and outside the ring, I may still have a bit to learn. But, you know, these guys knew what they were getting with me. What you see is what you get. I’m not really a character. Joey Janela is Joey Janela, inside the ring and outside.
Check out the full interview here.
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