The latest wrestler to become All Elite, Jay Lethal, has detailed why he asked for his release from Ring of Honor and how his AEW deal came about.
At AEW Full Gear, after the brutal and chaotic Minneapolis Street Fight between the Inner Circle and The Men of the Year & American Top Team, Tony Schiavone headed up the ramp promising an announcement. The legendary announcer then promptly brought out the promotion’s latest signing, Jay Lethal.
The former ROH World Champion immediately confirmed that he was “All Elite” before calling out Sammy Guevara. Lethal said that he wanted Guevara’s TNT Championship but couldn’t face him just yet because he’d just had a match. But there was nothing stopping the pair facing off on Dynamite in four days time.
At the post-show media scrum, Lethal was asked why he had decided to join AEW. The two-time ROH World Champion heaped praise on the company, claiming it’s the “hottest promotion” on the planet.
“The easy answer is I’m a professional wrestler, and this is the fastest rising, hottest promotion in the frickin’ world, so it was no contest. It was a very easy decision for any professional wrestler, in my opinion. This place is amazing. AEW is on fire and I’m so happy to be here, and I’m more excited that they are willing to have me, that’s even more exciting in my head.”
— All Elite Wrestling (@AEW) November 14, 2021
He was also asked why he had decided to leave Ring of Honor, which recently announced it would be taking a lengthy hiatus at the end of the year. Lethal explained that the “doors are closing” there, and the opportunity to join AEW presented itself.
“Well, unfortunately, doors are closing soon there. I’ve made a lot of friends there, I’ve wrestled there for over ten years, I’m a very loyal professional wrestler. If you’re good to me, I’ll stay there until the doors close, and the doors are closing. The opportunity presented itself, Mr. Opportunist here [Tony Khan] and I was welcomed in with open arms, so to answer your question, my heart goes out to a lot of those guys that no longer have jobs. It’s a sad time [with that situation], but also a great time to be a professional wrestler because the wrestling world is frickin’ booming.”
When questioned on how the deal happened, Jay Lethal said it was a fast process and only happened a few days prior to the announcement. He was not even able to meet Tony Khan face-to-face until the pay-per-view.
“It all happened so quickly. It only took a few days ago. My head was spinning because — we never met. [Tony said today was the first day they met.] Today was the first time we met face-to-face. Imagine being — for lack of a better term, ‘jobless’ and worrying about how you’re going to pay your bills, which as a professional wrestler, there’s not a ton of jobs, you can’t fill out an application anywhere. The chips were down and obviously, I got a quick message from some of Tony’s associates, which was like the greatest day, like a beacon of light, it was so cool.
“Literally, it was only a few days ago and I flew in yesterday and had to sit in my hotel room, I couldn’t get any sleep. I swear to God, not an hour, I didn’t get a minute of sleep because all I could think about was I don’t really know what’s happening [at Full Gear] because [Tony and I] haven’t met yet and this is the first time we’re face to face, it was wild. All of these thoughts are going through my head, ‘Will these people like me?’ ‘The company’s on fire right now, I hope I make a good impression.’ So just a wild rush of emotions in my head.”
Jay Lethal will have his debut match in AEW on the November 17th edition of Dynamite when he will take on Sammy Guevara for the TNT Championship.
H/T to WrestleZone for the above transcription.