Jay Lethal On Talk Is Jericho: Podcast Recap

Recent AEW signee Jay Lethal was a recent guest on Talk is Jericho with host Chris Jericho. On the show, they discussed Jay’s time in Ring of Honor and how the hiatus was announced to the roster. They also discussed the impact of AEW on Ring of Honor, memories of IMPACT wrestling, a possible WWE move and more. The recap can be found below:

On being loyal to Ring of Honor:

“So I was with Ring of Honor for over 10 years, and as most people know they dropped the bomb on the roster. They let people know that they were not renewing anyone’s contract and they were thinking about how to revamp the company. They were going to take the first quarter off, and that was a huge wake up call for a lot of people on the roster. As soon as I heard that, I started thinking that I’ve got 2 cheques coming, what am I going to do? I always thought that I was going to have my last match with Ring of Honor. Ever since I started my career, I started with Ring of Honor in 2002. I was there until 2003, and IMPACT wrestling offered me my first contract. While I was at IMPACT for 7 years, there was 2 times where my contract had come up, they were thinking about resigning me and I was like, well I I’ve always wanted to go to WWE. My dad was like ‘Don’t go there. Where you are they are using you, you’re fine.’ So I stayed at IMPACT for 7 years, I am an extremely loyal person. My dad didn’t want me to be sold to the highest bidder. So I thought that I would be staying at IMPACT until the doors closed. Right after that, they called me and let me go.”

On moving to AEW:

“When they let me go, I was good friends with Cary Silkin, the owner of Ring of Honor at the time, and they brought me back. The Young Bucks also were good friends with him and they helped. Then Ring of Honor gets bought out by Sinclair, that was when people could start to make a living from Ring of Honor. I stayed in Ring of Honor, and there were 2 or 3 instances where I could try to go to the WWE, but the voice in the back of my head said that I had made it and that Ring of Honor has treated me well. Why would I reward them for that by leaving? My dad loved Ring of Honor, ever since I first took him to a show. So I stayed there and then they dropped the bomb on us that they would not renew anybody’s contract, so I’m like well now what do I do? Being grateful that I am friends with everyone here in AEW, it was like a no brainer.”

On how the Ring of Honor hiatus was announced:

“As soon as they dropped that bomb, it was on a Zoom call with the whole roster, 50 people. One sign that something bad was happening is that the Zoom calls normally involve just the people for the tv tapings. This Zoom call had literally everybody, even people who couldn’t make the show. I was like oh boy. While the Zoom call is going on, I am thinking what is the next step for me? So after the Zoom call, a day or 2 goes by and I decide I want to go to AEW. I ask for my release because otherwise nobody would talk to you, we were all under contract. I even flew myself out to Baltimore, I didn’t call them or send a message. I flew myself so I could meet with Joe Koff and Greg, they have been so good to me, it was sad to do that. I flew out there, asked for my release, and as fast as they could I got it finalised. After that, I could finally start talking, but I never talked to Tony Khan beforehand. The first time I actually met Tony was at Full Gear. That’s how I decided and how I came to be a part of AEW.”

On the Zoom call being a surprise:

“It was completely out of the blue and not to give too much [information], but we had gotten an email announcing the Zoom meeting. The email sounded promising, it said that we had a pay-per-view coming up and we are going to discuss 2022. All of us were like alright, this is what we wanted to hear. Going into the meeting, I would definitely say that I was caught off guard.”

On praise for Ring of Honor in how they handled the pandemic:

“During the pandemic they tried so hard to take care of everybody, which a lot of companies were doing. They were still paying people and not releasing too many people. I do think they went above and beyond and having us all sitting at home and being protected. So there’s no shows, no money coming in for almost the whole year. They did do a good job in keeping us all safe, even though everybody on the roster was willing to have those shows. But they wanted us all to keep safe, and that really put us in the red. The shows that we did have, I don’t know for sure, but the amount they spent on testing, making sure everyone had their own room and doctors, all the hoops, I heard the cost was unreal. I think that was the biggest reason that lead to this. They were still protecting us by having these empty arena shows, so there was no revenue. In my head, what money was coming in?”

On staying with Ring of Honor while AEW started up:

“Let’s talk about that mass exodus of a good group of people who were drawing the fans there. When this massive leaving happened, my heart broke. This was also during a contract renegotiation for me. There was an offer made for me to come to AEW, I didn’t take it obviously, and here’s why. Throughout my entire Ring of Honor career, it feels like they have laid out the red carpet for me and my family. They have always gone above and beyond, I can’t think of a single bad thing to say about them other than they let us sit at home for too long and paid us. So when these guys are leaving, not that I am some saviour, but I thought about the state of the company and what state my friends would be in, because I am friends with everybody there. I can’t do it all by myself, but I can try because if not the company is going to suffer. So let me repay the favour, that was why I stayed. I wanted to go so bad, I knew from the start what was going to happen, but my loyalty, and even today I think it was the right thing to do.”

The Black Machismo:

“Ok let’s do The Machismo first. The Macho Man voice is something that I have always been able to do, even as a kid growing up I could do it. I’ve always watched wrestling, I didn’t go to friends houses or go out, I just religiously watches wrestling or played with my action figures. Instead of watching it as a fan, I think I was studying it. Macho Man was always somebody that drew me in, so I’ve always been able to do the voice. If we had downtime in the locker room, I would just bust out the voice. It wasn’t until Kevin Nash heard it that it took off. Kevin was like ‘That’s entertaining, you should do that.’ I didn’t want to do it on tv, I explained that I wanted to be the badass champion, not the imitation guy. Nash said to me ‘The sooner you get over that and realise there is a spot for everybody, the better you will be as a wrestler and have more fun.’ I’m like ok but I also don’t want to make fun of Savage. Nash said ‘Well nobody is even talking about Savage right now. If you do this, people will at least be talking about him.’ It took about an hour of talking but eventually I was convinced.”

On working the 6 sided ring in TNA:

“It was tough. Because there are so many posts, hitting those ropes was like hitting the guard rail. They were super tight, great for springboards but super tight. You were shooting a guy to the ropes but he would end up in a corner. But I enjoyed working it it, it was cool and was an identity thing. When they went back to 4 sides, I kind of was broken hearted. It was one of the things that started taking us down. Then they started to not feature the X Division guys, too much old talent, same old story.”

On a potential move to WWE:

“I can remember 2 or 3 talks. A couple of times I had talks with Tommy Dreamer, who was with talent relations at the time. Every time I talked to him, it was after my contract was coming up with IMPACT and if I wanted to stay, which I did. There was also a brief talk after one of my contracts came up at Ring of Honor. Brian Kendrick said he could put a word in for me, but I resigned the next day [with Ring of Honor].”

Featured image: Rolling Stone

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