Recently on The Steve Austin Show, WWE Hall Of Famer Steve Austin caught up with indie wrestling standout Joey Janela. Among many other things, Janela talked about how he got into pro wrestling, what he grew up watching, future goals, and whether he considers the potential consequences of his risky wrestling style.
According to Janela, he got into pro wrestling as a kid in 1991 being a fan of WWE Hall Of Famers Hulk Hogan and Ultimate Warrior. ‘The Bad Boy’ (sorry, Tama Tonga) would get back into the genre from watching WCW’s transcendent cruiserweight division in the late 1990s.
“1991, Hogan, Warrior,” Janela recalled. “I stopped watching for a little bit and I got reeled back into it. WCW when the cruiserweights [came in], Ultimo Dragon, [Rey] Mysterio, and [Chris] Jericho, I got into it. And [Austin]? [Austin is] the reason I became a professional wrestler today.”
Janela, who lost his father at a young age, continued his sentiment that Austin inspired ‘The Bad Boy’ to get into pro wrestling.
“[Austin] helped me get through a lot of hard times.” Janela disclosed, “this was 1999, so [Austin was] on top of the business and I was like, ‘man, one day, I want to be like ‘Stone Cold’ Steve Austin.’ Basically, [Austin was] a heavy influence on my gimmick today and just playing a rebel for a new crowd.”
According to Janela, he likely incorporated high risk elements into his style from the beginning of his pro wrestling career because of his ECW fandom. Janela went on to say that Daniel Bryan’s run at the top of ROH “bored” him, as he was not interested in technical wrestling at the time.
“Probably since the beginning [high risk elements were incorporated] because I was a big ECW fan. When I got back into [pro] wrestling though in ’97, that big boom period, ECW was huge and it was local. I was in Philadelphia [Pennsylvania].” Janela added, “from the beginning, that was what I was into. When Danielson was on top of Ring Of Honor, I wasn’t really into that. I found that boring. Now, I love that stuff, but back then, I found it boring. I wanted to see people fall off trucks through flaming tables. And I wanted to see people hit each other with light tubes and destroy each other’s lives. It’s just something I’ve always wanted. That was the style I was into growing up. Why not embrace it? People say, ‘why do you do these bumps’ and I say, ‘I love it. This is what I grew up watching and I’m going to incorporate what I love into my act.'”
Given Janela’s hardcore style and reputation as the modern day ‘King Of The Death Match’, it is surprising that WWE is still Janela’s dream destination.
“WWE, that is my main goal. I still do the craziness. I do the spots, but it’s controlled chaos. I know I can protect myself. My track record kind of speaks for itself because I’m doing these crazy bumps and I’ve only been injured once off of rooftop, I injured my thumb, so I’m not going to say my body’s not breaking down or that I’ll feel it when I’m 40 [years old].” Janela considered, “but I’ve definitely toned down my style in the last couple of the years and gone more the direction to character base and connecting to the crowd because that’s what’s going to make me my money.”
Moreover, Janela said he is committed to refining his skills to take his pro wrestling career to new heights.
“I have a lot of options right now.” Janela admitted, “I’m just trying to get to that next level. My main goal is WWE. That’s where I want to be and anything to sharpen myself up for that opportunity to get a tryout or whatever, but just doing what I’m doing now.”
With respect to Janela’s dangerous risk taking in matches, ‘The Zebra Kid’ suggests that it will catch up with him one day, but he is committed to living in the moment.
“I know the day’s going to come where it’s going to happen, but it’s just I kind of live for the moment. I live for now. I’m living my dream right now. I know I’ve gotten this far from untrained backyard wrestler to wrestling [for] every major independent wrestling promotion here and going to England for a weekend, I mean some of these people that pay $3,000 for wrestling school don’t get that opportunity. And me, I got that opportunity to get where I’m at. It’s a long road, but that’s why I just live for the moment. I enjoy what I love to do because it’s my thank you to the fans for helping me get to where I’m at right now.” Janela confirmed, “I know it’s coming. There’s never a time where I go, ‘oh, I can’t get out of bed today,’ which is kind of amazing. People [ask] ‘how do you get through your day doing these matches every weekend?’ I feel great! I feel fine. My knees are a little messed up, but someone that’s not doing these bumps has knees that are messed up or sometimes my lower back hurts. It’s not excruciating pain, but someone that’s not doing these bumps is in excruciating pain from professional wrestling. I think the day’s going to come for everyone if you stick in wrestling long enough. You’re going to have surgeries. You’re going to be beat up. It’s just the nature of the business. When that day comes, I’ll handle that then, but right now, I’m just enjoying it.”
Check out the interview here. If you use any of the quotes from this article, please credit The Steve Austin Show with an H/T to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.
Source: The Steve Austin Show