Jay Lethal recently spoke with Sporting News about beating Samoa Joe's Ring of Honor record of 645 combined days as ROH World Champion. Lethal also discussed his love for Ring of Honor as a promotion, the company's need to rebuild after losing big stars like Cody Rhodes and the Young Bucks, and the G1 Supercard at Madison Square Garden on April 6.
Beating Samoa Joe's record for the most combined days as ROH World Champion:
"When I was pulled aside and they said, 'You know, you're about to beat Joe's record of holding the belt for a certain amount of time.' I said, 'No way! That's insane!' I remember being in Ring of Honor when Joe was champion and I was his protege, and I would come to the ring holding his towel. I didn't think anyone would ever beat his record."
Why he loves Ring of Honor:
"Here's the thing that made me fall in love with them. Even when I was just that kid that didn't feel like I belonged, my skill level was nowhere near a CM Punk or Austin Aries or Alex Shelley at the time, but yet I was still wrestling with those guys. Even then, this company has always gone above and beyond for me. This company has always taken great care of me. I've never had a reason to even dream about wanting to go somewhere else. I love this place."
ROH always rebuilding and the winning formula for the company:
"I feel that Ring of Honor has always been in the rebuilding phase. Ring of Honor in all the time I've known it, it's never been fully settled. It's always in this rebuilding phase because other rosters out there constantly pluck from the Ring of Honor roster to make their roster better. Look at all of the companies out there and their champions. Most of them came through and from Ring of Honor.
"I think the winning formula is: you don't try and replace those guys. How do you replace The Young Bucks? How do you replace a Cody Rhodes or an AJ Styles? That hole in your tapestry is going to be there, but you have to have sense enough to know that hole leaves some character. That hole has done some great work and you don't try to cover that up. It just adds character."
Walking in and out of Madison Square Garden as the Champ at G1 Supercard:
"To me, it's all about walking in as the champion. If I don't leave as the champion, that wouldn't be too heartbreaking for me. But going in as the champion, they could never take anything away from me after that. If I can hold onto this belt — we do have one more pay-per-view in March, I have to get through that first. If I can walk into Madison Square Garden as the champion, that's what I would really like. Winning the big one in Madison Square Garden, that would be cool, but to me, being the first Ring of Honor champion walking into Madison Square Garden and defending the belt, that's the coolest part to me."
Lethal also discussed his first tenure being with Ring of Honor. You can read the whole interview here.