At last night’s GCW Homecoming event in Atlantic City, NJ, former WWE star Lio Rush made his return to the ring to face AEW’s Joey Janela.

This was apparently Rush’s final pro wrestling match and he is now considered retired. As noted, Rush had teased the possibility of retirement and one final match on his social media accounts earlier this month.

Janela emerged victorious from the match after pinning Rush for the victory. After his win, Janela had heartfelt words to say about the former WWE star.

“Lio hasn’t wrestled in f–king ages,” Janela said after the match. “And there were times in this match where Lio looked at me and said, ‘Man, I am f–king tired right now.’ I said, ‘Dude, me too. But not as tired as I used to be because I just quit smoking – no cigarettes for 3 months. But let’s be honest, there’s a lot of motherf–kers on the internet that are, let’s be honest, they’re straight up bullies. Half the stuff that went down over the last few months with other performers because of bullying, you know, that s–t just needs to stop.

“This guy got the s–t end of the stick, let’s be honest. He’s an artist, man. Ever since he started I took to him because this guy is an artist. He does what a lot of wrestlers can’t; this guy thinks outside the box,” Joey continued. “And when he thinks inside the box, he thinks better than anybody else… Why do talented guys like this that are much more talented, I hate to say it, than guys like me – this is an athlete, let’s just be honest. I’m a creative thinker, I think well on my feet, and I have a lot of charisma, but some of this s–t [Lio] does, I could never do on my best day.”

Rush was passed the microphone, and he took his time talking about his journey through the pro wrestling industry. He notes how many people don’t intend to retire on the independent circuit, but he has a special place in his heart for the indies.

“The last time I stepped in the ring with a microphone in the independent circuit, I told each and every single last one of you, and everybody who supported me watching me on the internet, whether that was ROH, CZW, whether that was GCW, PWG, anywhere in the world, the last thing that I said in this ring was when I went to the WWE, I was going to make a motherf–king impact.

“I said that I was going to do something that was never done before, walking in at 22 years old, 2 years in the business, making it to NXT, 205 Live, Mixed Match Challenge, Monday Night RAW, WrestleMania, Royal Rumble, Survivor Series, everything in WWE, I did,” Lio added. “And hell, I was never a talker, but when that opportunity was presented to me, I took that and I rode the brakes off of it. Now, a lot of people don’t say that they’re going to have their last match on the independent scene, especially after doing the things that I did up there. But God d–mit, I love independent wrestling.”

As noted, Rush was released back in April as a part of the multiple talents cut due to the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic. Rush actually stated at the time that he found out about his release by reading about it online and later confirming it with WWE.

If you use any quotes from this article, please include a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.