AEW star Joey Janela recently appeared on The Wrestling Perspective podcast and talked about attending a Seminole County school board meeting last Tuesday to troll officials.
As noted, Janela was kicked out of the meeting within 5 minutes after making the Borat-style appearance. He attended with recently-released WWE referee Drake Wuertz, who has been actively protesting against the COVID-19 mask mandate in recent months. Janela has previously mocked Wuertz on Twitter, and was apparently trolling him at the school board meeting as well. You can click here for our original report on the stunt, along with video, and you can click here for details on when Janela auctioned off his “Florida Man” disguise for the meeting.
In an update, Janela told The Wrestling Perspective that he made a last minute decision to crash the meeting. He made a stop to shop for his disguise, and then sped to the meeting to make it in time. Wuertz immediately recognized Janela, and knew why he was there. Wuertz was also said to be very polite to Janela during and after the incident.
Janela talked about his knowledge of Wuertz and how he got into talking about politics online.
“So Drake Younger, he is a former Death Match wrestler on the independents,” Janela said. “When I was a teenager, he was probably the top American Death Match wrestler. He had some problems, like most Death Match wrestlers do. You’re putting yourself through a lot of pain and stuff, especially when you’re doing it full-time. He became addicted to drugs and whatnot. Eventually, he got in shape. He cleaned himself up. He found God, which I can’t harp on him for that. Everyone has their way to get rid of those demons, if they ever do get rid of them. He got a job with WWE as a referee, and was with them for a very long time. He was respected there. He was highly talked about in how he was a good guy, a nice guy, a great guy. I respected him because he went from indie Death Match wrestler to making a good living, making a family.
“I’m not a religious person, but I had to commend him for turning his life around. But recently, he started going off about crazy conspiracies. I’ve always been infatuated with the people who believe in conspiracies, especially when a mass shooting would happen, or a terrorist attack, and they were false flags for this and that. I’ve always been infatuated with those people. Those are the kind of people that now believe in the whole QAnon theories. Some of them are so ridiculous. I’m not a political person. I’m not going to say I’m a person on the left, or in the middle. Everything is kind of interesting to me when it comes to politics. He just was going off and just saying ridiculous stuff, and people started to pick it up on the internet, and people that he worked with started to not like him anymore. He started saying some crazy things which rubbed people the wrong way. I started to pay attention more and more until one day it was all over the internet that he was this crazy conspiracy theorist, a guy who believed in this and that, a lot of the bad groups out there that were sharing bad beliefs.”
Janela continued and recalled how he once made a video on Wuertz after seeing local supporters of President Trump in Orlando, and how Wuertz messaged him about the video. He also recalled how Wuertz was getting heat in WWE over bringing his politics to work.
“One day I saw a Trump rally. I’m not going to say I have friends that are Trump supporters, were Trump supporters,” Janela said. “I’ve said that publicly before. I believe everyone should have a right to their voice, a right to their beliefs, but once you go to a certain point, and you start spouting off these crazy beliefs or racially insensitive stuff, that’s it, I’m done with you. He was going off. I saw this Trump rally on the corner in Orlando. I decided to take a video of me going asking where Drake is. That caught a little fire on the internet. He hit me up, contacted me, and said, ‘Why would you do me like that? I’ve always supported you. I’ve always talked highly of you.
“Why would you?’ I had to explain to him. I said, ‘Listen, you brought it on yourself by spouting these crazy things on the internet.’ I talked to him on the treadmill for 30 minutes. He was trying to convince me why this is this, or why this is good, or why this isn’t racist. I’m like, this is ridiculous. I’ll hang up the phone, and hopefully never talk to you again, because some of the stuff you were saying is just ridiculous, like, this is crazy. David Bixenspan, he’s a big time wrestling reporter. I’ve always been real tight with him. We always messaged each other about the Drake stuff. He would show me this new stuff, whether he’s on this forum, or Facebook, or his wife posted this. I would be like, ‘This guy has completely lost it.’ Eventually, WWE told him to knock it off publicly or we are going to fire you. He didn’t knock it off. They suspended him. He came back. He did a meeting with some host backstage. He had his shirt on. He had this zoom meeting, and he got released. That was it.
“It started to get crazier after he got released. Now there’s no filter. There’s no one telling him what to say. Yesterday I was bored. I was in Jersey for two weeks. Then I went to L.A. for Jungle Boy’s birthday. Then I went to Wyoming for GCW, which was quite the crazy week for me. I went there. I came back. I was bored out of my mind because I just had fun for about 10 days, just drinking and having fun. I was bored yesterday, and I saw Bixenspan start tweeting about how he was watching a live Youtube meeting, a school board meeting, for them to take the masks off the kids. He’s been spouting for weeks that the masks on the children are going to start causing some sex trafficking ring where they can snatch the kids up with the masks. I don’t know what that conspiracy is, but I think it’s completely ridiculous. He’s been doing this thing at this school board meeting. I knew he lived close to me, so I hit up Bixenspan, and I said, ‘How far is that meeting? Give me the address.’”
Janela recalled how he had less than 30 minutes to make it to the meeting, but he made it. He also admitted he was inspired by Sacha Baron Cohen, the creator of Borat.
“I then typed it in my GPS, and it said 29 minutes,” Janela recalled. “Then I hit up the promoter at GCW, whom I’m in a group, and John Carlo, he was a producer for WWE, they’ve been my good friends. We’re in a group chat on Facebook. The ship of GCW runs in that group chat. We are all talking, and I said, ‘I’m going to try to go to this meeting right now.’ I said, ‘I wanted to go to the meeting, but I didn’t have a proper disguise to get into the meeting’, and I really wanted to go overboard with it. I really wanted to do a Sacha Baron Cohen bit, and just mess with him. I said, ‘I’m not going to be able to make it. I don’t have this thing. I wanted to have props. I wanted to speak.’ Then I said, ‘Wait a second. It’s 29 minutes. I said to Bret [Lauderdale], I’m going to try and do this.’
“He said, ‘They’ve been talking for two hours already. You’re not going to make it in time.’ I said, ‘Ok.’ I hit up Bix and said, ‘How long do you think this is going to go?’ He said, ‘Well, they’ve been talking for two hours and they still have all these speakers to go.’ I went to the Ross store, which is basically like Marshall’s with discount clothing. I ran in there real quick. I found the first plaid shirt I could find. I found the first tan pants I could find, and a pair of gas station sunglasses. I pulled them off, $36 dollars. I go to the gas station. I went to Walgreens and saw a bunch of Orlando baseball caps. I thought that’s something Cohen would wear. I took that. I made it in 20 minutes. Now I have the feed on my phone, so I know right now who is speaking. Drake just spoke. I missed him. I wanted to interrupt him. I missed him. Then I ran out. I throw the pants on. I throw the shirt on as I’m driving. I have a pair of flip flops on. I’m thinking that’s something he would wear with this outfit. I try to get in the door, and it’s locked. Everything is locked. I ran around the building and checked every door, it’s all locked. I hit up Bix and said, ‘Everything is locked. I’m not getting in here.’”
Janela continued and recalled taking the selfie with Wuertz after making it in the meeting, and how he pranked Wuertz. He also recalled how he was worried about being arrested following a warning from a sheriff’s deputy.
“I walk around again to the front door, and now I notice there’s a guard right there,” Janela said. “He runs to the door. He opens the door for me. I said, ‘Sorry, I just got out of work. Where’s the school board meeting for the mask mandate?’ They said, ‘It’s right over there’, so I ran in. I wanted to sit by the camera, but I messed up. I sat by Drake, and I said, ‘Let’s get a selfie.’ He said, ‘Hi Joey. How have you been?’ He knew it was me right away. He knew I was there to f**k with him.
“I said, ‘Drake, you won’t believe this? I’m a big believer in Christ now. I’m born again. I would like to speak. How can I speak at the podium?’ He said, ‘You have to fill out a form for that buddy beforehand.’ I’m like, ‘Oh sh*t. What do I do now?’ Then some professor, some doctor, starts talking. Obviously, I’m starting to look around, and people are starting to get disgusted by what this guy is saying. I started yelling at him, ‘Your time is up. Your time is up. Your time is up.’ I go directly right behind the podium where the camera is, and I’m causing such a stir, that whoever changes the camera angle so they can’t see me. Then a woman sheriff walked up to me and said, ‘If you spout again, you’re going to get kicked out.’ At this point, I’m like, ‘Jesus, do I really want to get arrested for this?’ I would take the arrest and I could get a Go Fund Me, and not pay a cent from these fans that love this stuff. I started yelling again. I said, ‘I’m just frustrated with this mask bulls**t.’ and I walked out.
“Now I think they’re onto me that there is something going on with me that I’m not there for the right reasons. As I’m walking out, I notice there’s two guys in suits. I guess they’re with the school board and a couple cops. They follow me outside. I’m speed walking through the front door just to make sure I’m out for good. I go out. I jump in my car, and there’s a whole flock of people out front looking at me, and jumping my sh*tty Toyota Yaris, 2009 I think it is, that still runs somehow. I speed away. I see everyone out there. I hit up Bix. I hit up a few other people that are watching. I said, ‘Did you see me? Did you see what I did?’ Everyone was like, ‘No, you f**ked up. We didn’t see anything. We didn’t see you at all.’ I said, ‘Oh man, I messed up. I missed my opportunity. I should have sat in this seat. I should have done this. I’ve messed up.’”
Finally, Janela discussed how the stunt went viral on social media, for various reasons. He also revealed a text message he received from Wuertz last week.
“Then later in the night, I decided to post a selfie and a tweet saying with all these crazy hashtags, it caught fire. People loved it,” Janela said. “I’m like, at least we made something good out of it. Everyone was laughing. Then, people started to pull clips out of the meeting where you can hear me going off. Then today, I haven’t slept for the last three days, I woke up at 3 pm. I looked at my Twitter, and my Twitter is swamped. It’s either people that think I was actually there to lift the mask mandate, and I was now a QAnon guy, right wing extraordinaire. Then I noticed Cornette picked up on it. I actually worked him into thinking that I was that as well, which is not the first time that I worked Jim Cornette. That’s why he hates me so much, because I’m always working, and I’m probably one of the only people to work him and his followers, and is one of the only people that can spat back with him.
“He retweeted something and said we (Joey and Drake) are two peas and should be locked in an institution or something. Then everyone starts. Either they know they’re in on the joke. There are those people that are loving this, and knew I was trolling these people. There’s people that think I’m now a right wing guy. There are also people who knew I was joking, but they hate me so much, that say I brought too much attention to Drake and I platformed him, and because of my outburst, I possibly could have cost the pro mask people the meeting. It was a whole sh*t storm of social media. Then I scrolled down more, and someone pulled out a news clip of me storming out on the news. It said this man stormed out after an outburst. Then it really started to get traction.
“I got a text from a Florida number earlier today. It was Drake. He said, ‘Nice to talk to you for a short bit last night. I’m right down the street if you need anything.’ So, I don’t know if I worked him into thinking I’m really a born again Christian guy and right winged guy. Maybe he can convert me. No, never, I don’t think so.It was a fun thing, and people really enjoyed it. It was ridiculous. It was a very Andy Kaufman-esque thing to add to my repertoire of a ridiculous timeline of a wrestling career.”
Janela is currently out of action with a concussion, which you can read about at this link. Wuertz recently issued a statement on his WWE release and revealed a COVID-19-related text message that employees received from WWE Talent Relations head John Laurinaitis, which you can read about by clicking here.
Stay tuned for more.
(H/T to WrestlingNews for the quotes)