During the post AEW Full Gear Media Scrum, Wrestling Inc. Managing Editor Nick Hausman asked the newest AEW signee, Jay Lethal, to discuss how Tony Khan got in touch with him and how coming to AEW following his run with ROH all came about. The former ROH World Champion said tonight was the first time he had ever met or spoke to Tony in person and revealed he could not sleep the night before because he was so excited to debut in AEW.
“It all happened so quickly, a few days ago,” Lethal said. “My head was spinning. Today was the first time we met and talked face-to-face. Imagine being, for lack of a better term, jobless and wondering how you’re going to pay your bills. You’re a professional wrestler, there’s not a ton of jobs and you can’t just fill out an application anywhere.
“Obviously I got a quick message from some of Tony’s associates which was like the greatest day, a beacon of life. Literally that was only a few days ago, I flew in yesterday and had to sit in my hotel room and I couldn’t get any sleep. I swear to god, not a minute, not an hour of sleep because all I could think about was I don’t really know what’s happening tomorrow. We hadn’t met yet, this was our first time meeting face to face, it was wild, all these thoughts going through my mind. Will the people like me, the companies on fire right now, I hope I make an impression. Just a wild wild rush of emotions in my head.”
After making his surprise debut, Lethal was announced as the latest contender for Sammy Guevara’s TNT Championship and will look to become champion in his first AEW match this Wednesday on Dynamite.
Lethal has now become the first superstar from ROH to appear for another company since the announcement that ROH will be going on a hiatus. The former ROH World Champion spoke about the situation with the company he spent over a decade with and why he’s excited for this next chapter in his life with AEW.
“Unfortunately the doors are closing soon there,” Lethal said. “I met a lot of friends there, I’ve wrestled there for over 10 years. I’m a very loyal professional wrestler, if you’re good to me I’ll stay there till the doors close. The doors are closing [in ROH] and the opportunity presented itself [to come to AEW]. Mr. Opportunist here [Tony Khan] and I was welcomed in with open arms. To answer your question, my heart goes out to a lot of those guys who no longer have jobs. It’s a sad time but also a great time to be a professional wrestler because the wrestling world is frickin booming.”
Lethal continued to speak about the amount of time left on his contract before revealing he requested his release from the company. The 36-year-old said he chose to bet on himself knowing that WWE talent was also released recently and wanted to get to AEW before other recently released talent did.
“I had about a month left up until maybe five days ago, six days ago where I asked for my release,” Lethal said. “Because I knew that as a professional wrestler, everybody knows, left and right people were released, there was a massive amount of free agents and for a professional wrestler if you don’t strike while the iron is hot, then you’re going to be behind the eight ball. I figured I would bet on myself and try something and I got a response and it worked and I’m so thankful for it.”
ROH will be holding their last event, Final Battle on December 11th, before going on hiatus. Having spent over a decade with the company, Lethal was asked whether or not he’d appear at Final Battle and here’s what he said:
“I will not be,” Lethal said. “My new home is AEW.”