While Jon Moxley’s return to the deathmatch scenery was a big talking point coming out of AEW Fyter Fest, let’s not overlook his opponent Joey Janela.
AEW held their second monthly pay-per-view last weekend, Fyter Fest, and it may very well have been even more well received than the already critically acclaimed Double or Nothing. To be fair, there was a lot worth praising coming out of this show. Among them being the jaw dropping unsanctioned hardcore match between Jon Moxley and Joey Janela.
Yes, Jon Moxley and Joey Janela. There were two people in that match, but don’t feel bad if you forgot that aspect of the match considering most of the buzz surrounding the match has been on the former WWE Champion. Which, to be fair (again), makes sense given that he is a former WWE Champion still fresh out of his WWE run. He’s been back on the indies for merely a month so far and Mox has been killing it, even going as far as to win the IWGP United States Title in NJPW.
However, we should not use Mox’s namesake as a reason to overlook Janela’s own stellar performance.
For those not familiar with The Bad Boy of professional wrestling, first off, check out Kenny Johnson’s documentary all about him called Please Don’t Die. Tells you everything you need to know and then some. Plus, it’s just a really good doc.
If you’re just looking for a brief summary on the man, dig this: Janela is one of the most creative minds on the independent scene currently, not to mention a wholly talented in-ring competitor at that. In a direct parallel to Moxley’s own journey in this industry, Janela made a name for himself as a deathmatch competitor, particularly in CZW. You might have seen some of his work on CNN, actually, back when he was in a fatal rooftop spot that hopefully never gets duplicated.
Janela’s match with Moxley highlighted both the tenacity and the resiliency of the Bad Boy character. It’s a character who has been known to attempt anything to pick up a win, even if it means throwing any and all caution for his body to the win. On the other hand, he’s also been known to endure some damning damage in an attempt to scratch and claw his way towards that win.
His performance against Moxley showcased the best of those characteristics. Janela suffered the brunt of a barbed wire steelchair, tables, barbed wire tables, getting atomic dropped feet first into thumbtacks (OW!), and a raving lunatic pummeling him every step of the way.
Beyond that, you’ve got to give props to the man behind the character for withstanding all of that action. Sure, he’s taken much worse damage in the past, but how many guys do you know would be willing to take a foot bump into some thumbtacks? Not a lot of guys out there would be so willing to do stuff like that. Janela’s a heck of a trooper for what we went through in that match.
Janela’s performance was in some ways reminiscent of Jeff Hardy’s never-say-die performance against The Undertaker in 2002 that made him a star. I can see the same future for Janela, because he looked like a bonafide main eventer at Fyter Fest who belonged in the ring with a WWE Champion.
It’s easy to overlook his performance coming out of Fyter Fest, especially for those who went in not knowing who Joey Janela was. However, I feel like we should acknowledge Janela more for what he did in that match because this could be the first precursor to a major breakout for The Bad Boy that could someday make him a staple of AEW’s main event picture.