Former AEW star Joey Janela has opened up about why talent regresses in AEW and reveals that the company must have a startling wage bill with even lower card talent making six figures.
Joey Janela was one of the AEW originals in the company and appeared in the main event of the company’s second-ever show in a Lights Out match against Jon Moxley.
Janela’s time in AEW came to an end in early 2022 and since then the star has returned to the independent scene where he made his name.
Speaking on Keepin It 100, Joey Janela noted that he felt there wasn’t enough in-ring experience available in AEW given how Tony Khan books his shows and says the company must have an eye-watering wage bill:
“Some people are just happy to be there and part of something. My thought on it was always, Tony Khan, he’s trying every week to do a little mini-pay-per-view. Back in the day with Nitro, they had it right. You’d have great matches in under six minutes. He has two hours to pull off a TV show and he has a lot of people, a lot of pieces to that puzzle and a lot of guys that he has to try to satisfy and he’s booking 30 minute matches every week.
“You do a 30 minute match and a 20 minute talk segment, what else is left? Other people have to go to Dark and they’re wrestling twice a month in Universal Studios in front of a lukewarm crowd and they have some Florida jabroni for three minutes. That’s why wrestlers are regressing in ability because they don’t care, they’re getting paid, they don’t want to go hustle.
“A lot of guys don’t want to go back to the Indies. You have that choice in AEW to go wrestle on the Indies. All those guys are getting paid six figures. Bottom card to top of the card. Top of the card, seven figures. The whole company is getting paid six figures. Unless the pay scale has changed.
“Of course, there was some kind of tiered deal where you’re paid by appearance when they’re just kind of feeling someone or testing them out. Some people, they don’t want to go back on the indies. You make more on the indies.”
The AEW website currently lists 140 names as part of the current roster, not including broadcasters, coaches, or referees in that number.