Jay Lethal Explains Why He Did Not Sign With AEW Before 2021
Jay Lethal was 'Mr. ROH' before joining AEW in 2021
When ROH went into a shock self-imposed hiatus heading into 2022, the fate of the entire ROH roster was up in the air.
The first major name from ROH to find a new home was Jay Lethal, with the two-time ROH World Champion joining AEW at Full Gear 2021. However, Lethal admitted that he was tempted to join AEW earlier, telling the AEW Unrestricted podcast:
“They [ROH] let everybody go. The odd part is, the year before they let everybody go, I was considering coming to AEW. I felt like the only reason that I hadn’t gone to AEW and jumped ship in the very beginning was that I was extremely loyal to Ring of Honor,” Lethal said. “I felt like with everybody leaving, they needed to have somebody stay and try and help. I felt because they were so loyal to me, I was going to try to stay and help. My duty to them was slowly coming to an end. They were good to me so I was good to them for a time and it was time to start exploring other options. That was in my mind. But I didn’t do it. I stayed and continued to help out Ring of Honor.
“Then as luck would have it, about October, we’re in the pandemic. They’re having these sporadic shows. Everybody’s getting paid still which we’re all excited about. Kudos to them for tipping their hat because we had a lot of people on the roster, particularly a lot of overseas people that they didn’t let go. They kept them too and paid them. So kudos to them. But it was just the perfect storm of events, not having many shows, not drawing too well when we did have the shows, and paying everybody. They couldn’t take it anymore. The company closes and now I can finally explore that option that I was thinking about.”
Jay Lethal has since kept the fires of ROH alive, waging a war against ROH TV Champion Samoa Joe across AEW TV.