If I were to be a 100% honest man, I would say that a year ago today, I was only vaguely familiar with the work of a man known as “The Bad Boy” Joey Janela. I had seen him wrestle a couple AAW matches and talk about how orgies work in AIW. I heard he wrestled Zandig once. But that’s about it. Never went any deeper. I liked him, but my interest in independent wrestling as a whole in 2016 was not what it once was. But one day, I see a GoFundMe for Joey Janela to wrestle Marty Jannetty. The story being that he had made a list back in 2014 of every wrestler he wanted to face. And he had wrestled all of them. AR Fox, Amazing Red, Sabu, Teddy Hart, and many others. He wrestled everyone he wanted to, except for one name. Marty Jannetty.
The GoFundMe made an astounding $35. But in comes Game Changer Wrestling. A promotion based out of New Jersey. And they did something that is a bit mind blowing. GCW had Joey Janela create a wrestling show set to happen Wrestlemania weekend. And not only will Janela get his match with Jannetty, but he can make whatever match he wanted happen.
Suddenly, the internet blows up about an event simply known as “Joey Janela’s Spring Break”. With an insane mixture or well known independent wrestling talent like Matt Riddle, Sami Callihan, & Lio Rush alongside names of old such as Glacier, Dink the Clown, and Dan “The Beast” Severn. They promote that Earl Hebner would come in after a ref bump because they couldn’t pay him for a full match. They had a match literally called a “clusterf***” where Veda Scott, Ethan Page, & Facade would face the likes of Jervis Cottonbelly, Andy Williams of “Every Time I Die” & the Invisible Man. It spread like wildfire.
And I had to be there.
I went diving nose deep into the lore of Joey Janela. And what I found is that he is actually an amazing personality and insane risk taker There is an amazing documentary from Kenny Johnson that goes into detail on the rise of Janela, and I strongly suggest a watch. As the days got close and more people and matches were being announced, I got more excited. I made extra space in my luggage to bring appropriate clothing for the Spring Break theme. When Thursday night had finally arrived, it seemed I was not the only one with that idea, as people in swim trunks and patterned shorts were everywhere. Inflatable tubes and beach balls were everywhere. I knew I made the right choice. As the night kept going it seemed the fun nature of the night was infectious. When you can get someone like Eddie Kingston to crack a smile, you know you are in a fun environment. And is not every show you see the invisible man DDT Facade.
While Matt Riddle and Dan Severn headlined the show, it was the Janela vs Jannetty match that had everyone talking. From insane chair spots, to the aforementioned Earl Hebner run in, to Marty Jannetty doing a Canadian Destroyer, the match seems like something form a lucid dream. When Virgil does a run-in while donning a silver mask, and the crowd erupts as if they were unaware it was Virgil the whole time, you know you are in a special setting.
The show was not perfect, and between Mania itself and many star-studded shows throughout the weekend, Joey Janela’s Spring Break may not have been the most packed show of the weekend. But it was certainly special. The atmosphere was unlike any I have been a part of at a wrestling show. And when I left, it was all I could talk about. I purposefully avoided describing much about the show itself because I feel like it needs to be seen for yourself. It helped tug at your nostalgia string while also putting new names out there to hopefully raise awareness about the amount of great people on the scene that don’t get as much exposure as others. Most shows wanted to give you the best wrestlers having the best matches, and while it is enjoyable, after a while you can get burnt out. Independent wrestling needs variety, and Spring Break delivered on it tenfold. The show is twelve dollars to own through Smart Mark Video, and worth every penny. GCW and Janela have already announced plans to follow up next year, and I wish both the absolute best. Because in my opinion, it was the best part of my long weekend of wrestling.