Yesterday, we told you about former ECW announcer Joey Styles, who was fired from his job with pro wrestling organization Evolve after telling ring announcer Joanna Rose: “Joanna, you look great tonight. And if our next President were here tonight, he’d want to grab you by the…” Those comments may not have stopped Donald Trump from winning the presidency, but they’re wreaking absolute havoc on Joey Styles’ career.
Yesterday, Styles responded to the controversy by sending an “open letter” explaining himself to online dirt sheet PWInsider. The letter read:
AN OPEN LETTER FROM JOEY STYLES
Friday night, I panicked on camera during the live broadcast of Evolve 72 on FloSlam when I realized that heel manager, Stokely Hathaway and I would be doing our promo at ringside and not in the ring with ring announcer, Joanna Rose as I had anticipated.
I told Joanna before the show that during my promo with her and Stokely in the ring, I was going to ask her about English tailoring so we could compare my suit with Stokely Hathaway’s suit.
I had no idea what to say when Stokely Hathaway and I were at ringside about to trade promos and I didn’t have Joanna with us to ask about English tailoring.
I panicked and I did exactly what Gabe Sapolsky told me not to do earlier in the week and made a political joke. The joke included a partial quote from the President-Elect that was meant to mock him and then, in-turn, my scripted nemesis, Stokely Hathaway.
I started the joke and stopped quoting the President-Elect without using the offensive word.
Again, I did not utter the offensive word.
I then turned to Stokely Hathaway and said “the word that I will not use, brings me to you.”
As the veteran, I should have walked through the promo segment with Stokely Hathaway and Joanna Rose before the event so that there was no possibility of me putting myself in that position.
Gabe was justifiably furious at me and thought that I had endangered his relationship with FloSports.
After the event, I looked Gabe in the eye, apologized to him, and as not as to put him in the awkward position of having to fire someone he has known for 20 years, told him to fire me publicly and then shook his hand.
I apologized to Joanna who said she said she wasn’t upset because she knew it was a joke about the President-Elect. It didn’t matter if she was upset or not, therefore I apologized to her again, repeatedly.
I apologized to Jeremy Botter, the representative from FloSlam who was at the event, and he wasn’t upset. It didn’t matter if he was upset or not, therefore I apologized to him again, repeatedly. I also told him that Gabe and EVOLVE had no knowledge of what I was going to say and my actions should not be held against EVOLVE.
I apologized to the locker room and the wrestlers weren’t upset. It didn’t matter if they were upset, therefore I apologized to the wrestlers again, repeatedly.
While apologizing to the wrestlers, I saw that Timothy Thatcher obviously had a very serious concussion.
Timothy Thatcher’s main event opponent, Drew Gulak also recognized that it was a very serious concussion and said that Timothy needed to go to the hospital.
I went to the hospital with Timothy and Larry Dallas. Gabe arrived at the hospital shorty after we did. We were cordial to each other, because I had already apologized to him and he had already fired me publicly. All that we were rightly concerned about by that point was Timothy Thatcher’s condition.
Larry and I stayed at the hospital with Timothy until he was released at 1:30 AM into Larry’s care to recover at Larry’s home in NY until he is well enough to fly home to California.
While at the hospital watching Timothy struggle to regain his memory of what happened and even remember my name, I made the decision to stay quiet about EVOLVE 72 until today so as not to take attention away from EVOLVE on FloSlam on Sunday night.
In summary, I panicked on a live broadcast, ad-libbed by telling bad joke, apologized to Gabe, told him to publicly fire me to protect himself and then apologized sincerely and repeatedly to everybody involved including Joanna Rose, Jeremy Botter from FloSlam and the wrestlers in the EVOLVE locker room.
In conclusion, I’d like to thank FloSlam for editing out the segment from the EVOLVE 72 replay on FloSlam so fans can enjoy the historic event forever without it being marred.
But that didn’t stop the bleeding. Later that day, Philadelphia based pro wrestling organization Chikara also fired Styles, who had been providing commentary for all their events. Chikara founder Mike Quackenbush announced the termination in a blog post:
Effective today, we are terminating our relationship with Joey Styles. Effective today, we are instituting a zero tolerance policy for misogynistic, racist, and/or homophobic speech, written or verbal, whether it’s directed toward our cast, our crew, or our patrons. This is the shape of CHIKARA.
To all that craft and shape pro-wrestling, we must fully understand this: the patrons of our art form demand more of us. It is to them – those that empower us to create the larger-than-life spectacle of professional wrestling – that we are beholden. Not to an archaic sub-culture made up of turn-of-the-last-century carny values.
The time for us to do away with antiquated and insulting vocabulary, like the term “mark,” is right now.
The time for us to relinquish any last vestige of power we’ve given to outmoded wrestling rhetoric is right now.
The time for us to draw a line in the sand, and to say this is where we stand on equality and integration in our art form, is right now.
But it still wasn’t over for Styles. Another wrestling promotion, Beyond Wrestling, announced that Styles wouldn’t be appearing at an upcoming event he was scheduled for, or any future events for the promotion, via Twiter:
Joey Styles will no longer be appearing at Sunday's live event in Worcester or any future Beyond Wrestling live events. Thank you.
— Beyond Wrestling (@beyondwrestling) November 14, 2016
Joey Styles has never worked at Bleeding Cool, but we feel like, just to be safe, we should probably fire him too. Yeah. It’s starting to look like this right now for Joey Styles:
Well, if you’re going to commit career suicide, you might as well call your own play by play. OH MY GOD!