Former ECW legendary announcer Joey Styles is not one to shy away from controversy. In fact, there still are rumours swarming that he was let go from WWE this past summer due to his controversial comments during a Facebook Q&A session. The firing came after Styles had been with the company for over 11 years in various roles.
Styles would then find a commentary home for Gabe Sapolsky’s EVOLVE promotion, which has also been working with WWE by way of the NXT brand recently. As reported, he was released by EVOLVE this weekend for making a political comment.
Gabe Sapolsky had confirmed the firing on Twitter:
We've parted ways with Joey Styles and that's my final comment on this. Thank you for your support.— Gabe Sapolsky (@BookItGabe) November 13, 2016
PWInsider reached out to Styles to get a comment on his release, and what they received was the following formal statement instead:
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 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.
Just like every other incident, the controversy surrounding this will most likely die down with time and Styles will find employment as a commentator elsewhere.
While it is unfortunate that this incident occurred, it will hopefully allow Styles to understand that companies are very sensitive towards the material being shared on their platform, particularly when there are sponsors involved.
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