This is the last part of our long interview with Jack Jester. Amongst other things, we’ll talk about emotions and we’ll find out what does Jack think of those who think that wrestling is fake. Read on!
WtW: What is your personal training regime?
JJ: I train all day on Sundays, Tuesday nights and sometimes on Thursdays, I am at the Asylum as a trainer but I do also train myself. I try to keep my time on the ring in training relatively limited because with all the injuries building up I try to save my body for when I’m performing. Then I go to the gym 4 times every week and do some extra cardio work here and there. All in all… well, if I’m not at the gym I’m in the Asylum, really.
WtW: How much is British wrestling really growing?
JJ: I’ll just tell you one thing. When I started, I wrestled at a show in Kilmarnock in front of 20, 30 people. It was soul-destroying. Last month I wrestled there for BCW, in the same venue, and it was sold out. That place had never sold out for wrestling, not even when Big Daddy was there.
WtW: Is there anyone, or any category of people, you really can’t stand in the wrestling business?
JJ: Actually I’m pissed off all the time.
Specific people, not so much.
The biggest thing that pisses me off are promoters who forget the guys who work hard for them all year long as soon as there is a famous guy on the show. If I am sitting at home with my case, I don’t know who was picking me up or when, while the promoter is posting pictures on Facebook “Here’s me with The Import having lunch”, “The Import arrived”, “The Import is at his hotel”, “Remember that The Import will be signing photos tonight”… if you have the time to post Facebook statuses all day, you could maybe answer my text to tell me who is picking me up and when, and what I am supposed to do at the show. And obviously that night I will not be having a great match because I’m pissed off, then after the show I’ll be there waiting for someone to pick me up… it’s a nightmare.
Another one: those promoters who tell you that you can’t sell your merch at a show because the Americans are selling theirs. It doesn’t even make sense.
Then there are the people who decide to become wrestlers, who train and go out there to wrestle and then bitch and moan about it constantly. If you don’t want to get hurt, if you don’t want to be sore, go do something else, something less physical. Nobody makes us do this. Nobody forces you to go out and get hit with a chair or thrown in thumbtacks: that’s your choice. So don’t do it and then start moaning about it: I don’t want to hear you, I’m sore enough myself. Don’t come tell me “Oh, that chop was a bit too stiff”: deal with it. Hit back. If you think I’ve hit you too hard, hit me back.
Also, those people who think they can have a match even if they are not properly trained. Sure, they can get on a ring, anyone can. But can they have a good match? No, no chance. So they stink the place up and end up embarrassing themselves and all of us, because then the people will stop going to the shows after seeing a terrible one.
WtW: There’s a question I ask everyone, and I’d particularly like to hear your answer: what do you tell people who say that wrestling is fake?
JJ: It’s an ignorant thing to say. You hear it all the time.
We don’t try to insult your intelligence by insisting that it’s a real sport, a real contest. If I say it’s predetermined I’m not exposing the business, that aspect was exposed years ago, when Jackie Pallo said it. The people know that the outcome of the matches is planned in advance. I’m not treating anyone like an idiot, I don’t go around saying that I don’t know how my match will end.
Honestly, I wish it was faker than it is. I have been in better shape. Also, I wish I knew where they buy the fake steel chairs they talk about, I never found one.
If it was fake, I wouldn’t be in the state that I’m in. If it was fake, all these legends you see now wouldn’t struggle to walk. A wrestler doesn’t need to get old to start walking like an old man. I don’t think I know any wrestler who doesn’t have some physical issue. Back problems, hip problems, knee problems, scars, missing teeth… every time I get into the ring I know for a fact that something is going to hurt: I’m a big man, falling on my back hurts. Hitting my face on something hurts. We get used to it, but it doesn’t stop hurting.
If you think it’s fake, come and try it. Anytime. See you at the Asylum. Once you have been in the ring, you can try to come tell me it’s all easy. If you really believe it. But until then, say what you like, it doesn’t make any difference to me.
WtW: You probably have already heard that right after you lost the title there was a guy kicking the walls, so frustrated he was that you had lost. I don’t think he was even drunk.
JJ: A grown man, maybe even sober, kicking the walls because he had invested so much on a wrestling match and it didn’t go how he hoped it would? Answer now: is that fake?
I’ve cried to wrestling countless times. And I am a wrestler, I know the deal.
People cry for movies after all, for TV shows.
WtW: Wrestling fans can get pretty emotional, but has anyone actually tried to hit you?
JJ: It has happened to me recently: there’s people who think it’s acceptable to come and lay their hands on me during a show, that it’s OK because I am a wrestler. No, that will not be OK.
If you shove me, if you take a swipe at me, if you kick me, if you try to trip me… try, and see what you get. I’m not saying I’m going to attack you, but I certainly will embarrass you. The next time you’ll think twice about it. Don’t think that you have the right to lay your hands on me because I am part of the show, because I’m being physical with the other wrestlers: that’s our job.
If I showed up at the theatre and went to touch one of the actors I’d probably get jailed.
WtW: Do you know anything about Italian wrestling?
JJ: Not really, to be honest. Although recently I received an email from an Italian guy saying he is starting a promotion and asking me if I would be interested in working there. I answered that when they start I’ll be available.
I’d love to wrestle in Italy, I like to see different places, work with different people, see how they run shows in other countries, so I’d be really interested in taking a booking there.
I must admit I’m guilty of not knowing much about wrestling in the rest of Europe, but I’ve been so busy here for so long that I’ve not been looking around. But I’d like to look around, I’d love to meet new people, new styles.
If an Italian promoter wants to drop me a message… I can also do seminars.
WtW: So you didn’t know that there is a young prospect in Italian Championship Wrestling who wrestles as Jester?
JJ: No, but now I want to wrestle him. Make it happen!
WtW: I’ll let some Italian promoters know. Obviously they don’t want to fill their cards with imports, and I don’t know if they already have somebody coming in…
JJ: That’s a good attitude actually. I’d love to be that one guy they bring over.
WtW: Don’t you think that imports bring extra fans to a show?
JJ: They may bring those 20, 30 wrestling fans. Children, instead, they only want to watch some wrestling. They don’t know those people. If I know them from when I was only a fan, those kids won’t remember them. They are too young.
Think of Hardcore Holly: people my age were marking out for him, I used to watch him every week on television, him and Crash… but the children don’t cheer him because he’s Bob Holly, they don’t know who he is: they cheer him because he’s wrestling me so he’s a good guy.
There’s no need to bring in imports. Never. See BCW, they bring one, maybe two Americans every year for the biggest show. By the way, with “Americans” I mean ex WWE guys. It’s just a way of saying “Here’s a gift for you, thanks for supporting us this year, we’ll bring in somebody special”. Hardcore Holly, Kevin Nash, whoever.
We are at a time when you don’t need imports to sell tickets. For years people thought they needed an American wrestler to sell tickets, but even back then most of the tickets sold weren’t because of the import: the import is just a bonus. Sure, those guys draw, but they are not selling a venue out. We don’t need them to sell out.
Maybe people who like wrestling but have never been to a live show will decide to buy a ticket to see them, that’s why they are still brought here. You walk down the street, you see wrestling posters with people you don’t know on them, then you see one with Mick Foley and you stop.
When you start to book imports because you feel you need them or because the promoter is a mark himself, that’s counterproductive. And if you bring in 14 imports… well, that’s not a British wrestling show anymore, is it? It’s a parade of famous people. And it’s expensive.
WtW: So, in a few words, what are the right reasons to book an import?
JJ: People who are relevant, or a “thank you” to the fans like BCW does once every year when they bring in someone for people my age to feel nostalgic about. Especially if then they put them against someone who is up and coming, to give them a push, to make them learn and benefit from the experience… never bring two imports and put them against each other! If you do, they don’t help the show by helping your local wrestlers to get over.
Well, good old Jack Jester has plenty of stuff to say, doesn’t he?
Many, many tank to him for this long and extremely interesting chat, and to you for having read it.
Until the next time…