Jungle Boy has reached a turning point in his career. The 25-year-old wrestler has abandoned the tag division for the first time in his AEW career, pursuing singles competition after former partner Luchasaurus and past manager Christian Cage turned on him. With this new direction also came a revamped presentation, as Jungle Boy has pivoted to a nickname, with the former AEW World Tag Team Champion now using his real name of Jack Perry going forward.
Speaking with ComicBook.com’s Liam Crowley, Perry revealed that he originally wanted to stay away from using his real name as a way of separating his personal and professional lives.
“I initially went with the whole Jungle Boy thing as a way to not be myself or more what I guess people thought I was,” Perry said. “It was my way of really getting people to just watch my wrestling, which was really important to me. I wanted people to just watch me do what I did in the ring. I didn’t want to have to talk or have a character that other people were trying to push on me. It was like, I’m Jungle Boy. I don’t talk, I don’t do anything. You just got to watch what’s in the ring. A lot of that was to avoid my personal life in a way.”
The reason for the shift now is due to the nature of the feud, as Cage has frequently brought up Perry’s family on AEW programming.
“Christian goes and just blows all that out of the water and is going nuts every week, saying all this stuff,” Perry continued. “At that point it’s kind of like, what am I waiting for now? This seems like the time to go for it.”
Since AEW’s inception, Perry has always been positioned as a young star that the company was going to invest in over the long term. That was exemplified in a September 2021 promo from Maxwell Jacob Friedman, where the upcoming AEW World Title challenger proclaimed himself, Perry, Sammy Guevara, and Darby Allin as the “pillars” of AEW.
Looking back on that promo one year later, Perry is confident with his in-ring work, but is starting to focus on fine-tuning elements exist outside of the squared circle.
“Growing up, what I really wanted to do was just be a great wrestler. That was the part that appealed to me was inside the ring what people would do, which I thought was the same for everyone,” Perry said. “That’s what I always kind of just aspired to get better at was that part. I feel pretty confident now. After three years, I could go in there with any wrestler in the world and have a good one and hang in there with them. I think that’s what I’ve been trying to do, and I think I’ve proved that over and over again. Now I’m wanting to focus on the other stuff, which I’m realizing is more important than I once thought.”
One of those things is promos, which Perry feels he has made strides in over the past 365 days.
“For me, that’s not something I like to do, and it’s not something I was particularly comfortable with. So the past year, I’ve put more focus on slowly getting better at that, and I feel way more confident in doing it now,” Perry said. “It’s not my favorite thing in the world, and I don’t show up to work saying, ‘Please give me a microphone and let me talk for 10 minutes.’ I’m far from the best at it, but I feel a lot better doing it. Things like that are kind of things that I would like to continue to progress at as we go.”
Perry battles Luchasaurus inside a steel cage this Saturday, November 19th at AEW Full Gear.