AEW’s Jungle Boy Prepares for the Biggest Match of His Young Career
Jungle Boy first appeared in All Elite Wrestling as part of the Casino Battle Royale during the company’s first event, Double or Nothing. It was mere months after his dad, Luke Perry, unexpectedly passed away in 2019. Now more than two years later, Jungle Boy won the same match at the same event.
The milestone victory earned the 24-year-old, real name Jack Perry, a shot at AEW champion Kenny Omega on a special Saturday edition of Dynamite, June 26 on TNT. Here, the emerging star looks ahead to the main event and what is the biggest opportunity of his career so far.
How do you feel you’ve grown as a performer in AEW?
Jungle Boy: I feel like a much more polished wrestler when I look back and see old stuff. I feel a lot better off now. I think a lot of that comes from working with a lot of the great older guys who have a lot more experience.
Take me through the evolution of the Jungle Boy character.
Initially in the very beginning, Jungle Boy was not something I came up with. It started out as a joke. I just ran with it. I really didn’t have a serious vision of what it was going to be. I didn’t want to get too silly with it and make monkey noises. I also wanted it to be someone else. I feel AEW has done a good job helping me figure out who Jungle Boy is along the way. I think with Luchasaurus I can be a little goofy and play into it. At the same time, when it’s time to do the work, I feel we can be serious as well. AEW has done a good job showing both sides.
#throwback with @boy_myth_legend to 10 years ago! The first week of wrestling school he was still sitting above me 🦖🦖#aboyandhisdinosaur #aew #luchasaurus #jungleboy #bestfriends pic.twitter.com/q7FfmfhSPC
— Luchasaurus (@luchasaurus) June 30, 2019
What do you feel was your breakout match?
The first big moment I had in AEW was versus Chris [Jericho]. I felt a lot of pressure going into that. For the first time, the world was really going to have its eyes on me. It was my first big test. The match I had against MJF at Double or Nothing [in 2020] was one of my first singles big opportunities. The last Double or Nothing this year felt monumental. With this whole pandemic and then hearing the people and how supportive they were, it felt really big.
And you didn’t just win the Casino Battle Royale, you last eliminated Christian.
I didn’t know Christian really before, but he has been a really cool guy. Having the match with Christian, and I ended up winning it and knowing I was going to wrestle Kenny Omega—it feels crazy where everything is moving at warped speed. I’m really excited about it. I feel a lot of momentum.
Your dad was so supportive of your pro wrestling career. Do you feel your success helps continue his legacy?
It’s not something I aimed to do. The whole time I’ve not felt that pressure to do that, but it does do that. The thing I always tell people about my dad is remembering the person he was rather than a professional figure. I like to see him that way. He was very supportive. I’m sure he’d be real proud of the success.
What was the best piece of advice you received from him?
More than anything else it’s to be nice to as many people as you can. It’s a very simple piece of advice. But when you boil it down, it’s a very important thing in not only work but life.
How have you been prepping for Kenny Omega?
I’ve been doing my normal workouts, but then yesterday I had some buddies over running drills. I have a ring at my house. We wrestled for three hours. I would say Kenny Omega is the best wrestler in the world. You look at a lot of the crazy matches he had where it’s 60 or 70 minutes. I want to make sure I’m in peak shape and can go all the way. It has been a bit more preparation than usual, but I think it’s going to pay off.
What are your thoughts on AEW head Tony Khan moving the match to a special Saturday edition of Dynamite to build up more anticipation?
I‘m really glad they did it. The match was supposed to happen a few weeks ago. I’d wrestle Kenny Omega no matter what. I’d do it anywhere, but to be able to do it now with the fans there—it’s a completely different game. I’m a lot more excited to hear the fans.
Your entrance, complete with the 1980s hit “Jungle Life,” feels like a concert with everyone swaying their arms.
I would use that song as an independent wrestler for a while. People were always into it. A lot of times though, I would wrestle in smaller venues. I haven’t heard that song in about two years. To come back and have the music play in a full sports arena felt really good and surreal. It is cool for me to see how happy it makes people and the enjoyment they get out of it.
You have a lot of things to look forward to no doubt. I heard you were even going to be part of David Arquette’s team on Celebrity Family Feud.
That was an interesting experience for me. It was a lot of fun. We were playing for a charity, which is always cool. It was my first game show. David is a really cool guy. He is very into wrestling and a good friend. So I’m looking forward to seeing it.
Your dad became so famous very quickly because of Beverly Hills, 90210. As things start picking up for you, what keeps you centered?
I think seeing how he was with fame has helped me prepare for it. Whether it’s being there wrestling or going to Family Feud, I’m 100 percent into it. In my off time, I’m doing my own thing. I like to spend a lot of time with my family and friends. There is always a bit of me staying in work mode and in shape. I try not to let things bleed into each other when I can.
Is there anything about your life outside the ring that would surprise people?
I don’t drink at all. That might surprise a lot of people. I’m a pretty normal guy. I’ve also seen New Girl more than I probably should have. That’s probably it.
AEW Dynamite, Saturday, June 26, 8/7c, TNT