Jack Evans Opens Up on His Time in AEW & ROH, What Keeps Him Going

Jack Evans recently spoke in an exclusive interview with PWMania.com for an in-depth conversation about various topics. During the discussion, Evans opened up about his time in Ring of Honor and Mexico, what he’s been up to recently and much more. Here is the complete interview:

First time I met you was when I was 15 at ROH Battle of the Icons in Edison, NJ. You teamed up with Aries and Strong against Davey, Delirious and Shingo. What do you think was special about ROH during that time?

It was a weird culmination where ECW ended and you had a niche fanbase that wanted the crazy stuff and then you had the fans that wanted technical wrestling and that came to a head in the early 2000s. ROH was a great variety show. If you wanted a six man scramble or a mat classic, you were getting it. It was like a black swan event.

The first ROH show I went to was the Fourth Anniversary Show where you wrestled Ricky Reyes. Did your neck hurt after taking that top rope moonsault to the floor?

Nah I didn’t get hurt. Ricky was like “I was too scared to catch you.” I don’t know why I wanted to do a backflip and a half to the outside now that I think about it. But I had just gotten off a flight and got to the venue 5 minutes before we had to go on and I was thinking of something quick to pop the crowd. When you’re outside trying to catch someone and they’re spinning in the air, it’s scary as hell.

A lot of times, things that look scary in wrestling don’t hurt at all. I remember doing a double moonsault off a cage onto Abyss and then I bounced off, but I didn’t get hurt.

What’ve you been up to these days?

After I got released from AEW, I got back on the indies and I’m just grinding it out. Tomorrow, I’ll be wrestling on Impact. I just did MCW recently too. Not a lot of people realize that MCW has been around a long time, which is impressive for an indy promotion. At the time when they were established, not many indies would last that long; it was rare. Most would be a one-off show and that’s it. MCW has a business model that makes it profitable.

A lot of indy promoters back then would promote a supercard with a lot of big names that would cost $50K and they’d have to sell a bunch of tickets to try to get their money back. Whereas MCW just focused on the local fanbase and put on consistently good shows and would have the occasional big guy to fly in. Nowadays, people are definitely bigger merch buyers now. And you also have IWTV and Fite TV and a lot of extra ways to get revenue for a promotion. Plus, indy promoters realize that these supercards don’t work. They need good local talent and consistency.

Do you subscribe to IWTV?

No, but I’m thinking I might because it seems worth it. There’s so much wrestling on there. I’d like to watch it to figure out what’s hot in the indies.

One of your catchphrases was “And you know this, man!” How’d you decide to incorporate that into your character?

I had joined the show Mat Rats and when they found out I could breakdance, they wanted to give me a Malibu’s Most Wanted gimmick. So I had that “yo yo yo wuzzup” thing going, but it was just so over the top and cheesy. So I tried to take the gimmick and still have it be funny but also cool. I was like “I just wanna be Smokey.” ROH wasn’t gonna let me come out with a blunt though, so I incorporated Smokey into my character with that catchphrase.

What’s funny is a lot of younger fans think “And you know this, man!” is a Jack Evans quote because they haven’t seen Friday. And my girl actually loves Friday, even though she hates American comedies.

What was your favorite entrance music you’ve used?

I’m gonna say “Born to Win” by Papoose. At that time when I came out to that, I was huge into the NY mixtape scene, so I loved all those rappers.

I also liked “911” by Boo Yaa Tribe, Eminem and B-Real with the 2Pac “Uppercut” intro. I didn’t think the full “Uppercut” track was a good entrance theme, so I wanted to combine the two because “911” has such high energy. And I actually combined the two myself on my computer.

What were some of your favorite ROH moments?

Teaming with Generation Next was a really good time. But overall, it was just a fun locker room to hang out in. The thing is though, because it was ROH, there was a lot of pressure to put on a great show, or else Gabe wouldn’t be happy.

Gabe was usually a nice guy but there were certain spots or angles that you could NOT mess up or he would spaz out. And when that would happen, he’d become the most intimidating person in the world. Especially if it was a Japanese fly-in where they spent a lot of money.

How did you initially get into ROH?

Rob Feinstein got a hold of Ted for the Scramble Cage match. Ted was supposed to have a different partner, but something happened with that guy, so Ted recommended me. And the match was great. I did a double moonsault off the cage to the floor. But what happened after the match was crazy with Ted doing moonsaults onto everybody. The Carnage Crew then came out with a belt and started whipping me with a belt even though I had nothing to do with it. What was funny about that is that I was taking “shoot” hits with a belt, but I was selling it as if it was a work!

Ted and I go backstage and Samoa Joe starts yelling at Ted. Ted then gets taken away by Jim Cornette and then Joe starts yelling at me, even though I had nothing to do with it. But I didn’t want to back down from Joe, so I stood my ground while he yelled. I was willing to get the crap get out of me, but I wasn’t backing down. Still in the back of my mind, I was like, “I hope he doesn’t beat my ass.” Afterwards, we were cool though; he was just mainly mad at Ted.

And then our ride left us in the parking lot and Gregg, who was a well-known ROH fan who used to host fan parties, picked us up.

And that all took place at the Rexplex in Elizabeth, NJ.

Yes! The Rexplex, the greatest wrestling venue of all time! I loved that place! I tried to show off skateboarding tricks to some kids there. Back when I was a kid, I used to do freestyle skating. I could flip the board with my hands and land back on my feet like Rodney Mullen. I tried to be slick and do it at the RexPlex, but then I crashed on the back of my head in front of a bunch of kids.

Also, down in Jacksonville, Angelico and I used to skate too, because we used to have 11 days there during those AEW tapings. Angelico is a really good skateboarder and he encouraged me to try bigger moves and I’ve never eaten so much crap in my life.

Do you still keep in touch with Teddy Hart?

Not really. There’s no beef, but him and I live completely different lives. Teddy still loves to drive fast cars, but me? I like to chill out and put my kids to bed.

Can you tell us about your time in Mexico?

I was in Japan for 2 years of tours. But I developed a drinking problem and lost my job there and I also shattered my orbital bone. I was at rock bottom. I moved back in with my parents, recovering. Konnan actually called me up and invited me to come to Cancun, Mexico. It was absolute paradise, so I was like “I’m staying here.” But then I moved to Mexico City, which was way different from Cancun. They put me in this hooker motel called Hotel Fornos, which was nicknamed Hotel Pornos because channels 63 and 64 were the free porn channels. At that time, anyone that didn’t live in Mexico that was signed to CMLL or AAA lived in that hotel. Drugs were readily available in that area.

Also, back then there was a lot of prison politics. You had your clique and sat with your clique and didn’t talk to anyone else. If another clique came over to your corner, you’d need to move from that corner. But after Abismo Negro died, they started to crack down on everything; the drugs, the cliques, etc. So, now the guys are a lot more unified, not as many cliques as back then.

Also, back then, kayfabe in Mexico hadn’t been broken yet. Konnan and I did an angle where we stole Antonio Peña’s [the original owner of the company) ashes, put them into a hookah and smoked it. After that angle hit TV, this lady started yelling at me and I said, “Yeah he tasted good, I loved tasting his ashes.” And she got her whole neighborhood to come after me! I was okay though, I got out of the situation before they could hurt me.

Do you speak fluent Spanish now?

The only thing I have a problem with is talking in the past tense. What I tried to tell everyone is that Mexico should change its language from Spanish to Engliñol, which is Spanish words but with American rules. So, the conjugation no longer matters (tengo, tienes). What only matters is the pronoun. So you can say Tú tengo, tú tienes. If it’s “tú,” I’m talking about you!

Are your kids into wrestling?

Yup, my kids are both into it. My daughter’s been to quite a few shows. My son is a daredevil like me, because that’s all he notices. He has a bunk bed and he’ll do a plancha off the top bunk onto a little thin mat at the bottom and the first time I caught him doing that, I was freaking out. I thought it was amazing, but I had to put a squash on it because I didn’t want him to get hurt.

What keeps you going after all this time?

Honestly, one of the things that has motivated me recently was my AEW stint. I didn’t do as well there as I could’ve, but nonetheless, I was grateful for the experience. I don’t know how likely it is that I’ll be back there, even though I would love to. It’s a very sought-after promotion that everyone’s trying to go to.

I think you’d do great if you ever got back there.

One of the things that I say is just give me the mic. People back in the day used to be like “you hear this guy talk?” Thing is, especially if I’m a heel, I don’t wanna just come off burying the faces, you know?

Anything else you’d like to add?

Check out my match at Emergence against Speedball Mike Bailey! And you know this, maaaaan!

You can listen to the complete interview below:

(Thanks to RingScoops.com for video production)