Culture Magazine

AEW Star Spotlight #2 – Jungle Boy Jack Perry

By Manofyesterday
AEW Star Spotlight #2 – Jungle Boy Jack Perry

Image Credit

Next up in my series of star spotlights is ‘Jungle Boy’ Jack Perry. Billed as one of the four pillars, Jungle Boy is a former tag team champion and has been a stalwart in AEW. He’s always had a constant presence on TV, and has been shown a lot of faith by the upper management with frequent appearances on PPVs. He’s still a young star, yet because of this exposure he can feel like one of the more experienced members of the AEW roster, so why is he regarded so highly, and what does the future hold in store for him?

I believe that Jungle Boy really shows the attitude that AEW has in developing their young talent. He’s been given a lot of chances to prove himself, and has repaid that faith by showing determination and a willingness to learn. He carries himself well and has garnered a lot of affection from the crowd. The upbeat entrance music inspires people to sway their arms and Jungle Boy approaches the ring riding a swell of positive emotion. It’s pure babyface adulation, backed up by strong work inside the ring. Jungle Boy shows different facets of his technique every time he steps into the ring. His athleticism is matched by his technique, and his move set is one that does match his gimmick, blending the skill of twisting and jumping through trees along with the brawling power that would be needed to defend against stronger enemies. The Snare Trap is a protected finisher that I can see him using for the rest of his career as it doesn’t strain on his body, and looks punishing on the opponent.

With Luchasaurus there was a good rhythm to the matches, and this carried Jurassic Express to the summit of the tag team division. Of course we know how that worked out, with Christian turning on Jungle Boy, a feud that reached its conclusion at Revolution 2023. While I enjoyed Jurassic Express, I do think it was necessary for Jungle Boy to move on to the next phase of his career. The personal feuds with his former allies gave him strong emotions to work with and added an edge of betrayal to the matches, and it helped Jungle Boy get used to putting on these important matches that cap off feuds. I believe it’s a skill that will serve him well, as I’m sure he will main event many PPVs in the future.

I also like how Jungle Boy has been built up in his matches as someone who can take a hell of a lot of punishment. Toughness is imbued in his character, and this is a quality he can take with him as the character evolves, something I think we are in the middle of seeing now.

While the Jungle Boy gimmick is fine, Jack Perry has been straying from it since the split of Jurassic Express. He’s blurred reality and kayfabe by allowing his deceased father to be brought into the feud, and of course his mother and sister have been a frequent presence at ringside. I’m a big fan of wrestlers who bring every element of their gimmick together, but there’s a clear split between Jungle Boy and Jack Perry, one that I think will lead to him dropping the moniker sooner rather than later, along with the music. He has already started wearing different attire, appearing in jeans, dark t shirts, and leather jackets. AEW does tend to play around with their costume choices and uses colours to foreshadow certain things, such as with Adam Cole and Britt Baker incorporating pink into their designs during the Owen Hart finals last year. Just recently we saw Ruby Soho having a green streak in her hair just before she joined the Outcasts, so there’s precedent to look to the attire of the wrestlers to glean any clues as to the evolution of their character.

But what can this attire tell us about Jack Perry?

Well, I believe he might be heading for a heel turn. This might seem counter intuitive because Jungle Boy is a face who has been constantly over and doesn’t show any sign of having the crowd turn on him, but I think it could help with elements of his character. First of all, it would make it easier to shed the Jungle Boy gimmick, and is an easy way for him to gain heat. Secondly, I think it would give him the opportunity to flesh out his character, as well as developing his promo ability.

Even by his own admission promos have been the weakest aspect of his time in AEW, but he has improved leaps and bounds since he was partnered with Christian, and I think he has come into his own. That’s not to say there isn’t still room for improvement though. At the moment he is good at delivering fiery promos from the heart, but there are still some moments when he can come across as stilted, like he’s trying to make sure he says all the right words and so the emotional flow suffers. He could learn from someone like Ricky Starks, who changes his cadence and lowers his voice to a hush to draw people in, but I think this will come in time. As someone who hates public speaking, I fully admire Jack Perry for taking these strides to face his anxiety and take the challenge head on. One of the things I love about having these young wrestlers at the forefront of AEW is looking at their evolution. It means that we, as fans, get to go on the journey with them, and it’s wonderful when we get to see them reach their potential.

Jungle Boy is, of course, being thrust into the main event scene at the moment along with the other pillars Sammy Guevara, Darby Allin, and MJF. He’s made it clear that he wants a singles title this year, but I think the hunt for that championship is going to be more important this year than him actually winning one. I could see him getting frustrated with some near misses, and start to question his path in AEW. He has already learnt a lot from Christian, including being ruthless. But how far will he take that ruthlessness? I could see him getting an edge to his character, even playing into a story beat of Christian having the last laugh. I even think that he and Sammy Guevara could make an interesting heel tag team if they wanted Jack Perry to join forces with someone else again.

But I also like the aspect of his character that has been betrayed by his allies so now has trust issues. I enjoyed the brief partnership with Hook, and I hope we see more of this from Jack Perry; where he wants to trust again, but can’t bring himself to take that final step of fully allying himself with someone. He could also play into his Hollywood roots as well, acting like a nepotism baby and gaining heat this way.

Of course, a heel turn isn’t always necessary for character development, but it was in my mind because of the dark clothes he’s been wearing, and the lingering influence of Christian. If he stayed babyface then I could still see a shift in his character, and he could even lean into his Hollywood roots this way as well; saying that he could have gone into acting, but he chose wrestling over Hollywood (and this could even be a further aspect to his feud with MJF, who has referenced leaving for Hollywood before).

But either way I think Jungle Boy Jack Perry has a huge year ahead of him and I’m looking forward to seeing where he sits at the end of the year. He’s shown exciting growth as a character and performer, but I don’t think we’ve scaled the heights of his potential yet.


Back to Featured Articles on Logo Paperblog