Jervis Cottonbelly worked in Chikara from 2005-2016. Different men played the character being TJ Cain and Robert Goodwin respectively. I pointed out how his Wikipedia page refers to him as a pro wrestling gimmick that has been played by several people through the years. He was quick to point out that was true to an extent, but he has exclusively worn the Jervis mask for the past five years.
"Actually you know I'm like a spirit and I've had different pilots," Jervis said. "I've been the pilot here since 2012. But there were I believe three other matches where someone called themselves Jervis Cottonbelly but it wasn't me."
"I come from somewhat of a colored background. I think that positivity comes from a lot of struggle in life basically. You know I've fallen down," he said. "I come from many places but I like to say I come from over the rainbow, I come from a dream. I come from deep inside the psyche of a wounded struggling man. This is the truest version of my self that I've ever been.
"My positivity is a practice more than something that comes naturally. It's something that I have to do and I have to focus on every day. So I'm not always positive but I always try to put out an image of positivity so that someday that will be reflected back on me and I will truly become saintly and positive always without trying. Because that's the endeavor I want to be happy without trying or doing anything."
Jervis is open about his struggles with mental illness. He discussed his two stays in a psychiatric hospital with a cheery disposition. Jervis surrounded himself with positivity while he was seeking help and learned there is nothing wrong with asking for assistance when its needed.
"What I took away is that you have to be responsible with your decision making. When you feel like you can't be responsible on your own and you can't be responsible for your own health then you need help. If you don't trust yourself, then going to a mental hospital is something that's okay and there's no shame in it.
"Sometimes we get weak and sometimes we need help standing back up and just because you go there doesn't mean you'll be there forever. I've been hopitalized twice and I each time have come back stronger," Jervis continued. "You can't let your surroundings affect you, you have to affect your surroundings. So when I was in the hospital I painted flowers and I picked flowers and I put them in my room and I wrote letters and sweet notes to my guests and people that I was there with. I would say mostly I took away from being in a hospital is that it's okay to need help in a hospital."
Jervis and Joey Ryan have dealt with each other a few times in the past. Ryan lost the Wrestle Circus Sideshow Championship to Jervis when he submitted in a counseling session which you can see in the embedded video above. Jervis opened up about his friendship with Ryan and how The King Of Sleaze reached out to him during his time of need.
"You know Joey Ryan and I you know he's baby oil and I'm baby powder," Jervis said. "We are perfect oppositions to one another but Joey Ryan is actually, as Sleazy as he can be he can also be very nice. Joey, believe it or not when I was falling down at times in the mental hospital, Joey was one of the first persons to reach out to me. To contact me and make sure everything's okay.
"He actually had experience working in a mental hospital as a nurse and he was concerned. I found that as sleazy as he might try to tell people he is I think he's actually very sweet."
Jervis utilizes a unique brand of offense where he tries to win matches without harming his opponents. While tickling and other theatrics can pop a crowd, he addressed wrestling traditionalists like Jim Cornette who might look down on what he does in the ring. Jervis hopes Cornette will open his mind and heart to accept this new era of professional wrestling.
"Jim Cornette, if you're listening I think you need a hug, friend. And perhaps a nap because you seem cranky. But Jim Cornette, I think he often makes a lot of astute points he just wraps them in vitriol and anger. That's part of his character you know, that's a role he's playing. I don't think he's really that hateful. I think he's just trying to get a reaction in the same way he used to when he smacked his opponents with tennis racquets.
"I think Jim is one of the brightest minds in pro wrestling and I think that he just needs to open his mind and his heart a bit. Because we're not in the Attitude Era anymore. We're not in the Monday Night War Era. We're not in the Ruthless Aggression Era... as my friend Joey Ryan called it we're in the 'Song And Dance Era.'
"I think the sooner that Mr. Cornette accepts that and you know, loses some of that anger and that hatred the sooner we can get back to listening to his wonderful astute points."
If you use any portion of the quotes in this interview please credit Wresling Inc.