Wrestling Inc. Managing Editor Nick Hausman recently sat down with NTWRK co-founder Jamie Iovine on The Wrestling Inc. Daily podcast. Jamie, son of Interscope Records co-founder Jimmy Iovine talked about his background.
“I come from a background in the music business,” Jamie said. “My father was a very very involved, so to speak, in music in terms of hip-hop and all that stuff. He helped create Beats by Dre and eventually what became Apple Music on iTunes. Through the music business, I became a touring festival DJ. I did a lot of raves and EDM festivals. Wrestling was always a deep passion of mine even in that stuff.
“In a lot of my interviews when I would be interviewed by music blogs and stuff like that, I would do an entire promo as The Rock and not even tell them. I would just do it, and a lot of these guys had no idea what the hell I was talking about, but each interview, they would ask me, ‘How do you feel performing on this festival?’ Then I would be like how The Rock would hear the people say ‘Rocky! Rocky!’ And then I’d be, ‘What the f–k am I doing?'”
Iovine then told a story about how he met Triple H and how he passionately told him how big of a wrestling fan he is. He said that later led to him getting a job behind the scenes in WWE.
“Wrestling was always the main passion, and back in 2009 – 2010, it wasn’t easy to get into the wrestling business as it is now. The level of entry was way higher,” Iovine noted. “We didn’t have The Network. We didn’t have a lot of the indie companies that we do now. PWG was getting legs but not there yet, and so I really didn’t know how to do it.
“Through my DJing, I was able to get a gig and actually DJ a SummerSlam pre-party back in 2012 or 2013. Through that, I was able to meet Triple H, just in passing, and I just expressed how much I loved the business and how much I wanted to be a part of it. And he gave me a shot and gave me a job at behind-the-scenes production for Monday Night RAW and SmackDown. I was there for a little bit.
“The first time I had a meeting with Hunter, right before I got hired, was actually at the first real big NXT. I think the main event was Sami Zayn vs. Neville. They had that famous Charlotte Flair and Natty match were Bret Hart was in the corner, and Ric Flair was in the corner as well. So that was a really fun experience. I was there for a year, didn’t really like the corporate structure there. I didn’t really vibe with them a lot of the higher-ups.”
Iovine talked about why the WWE lifestyle was not for him. He agreed with Hausman that it was an environment where he was not able to “control your own destiny.”
“It was a lifestyle that I wasn’t really privy to before,” Iovine said. “My first job that I ever had was I was an intern for Pauly Shore. I never done a desk job before. It wasn’t a culture that I was really in tune with or even been a part of, and it’s also that lifestyle man. Granted, I wasn’t in the ring, and I wasn’t getting beat up every week, but even from a production standpoint, your home maybe two days out of the week, if that. And the rest of it, you’re on the road, and for a lot of people, that’s cool and everything, but I have deep roots in a lot of places.
“And I am a very family-oriented person. While that’s great for a lot of people. I have a lot of friends in that company still that I think they’re doing incredible things, but it just wasn’t for me. And again, as you said, you don’t really get the opportunity to control your own destiny in that company. It’s kind of like how everybody says, it’s a show for one person, and that is the case. It’s only gotten that more so since I’ve left.”
Hausman noted that Iovine’s background in the music industry can also be hectic as well and that it means a lot for him to say that the WWE lifestyle was too much. Iovine pointed out that he also didn’t do house shows which would have added to the hectic schedule.
“I came from a touring lifestyle before when I was a festival DJ,” Iovine noted. “We had to do maybe one or two shows and going till 2:00 – 3:00 in the morning, and that was nowhere near as arduous as the WWE tour schedule. And I didn’t even have to do house shows.”
Iovine then told a story about how he became a wrestling fan. He talked about how the impetus was at the Special Olympics where he met Hulk Hogan with Marky Mark (Mark Wahlberg).
“My dad was a fan in passing,” Iovine stated. “The way I became a wrestling fan, the way I was first exposed professional wrestling, so my family’s been a long-term sponsor and involved in the Special Olympics since the very beginning way when the Shriver’s started it. And we would go every year just to show support to the athletes every time they had the games and whatnot, and people would try to bring in things to make it more — because it’s not the Olympics. It’s the Special Olympics, and at the time, it wasn’t treated as prominently, or Hollywood wasn’t as focused on it as much as the regular Olympics, whereas the regular Olympics would get like Muhammad Ali or big names like that.
“The Special Olympics were getting birthday party characters. So all these companies were starting to take notice. ‘We can’t have that. These guys are just as great as regular athletes. So we need to start getting some more people in there.’ So my old man brought Marky Mark, Mark Wahlberg at the time when he was a rapper, and so it was me, my old man, my dad, and my mom and Mark Marky. Not Mark Wahlberg yet. Marky Mark. We’re in the green room. I had to have been like three or four at the time here in the green room and in walks Hulk Hogan, and Hulk Hogan was full Hulk Hogan, red and yellow.
“It’s like Batman walks in. The full costume and I had no idea what wrestling was, and I asked my dad, ‘Who is that,’ because Hulk Hogan walks in, you’re like, this is clearly somebody out. And I was sitting next to Mark f–king Wahlberg at the time. He told me, ‘Oh, that’s Hulk Hogan.’ I said, ‘Who’s Hulk Hogan?’ he was like, ‘Oh, well, I’ll show you,’ and we go back home. He’s got some tapes, shows me a couple matches and rest is history after that as they say.”
You can follow Jamie on Twitter @Jamie_iovine. Jamie’s full interview aired as part of a recent episode of our podcast, The Wrestling Inc. Daily. Subscribe to get the latest episodes as soon as it’s released Monday – Friday afternoon by clicking here.