In an appearance on Oral Sessions with Renee Paquette, AEW star Jungle Boy was asked about growing up with his father, the late actor Luke Perry. Jungle Boy revealed that despite Perry’s fame, life was more or less normal for him as a kid.
“My dad was very, very, kind of the least famous, famous person you’d ever met,” Jungle Boy said. “He was very private. He would come watch me wrestle and he’d wear a Rey Mysterio mask and a hood. That was kind of his idea, he didn’t want to be noticed a lot. So I kind of felt we had a low key upbringing. It just felt regular to me. I’d have my teachers tell me about him and he’d get asked for pictures and all that. But in the times I was with him, when we’d be together he kind of just left work at work. And that was just a separate part of his life.”
Paquette then asked if Jungle Boy felt like he had inherited his father’s private, soft spoken nature. He concurred.
“I think it is, and I think I didn’t realize that about myself before,” Jungle Boy said. “But now sometimes I see it and I recognize what I’m doing is kind of how he was a little bit. So I think that’s where that comes from.”
Jungle Boy did reveal that he hardly ever went on set when his father was filming. He started making more appearances on set when he was older and was considering a career in stunt work.
“I kind of started going a bit more as I got older because I wanted to get into doing stunt work,” Jungle Boy said. “Before this all kind of panned out, I was thinking about quitting wrestling to be a stunt man. And then I wanted to go to see how that worked. I thought it was really cool to see all the ropes and pads and how that stuff works. And I thought that was very neat.
“I did one stunt gig, just kind of got yanked off this building onto a bunch of pads or whatever. I went and I sat in a trailer all day and I ate food and got makeup done and all that. And I was like ‘this is so much better than independent pro wrestling.’ For that you drive eight hours somewhere, I somehow end up getting my ass kicked and then drive eight hours back and I made $50. In the beginning I was like ‘this is sick, I made $50.’ But then when I did the stunt I went ‘this is so cool. This is great.’ So yeah, I definitely thought about doing that for awhile.”
Jungle Boy also described a time when he fell out of love with wrestling in his teenage years, instead turning his focus onto music. He would only get back into wrestling due to a weird stroke of fate.
“I was a freshman in high school and I remember I was kind of on a date with this girl who was a sophomore,” Jungle Boy said. “And she was at my house, and it was kind of awkward and I didn’t know what to say. I put the TV on for some background noise or whatever and we got to talking and all that. Somehow I sat on the remote or whatever it was and it flipped on to wrestling. I saw it out of the corner of my eyes and went ‘ugh what is this?’ I thought ‘I’ll just watch till the commercial and then changed it.’ And then I ended up watching three hours of it with this girl sitting right there. I was back in and I was hooked again. I think The Shield was just becoming a big thing. I had been out for awhile so I had never seen any of those guys. And I remember thinking ‘this is neat.'”
From that point Jungle Boy, who had trained in wresting when he was just 10, decided to give wrestling another go and contacted his former trainer. Everything slowly developed from there.
“When I got back into it, I knew a guy from my first time around training,” Jungle Boy said. “When I was 10 years old, I trained in this guy’s back yard, this guy named Rick Drazen. And I actually trained there with who ended up being Luchasaurus and Miro. It was cool. And they had obviously gone on, Miro wound up somewhere else, I don’t know what happened to Luchasaurus at the time. But I knew a guy from then, and I remember messaging him on Facebook and being like ‘I think I want to try this now that I’m not 10 years old. I think I can be even better than I was the first time.’
“And I kind of got back into it through that. I used to drive down to a s****y part of town and trained in this warehouse with him. And that’s where everything kind of got going for me, that’s where I started doing shows. I moved to go to college in Northern California and I started wrestling up there, which is where I met Cody for the first time. It’s a weird small world wrestling. It’s so big but it’s so small at the same time.”
Finally Paquette asked what Jungle Boy would like to see from his career going forward. He stated he liked the path he’s on in the ring, but there’s one thing he’d really like to continue working on.
“I think I’d like to continue on the same sort of path I’ve been on,” Jungle Boy said. “I think in terms of the stuff in the ring, I think I’ve gotten a lot better than the beginning. And I think a lot of that is working with people who are a lot better, and it’s kind of cool to feel them mold you and kind of shape you and help you. The one I’ve gotten around to setting my mind too is the promo cutting. I hate it. It’s something that I never wanted to do and I kind of made a point not to do it, and somehow I got by without it. And now when I have to do it, when they tell me I have to do it, I want to run away and hide from it. It’s just so not my style. It’s just not my thing. But I think it’s getting to the point where, at some point, I’ve got to buckle down and get to it.”
One thing AEW has become known for during their two year run is the use of pairing legendary wrestlers to manage younger ones. Paquette asked Jungle Boy if that would be something he’s interested in.
“Maybe,” Jungle Boy said. “It’s cool cause right now Christian has kind of taken it over and I just kind of stand there and look pretty and let him do it. As much as I hate it and really don’t like it, I know that once I get it it’ll feel good to have overcome that and done it. I guess I’m looking forward to that part when it’s over.”
Part of the reason for his lack of promo ability, according to Jungle Boy himself, is the fact that he’s not a fan of the over the top nature of promos. Combining that with his soft spoken nature and it remains something he is looking to ease into.
“For me in the beginning I made a point to really not do them, because I wanted people to focus only on what I was doing in the ring,” Jungle Boy said. “I feel like, coming up, I wanted to stay separate from my dad pretty much. I didn’t want people to know about that and people would ask me to say stuff about that and I’d say ‘I just want you to watch what I’m doing.’ And so I really liked that Jungle Boy let me not talk and just wrestle. And I was like ‘just watch that, because that’s what I want to do.’
“It’s also just, I guess I’m soft spoken in a lot of ways. A lot of wrestling promo stuff kind of embarrasses me, the way it’s so over the top and overacting. When I see that I’m like ‘oh my god, I couldn’t do that if you paid me money.’ So I feel like I go the other way and I try to just be kind of quiet. But I feel like that comes across where I don’t really care or I’m not into it, which is not the case. It’s just I don’t feel comfortable doing it. I’ve been talking to Tony and I think we’re coming up with some ways where I’m going to ease into it a little bit. We’ll see.”
If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit Oral Sessions with Renee Paquette and provide a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription