The Man: Jack has a compassion for his community. He cares about his compadres and supports causes that cater to them. He currently works for the company Meals on Wheels, which is a non-profit food service organization that provides meals to people who are unable to service for themselves. First impressions are futile, and the first time I met the man I was enchanted by his eloquence, comforted by his charisma, in awe of his altruism, pleased by his passions, impressed by his interests, and seduced by his story.
The Myth: Inside the wrestling ring the man morphs into the myth. The nice guy takes a backseat to the controversial, confrontational, boastful, bad-mouthing bully: Jack Blaze. Jack Blaze is a heel, someone the audience adores- with hate! He has parodied wrestling personalities (Eric Bitchoff), laughed in the face of legends, and ingeniously and improvisingly insults anyone he candidly can.
The Legend: Jack started out calling the shots as a commentator, then worked his way to XFW, to now owning his very own company called Legends Pro Wrestling. LPW not only showcases Jack’s skills, but features other fine talents as well that have contracts with the company. LPW is also a rehab for wrestlers looking to get back into ring-shape. Some wrestlers that have seen action at his companies include TNA Knockouts Talia Madison (Velvet Sky), Angel Williams (Angelina Love), and X-Division Superstar Zima Xion. The Original Sinn who later became WWE’s Kizaranya did duty for Jack, and WWE’s NXT rookie Michael Tarver wrestled as part of a tag team for years before moving forward for WWE.
The firm foundation that LPW built its business on, though, is its fantastic Hall of Fame. Each month LPW inducts a living legend into the Hall of Fame, honoring them for their achievements and wrestling work. Past inductees include the first ever inductee, “The Total Package” Lex Luger, Jake “The Snake” Roberts, Diamond Dallas Page, Greg “The Hammer” Valentine, DX’s “Badass” Billy Gunn/TNA’s Kip James, “Road Dogg” Jesse James, and Sean “X-Pac” Waltman, Jim “The Anvil” Neidhart, Al Snow, The Honky Tonk Man, Sid Vicious, and upcoming legends to look forward to are Perry Saturn and Raven.
On February 25th LPW has its first live event of 2012 at the Wheeling Eagles on Main St in Wheeling, WV. Both The Maestro and Perry Saturn will be inducted into the Hall of Fame. Whether being the good guy that he is or playing the bad guy he professionally pretends to be, Jack does both because he has been inspired by those who have blazed the trail before him. He is inspired by those he helps, and we, in turn, get to graciously be inspired by him.
Sara Fincham: How hard is it to take the heat of a heel, if at all? Has there ever been a moment where you’ve thought ‘maybe that was unnecessary, maybe I went too far?’
Jack Blaze: In this business you are either born a heel or a face. As for me, I enjoy being a heel, it comes so naturally for me and yes there have been times I did in fact go too far with my words and actions in the ring, but in turn that extra edge makes the audience hate you that much more and in turn causes controversy! And as a good friend of mine once said, “Controversy Creates Cash”!
SF: Obviously to start something so special as you’ve done, you had to be a fan first. As a fan, what’s your favorite memory?
JB: Wow that is a tough question. Yea I have been a fan of this sport for many years, and I can remember the actual feud that got me hooked on pro wrestling. It was the Jake “The Snake” Roberts vs. Ravishing Rick Rude feud. I remember watching Rude with a picture of Jake’s wife on the front of his pants, and Jake pulled them down in the match creating a huge black spot on the TV screen. I was like, that was hilarious, and Rude was so good at his craft that you loved to hate him! And getting to induct Jake into the LPW Hall of Fame back in 2010 made it bitter sweet for me!
SF: Let’s switch over to the professional side – this didn’t just happen overnight. It had to have been hard work and I’m sure it saw hard times. What was the main driving force that made you decide to do this, and is it the same now that it was then?
JB: Well my main driving force was my own stubbornness and drive to never give up! So many said that I didn’t have what it took to make it in this business, so I set out to prove everyone wrong. I started out as a play-by-play commentator, to the first ever “heel” ring announcer, to manager, then was trained and had some matches, came back as a XWF CEO role, created my very own in-ring interview segment called “The Hot Spot,” then created the “Hall of Fame” back in 2007, to now owning my very own promotion called Legends Pro Wrestling, and even working for 3 other promotions every month. The business has changed quite a bit, but my drive and will has not!
SF: The Hall of Fame is fantastic, but I don’t need to tell you this! You know they deserve the recognition for their accomplishments and their wrestling work, and you’re the guy who decided to do it! What does the Hall of Fame mean to you, and I know you can’t speak for them, but what do you think it means to your inductees?
JB: The Hall of Fame is truly the heart and soul in what I do! When I inducted “The Total Package” Lex Luger back in September 2007, he literally retired from pro wrestling that night. I watched him stand in the middle of the ring on crutches cause he was awaiting surgery, watching his tribute video play with all the other wrestlers surrounding the ring to pay respect, and with tears in his eyes he looked over at me and said, “Thank you Jack, you have no idea what this means to me.” I knew right then and there, that I was meant to continue this. All of the legends get choked up during their induction, and some have called me years later to say how much that night meant. So I decided, while Vince wants to honor guys like Drew Carey & Pete Rose, I will continue to induct the men & women that sacrificed everything just to lace up a pair of boots just to entertain us.
SF: You mentioned once that you did something inside the ring that completely conflicted with your job outside the ring at the time. How fun is it to have this fictional world to foray into, and what is the fan response like? I’ll get to see for myself on the 25th how much they heckle you!
JB: Yea in the ring I am very rude, disrespectful, obnoxious, just a guy that gets booed and hated every time I speak. Even when I am out in public like with my family or friends, you will get that occasional fan that sees you and will yell, “Jack Blaze sucks.” It has definitely carried over even into my personal life, but it has been the time of my life!
SF: LPW is something that not only pays tribute to the legends that have led the way, but opens doors for local talent as well. Speak a little bit about the guys you’ve got on your roster – how you found them, or how they found you, what their work ethic is like, how great they are. Also, what doors has LPW opened for you?
JB: My roster is one of the best in the Ohio Valley and I really stand by that. A lot of my wrestlers I knew and worked with when I was a part of the old XWF back in the day. Some talent I discovered at other events that I have attended. I get a lot of booking inquiries sent to my email and to my facebook wanting a spot on a LPW card.
A lot of my wrestlers have had matches or tryouts with WWE or TNA. Some have been to Japan, and some have just been around the indy scene for so many years, that they are well known around here. As for me, my career and LPW has opened up quite a few doors and experiences for me. Back in early 2010, I was contacted by a WWE representative about a tryout.
They had already heard of me and they knew quite a bit about my career when they called. I recently had some contact with TNA concerning various positions and working some house shows. So I literally can say that for being a “non-wrestler” in this business, my name is out there and I have had the opportunity to do things behind the scenes in both WWE and TNA. What’s going to come out of all this, who knows? But I am so blessed and grateful that people think I have that much talent to get recognized in both the 2 big promotions. I couldn’t ask for more than that!
SF: The show on the 25th – let’s promote it! What should we expect to see? Where is it? How do we get tickets?
JB: Our next event is scheduled for Saturday, February 25th at the Wheeling Eagles in Wheeling, WV. We are honoring NWA & WCW Legend, actor who played in the film “Deader Country,” The Maestro, and ECW, WCW, and WWE legend Perry Saturn! They will be the first inductees into the new class of 2012 of the LPW Hall of Fame. You can get your tickets at the door and we always run the last Saturday of every month! I encourage all fans to find us on facebook at the Legends Pro Wrestling fan page and be sure to hit the “Like” button.