Interview: Jimmy Jacobs talks relationship with Vince McMahon, miscasting Austin Aries and Eddie Guerrero
Jimmy Jacobs has been a prolific independent wrestler in a career that has spanned many years. However, he became the talk of the wrestling world, when he was fired from WWE for taking a selfie with The Bullet Club.
I had a chance to catch up with him in a recent Impact Wrestling teleconference, where he discussed both the past and the future at length. Some of his answers were quite enlightening.
Did you have an opportunity to work with Impact Wrestling World Champion Austin Aries when he was in WWE, and you were on the writing staff? Do you think he'll fare better in Impact Wrestling than he did in WWE?
Jimmy Jacobs: I've worked with Austin Aries from the independents to Ring of Honor to WWE and now to Impact. He and I have had careers that have intertwined a lot over the years. I've always been a big Austin Aries fan. I thought part of the problem in WWE is that he was miscast.
You know, we'd just turned Neville into a heel and we brought Aries in as a babyface. Anybody who knows Aries knows that he's (chuckles) kind of an unlikeable guy naturally, in a lot of ways. And he'll tell you that himself. So, I was upset that in WWE he never got that heel run, that he needed to get over that hump.
Certainly now at Impact, we have him in a babyface role. I don't know what the future holds for that. But I think Aries is extremely talented.I've always been a big fan of his. I thought him coming into Impact, it was good for the both of us, both of us being Impact and Austin Aries.
I think with Aries, he can go as far as he wants to go. As far as he wants to take things. I don't know what he wants out of his career right now. He's done so much. I don't know if he wants a full-time schedule still. I don't know anything about it. I think if he stays with Impact for as long as he stays here, he'll have a spot on top.
What was your personal relationship with Vince McMahon? How much creative freedom did you have with your own ideas?
Jimmy Jacobs: So look, you have the freedom to come up with whatever ideas you want. It's just that he's the one who says no. And at a certain point, Vince says he likes people to challenge him but only to a certain point. And that's kind of the balance you have to run there. That you get to disagree with Vince like once, and that's it. (Laughs)
I wasn't like in the super inner circle but outside the inner circle. We didn't have a bad relationship. I don't think he actively disliked me, but we never clicked. I was kind of like a crazy, eccentric, flamboyant gender-bending artist and he's like an eccentric megalomaniac billionaire.
So, it's cool now to be around people in a creative aspect who I don't have to filter my ideas thinking, 'Ugh, is this going to make him mad? Is this too off the wall?'
(Puts on a Vince McMahon voice): Goddamn, what the hell is that?
And I don't have to do that now. It's cool that even if my idea bombs in the room at Impact, I have the freedom to pitch without fear of getting yelled at or being made to feel stupid for something that's off the wall. It's nice to feel that way, you know.
You famously took on Eddie Guerrero thirteen years ago. Do you have any memories of the night, and where does it rank on your list of achievements?
Jimmy Jacobs: Oh yeah. I mean it was such a cool experience, man. I was 21 years old and I was in Reading, Pennsylvania just visiting a friend and I was going to hang out with Paul London. He was like- 'Hey just come to SmackDown, and hang out with me there'. So, I went to SmackDown just literally to hang out with my friend.
And I was just standing out there, hanging around. And they needed someone to work Eddie Guerrero. A couple of guys were familiar with my work. They went- 'Hey, this kid here...he can wrestle Eddie'. So they called me and said- 'Take out your earrings. Take out your nail polish. It's you and Eddie Guerrero tonight'.
At 21, I had been around long enough to not believe anything till it happens. But nothing happens till it happens, right? So, I see my name next to Eddie Guerrero. I went up to Eddie and said - 'Hey. I'm Jimmy. I think we're going to be wrestling tonight'.
He goes- 'Jimmy, I just want to apologize right now. This match needs to be all me. I'd love to have a competitive match. Today, it needs to be 100% me. I just want to thank you for doing this for me. For your professionalism, and doing me this favour'.
And he was so gracious. And so kind. There I was 21 years old, never worked for WWE before, this guy's like the man. He'd been the Champion at WrestleMania. And here he was acting like I was doing him a favour. So kind, so gracious. He said- 'God willing, we'll work again together, under better circumstances'.
He made those circumstances so great. In the ring, he was professional. He didn't touch me. His stuff looked great. It looked believable. It looked real. But he didn't touch me. And that's the art of it. That's part of what makes what you do in the ring so great.
And it taught me, it doesn't matter where you are in the business, what the disparity is. He's been to WrestleMania. I'm a 21-year-old kid on TV for the very first time. And he treated me not just like an equal, but he humbled himself towards me.
And that was such a powerful lesson, that it doesn't matter who you are in this business, it doesn't make you a better human being than anybody else. And it doesn't give you the right to treat everybody else like less than!
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