With his menacing in-ring presence, frightening aggression and of course a scary level of talent, Jack Jester is one of the UK's most impactful, impressive and engaging wrestlers. Those that have followed his Insane Championship Wrestling (ICW) story will know he has poured heart and soul into the company. Jester played a major role in a key and unmissable Fear & Loathing IX match at ICW's biggest ever show. Trust us that all you'll want for Xmas is an ICW on Demand subscription or a Fite TV app to see that show. Jester will likely be up again at next year's Fear & Loathing X (19 Nov 2017, Glasgow), for which tickets are already on sale. Make sure to get your Christmas present early and in that spirit, we gift you our exclusive interview with ICW's own Hardcore Icon.
Last we met you were doing well but things just keep getting better. How has the past year been?
Amazing, obviously. I say it all the time. I said it when we met at the KoKo and that was the biggest we'd ever done. You think "is it going to get bigger"? and obviously it has. We announced the Hydro at the very start of the show at the SECC which to that point was the biggest thing we'd ever done - 4000 folk. So the pressure was on, although it was a year, to sell tickets. We obviously try to get as many folk watching as possible and we're doing well so far. Folk take an interest and they want to be involved. With On Demand it doesn't take three weeks for things to be uploaded. If you miss a show you can see it the next day so there are spoilers you can avoid. We're aiming for the stars.
Would you like to follow Noam Dar, Big Damo and others to WWE?
I'm not going to say no. I've had a few trials. In fact my first ever trial was here, in London, when I was maybe 21. But back then this wasn't happening with ICW. So I completely focus myself on this and if the opportunity were to come up, I'd definitely consider it or take it depending. A lot of people just want to go to America and say they've done it. If I can't make the money, there's no point. I'm not going to pay to go and do something - I'm so stubborn about that kind of stuff. People are in a position now where they don't have to pay to go, they're getting notice and people know their worth so they bring them in. America would be good but I'm happy we're in time now where that's not the measuring stick.
What do you think has made ICW so popular?
I think it was finding out which direction everybody else was going in and turning round and doing the opposite. We've also got guys who were willing to push the envelope and try different things. If you're given a stage or a platform and youre allowed to behave badly and say things you wouldn't anywhere else, folk go "this isn't squeaky clean anymore, I like this". In an age where everything is PG, it's refreshing to be shocked now and again. I think we've made our own scene, it's no longer that small cult following - the renegades, the underground. We started there and I think the vibe is always here. ICW's always going to be edgy and its always going to seem like a small time company even though we're in massive venues because you don't want to lose the thing that made you popular in the first place.
Talking of behaving badly, you've got a bit of reputation with the fans for being mean....
For me, it's realism. If I was in the street in Glasgow city centre and somebody got in my face I wouldn't just walk past them, Id retaliate. My hero is Drew McDonald. He was the master. He's the first person that I was terrified of, even when I was in the job and working in the same place. He was so believable. He was an evil looking bad man and I think there's too many cocky, egotistical villains and not enough aggressive ones. I dont see the point in being one person this side of the barrier and going to the bar after and being the world's nicest guy because the next time they're not going to believe anything. If you believe that its real and you portray it, there's no reason why folk won't buy into it. It gets to the point where folk know, if you get in my face and if you want to say something, I'm not going to walk past you, I'll retaliate. If you don't want that then just keep your mouth shut. That news travels pretty quickly.
Has that approach helped your longevity? You've had lots of phases in your career but aggression has been a constant.
You need to be smart. You always need to try and be fresh. Just look at WWE now as opposed to even 10 years ago, it's changed so much and you have to change with the times. I don't believe that has to be by changing your move set, adding more offence or making the moves bigger. For a good year or two, I was the guy that did all the extreme stuff. There comes a point and you know you can't do that every day anymore. So you either continue and burn yourself out or you repackage yourself. Doesn't mean you won't do it but I can do it a lot less now. In wrestling, folk forget that we're there to connect with the crowd. So if I've got the crowd hating me for 5 minutes and I'm not putting myself through barbed wire or getting hit with chairs, why would I? I can pick and choose how I do it. My main thing is having a connection with the crowd.
Who should we look out for in ICW?
I wouldn't say any certain folk but if you see somebody getting a chance in ICW then watch them because there's a reason they're getting a chance. It's because the deserve it. Some of the talent in ICW is incredible.
What will 2017 bring for ICW?
Obviously this was the biggest year but next year - I said that last year and the year before and the year before, so 2017 by the end of that? I have no idea where we're going but hopefully up.
Make sure to see Jester live at one of ICW's forthcoming shows!