Jake Crist Comments On IMPACT Release, Looks Ahead To His Future As ‘The Modern Man In Black’
Jake Crist is looking forward to his future and establishing who “The Modern Man In Black” is.
Crist recently spoke with WrestleZone Managing Editor Bill Pritchard after he was released by the company last week, becoming a free agent for the first time since 2017. Crist had been used sparingly this year on IMPACT TV; his last match was a loss to Crazzy Steve in a match taped on May 19. Earlier this month, Crist revealed he was scheduled to become a free agent as of January 1, 2021, but explained why he received his early release and said it’s an unfortunate situation but he harbors no ill will towards the promotion.
“After reaching out, IMPACT was happy to grant me [my release]. I told them I had some opportunities coming up, and there was no—I could feel deep down, they weren’t going to re-sign or do anything with me anyway. The writing was on the wall, I was off of TV for six months,” Crist said, “so I was pretty much forgotten at that point. It’s all fine and dandy and I have no hard feelings.”
“It sucks to be a victim of the ‘Speaking Out’ movement when I had nothing to do with anything. It sucks. I feel so bad for those victims, but the ones like me that lost their jobs,” Crist said, “I feel it because of the relationship with my brother and what he was accused of, and being with Joey Ryan on television in a group probably wasn’t good for me either. I kinda got hit with the double whammy, so to speak, and at this point, the last thing you see on TV as far as oVe breaking up was me roundhouse kicking my brother in the face. That was the end of oVe and I went with Joey Ryan, and our name was ‘Cancel Culture.’ Pretty fitting, huh?” [laughs]
Crist joined IMPACT Wrestling in 2017 alongside his brother, Dave, as Ohio Versus Everything (oVe), later linking up with Sami Callihan and Madman Fulton before splitting up in 2019. Jake won two different titles during his time with IMPACT, a 93-day X Division title reign, and he and Dave also had a GFW/Impact World Tag Team Championship reign that lasted 164 days. Aware of the somewhat odd or ironic situation he was left in, Crist is still thankful for having a home with IMPACT for the past several years.
“To be honest, I look at that as being in the past. I thank IMPACT for giving me an opportunity for the last three and a half years of being on television. They gave me a platform and allowed me to perform for fans that have never seen me before, so I have nothing bad to say about IMPACT. I love IMPACT and hopefully in the future things can get better and who knows, never say never in this business. But at this point,” Crist said, “ I’m not looking at the past, I’m trying to focus on the future and the person that I want to be.”
“I’m trying to forget about the past as far as [being grouped in with] the allegations [against my brother and Joey Ryan], and I’m trying to move forward and find out who I want to be as a person, if that makes sense. There’s no point in harping on the past to me. I just want to move forward and I look forward to building this brand and building my character as the ‘Modern Man In Black.’ I was a victim just like most of the people around the world in this pandemic. They lost their job,” Crist said, “I lost my job during a pandemic, so I can relate to that.”
Crist has been closely associated with his brother as tag team specialists and gained his most notoriety over the past couple of years with oVe in IMPACT. Now, Jake looks to establish himself as a solo act and says he’s working as hard as he can to prove to everyone that he’s the star he knows he can be.
“For the last 18 years, I was in a tag team, I was in a stable and I never got to branch out as a singles star. Now I have the opportunity to show the world what I can do. So, the ‘Modern Man In Black’ came from me, it’s actually me. Like I was saying, I was a victim just like most of the people around the world. They’re on hard times and I know I’m on hard times as well. I have no job. I haven’t been paid for six months. I haven’t been on TV for six months and all I’ve been doing is indies. Of course, I get paid for those, but during a pandemic with all the restrictions,” Crist explained, “it’s hard getting bookings, especially with the second wave that just hit.”
“I just lost a ton of bookings. I’ve had every Thursday and Friday booked up and I was hustling as soon as I got the news that I wasn’t going to be on TV, so on and so forth, so I just hit the internet hard and I’m taking this opportunity to branch out on my own. I finally have the chance to prove, not only to the world,” Crist said, “but to myself that I can be this singles star that I know deep down that I can be. Not to try and sound cocky or anything, but the ‘Modern Man In Black’, I can basically sum it up in one sentence. I’m a rock star that happens to be a pro wrestler, and nobody can play the three string better than me.”
Check out our full interview with Jake Crist at the top of this post as we also discuss the origins of his new character, how much music has influenced his life and career, why he won’t work any more intergender matches, highlights from his run as X Division Champion and much more.