wrestling / Columns

Ask 411 Wrestling: Why is Jack Perry Called Jungle Boy?

October 24, 2022 | Posted by Ryan Byers
AEW Dynamite 7-27-22 Jungle Boy Jack Perry Image Credit: AEW

Welcome guys, gals, and gender non-binary pals, to Ask 411 Wrestling. I am your party host, Ryan Byers, and I am here to answer some of your burning inquiries about professional wrestling.

If you have one of those queries searing a hole in your brain, feel free to send it along to me at [email protected]. Don’t be shy about shooting those over – the more, the merrier.

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M.N.M.N.B. is lobbing a softball:

I’ve asked all my friends this, even some past Ask411 writers, and no one’s been able to answer, you are my last hope – what’s “jungle” about Jack Perry?

He doesn’t talk like a jungle boy, he doesn’t act like a jungle boy, he doesn’t particularly look like a jungle boy, so . . . why Jungle Boy?

I’m actually sort of amazed nobody has been able to answer this for you, because I look at the guy and immediately think, “Yup, that’s a jungle boy, all right.”

The answer really just boils down to this:

It’s the hair.

In 1912, American author Edgar Rice Burroughs wrote the novel Tarzan of the Apes, which told the story of an infant son of British nobility whose family was shipwrecked on the African continent. Shortly thereafter, he was orphaned and raised by a shrewdness of apes. (In the original books, the apes were a fictional species, whereas in some later adaptations they have been portrayed as gorillas.) The character of Tarzan became insanely popular almost immediately, leading to 25 complete books by Burroughs, subsequent books by other authors, and plays, radio shows, movies, television programs, video games, and just about every other form of media you can shake a stick at.

Though some of the early film depictions of Tarzan, most notably the one played by former Olympic swimmer Johnny Weissmuller, were surprisingly clean cut, other versions portrayed him with an uncontrolled, long, flowing head of hair. Probably the version of Tarzan that most people reading this have seen is the one from the 1999 Disney animated film, which inexplicably featured music by Phil Collins. The Disney Tarzan definitely has that wild mop.

Perry became the Jungle Boy because he very much looks like a depiction of Tarzan, particularly since as a wrestler he wears tight trunks that show just as much skin as the wild man’s trademark loincloth.

I bet you didn’t think that you were going to get discussion of a 100-year-old novel when you clicked on this professional wrestling column.

Barry likes long walks on the beach and wordplay:

We’ve all heard the phrase X-Pac heat, but how many times did X-Pac actually appear on Heat?

X-Pac had 33 different matches on Heat, with all of them being during the relatively early days of the show, beginning in 1998 and running through 2001.

I was hoping to provide some commentary here on some of Pac’s most interesting Heat matches, but the fact of the matter is that, in reviewing the list, none of them are particularly noteworthy.

I guess I’ll just say that answering this question reminded me how surprisingly long-running a show Heat was, as it debuted on August 2, 1998 and made it all the way through May 30, 2008 for a run of nearly a decade.

Cactus has trouble making friends:

My brother and I were talking about stables we wished had happened back in the day (or people we wished had been in a stable like the notorious DX Kane wish most kids had), and we remembered about the loosely aligned stable Shane had with Benoit, Angle, Big Show. So my question is, are there any other “almost happened” groups out in the annals of history?

For some reason, the example of this that always sticks out in my mind comes to us from WCW in 1996, when there was some thought given to putting together Alex Wright, Jim Powers, Joe Gomez, and the Renegade together into a “pretty boy” stable of sorts meant to appeal to female fans. There was a video package produced and aired of the four men walking on a beach while looking bored as fuck, and then they had exactly one match as a unit. It occurred on the July 22, 1996 episode of Monday Nitro and saw the boy toys get a disqualification victory over a Dungeon of Doom team that consisted of Kevin Sullivan, The Barbarian, Hugh Morrus, and Braun the Leprechaun in one of only four matches Braun had under that gimmick.

A couple of months later, Gomez and the Renegade became a regular undercard tag team and stayed together for about six months before doing what may have been professional wrestling’s least noteworthy breakup angle. Powers and Wright stayed the hell away from them, though.

Mr. Me asks a question about, well, me:

Using the normal five-star rating system, how would you rank the following past/current 411 Wrestling journalists: Larry Csonka, J.D. Dunn, Scott Keith, and Ryan Byers?

Larry Csonka: *****
J.D. Dunn: ****1/2
Scott Keith: 1/2*
Ryan Byers: DUD

Tyler from Winnipeg is digging in his tights:

What was the first weapon to be popularized in a pro wrestling match?

This is one of those questions that will be difficult to answer definitively due to wrestling’s history being lengthy and a bit fragmented, but I’ll just answer with the first weapon that I’m aware of, with folks being free to pile on in the comments if they can come up with anything else.

I’m going to give the nod to the wild man from Syria – allegedly – the original Sheik. After a few years wrestling under his given name, Sheik adopted his more famous persona and became a wild brawler, using everything within arm’s reach to maim his opponents.

However, it was the pencil that became his “signature” weapon. (See what I did there?)

That might not sound like much to modern wrestling fans who are used to chairs, tables, and ladders, but repeatedly jabbing a pencil into your opponent’s forehead or throat was more than enough to incense crowds seventy years ago, particularly when it would be used to set up a bladejob.

Jayden is Ask 411’s favorite kiwi:

When I see the ratings for NXT and comparisons with AEW, I always wonder: Do a number of subscribers to the network that are based in the US, just watch it later on the network as opposed to watching it live?

I don’t think Ive ever seen that point raised anywhere. I’d say a lot of US subscribers would watch it live but the rest wouldn’t.

Like potentially 500-700,000 are watching online as opposed to on TV. That’s a lot of viewers.

What do you think?

I think it doesn’t really matter.

If you’re trying to measure which of the two programs is doing its job more effectively, you need to look at the television viewership and throw online statistics out the door.

Why? Because wrestling promotions these days make the vast majority of their money off of television rights fees, so the TV stations are the people they need to keep happy. When it comes time to renegotiate WWE’s TV deal, USA isn’t going to be impressed by how many people are watching NXT on the WWE Network. Their primary concern is going to be – surprise, surprise – how many people are watching NXT on USA.

That’s why television viewership is king.

Night Wolf the Wise asks one of his patented questions that could easily be a column unto itself:

Alot of people in the Ask 411 column, myself included, have always asked about the Mt. Rushmore of wrestling. We could all have a discussion for days on who deserves to be on the Mt. Rushmore of wrestling. We could also have a discussion for days on who is the greatest wrestler of all time, and we would all get different answers depending on what criteria we use. So I wanted to ask you a question that has to do with neither the Mt. Rushmore or greatest wrestler of all time. Starting from the early days of wrestling all the way through the Attitude Era (the last 21 years don’t count), who are the top 20 most important wrestlers of all time? What I mean by that is their role was so significant or they were so great, they changed/revolutionized the business for the better. Without these wrestlers, wrestling wouldn’t be what it is today. For example: Without Andre the Giant, there is no Hulk Hogan. Without Bret Hart, there is no Stone Cold Steve Austin and so on and so forth.

Welp, here goes, in no particular order:

1. Frank Gotch
2. Georg Hackenschmidt
3. Jim Londos
4. Lou Thesz
5. Ric Flair
6. Bruno Sammartino
7. Hulk Hogan
8. El Santo
9. Rikidozan
10. Antonio Inoki
11. Giant Baba
12. Steve Austin
13. The Rock
14. Ed “Strangler Lewis”
15. Verne Gagne
16. Gory Guerrero
17. Dusty Rhodes
18. Andre the Giant
19. Gorgeous George
20. The Funk Brothers

And there you have it. Could I have written more than just their names? Yes. Would that have made this answer run about five times as long as I want it to? Also yes. Has that happened to me before? Yup. Am I trying to get better about it? Absolutely.

Michael wants to re-tread the well-tread territory of the WWE Hall of Fame:

Here is a question and topic I am surprised hasn’t come up much. I know almost everyone will eventually get into the WWE HOF, but I was wondering who, in the next few years, will be the big “main event” guys who will be inducted (the wrestlers that close the show)? Undertaker this year, and they have The Rock who can be inducted at any time, but I can’t think of any HUGE names that would be top billing? Guys like Kane and Jeff Hardy are big names, but I don’t believe big enough to close the show . . . thoughts?

And who on the main roster today would be the big main event guys in the future? Roman, Brock, Seth? Can’t think of many others.

And every year they include a woman. Who is left? I can’t think of many that have not either already been inducted, or not big enough to warrant an induction.

I actually think you’re underrating the number of individuals who could credibly headline a Hall of Fame class. Obviously, the Rock is on the list as you mention. Let’s not forget, though, about two other guys who have had runs in Hollywood after leaving WWE full-time. The first is John Cena. The second is Dave Batista, who was at one point announced as a HOFer but has yet to receive his induction due to the screwiness of the COVID-19 pandemic. Also, you’ve got a couple of WWE executives to think about: Triple H and Vince McMahon. People who know him do say that they don’t think Vince will ever willingly go in to the Hall, but his opinion could change the further away he gets from his active career with the company. Alternatively, I think even a posthumous Vinnie Mac induction could headline the show if billed as the ultimate tribute to him. HHH is technically already in the HOF once as a member of D-Generation X, but a solo induction is due. Finally, though I can’t say for sure how long he will remain with his current employers, a Chris Jericho induction could do the trick if he becomes a free agent once more.

Also, don’t forget that factions and tag teams can headline, even if their members have already been inducted once before. Thus, even if you can’t see Kane getting top billing during a Hall of Fame ceremony, I could at the very least envision the Brothers of Destruction going in as a duo, which would get Kane in while also allowing the company to cash in on a bit more Undertaker nostalgia. Finally, though I wouldn’t consider this group HOF-worthy, WWE and its powers that be seem to have an incredibly high opinion of Evolution as a stable, so I could see them getting a group induction down the road if everybody is available at the same time.

So, if you add all those up, that’s at least eight headliners, enough to get us to Wrestlemania weekend in 2030 without including anybody from the current main roster.

Speaking of current main roster members, I can see at least half a dozen HOF headliners coming out of that group. The individuals would be Brock Lesnar, Randy Orton, Rey Misterio Jr., Seth Rollins, and Roman Reigns. On top of that, if you needed a sixth induction and Dean Ambrose ever freed up, you could put the Shield as a collective on top of a Hall of Fame ceremony.

Now, let’s talk women. Right off the top, I can come up with one fairly large omission:

Miss Elizabeth.

Granted, the company might be uncomfortable with inducting her given the circumstances of her death, but they have come around and included other wrestling personalities who passed as a result of their substance issues.

As far as others are concerned, you can name literally any woman who ever worked for the company, because there are no actual criteria for who gets inducted into this thing. I suspect at this point they would just go down their title history and start picking out former champions who have yet to be inducted, which would include people like Leilani Kai, Jacqueline, Sable (don’t forget she’s married to a current top star), Jazz, Victoria, and Michelle McCool. I could even see Bull Nakano getting the nod at some point, because the company does like throw in a Japanese wrestler from time-to-time to help cater to that market. There’s even the possibility of a Chyna solo induction at some point since they got over the hump and did make her part of the DX group induction a few years back.

In other words, I’m not concerned about the WWE Hall of Fame running out of inductees in any categories anytime soon.

Jon is cramming into a sweatbox:

What’s the real story on the Manhattan Center? For those who don’t know it was almost exclusively the venue for Raw for months if not years at the beginning of the show. It’s a historic but fairly dumpy looking and very small theatre that was clearly not designed for something like wrestling.

So why did they use it for Raw? Cost of moving equipment around? Fear of not selling a bigger venue? Or, as I suspect, Vince’s obsession at the time for inferring New York was the “home” of WWF? Or maybe something else.

The answer is that’s just the sort of venue that professional wrestling television was being taped at during this era. WCW was running tapings for Saturday Night, its flagship show, out of Center Stage in Atlanta, a rather similar facility. There was nothing out of the ordinary about Raw emanating from the Manhattan Center. (Or, more accurately, the Grand Ballroom of the Manhattan Center. The Manhattan Center is a multi-theater complex that also includes the Hammerstein Ballroom, another name that will be familiar with professional wrestling fans.)

We’ll return in seven-ish days, and, as always, you can contribute your questions by emailing [email protected]. You can also leave questions in the comments below, but please note that I do not monitor the comments as closely as I do the email account, so emailing is the better way to get things answered.