During a recent appearance on Highspots’ “Store Turbo Tuesday“, AEW star Jake Atlas described his friendship with Jungle Boy and how it started.
They understood each other immediately, even if Atlas didn’t come out back then: “We just understood each other and had the same, kind of, values and kind of the same systems coming from completely different backgrounds. But still understood who we were as people before the wrestling part of it, and I think that just made the wrestling better. Because on the seven-hour drives, we hardly talked about wrestling. It was very personal and about our lives and about him and about me, and, you know, probably a good chunk of it on those rides, like, he didn’t know I was gay, or whether he knew or wanted to assume. But I wasn’t publicly out. Like, it was just so smooth. It was like I was, even though there was nothing that I talked about that would incline, give inclination. It was just so peaceful that I think when we got into the ring, whatever it was, because he’s gone through some s**t, you know, and he’s, sorry, excuse my language, but he’s, obviously, with what he’s gone through and whatever my background is, we just kind of let it all out in the ring. Like, that was like our space and our safe space to kind of like, yell and beat each other up, and we could trust each other to do it.”
In the ring, they always shared great trust: “Like, I’m not going to kill him, I don’t want to hurt him, and vice versa and it was just like this pent up rage that, you know, we get to do it together in the ring. And I think that’s what makes it so special every time we do it. Like, I get goosebumps just thinking about being in the ring with him, because that feeling is like none other with anyone else. It’s, I just know that it’s gonna be good and I know that I’m gonna have fun, and I know we’re going to beat each other’s a–es, in like, the most professional and coolest way possible. But, that’s my guy.”
Despite this, them always being compared on the indies wasn’t a good thing for Atlas: “Me and Jungle Boy always being connected in some way, hearing journalists and others like wrestling news sites always comparing our trajectories and where his career has mine, and that really messes with your head. Yeah. I just really, I’m getting emotional just thinking about it, because it really, it’s such, it’s so, it feels like you’re not good enough when you’re constantly being compared, and if I already feel like I’m not good enough, hearing it validated by an external source is like, a horrible feeling. And it makes you not, like, what’s the point of doing this if I’m not going to be good enough?”