Jimmy Jacobs: “I felt valued when I started with IMPACT” (Interview)

Every Princess wants to find The Prince Charming. Jimmy Jacobs thought he made his dream come true when he was hired by WWE to become a writer. But when he kissed the frog, it didn’t turn into a Prince. Being fired by the company was a relief for the man who used to call himself The Zombie Princess in a ring. It’s a brand-new man who’s now working with IMPACT Wrestling and enjoying the freedom to be himself. During a recent IMPACT media call, Jimmy Jacobs opened the Book of Stories and tell all about his 19-years journey into the wrestling business.

From WWE to IMPACT Wrestling

The List of Jericho, The Festival of Friendship, Jimmy Jacobs is the man behind these storylines. He was so good at this game in WWE some wrestlers wanted to work with him, and only him. For 19 years, Jacobs has been a wrestler, a manager, a writer, a referee, a backstage agent. He knows this business by heart and, in a way, has the recipes to make it good for the wrestlers and the fans. He was fired by WWE last year, after working 2 and a half years for the company. Now as an IMPACT Creative, he can measure the differences between the 2 companies.

On the creative process, “One of the advantages we have on IMPACT is that we are taping a lot of weeks of TV in a row. What’s cool about that is that we can tell a story long-term. In WWE, there is not a lot of that. WWE storytelling is week-to-week, on a whim of the boss. So, you can write something on Friday and by Monday, that’s out the window. The creative process on IMPACT is similar in a lot of ways, but we have more freedom to try out different things and experiment.”

On the length of taping sessions, “Definitely it is a different thing. In WWE, the schedule is 24/7, so it was non-stop. With IMPACT, right now it’s like the calm before the storm and, in the next few weeks, we’re going to start putting together creatively for the upcoming shows. We did this set of tapings in January and it was like nothing I have ever done in my life. It was six days of tapings, two episodes for TV a day, then afterwards going back to the hotel and staying up until 6 AM to look at the next day’s tapings. Scott D’Amore and I were working 18-20 hour a day, six days in a row. It is a lot rolled into one. That’s not the ideal way to tape the TV but we’re trying to break that down into smaller chunks because it’s overwhelming creatively to do that, overwhelming work wise too. If we just tap in 3, 4 or 6 weeks at a time, I think that’d be really helpful.”

About the backstage atmosphere, “I came to Ottawa as a guest last November. I’ve known Scott D’Amore since I’m 16. He said we should probably talk and see if there was mutual interest by us working together. I had a really good time that week. I felt valued and, for me, at that time, it was a big deal. In WWE, I had a great rapport with so much of the talent but with some of the bosses, I didn’t. On IMPACT, I felt heard, I felt that my ideas were contributing, it felt like a good fit. In WWE, you have the freedom to come up with whatever ideas you want. It’s Vince’s sandbox and he’s just the one who says no. And at a certain point, Vince says he likes to incite people to challenge him but only to a certain point. We didn’t have a bad relationship. I don’t think he actively disliked me, but we never clicked. So, it’s cool now to be around people in a creative aspect who I don’t have to filter my ideas. It’s nice to feel that way now.”

This picture with The Bullet Club is said to be the reason WWE fired him (courtesy of Jimmy Jacobs Instagram)

IMPACT Wrestling’s “Mad Hatter”

After being fired from WWE, Jacobs at first called Ring of Honor, the company he had been with for more than 10 years. But IMPACT Wrestling called in-between. “I had a conversation with Scott D’Amore and Sonjay Dutt on the phone about different things at IMPACT and it just seemed like a nice fit and something that I wanted to try out. My first time in Ottawa, at Bound for Glory, was a test run, test go, to see how the fit was and it felt good. We are in a rebuilding phase and they needed somebody who could wear a lot of hats and do a lot of different things. I had experience in all those things as far as writing and creative, and helping out with promos, and helping guys with matches, being an on-air character as well. This week in Ottawa sort of solidified that Impact was the direction that I wanted to go. With Scott D’Amore and Don Callis at the helm, and Sonjay Dutt in creative, things are stabilized so it is going to be about creating a product and a vision that brings back old fans and brings in new fans.”

On IMPACT, Jimmy Jacobs is doing many things at the same time. Something quite normal for the man like for the company. “Everybody there has a lot of different roles, and my job is no different. I’m on a handshake deal with IMPACT, and that was part of the deal coming in for me. I felt so restricted for two and a half years, and coming in now with that sort of freedom to grow where I want to and do what I’m best suited for. It’s cool to be of value and service creatively and to the guys, putting matches together, coming up with promos, and help produce the TV. It’s a lot of different things, and I know where I’m needed, and that’s the way the company is working right now.

He may be backstage and in the creative room, but he’s also an on-air talent, managing Kongo Kong. “I’ve known Kongo Kong for almost twenty years, longer than anybody else in the wrestling business. He broke in the same place that I started hanging around wrestling when I was like 14 years old. The first match I ever worked as a heel, it was me and him as a tag team back in 1999. I had wanted to manage him a few years back actually, so when Scott D’Amore called me about coming to IMPACT, we had talked about me managing Kongo Kong. I told him I would love to do that. Truth be told, I like wrestling, but I like performing more than I like wrestling. I’m pretty jazzed about our pair. I’m hoping it takes Kong to the next level because it’s real important to get IMPACT-branded stars, the way like Rosemary is, Moose, Abyss and Eli Drake. I’m hoping Kong can be in that same group of names.” Is the beauty in Jimmy Jacobs bringing out some beauty in the Beast of Kongo Kong? If you watch wrestling, it seems like it works pretty well.

Kongo Kong and Jimmy Jacobs in 1999 and 2017 (courtesy of Jimmy Jacobs Instagram)

Who are you, Jimmy Jacobs?

Jimmy Jacobs may be considered as different because he developed this character of The Zombie Princess. A nail-painted, tiara-wearing androgyne wrestler. He in fact decided to be himself and fully embrace his difference in the ring. When I asked him about his character, Jacobs told me its tale. “The Zombie Princess originated in a promo I did years ago. I was wrestling Kevin Owens and he made fun of the way I looked. I said something like ‘I don’t need to look tough, to dress tough, to talk tough, what I’ve done shows I’m tough. I can put on a Tutu and a Tiara and call myself the Zombie Princess and still be the toughest guy in the room’. Beyond that, it’s so much of an expression of me, of who I am as a human being, the androgyny I’ve always sort of been attracted to my entire life. It’s cool and I have people reach out to me and say ‘because of you I have been able to come to terms with who I am’. Whether it’s good to come out of the closet, with my sexuality, gender identity, or even just like ‘hey because of you I thought it was okay to paint my nails’, that’s cool to me. So a lot of the character is about just embracing whoever the hell you are and loving it and making no apologies for it.”

If he’s able now to enjoy the freedom to be that person, it’s because Jimmy Jacobs had to find his way out of the darkness and the difficulties. Since he left WWE, he has been a new man and a new wrestler. “Being Jimmy Jacobs is what I’ve done with so much of my life and it’s almost about finding that right now. It’s been a crazy time in my life. The past year has been like one of the most like transformative years of my life. I’ve been married to wrestling for so long but, this time, my life’s been cool because, for the first time in my life, I’m really enjoying wrestling and being in the business for so long. It was like the single-minded goal of making to WWE. That obsession was unhealthy and wasn’t productive, it didn’t serve me. So without having that goal now, I can just enjoy the journey. Because of rehab, I can identify also with the darkness and let it come to light.”

James Ellsworth just declared himself the first-ever Intergender Champion, something Jacobs considers as a great idea. Would The Zombie Princess compete for this belt? “I think it’s eyes-pops awesome, I think it’s great and nobody’s doing it. So I’m sure I’ll see James around. I don’t know if I don the Princess outfit or not to go one-on-one with James but I’d always love to wrestle him.”

He was so in the WWE bubble he was unable to see that the independent scene in the USA was exploding. When I asked him about, he stated: “When I got fired, people kept telling me the independents were on fire, but I didn’t know about it. Sami Callihan was the guy that called me up right away and held my hand. I was very gracious that he did that for me and continues to do so sometimes. There’s more awesome wrestling now than like ever before. There’s so much great talent, there’s so much good wrestling, many great shows. It’s cool to still wrestle on independents and work at Impact too.

If every fairy tale has a perfect end, Jimmy Jacobs’ one is not done yet. And he’ll find its end wherever and whenever he wants it to.