What a surprise it was to announce that Jazz would make her debut with Impact Wrestling just a few weeks after writing about her retirement. At that time, she was dealing with a few nagging injuries and fatigue. For those who suffer from mental, or emotional difficulties, the pandemic has increased these feelings of sometimes being low, insecure or useless. Impact Wrestling brought her back where she belongs, in a ring.
Since her debut with ECW by the end of the 1990s, where she was a pioneer in intergender wrestling, she has broken records and won belts everywhere in the US wrestling business, but never on TNA/Impact Wrestling. So when Jordynne Grace announced Jazz would be her partner in the IMPACT Knockouts Tag Team Championship tournament, it couldn’t be any better.
Jazz, 48, still has a lot to say in a ring. If for more than two decades, she has made dream generations of wrestling fans, she is showing right now she can still be an example. Her longevity, talent, athleticism, and toughness make Jazz an example for every young wrestler and fan. Everything Jazz did looks like it hurt and in a good way. Her no-nonsense attitude came across very well in her promos. She is a pure wrestling badass and of the highest level.
SteelChair Wrestling Magazine had the chance to talk to Jazz this Wednesday. She told us about competing for the Knockouts Tag Team Champions at Sacrifice, her tag-team partner Jordynne Grace, their in-ring alchemy, Impact Wrestling, and what the future may hold for her.
Just a few months ago, you were about to retire and you made your debut with Impact Wrestling very quickly after. Who and what made you come there?
“You’re correct, I was on the verge of retirement. I actually had announced my retirement, but Tommy Dreamer (Impact Wrestling’s Head Creative) reached out to me and talked to me about the possibilities of working with Impact Wrestling. I just felt there was an opportunity that I couldn’t turn down. I’ve never, out of my 20-plus years in the business, had an opportunity to work with Impact. Once he reached out, I knew that was going to be my next step.”
You are teaming up with Jordynne Grace, something that makes absolute sense. When she teased on the phone, calling you even if we didn’t know it was, I immediately thought it would be you. You share the same kind of physique and technique. Was it easy to work with her when they asked you to?
“We’re pretty compatible, she’s a pretty much of a no-nonsense kind of person as I am in the ring, so it’s just a perfect match. I’ve never had the opportunity to work with Jordynne (before Impact), but we have great chemistry together. She’s one heck of a tag team partner to have. We get along very well, no egos between her and me. We just got one thing on our mind, and that’s just being the best tag team ever, hoping to make history and also becoming the IMPACT Knockouts Tag Team Champions.”
And it can happen this Saturday at ‘Sacrifice’. What about the match and this opportunity knowing Tasha and Kiera have made a pretty nice run since they won the belts?
“They’re a tremendous tag team. They’re most definitely doing their thing. They’re great at it, but I feel Jordynne and I deserve that opportunity as well, and we’re hoping up this weekend everyone else will know it.”
The Knockouts division is made of very different women because of their characters, personalities, or ages. How were you welcomed by the Knockouts, but also by the company in general?
“(I was welcomed) With open arms, everyone at Impact treated me with respect, everyone was very nice and very welcoming. The girls, oh my god, I love them. I’ve known most of them for over 10-12 years, so it’s really weird me going there, and I remember these girls when they were just starting out, like in their early 20s, and now they’re like full-blown women. They’ve been in the game now for 10-plus years. It’s like I’ve seen them and watch their growth in the industry, and I’m just happy to be a part of it right now.”
You’re now 48, you’ve been in the business for 20-plus years, you have worked for every promotion in the USA and around the world. But not Impact Wrestling. Why wasn’t it possible until now?
“I don’t know but, honestly, I never really pursued to go anywhere. I never pushed myself on a company. I never reached out to a promotion for employment. I’ve always been content with what I was doing in the indies. I had my freedom to do what I wanted to do, and that’s to work anywhere and anytime I wanted to. I really enjoyed my freedom.”
Freedom is something that you have valued absolutely in your career?
“Being with WWE was most definitely the epitome of my career but, once I was no longer with WWE, I just tried other things. My husband (former WWE Superstar Rodney Mack) and I have had a wrestling school. We’ve been doing that for the last 15 years on and off, we ran our own promotion, so it was just about me, just me being me doing what I wanted to do. I was still taking bookings all over the world, still going to Japan, still coming over to the UK. It was just about having my freedom. With Impact, even right now, I see a lot of the girls and guys able to accept bookings outside of Impact. We could never do that in WWE. Working with a promotion that allows you to still go and work on the indies and just be a part of different promotions, that’s the company that you want to work with.”
That’s the essence of Impact Wrestling unless wrestlers have exclusive contracts and there are very few, like Eric Young. We have talked about Women’s Evolution/Revolution for a few years now. How did you live that by the time you were in WWF, people like Chyna and Jacqueline were leaving and “eye-candies” time was beginning?
“While Chyna was in WWE, having her persona of doing what she did, I was in ECW creating my own. I still think we both brought something different to the table, there’s no comparison whatsoever. Before I was in WWE, they were doing all the gimmick matches, the bra-and-panties and pillow fight matches and all this. When I signed my contract with WWE, we were no longer doing those. I have never been involved in a bra-and-panties match. I was all about writing your face, hard-hitting wrestling, and that’s what I brought. I would like to think that myself, along with the other girls, Trish, Lita, Molly, Jacqueline, all had a part in transitioning and making women wrestling relevant. We were finally able to show the world that we deserve a platform and time on the card to prove our craft, which is wrestling. I’m just thankful for that, most definitely, but now they’re talking about the evolution and all of that, but the Attitude Era really helped with this era of wrestling. We opened that door, and we allowed all the other women around the world to come in and showcase their talent.”
Meanwhile, TNA/Impact Wrestling was envisioning women wrestlers in a completely different way. Were you aware of this difference at that time?
“Once I was no longer with WWE, I never really paid attention to wrestling anymore on TV. If I ran into some of the girls at events or signings or whatever, we communicated, and I stayed in touch with some of them, but I’m really not too familiar. I know Gail Kim, she wasn’t with all the gimmick matches either, so she went to Impact, and she made a name for herself and placed a stamp down and representing women wrestling along with Victoria/Tara. You had ladies like that which they were accustomed to having hard-hitting matches, so when they went to Impact to no longer have to worry about ever being in a bikini out there walking down that ramp. They knew they were going to be able to walk in that ring, walk down their ramp and get in that ring and have a 5-Star match.”
Now that you are into Impact Wrestling, when you look at the way that they book women wrestlers and make them work, do you feel like they really show the best of what a woman can do in a ring?
“Impact Wrestling, most definitely, is allowing women to have a platform. Again, I believe the gimmick match, there will probably no longer be a repeat of that because the women nowadays are so athletic. They’re so talented. You can’t take that talent and try to put it in a bikini and try to force that on to the fans. Fans want to see professional wrestling, and Impact most definitely is one of the companies that’s providing this for the fan base. I’m happy to be a part of Impact for that reason alone. They may do a little hardcore stuff here and there, but they’re mainly about having some great storylines for the women to actually wrestle. All the girls are working. Pretty much everyone on the Knockouts Division, they’re on TV weekly, like everyone. Even if you’re not even having a match, you’re still allowed to be out there walking down a ramp, you’re affiliated with someone that’s having a match, so everyone most definitely on TV every week.”
ODB is going to go after the Knockouts Championship on Saturday against Deonna Purrazzo. If you were given a chance to go for that belt, would you take it?
“I never turned down a challenge, so if they ever approach me with it, most definitely, but I really have faith in my girl ODB. I’m pulling for her, she’s one of the OGs, like me, so I’m pulling for an OG right now.”
Is there something specific you want to be remembered, in the ring or out of the ring?
“I want to be remembered as a person that most definitely never had to kiss anyone’s behind. I always allowed my talent in the ring to speak for me. There’s a lot of politics in wrestling, but that’s okay. I’m one who never got sucked into that world. I stayed true to myself. I just want everyone in the wrestling world, all the fans around the world to know that I never allowed myself to get sucked into the politic game. I just stayed real with who I am, within a person and as an athlete. That’s my legacy right there. When I started with ECW, they had a saying, “my T and A is not for tits and ass, my T and A stands for talent and ability.” So it might be just talent and an ass-kicker (laughs).
That’s the kind of advice you would give to young talent, stay yourself, stay true to yourself?
Follow Jazz on @Phenom_Jazz.
Sacrifice will air live on Impact Plus this Saturday night at 8 PM EST (1 AM GMT). IMPACT Wrestling is airing on Tuesday at 8/7c on AXS TV and Twitch in the USA. The show is available to stream on Facebook and YouTube in the UK and Ireland, within hours of the American broadcast on Impact Plus, with an encore presentation on 5Star late night on Fridays.
All pics, screencaps and videos courtesy of Impact Wrestling, AXS TV, Fight Network and Basil Mahmud