EXCLUSIVE: Jack Perry is grateful to enter the ring.
The 23-year-old professional wrestler is currently signed to All Elite Wrestling (AEW), which has been entertaining millions of fans from around the world every Wednesday night on TNT.
To commemorate its first year on the network, AEW is presenting a special anniversary episode of “Dynamite,” promising a unique set of match-ups and surprises.
Perry, who is recognized as Jungle Boy for his wild mane, routinely faces wrestlers double his size as he works his way up. He is currently part of a league named “Jurassic Express,” which features Luchasaurus and Marko Stunt.
The star has credited wrestling to helping him cope with tough times.
“For me personally, at a hard time in my life, AEW kind of gave me something to put a lot of my energy into and think about it,” Perry told Fox News. “So that has definitely helped me. But I think if wrestling is going to be your outlet, there’s definitely a lot out there to invest your energy in.”
Perry is the son of the late beloved actor Luke Perry. The star, who gained instant heartthrob status as wealthy rebel Dylan McKay on “Beverly Hills, 90210,” passed away in 2019 at age 52 after suffering a massive stroke. Those at Luke’s bedside included Perry, daughter Sophie, fiancée Wendy Madison Bauer, former wife Minnie Sharp and mother Ann Bennett.
Luke, celebrated for his acting, was a fan of wrestling before his son went on to pursue it. Perry credited his father for encouraging him to follow his dream.
“For me, that was cool to have someone to talk about it,” he explained. “In a lot of ways, I think acting and wrestling are different, but they’re similar at the same time. But I think they’re things that a lot of people theoretically want to do when they’re younger and then give up on it along the way.”
“So it was cool to have someone to talk to who had followed through with their childhood dream [of being an actor] and made it happen,” Perry continued. “There were so many things [we shared] along the way, but it was cool to be able to talk to someone and bounce ideas off of someone who had taken their dream all the way and fulfilled it.”
Perry said he’s eager to entertain fans yearning for an outlet in 2020. He acknowledged that this year contact sports, in particular, have taken a hit due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
“[AEW] has actually done a really good job with that,” he shared. “We are tested every time we go to the venue. Everyone gets tested, and we’ve really done a good job of keeping it at a minimum. It’s very safe. Everyone’s wearing masks around the production the entire day. The thing is, I think everyone’s very passionate about AEW. So I think even when we go home, people are being as safe as they can, not wanting to jeopardize the entire team and being unable to participate.”
And Perry has received plenty of support, including from David Arquette.
In 2019, Perry and the “Scream” actor, 49, wrestled with each other in a match dedicated to Luke.
This summer, Arquette released a documentary titled “You Cannot Kill David Arquette,” which focuses on his treacherous return to wrestling. The film also detailed his close relationship with Luke. It was the “Riverdale” star who actually brought Arquette to the hospital after a freak and bloody wrestling incident.
“I thought [the film] was great,” said Perry. “David is a good friend of mine, and he’s actually been a big help to me during this crazy wrestling journey. So it was really cool to see his story wrapped up with a bow on top of it. I think it was presented very well and I’m very excited for everyone to see it.”
As for his own mishaps, Perry said he’s “been pretty lucky for the most part.”
“I’ve had a couple of injuries here and there, some sprained AC joints,” he shared. “Just nothing crazy, but it’s a pain. It’s rough out there. People have extreme injuries fairly regularly. So we just take as many precautions as we can to stay safe and keep everybody else safe. But unfortunately, that’s just the nature of the game.”
His partner Luchasaurus wasn’t so lucky.
“In 2013, I had doctors tell me basically to probably retire from wrestling,” Luchasaurus told Fox News. “I had to have a hip surgery that I was a case study for. It took about two years to fully recover. I also had herniated a disc pretty [badly] in my lower back. At another time, I had broken my wrist. I have torn my bicep. I have a list of injuries that I’m lucky to have come back from, but it’s always a part of the game… This is a full-time job, to rehab, to prehab, to work through injuries, to prevent injuries. I’m always conscious of it during every performance. I warm up thoroughly. Jungle Boy knows I go nuts with the warming up. But it’s not easy.”
Perry hopes the AEW anniversary special will show audiences what he’s truly capable of.
“I think for the first time they’ve actually have every champion defend their belt on the show -- that’s huge. The championship matches are usually a little extra special. People want to win those belts, so they put it all on the line… That’s going to be special for sure.”
The “AEW Dynamite Anniversary special” airs Wednesday, Oct. 14 at 8 p.m. ET on TNT.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.