Late last year, former IMPACT Wrestling star Jake Crist announced that he was leaving the promotion and becoming a free agent for the first time since 2017. Over his three-year run with the promotion, Crist was primarily known as a member of the oVe stable; however, in 2019, Crist won his first singles championship with the promotion when he captured the IMPACT X-Division Championship from Rich Swann. Many looked at it as an opportunity for Crist to break out as a singles wrestler, and though that didn’t turn out to be the case in the long run with IMPACT, it’s still something that the now-Modern Man in Black looks back on fondly.
“You know, not really,” when I asked him if there were any previous efforts to break out as a solo act. “There was a – with being in oVe for the last three and a half years, and then they broke that up, and then they put me into Cancel Culture. So it was like they were kind of just – they’re gonna bounce me from group to group, anyways. So, like, who knows? But like as far as the past, I’ve never really tried to break out as a singles guy or anything like that. This will be the very first opportunity, so wish me luck, bud!”
Hearing that, how does he look back on his first singles championship win in IMPACT?
“I just saw it as a major opportunity that the company was putting stock in me,” he commented. “And, plus, it was my very first major championship I ever won. I think about AJ Styles I think about all the guys that’s held this championship. Chris Sabin, Christopher Daniels, the list goes on and on and on on how many great people have held the X-Division Championship. And, to be able to wrestle one of my best friends for the championship and beating him for it was just the icing on the cake. Love you Swanny!”
“Do you maybe feel that it wasn’t given the shine or you weren’t given the opportunity once you had the title to really try and break through with it?” I asked him “Or, do you still feel like it was – like it’s great to hear you talking so positively about it still.”
“Oh, no. I loved my time in IMPACT Wrestling!” Crist quickly replied. “You won’t get a bad word out of my mouth about IMPACT, to be honest. It made me hone myself as a character. They taught me a lot about the business that I didn’t know, and they made me the person that I am today.”
“With the X Division Championship run, I don’t necessarily – I put myself as like a utility player,” he continued. “Whatever position you need me to go out there and play, I’ll be able to go out there and do it. So it was like, if you need me to go out there and be in a group, [I’ll] go out there and be in a group. If you need me to go out there and scale across the wires in an Ultimate X Match, or if you need me to wrap myself in barbed wire – as you could tell, I love deathmatch and deathmatches. I don’t know if it was – I don’t know.”
Before closing, Crist gave a few of his favourite matches through his time with IMPACT.
“The very next night [after I won it], I wrestled Aiden Prince. But it was actually, you know, it was being taped or whatever. But, the next time you got to see the exhibition X-Division Championship on the line was it was me vs Aiden Prince, and I thought that was an amazing match. Two of my favorite matches at IMPACT Wrestling is Rich Swann and Aiden Prince. I really feel like as a champion if you remember who you beat for and who beat you for it, you did a good job.”
Please credit Spencer Love/Love Wrestling with any transcriptions used.