Jake Crist explains who “The Modern Man In Black” is.
Crist recently spoke with WrestleZone Managing Editor Bill Pritchard after he was released by IMPACT Wrestling earlier this month, becoming a free agent for the first time since 2017. “The Modern Man In Black” draws quick comparisons to Johnny Cash, someone Crist says has been an influence in his career and life. Noting other musical interests in his life, Crist explained how Cash has played an important role in who he is in and out of the ring.
“When I started booking [Rockstar Pro], I based my ‘Artist’ character around Prince, and I really felt like an artist because of what I was creating every week, as far as building a crowd. When I started booking Rockstar, there was 15 people in the crowd, and we built it all the way up to about 450 on a big Friday. It might not sound huge to a lot of people,” Crist said, “but in Dayton, Ohio, an independent wrestling [company] drawing 450 people is huge. We would sell out every iPPV that we’d have on a Friday, and so I really built that character because I felt deep down that I was an artist, and I still do feel like I’m an artist because of what I create in the ring, as far as matches, so on and so forth.
“I started listening to Johnny Cash, and I got into Prince. [Those were] my two biggest influences, and it still is, with the ‘Modern Man In Black’. Like you said, the ‘JC’ logo is based off of the Prince logo, and that’s basically me being a huge fan of Prince, it’s a big nod to him. Like I said, I feel like deep down, I’m an artist, and with Johnny Cash, he’s the first-ever rock star. In my opinion, it’s Johnny Cash. I know he’s [considered] ‘country music’ but to me, Johnny Cash is the first-ever rock star, and what he sings about, what he sings about, the blue-collar, hard-working man, that’s what I am and that’s what I try to do,” Crist said. “I try to provide for my little ones and bring that bread to the table. And to sum it up like I said, in one sentence, I’m a rock star that happens to be a pro wrestler, and nobody can play the three string like I can.”