Jaden Newman is an independent pro wrestler that has been involved in the business since the young age of 14. Stephen Jensen caught up with Jaden on the Fight Talk Podcast to discuss his training, his inspirations, favorite promotions to work for, dream matches, and much more!
Below are some highlights from their recent conversation, and check out the full podcast at this link.
SJ: I just wanted to jump right in. Because we talked at the Scenic City Invitational (SCI) just a few weeks ago in Chattanooga and you mentioned to me that you’re only 20 years old. How did you get started and how did you even find a place to start training so young?
JN: A lot of people give the guy a lot of crap but it was Paul Lee that originally started my training. I know I’ll probably get some backlash for saying that but I can’t rewrite history. I started going to his shows in Ringgold, GA at around 9 or 10 years old. My grandfather would bring me. I’d always stay after the shows, even as a young kid and ask around to see if I could help with anything. I would tell them that my dream was to be a professional wrestler. I started training at 14 years old as I was becoming a freshman in high school.
SJ: Were you mainly training in Ringgold, GA or was that where you just started going to shows?
JN: It’s both. I started going to independent shows there then also started training there. Of course, I got trained under a bunch of different people. Now, I credit Kerry Awful for a lot of my training.
SJ: So many wrestlers that I talk to credit Kerry Awful and The Carnies for helping them so much. It’s amazing to hear how much they’re doing to help you guys.
JN: For sure, man. They’re selfless. Kerry, Nick Iggy, and those guys are killing it out there and doing some of the best work of their careers right now. Yet, they’re still taking time out to help people that are trying to get better because they’re selfless and don’t have egos. I also want to throw in Kevin Ku’s name because he’s helping over at Crux Wrestling and he needs to be recognized as well.
SJ: Kevin Ku is a really nice dude and of course a part-owner at Southern Underground Pro (SUP). I’m hearing his name more and more as somebody that’s been helping out and another guy that’s so selfless.
JN: With Ku, a flip switches. He’s a completely different guy inside and outside of the ring. We can joke outside of the ring but he’s a whole different person when you’re in there against him.
SJ: How did you link up with Kerry Awful?
JN: I had met Kerry at Atlanta Wrestling Entertainment and originally we briefly talked. Kerry used to not like me and I can’t necessarily remember why. But the more we talked and got to know each other he eventually realized that I’m not some stuck up kid or whatever. So, that was great because he’s seriously helped me out.
SJ: What was it like for you being in this world of pro wrestling so young, but also going to school? Because wrestling is so bizarre and unique and you’re also dealing with grown men at a super young age. What was that dynamic like going to school and being around “regular kids”?
JN: Honestly, it was hell. I was never one that really liked school. I’d go from training with older guys that had way more life experience and had something in common with me in wrestling, then go to high school where people thought I was doing “fake shit”. There were a lot of nights that I wouldn’t get home from training until like 1AM and then I’d have to wake up at like 6AM to get ready to go to school. I didn’t want to be at school and there were days that I was so beat up that I just wouldn't go. And it wasn’t one of those things where my parents were okay with that, because they weren’t okay with me missing school and I’d get into so much trouble for it. When I went to school, I’d just go in and keep my head down low. Real talk, people thought I was like a school shooter in a way and I know that sounds bad. But I’d always have my headphones in and my hood up because people there didn’t understand me and what I was doing. It was like that for all four years of high school. Like I said, it was hell.
SJ: Who did you look up to as motivation to want to become a professional wrestler yourself?
JN: When I first started watching wrestling, the people that captivated me the most were guys like Rey Mysterio and Jeff Hardy, which is weird because I don’t wrestle that way. When I was younger I was captivated by their entrances, the way they wrestled, the way they got the crowd to interact with them, and the high-flying aspect of it was so amazing to me. I thought it was insane. The first match that I remember watching that really grabbed my attention was Rey Mysterio vs. Eddie Guerrero from WCW Halloween Havoc 1997.
SJ: Would you consider Tennessee your favorite state to wrestle in?
JN: Yeah, because Tennessee’s home. I love being here. Anything SCI related I absolutely love to do and Southern Underground Pro is definitely one of my favorite shows. Funny story with SUP, and I don’t know if I’ll get in trouble for saying this or not, but I was supposed to be in the first ever Battle For Bonestorm tournament but because of my age and the venue they were running in, I couldn’t participate in it. I was legit so pissed off. Ku had hit me up to tell me that they couldn’t use me for the event because I was 18 or 19 and needed to be 21 or older. Since then, I’ve had chances to work at SUP though. I get to hang out with my friends and I also get to wrestle so it’s great.
SJ: It sucks that you weren’t able to participate but it’s cool that they wanted to book you for that tournament to crown the first-ever champion of SUP. Any other promotions around here that you really enjoy working for?
JN: Next Generation Wrestling (NGW) is killing it right now. They’re one of my favorites to work with. They just did a joint show with Impact Wrestling that was fantastic. Bandit Wrestling is running a really great show right now. Of course, TWE Chattanooga because I’m a little biased and that’s home base for me. I’ve been working with TWE Chattanooga all five years of my career so far.
SJ: You were a part of the SCI Futures Showcase and it came across great on Powerbomb.tv. It was really cool how they put it together and I want to give props to Dylan Hales for doing that for guys like yourself, Mr. Brickster, Marko Stunt, Kevin Ku, and everyone involved. Is it a goal of yours to be a part of the “main tournament” at the Scenic City Invitational next year?
JN: Yeah, that’s definitely the goal. This was actually my first year doing the whole SCI experience. Just being around everyone during and after the shows was fantastic. I was there last year to watch Matt Riddle win and for me, that was the moment where I told myself that this is the most important tournament that I have to be in. I’m a Chattanooga guy. I would like to think that I put Chattanooga on my back and I represent it pretty well so the goal is definitely to be in the tournament next year.
SJ: How does it make you feel when you see guys like Matt Riddle perform at shows like SCI and do so well on the independent scene and then make their way to the “next level” such as signing with WWE/NXT?
JN: It’s awesome, man. I like to think of SCI as a stepping stone to get to that next level. You saw how well it worked for Marko Stunt. SCI is really special for that reason because it helps build stars for independent wrestling.
SJ: Do you have any dream matches that you want to be a part of?
JN: I want Kerry Awful in a singles match. It’s time for the teacher to get in there against the student. It’s also great to see the national exposure that he’s getting from Dojo Pro and he most definitely deserves it. Any other members of The Carnies, be it Nick Iggy or Tripp Cassidy. Brett Ison is someone I want to wrestle. I want my rematch with Marko Stunt; he didn’t pin me at the SCI Futures. If we’re gonna get crazy with these dream matches, I’d love to wrestle Cody Rhodes. I also really want to wrestle Murder-1/Blacklist Uno because he’s big, scary, and mean. I wouldn’t mind kicking his ass.