INTERVIEW: Independent wrestling manager Jason Saint on how he got here, his biggest moments & Wrestlemania!

Jason Saint is well known in the indie wrestling scene in the city of Louisville and beyond. He’s made a name for himself as a guy that fans love to hate. The first indy wrestling show I went to was in 2016 and he was there for the main event. I thought to myself, “who’s this guy and who does he think he is?” He has a swagger about him that immediately makes you hate him. So I began to heckle him. My heckling prompted him to come over and make fun of me and my friends. Since then he’s been one of my favorite people to boo.

On top of coaching the best independent stars to titles, he has also worked in independent films and runs his own wrestling blog. I decided to reach out to Jason to find out what motivates a guy to put himself out there to work toward his dreams. Read on to find out more. 

NN: How did you become a manager and what were some of the struggles in the beginning?

JS: I started working at Ohio Valley Wrestling in the late 2000s, helping out wherever needed until the time came that the itch got too great to ignore. Initially, as a teenager and a young adult, my goal was to become a professional wrestler. However, after speaking with Stevie Richards and Paul Heyman, I was told that my attitude would be better suited for managing (and, to be honest, I’m a short guy who doesn’t have the Daniel Bryan intensity, so it wouldn’t have worked out). I began asking Al Snow about potentially being involved and he seemed interested, but a changing of the guard at OVW led to my dismissal. At first, I was devastated, but after taking some time off, I was able to re-calibrate and chase my passion elsewhere. I began as a photographer, started asking about managing, and was given an opportunity.

Originality is something I’ve always focused on. When I started working as a manager, nobody else was doing what I was doing, which is transitioning from independent film to being a wrestling manager. I used that to find some wrestlers to begin working with under the guise of creating an action star for my films, but would eventually leave the world of film and focus solely on wrestling. Being original is nearly impossible, because so many ideas are already taken and the ones that aren’t, will be eventually. I’m proud to say that as a wrestling manager, I’ve found a way to keep myself and those who I work with above the cut by staying relevant without jacking anyone else’s image, name, or style.

“Creatively, a lot of what I do is based off of film, which is due to my past life as a director.”

NN: Who did you learn from?

JS: Paul Heyman was the first person to explain to me why being a wrestling manager would be great for me. About how being a short guy wrestler would put me in a box, but being a manager gave me tons of direction. Al Snow, Paredyse, Ali Vaez, Mike Mondo, Chris Silvio, Randy Terrez, and others aided in helping mold me as a professional. Creatively, a lot of what I do is based off of film, which is due to my past life as a director. I learned a lot of my craft as an actor from working with friends I had growing up, such as Derek Sturgeon and Brandon Ingram, who I created films such as The Last Summer and Welcome Back with. I’m a pretty vivid blend of a lot of different teachings, plus several seminars with different wrestlers from multiple levels has helped me improve greatly.

NN: What’s been the biggest wrestling moment/moments you’ve had?

JS: So he’s about 6’5″ and not a thin 6’5″ by any means, but the moment Jake “The Snake” Roberts hooked my head for a DDT, the world’s fastest lowlight reel flashed through my head of moments of my life. Times where people mocked me for liking wrestling, girls dumping me and telling people how obsessed I was with it, teachers, family members telling me it’s stupid, or “fake”, or whatever. All of that goes away when a WWE Hall Of Famer has a hold of you and he’s about to drop you with the move that he invented. Jake was a hell of an opponent, and that short arm clothesline ain’t no joke either. The second my head hit the canvas, I could hear all of the voices from my past get drowned out by a cheering audience who got to see the villain they hate the most get dropped by an icon. It was incredible. One of the greatest moments of my life.

Aaaand let’s go ahead and drop some names here, I was introduced to the wrestling world by Sunny, hit with a chair by Sabu, chokeslammed by Abyss, had an apple spat in my face by Carlito, got an “FTR” moment with Cody Rhodes, got to add some pizzazz to Horrorshow with Jimmy Jacobs, Fameassered by Billy Gunn, got smashed in the face with a title belt by Tommy Dreamer, got dropped with a Novacaine by Nova/Simon Dean, dropkicked off of the ring by Brian Pillman II, cannonballed by Shigehiro Irie, backfisted by Eddie Kingston, dropped with The Stroke by Jeff Jarrett, been spanked at a baseball field by Karen Jarrett (after which, watched some fireworks with Kevin Nash), been green-misted by Sage Sin, plus I’ve managed Cliff Compton, Gangrel, Kevin Thorn, The Barbarian, Meng, and a multitude of incredible talent in Horrorshow such as Tripp Cassidy, Shane Mercer, Kongo Kong, and many, many more. My highlight reel would be a 12-disc Blu-Ray set, man. I’ve been very fortunate to have the career that I’ve had. I love every minute of it.

“The moment Jake ‘The Snake’ Roberts hooked my head for a DDT, the world’s fastest lowlight reel flashed through my head of moments of my life.”

NN: Who’s your biggest influence?

JS: I could do the manager thing and say Bobby “The Brain” Heenan, because truly, he’s the greatest entertainer of all-time. Nobody did it all as well as Heenan did, but in regards to my delivery, facial expressions, etc., it would be “Rowdy” Roddy Piper, William Regal, and Edge. Although Triple H is my favorite wrestler of all-time, the three aforementioned could tell stories without words or actions, but rather tell tales with their facial expressions. It’s an honor to have gotten some scrolls from each of them through the years.

NN: Any stories from the road that you can share?

JS: I could probably write a 600 page memoir about the things that Shane Mercer and I have seen and done on the road. We’ve pulled over in the middle of a trip so Shane could do calisthenics, we saw people running from a flaming car, we 3D’ed a girl in the ocean while down in Florida, hiked through the snow in New York City, nearly took a gigantic deer out while traveling at 3am, you name it, we’ve done it. That guy, truly, is one of the best athletes I’ve had the pleasure of presenting to the world. I’ve never seen Shane phone it in and truly think that he has all of the ability to be a memorable star for years to come.

BUT, I will tell you a funny story from when I was still fairly new in the world of managing. I’ve gotten a reputation as a guy who jokes around with anybody, regardless of tenure or presence, and that reputation began with Sabu. During a show, I was in a small room with Sabu and his former manager, as well as another wrestler beside me. Something about Sabu immediately gains your attention. As a kid, I’d seen this scarred up, ruthless, bloody wrestler with spikes in his mouth and fire on the ropes while he wrestled, and he was scary.

Seeing him across the room from me, head down, hair soaking wet and dangling over his face, shirt off, I thought, “….I’m gonna mess with this guy.” He caught my gaze and gave me a look as if to say “what?”, so I asked him if he had any cats. He said no, seemed confused, and I added, “Well, you’ve got all these scratches all over you, you look like you maybe have some mean cats or something.” He stared at me for what felt like 20 minutes then finally said, “…I do… barbed wire matches. For 20 years.” I said, “Oh! Oh, ok.” A silence stood between us before I looked up at him, and he’s SEETHING, which causes me to crack a smile. When he sees this, he bellows out, “YOU’RE F*CKING RIBBING ME! Ha!” Then he comes over, slaps my arm, gives me a little shake and doesn’t stop laughing for a few minutes. Ever since then, me and Sabu have been cool, which is something 13 year old Jason Saint would be stoked to hear!

NN: What do you think about the current state of wrestling? And how do you feel about wrestling in Louisville?

JS: Professional wrestling is amazing. Sure, there’s a variety of different styles out there and not all of it is everyone’s cup of tea, but growing up in The Attitude Era, I really only ever got to see snippets. Matches that were 3-5 minutes, usually, and they wouldn’t have competition. I’d seen fights in middle school that lasted longer. Now, every wrestler has a hustle, they have 10-15-20 minute matches on Raw and SmackDown, mind you, and the variety is amazing. Of course there’s stuff that makes me go “ehhh”, but even my favorite bands have some weird music, too. Wrestling is great, and I’ve loved it since I was 9 years old.

Louisville has a lot of wrestling in the area. Some is great, and some is brutal. There are promotions like Prodigy Pro Wrestling who have grown exponentially over the last several months, and then there’s companies like Ohio Valley Wrestling who’s kept their fanbase happy for more than two decades. Every company in the area has something different to offer, but one thing that makes them all similar is that they’re all hungry. Every wrestler wants to be doing more, and I’ve seen guys go from being fresh faces to undeniable stars in months. It’s awesome that this area has become such a hotbed for wrestling after a few years of the area being somewhat scarce. Everyone is thriving, learning, and committing to the craft. I’m proud to be part of it.

“Everyone (in Louisville) is thriving, learning, and committing to the craft. I’m proud to be part of it.”

NN: Do all wrestlers listen to butt rock or is it just the people making YouTube highlights?

JS: Actually, I’ve heard more stuff like Kendrick Lamar in locker rooms than anything. I’m guessing you don’t watch a lot of Myron Reed’s highlight reels! I, personally, listen to a lot of punk rock but my playlist has everything from Slipknot to Icona Pop to Coal Chamber to Christina Aguilera, so… maybe I’m not the guy to ask?

NN: How do you feel about Kid Rock in the hall of fame?

JS: I think Kid Rock is cool. I’ve been listening to Kid Rock since I was like 12 and I’m not super into his country stuff, but he’s cool. He’s definitely contributed more to professional wrestling and wrestling fans than people care to realize. People are complaining about him getting inducted but fail to realize that the association with certain high-end celebrities (scoff all you want, readers, facts are facts) brings more attention to the company than if, say, Lance Storm were inducted.

That isn’t a slight toward Storm, for the record, I LOVE Lance Storm, but inducting people like Kid Rock and like Mike Tyson gets a lot more publicity than if some of our favorite wrestlers were inducted. If it were up to me, the Hall would have a LOT of wrestlers in it, such as Molly Holly, Brian Pillman, Magnum T.A., Mike Rotunda, Rick Martel, Rikidozan, Muhammad Ali, and many, many more.

NN: What is your ultimate goal?

JS: When I was a kid, you were all but laughed at if you watched wrestling. People watched “real” sports, and were fans of say, Dallas Cowboys, Chicago Bulls, that kind of thing. When I was a kid, I use to have sleepovers at my cousin’s house, and one morning, I woke up early and watched wrestling with my uncle. I remember three things that stood out the most: Luna Vachon, The Legion Of Doom, and The British Bulldog. The first time I saw the Bulldog gorilla press slam someone, I said aloud, “That is the strongest man in the world.” I want to give someone a memory like that. I want a kid to see me at a show and think, “That guy is the funniest guy I’ve ever seen.” or “That is the scariest looking face I’ve ever seen a person make.” I want to give people memories, either by giving them a funny line that they tell their friends about, or giving them a memory of when I FINALLY got knocked out and they got to laugh in my face.

Wait, what was the question? Oh. Money. I want to make a lot of money.

NN: You were in the Quiet Hollers music video for “Pressure” last year. What was that experience like? Do you have any more plans to cooperate with local artists?

JS: Well, at first, I thought I was just going to be an extra! I was kind of bummed because I thought, “Wait a minute, I helped you guys make this happen!” Luckily, my man Kongo Kong spoke up for me and we made it work out! It was a blast, though, seeing it come to life and watching the band do something that not a lot of people get to do, which is step into the ring against a bonafide star. I’ve actually been in a lot of music videos, though! I was in my friend Kay Day’s video for “High And Dry” in 2016, which is the most recent (sans Pressure).

NN: What has happened to the manager in wrestling? It seems like a dying breed.

JS: The role of the manager has been significantly decreased due to scripting promos. There was a time when bulletpoints were given and wrestlers would either get their flow, or would be given a manager to help them transition into a better role. Some wrestlers, like The Undertaker, were just better suited for managers due to their character. But when a wrestler was either brand new and needed an immediate reaction or would need a mouthpiece, the role of the manager was important. Today, if someone can’t get a promo together, they simply don’t get the mic time.

NN: Where will you be for Wrestlemania?

JS: Probably watching it at my buddy’s house. I was in Orlando for Mania weekend last year but things didn’t work out as well this year, so I’m just looking toward the future.

NN: Do you have any predictions for WrestleMania?

JS: As much as I hate to admit, I hate making predictions for any event that I’m just watching at my leisure. HOWEVER, I think that Cena Vs. Undertaker is going to be a battle for the ages. I think Roman Vs. Brock is going to be a quick but intense showdown and it’s going to show what Roman’s made of. I’m looking forward to seeing the clash between Nia Jax and Alexa Bliss, because Bliss has been on this incredible run and Jax has a lot to prove after losing to Asuka. Seeing Triple H and Kurt Angle clash at Mania is something I wanted from their 2000 feud, so it’s cool that it’s finally happening an entire adult lifespan later! Isn’t it crazy that their feud began when I was 14 and they’re still going at it while I’m in my 30s?!

You can keep up with Jason Saint and his shenanigans by following @JasonFnSaint on Twitter and Instagram.