by Daniel Johnson
Interviewer’s Note: Jack Gamble is a wrestler from Linn, Missouri who has wrestled throughout the state and beyond. Gamble started his career training with World League Wrestling (WLW) headed by the legendary Harley Race. Gamble has won the WLW Tag Team Championship on two occasions as half of two successful tag teams. In November 2011 his team with Jeff Strong, Strong and Reckless first attained this honor and went on to have a whopping 308 day reign as WLW Tag Teams Champions. More recently Gamble has teamed with Jon Webb as High Level Enterprise (HLE), a team who also got the gold in WLW. Some other promotions Gamble has worked for include Dynamo Pro Wrestling (DPW), Metro Pro Wrestling (MPW) and NWA Central States Championship Wrestling (NWA CC). Gamble can be found on Facebook here, on Instagram here and on Twitter here. This interview was completed on November 25, 2014. In this interview Gamble and I focus on the topic of wrestling on Missouri’s independent scene.
Daniel Johnson: My first question is in a few words how would you describe yourself as a performer?
Jack Gamble: A charismatic high flying showboat lol. I feel like I know what I’m good at and I flaunt it.
Daniel Johnson: Cool, my next question is I believe you are originally from Linn, Missouri. Was wrestling big in your area growing up? How big is wrestling in Missouri today?
Jack Gamble: Yeah man that’s where I grew up. Wrestling wasn’t big in my area at all but there were a few kids that liked it. I mean in the Attitude Era everyone was [into it] lol. But there were a few that really loved it. Today wrestling is about the same I guess. I mean it’s a bigger deal in St. Louis and Kansas City with Metro Pro, Dynamo Pro and World League Wrestling.
Daniel Johnson: Before I get into the bulk of my questions I was just curious as a fan do you have a favorite old school match that either took place in Missouri or features talent from the state?
Jack Gamble: No, not really. I was a fan of Harley Race matches of course, but not one that really stands out.
Daniel Johnson: Getting into your career how did you first find out about WLW and was this where you received your initial training?
Jack Gamble: Well, I went to a few WLW shows that they ran in the area. They did a benefit show where my karate sensei was a special guest wrestler. So shortly after I went to a tryout and passed, but then they realized I was 16 and BJ [Race], Harley’s wife at the time, was like, ‘Nope. Sorry you are too young. Come back when you are 18.’ So fast forward a bit I move to Eldon when I was 19, started the school when I was 20. That’s where I started my training.
Daniel Johnson: I was just curious was your karate sensei a full-time wrestler at one point at all? Also, how long did you take karate for and did that athletic background help you early with your wrestling?
Jack Gamble: No lol. He was just a guest that had one match to help raise money. I’ve taken shotokan karate since I was 12. I do believe it helped me tremendously! After being there for a while and seeing other guys come in and try out I could tell that being in great shape was a big plus!
Daniel Johnson: Do you remember first meeting Harley Race? What was the experience like?
Jack Gamble: Yeah, one of my real first memory’s of him is when I went and tried out when I was 16. He was sitting at a glass table looking at a calendar, smoking a Marlboro Light 100. He looked up to me and said, ‘How tall are you?’, ‘6’,’ I said. ‘How much you weigh?’, ‘I weigh 160, sir.’ He takes the cigarette out of his mouth smirks and tells me good luck. I was so nervous, but I wanted to prove to him and all the boys that I belonged there.
Daniel Johnson: Sounds intimidating. Speaking of which was your first match in front of a crowd for WLW? Also, what are your memories of your first match in front of a crowd?
Jack Gamble: It was! I had practice matches, but my first real match was for WLW August 8, 2009 tagging with Trent Stone vs. Darin Wade and Bao Nguyen, WWE ref now Ryan Tran. I was so nervous, but most of my family was there so the crowed at least to me seemed really into what was going on in the ring.
Daniel Johnson: Jumping forward, you held the WLW Tag Team Championship on two occasions. You first held them with Jeff Strong for 308 days as Strong and Reckless. How did that team come together and how did you get the name?
Jack Gamble: Well, Jeff Strong started training at WLW and he was a beast! One of the hardest chops I’ve ever taking to this day. I wrestled him in his debut match, but they really didn’t have anything for us. We got along real good outside of the ring. I believe one night at a bar I was joking with him that we should tag that way I didn’t have to take his chops anymore lol. The next week he talked to Harley and bam now we were a team. The name was kind of simple I was/have always been a little reckless with my body in and out of the ring. So I got it tattooed on my forearm. His last name was Strong so I said, “Why not Strong and Reckless?”
Daniel Johnson: Of the matches you had in that team which are you most proud of?
Jack Gamble: I really liked the one where we won the belts the first time vs. “Superstar” Steve Fender and Mark Sterling. But I think the one that stands out the most is when we wrestled Ross and Marshal Von Eric. They liked the match a lot and so did we.
Daniel Johnson: Cool, you also held the WLW Tag Team Championship with Jon Webb who you have continued to work with in DPW. What are your thoughts on working with Webb?
Jack Gamble: Love it! Jon and I have known each other since we were 5, went to the same school, like the same stuff, all that bff crap. When I got a chance to tag with him, I jumped all over the opportunity! Since then neither of us have really looked back.
Daniel Johnson: Correct me if I’m wrong, but I believe this is the first year you have not worked for WLW at all and have mostly worked for DPW. What made you make the move?
Jack Gamble: No, I have worked for WLW this year just not as often. I was in a really bad car wreck in July 2013. But I have worked for both all this year. There were a few WLW shows I was left out on so I went and worked for DPW that night lol.
Daniel Johnson: Cool, sorry to hear about the car wreck though. Speaking of DPW what do you think is the best match you have had for that company yet? Also, what would you tell fans who have yet to check DPW out to convince them to give the promotion a look?
Jack Gamble: No problem man I’m still alive that’s all that matters. For DPW, was a tag match I was with Jake Parnell vs. The Black Hand Warriors. I would tell fans that DPW is a whole different thing from what you normally see in Missouri. You have your acrobats, your lion tamers and your clowns, it’s like a kick ass three ring circus! If you’ve never seen any DPW you are missing out!
Daniel Johnson: Getting a bit outside of your WLW and DPW work what other promotions have you worked for in Missouri? Also, are there any wrestling promotions in Missouri you have yet to work for that you would like to? If so what are they?
Jack Gamble: In Missouri I think I have worked for them all at least once. Metro Pro, Mid Missouri Wrestling Alliance (MMWA), Modern Championship Wrestling (MCW) and NWA CC. There is not a lot in Missouri, but I do want to head up to Iowa and try 3XWrestling (3XW) and some others, I also want to go to Illinois more.
Daniel Johnson: So far what is the furthest you have worked from home? How did the fans compare there to the wrestling fans you work for in Missouri?
Jack Gamble: The furthest I’ve been is Mitchell, South Dakota. Fans are different every place you work for, out of state, hell even in state. Some fans want ‘old school’ 1970 wrasslin’ and then you have your smart marks, they like more spots and what not. Kind of like a Pro Wrestling Guerrilla (PWG) crowd.
Daniel Johnson: I had some more questions, but before I move on I was wondering if there was anything else you wanted to say about the wrestling scene in Missouri?
Jack Gamble: About Missouri, I really wish more of them would get proper training. It is so sketchy to get into a ring with some that say the have been wrestling for years and don’t even know how to put on a damn headlock.
Daniel Johnson: That’s understandable. You mentioned wanting to wrestle more in Iowa and Illinois. I was curious are there any particular wrestlers in these areas you have yet to work with that you would like to work with? If so then who?
Jack Gamble: No, none really in particular that I can think of off the top of my head. I really just want to see what these other states have to offer talent-wise.
Daniel Johnson: How would you rank 2014 amongst your years in wrestling?
Jack Gamble: I think 2014 has been one of my better years. Coming back from a broken femur, humerus and ankle all on the same side. I feel like I have really stepped up and brought my a game. I have had some of my best matches this year for sure!
Daniel Johnson: Looking to the future what would you like to accomplish in 2015?
Jack Gamble: In 2015 the big goal of High Level Enterprise (HLE), Jon Webb and myself, is to go over to NOAH in Japan and do some tours over there.
Daniel Johnson: Wow, that’s awesome! So, you already have things set up? When are you scheduled to go and are there any NOAH talent in particular you are looking forward to working with?
Jack Gamble: Nothing is set up yet. They came and looked at talent at the WLW 2014 camp and Jon went earlier this year and did a dojo stay. So we are hoping to get picked to go next year, but you never know. If we do go over there I really want to work Shane Haste and Mikey Nicholls, TMDK (The Mighty Don’t Kneel). When they were over in the states they lived with me for few months.
Daniel Johnson: Wow, that’s pretty awesome too. TMDK are a great team. Anyway, I like to close interviews with a small series of non-wrestling questions followed by a few more brief wrestling questions. First, what is your favorite song to come out in the past year?
Jack Gamble: Hell yeah they are! This year I really liked Shaman’s Harvest’s “Dangerous.”
Daniel Johnson: Cool, what is your favorite movie to come out in the past year?
Jack Gamble: The new X-Men: Days of the Future Past, I think the name is.
Daniel Johnson: What is the last book you read and would you recommend it?
Jack Gamble: Chris Jericho’s second book [Undisputed: How to Become the World Champion in 1,372 Easy Steps]. I would high recommend it. I need to get my hands on his third one [The Best in the World: At What I Have No Idea].
Daniel Johnson: Awesome, I read that one pretty recently too. A lot of neat stuff about his first WWE run. Anyway, have you tried any foods for the first time in the past year? If so what has been your favorite?
Jack Gamble: Haven’t really tried nothing new this year. I have started making my own stir fry and eating only with chopsticks when it comes to Asian food lol.
Daniel Johnson: Cool, getting back to wrestling who is your dream opponent and why?
Jack Gamble: My dream opponent will always be Shawn Michaels. I’ve wanted to be him since I was a kid! What better than stepping foot into the ring with your childhood hero. Kind of like Chris Jericho vs. Shawn I guess lol.
Daniel Johnson: Other than yourself who is one wrestler 25 or younger that you think readers should know about?
Jack Gamble: Younger than 25? First one to come to mind is Evan Morris. He is good in the ring and I think has a good story.
Daniel Johnson: Cool, ribs and road stories are always fun to hear. Do you have any that you could share?
Jack Gamble: Not a whole lot I can tell but on one road trip a fellow wrestler told us that he was snowballed. Google it.
Daniel Johnson: On a similar note one question I like to always ask is just what, if anything, is the weirdest part about being a pro wrestler?
Jack Gamble: Wrestling in front of strangers in your underwear lol.
Daniel Johnson: My last question is just is there anything you would like to add?
Jack Gamble: I would like to tell everyone to keep supporting indie wrestling! Go ahead and follow me on Twitter and Instagram, JackGambleHLE, and go click that like button on my Facebook page!
Check out Jack Gamble in action! In this match Gamble teams with Jon Webb to take on The Black Hand Warriors, consisting of Dave Delorean and Michael Magnuson in a match for the WLW Tag Team Championship:
Categories: Wrestling Interviews