Turning “Jungle Boy” Jack Perry Heel Was the Right Move at the Right Time

"Jungle Boy" Jack Perry with Hook during their time as a tag team named "JungleHook."

Last night at Forbidden Door, “Jungle Boy” Jack Perry lost in his quest to win the IWGP World Heavyweight Championship when he was pinned by the champion SANADA. While the match was quite good, everyone talked about how Perry attacked his “best friend” Hook after the match.

The Perfect Time to Pull the Trigger On a Heel “Jungle Boy”

Perry asked Hook to be in his corner during the match. The fact that JungleHook returned tells you things haven’t been working out well for Jack Perry recently. Despite tagging with Hook earlier in the year, Perry insisted that the team was done because he wanted to win singles gold. That was many months ago. After failing to win the AEW World Title at Double or Nothing, Jungle Boy seemingly jumped back into the team, using it like a security blanket to protect himself from his failures.

“Jungle Boy” Jack Perry hadn’t recently been in a good spot. And the crowd could tell, even booing him at recent events. When the crowd starts to boo you, turning heel is often a better move than trying to win them over again. So it was the right time for the turn.

The Implications of a Heel “Jungle Boy”

When he accepted SANADA’s challenge, Perry mentioned that he felt “a little naked” standing next to Hook without a championship. Will he now be targeting Hook’s FTW Title? It certainly seemed like it on Sunday night. At first glance, that would be a weird title for him to win at this point. Perry has been very clear that he wants to hold a singles title in AEW, but the FTW Title isn’t actually an official AEW championship. That said, neither is the IWGP title.

And Perry will likely take whatever he can get at this point.

Jack Perry couldn’t win the AEW World Title. He couldn’t win the IWGP World Heavyweight Title. He’s getting desperate. Not only has he seen the other three “pillars” all win singles gold, but he made a public vow that he would win singles gold in early 2023. Now 2023 is basically half over.

The Road to Gold?

Yes, he could go for the other singles titles in AEW, but he might be scared of failing again. The TNT Title is held by his former partner Luchasaurus who is aligned with his former mentor Christian Cage. Yes, Perry has beaten both of them in singles matches, but taking a title from them might be very intimidating to a guy who has failed in all his singles title matches so far. Orange Cassidy and the AEW International Title might also be intimidating since Cassidy is on the roll of his life and has beaten everyone who’s been put across the ring from him.

Perry might be looking at the FTW Title as his only hope. Sure, it’s not a recognized title, but it’s something. He can say he kept his word. To do it, he needed to turn heel.

Most of Perry’s recent success came when he accepted his dark side. That’s what Christian was trying to teach him. That’s what MJF suggested as well. Conversely, whenever he tried to be “good”, it hurt him. That was initially the case against Christian and a big reason why he lost the Four Pillars Fourway. To find success, he needed to turn heel.

Jungle Boy has kind of been lost since his feud with Christian and Luchasaurus ended. Yes, he was in the Four Pillars feud with MJF, Sammy Guevara, and Darby Allin, but he honestly always felt a step below them. A heel turn and a feud with Hook could be what he needs to get back on the right track.

The same is true for Hook. While he’s very over with the crowd, he hasn’t been doing much over the last few months, except roaming around, trading tag partners. An actual singles feud would be very good for him.

The Future of Jack Perry in AEW

Turning Jack Perry also restores some balance in the Four Pillars. MJF is, of course, a heel. Darby Allin is a face. It seems like Sammy Guevara is trending in the face direction, especially if he ends up finally leaving Chris Jericho. That leaves two faces and one heel. Perry being a heel as well makes it a nice two-two split.

Does it need to be that way? No, but it’s better for potential feuds down the road.

Turning Jack Perry now won’t springboard him into a main event player, but it will solve his aimlessness issue. It will also make him more interesting. The audience will want to know why he did what he did and what will happen next. People will be interested in seeing Jack Perry again. That wasn’t the case before his turn. For that reason alone, the heel turn was the right move.

More From LWOS Pro Wrestling

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