Chances are that you’ve heard the boisterous voice of out ring announcer J-Rose before if you’ve been following the cultural movement in independent pro wrestling. You can’t miss his signature delivery in the ring, inspired by everyone from former Pride FC announcer Lenne Hardt to longtime Impact Wrestling announcer Dave Penzer.
His infectious, sometimes sing-song delivery riles crowds and brings a different vibe to any event he is on. It’s why he has popped up on so many of the events that have defined the surge in the presence of LGBTQ and BIPOC identities in the greater pro wrestling world.
But there is so much more to the man behind the microphone. He’s a video producer who works with major independent promotions and independent pro wrestling streaming service IWTV.
He brought a new perspective to the creative team at Kentuckiana-based promotion Paradigm Pro Wrestling. He even steps into a managerial role on-screen every so often, most recently alongside the Lost Boys stable on F1ght Club Pro Wrestling’s Moechella series.
J-Rose’s current resume and profile represents a determination that started from his beginnings in the oft-ignored Central Indiana wrestling scene that he’s called home; a scene that he continues to invest in and build up as his work expands beyond it.
Recently celebrating his five-year anniversary in pro wrestling, J-Rose took an opportunity to reflect on what that checkpoint, and all that he’s done in that time, meant to him during a recent appearance on the Outsports podcast LGBT In The Ring.
“I know people talk about patterns and, specifically, repeating numbers in their lives. For whatever reason, since I started doing stuff in pro wrestling, five years just kept popping up,” J-Rose said.
“A lot of that was, ‘You’re not going to get to five years.’ Whether it’s by you’re going to get ran out or you’re going to figure out that this is not something that you want to do by the time you hit five years - if you get to five years,” he continued. “Not to stomp on anyone’s graves … but I’m still here. I’m thriving.”
But top among his goals remains one spawned from a place of selflessness.
“I truly believe I was put on this planet not for any other reason but to understand or attempt to understand others and help people get to where they want to get,” J-Rose said. “People weren’t doing a lot of this stuff, and I get frustrated very often and be like if no one else is going to do it I’m just going to do it.”
Perhaps no other concept embodies that philosophy more for J-Rose than Paradigm Pro Wrestling’s No Hook project: a surreal yet grounded presentation of pro wrestling infused with hip-hop, dark magic and inspirational tales of self-determination that preach a message of finding self-confidence. To J-Rose, it’s his “baby.”
Over two seasons, No Hook continued the creative mindset Paradigm Pro Wrestling built itself on. The promotion features a diverse array of wrestlers from LGBTQ and BIPOC populations because of their talent and because it was the right thing to do rather than bragging about it as a PR victory.
No Hook did the same with a magical elbow pad, a mystical higher power, a booming soundtrack and attempts to hack the IWTV website mixed in.
“No Hook is two parts me taking everything I thought was cool as a kid and me staying awake at night, staring at the ceiling and asking myself what can I do differently,” J-Rose said. “The show has an identity - a feeling. And more people can identify with something that has a common emotion instead of continuing to throw out wrestling matches. No Hook could’ve been just matches and it would’ve been just as good … its the story, the auxiliary stuff, that made it different. That’s all I ever wanted it to be: different.”
He added: “No Hook is the Final Fantasy VII of professional wrestling.”
But through all the of No Hook’s blend of Def Jam Vendetta, Toonami and Velocity-era WWE, the show displayed a heart that fits squarely into J-Rose’s commitment to build up those around him, most notably out wrestlers Don’t Die Miles and Sandra Moone and growing indie phenom Jody The Wrestler.
“These are my peers. These are my friends. There isn’t anyone that was used on No Hook that I don’t want to see succeed,” J-Rose said. “Don’t Die Miles, someone who I’ve known since my first day in pro wrestling … it finally clicked with him that he’s worth it. He’s worth all the time and energy and he’s finally fulfilling all of the hype that he’s had since I’ve known him. That’s what I want for everyone.”
Listen to the full interview with J-Rose on the Outsports podcast LGBT In The Ring. Download and listen to new episodes every Thursday on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts and all other podcast services.