(Note: Before the final 2CW cards this past December, I had the chance to create and put together a magazine. I am slowly putting the stories here on the blog. Enjoy!)
Wrestlers often live their gimmick or their persona. While sometimes it’s for the show, other times it’s because their wrestling character and how they are in real life are parallel to one another.
Just as Jack Trades.
Yes, it’s a name. Yes, it’s a gimmick. What many people don’t know, however, is how alike Jack Trades and Kevin Parker are. So much so that if things lined up right, Jack Trades would be the legal name of Parker.
And it all started with an offer to help, just to get a foot in the door.
Standing in line for a WWE show at the Utica Auditorium, Parker received a flyer for a 2CW show upcoming in Utica.
So, Parker being who he is, decided to see about helping. After figuring out who to contact, he got in touch with 2CW owner Josh Jeanneret and offered to be somewhat of a local liaison. Well, he couldn’t reach Jeanneret directly, so he used a middle man, offering to bring a ring crew to Utica.
When the Utica show happened, Parker showed up with a group of six guys who were willing to put the ring together and take it down – for free.
“He was actually the start of the ring crew,” said Jason Axe. “He got ahold of Josh. We rolled up and saw him and his son and a couple of others. I took one look and was like ‘where did we pick up these people?’”
Parker kept offering help – such as being the guy to take ring clothes back to the back. Up to that point, the clothes were left out by the ring. So, Parker said, let me do that.
“That’s how Jack Trades was born,” he said. “I would follow them. I had no name. I was the guy who got stuff.”
The birth of Jack Trades
A year later, still working with 2CW, Parker was talking to veteran manager Bill Alfonso, who came in for a show.
“He said you need a gimmick,” Parker said.
What came from that was the 2CW dog tags you can still see him wearing. The look of a professional with the collared golf shirts became part of the look.
The gimmick though, became who he was. All Parker lacked was a name. But who came up with Jack Trades?
“It depends on who you ask,” he said. “Josh says it was him, so I believe him.”
“They said ‘Dude, Kevin Parker doesn’t work.’ This guy does everything for us.”
And from that point – Jack Trades became not just a wrestling persona, but a real person. He’s called Jack Trades by many people and will keep that well beyond wrestling.
The idea – a jack of all trades. He does a bit of everything for 2CW, so the thought process of the name is there.
Fans interact with him. He’s had a chance to be in the ring. He fixes things, he makes sure people are safe, he still will take clothes to the back.
You name it, Trades does it.
“He’s a person all his own – you can’t describe him in one word,” 2CW star Colin Delaney said. “The best description is he’s a utility player. He does his job well and does it with passion. He knows everybody there. He does all the odd job and does them well. The shows wouldn’t go as smoothly without him.”
Once the name and everything else became part of his persona, Trades became that person and it’s carried on for all but a few of the early 2CW shows before he became part of the company.
“Where else in the world can a 48-year-old man be so over,” Trades said. “Josh gave me my childhood dream. I love being Jack Trades. It’s been a dream. Wrestling-wise, my career has been amazing. … 2CW gave me a family – guys I will know the rest of my life I met through 2CW.”
Everything isn’t perfect
To know Trades, you might know his story. It’s actually a bit jarring.
Heck, Trades actually probably defies logic a bit because more than once he thought he would end up dead.
Drugs played a major part in that, too. And it’s not just some recreational use of pot or something like that. Trades was dabbling a little too heavy with hardcore drugs, which obviously changed him.
After one show in Auburn, Trades had a heart attack.
“The crew and Josh reacted perfectly,” Trades said. “They took good care of me. It was getting bad.
“(Josh) should have thrown me to the curb,” he continued. “But he kept me. That’s a turning point for me. It’s not a great memory, but a turning point.”
Trades, at one show in Syracuse, even announced a retirement. It was at that point where things had gotten pretty bad. He was into bath salts and was told by a doctor if he didn’t clip the habit, he’d be dead soon enough.
He went clean by going cold turkey.
A bit after going clean, he went to a coffee house in Utica and told his story. He told it in the third person, explaining everything that “Jack” went through and what it took for Jack to get clean.
At the end, he revealed who Jack was.
Being Jack Trades
It’s not easy to describe Trades, who has announced his life in professional wrestling will end when 2CW shuts its doors. He’s working on a degree at Mohawk Valley CC, where he’s active on campus. He’s outgoing, friendly and envisions success in his next life steps.
But until that step comes, there’s still the rest of the run with 2CW.
“He’s somebody who has become a personality,” Axe said. “I’ve never seen anything like it. He’s out there every match. He doesn’t announce, referee, or manage. He takes care of the wrestlers and fans. It’s the most unique position.”
He has dabbled in other spots, though. He’s been involved with matches. He’s refereed. He took a double super kick from the Young Bucks. He’s bumped and been in the middle of brawls.
But beyond that, he’s so much more for 2CW. He drives the truck with the ring. He leads the ring crew. He sacrifices himself for the safety of others. He goes and hangs flyers and will do anything he has to do to help 2CW be successful.
“It’s hard to put who he is into words,” 2CW champion Sean Carr said. “He is 2CW. He breathes, eats, and sleeps the company. … We saw him when he was at is low and still be able to contribute to the company, and then to go away, and fix himself and come back even better.
“He’s an amazing man and a damn good dude,” he continued. “No other company that I’ve seen has a Jack Trades like him, at least nobody that dedicated.”
When 2CW closes and Jack Trades retires from wrestling, he said he’ll stick with the name. It fits him, so why give it up?
But the lasting legacy of Trades likely won’t be forgotten anytime soon, especially by those who watched him morph from a ring guy to being a personality.
“It’s exactly what it was – Jack Trades gave back to what he loved,” Trades said.
There’s no bitterness. He’s had a chance to live a dream. He can hang his 2CW dog tags without regret. He’ll be the first to tell you the ride has been awesome and he looks back on it with fondness.
“Being Jack Trades has been awesome,” he said. “I’ve loved every minute of it. It’s a perfect ending. We’re all going onto bigger and better things. It’s been a hell of a run and made some great friends.
“In 10 years, people will still call me Jack Trades.”
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