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By Mike Johnson on 2021-11-19 16:46:00

Earlier today, sat down with AEW star Jade Cargill to discuss her first year in the company, the ongoing TBS Championship tournament, her match against Red Velvet on tonight's edition of AEW Rampage on TNT, using her child psychology degree in pro wrestling and tons more.

Mike Johnson: Jade, this is the first time we've had a chance to have you on. Thanks for coming on. How are you doing today?

Jade Cargill: I am doing fantastic. How are you doing today?

Mike Johnson: I'm doing great.  So let's talk about the obvious first. You're going to be facing Red Velvet tonight in the TBS Championship Tournament. It's a quarter-final match. This will be, if you get through the entire tournament, the first championship you've had the chance to wrestle for and to potentially hold. You have a lot of history with Velvet, obviously. What does this match mean to you tonight and what can fans expect from it?

Jade Cargill: Well, as we know, Red Velvet is a little firecracker. She is hot. She is feisty. I expect her to come in ready to throw everything, the whole table at me. This is her third time facing me, so I would think she has the tools to know what to do when it comes to this match. However, I'm going to use my strength. I'm going to use my composure. I mean, I'm Jade Cargill. I'm not worried about anybody. So I'm expected to win this match, as everybody knows. Everybody knows I'm going to win this match. This is just a phase that I have to go through to get to this championship. Next is between Jamie and Thunder, and whomever next is for the championship. I'm just excited.

Mike Johnson: You've had quite the trajectory in AEW since the day you showed up confronting Cody. My Twitter mentions and my emails went, "Who is this? What is happening?" I think that's kind of one of the keys to your success is that you came out of nowhere on a major scale on national TV, but it really wasn't out of nowhere. You've always had an athletic background, whether it be basketball and other exploits, but the one thing I've always wanted to ask you is this. You have a Master's in Child Psychology. How does that help you in professional wrestling when it comes to dealing with people behind the scenes or presenting yourself to the audience? Most people talk about the athletic side. I want to talk a little bit about the mental side here. How does having a degree in such a unique field help you in pro wrestling, which is complete opposite of that genre, of that sort of educational vocation?

Jade Cargill: Oh my gosh, it's helped me tremendously. People don't understand the things that we go through as far as being a wrestler and just being able to have our composure and being able to deal with the outside noise as well as the inside noise that we'll be dealing with. Wrestling of course is physical, but as well as mental and being able to fight through all these body aches and being able to fight through the critics and being able to go out there and prove yourself and to just block everybody out and to focus. It's helped me a lot regarding body language. It's helped me to read people. It's helped me to understand that I know who I am, and I'm not going to let anybody outside of me tell me who I am and what I stand for. I see a lot of people in wrestling, they let people outside of themselves determine who they are, and they let all their hard work and all their years of grinding to be where they are be squandered in an interview or a magazine or an opinion of somebody else. Me being a mental professional, I don't let these things affect me. I could care less about how people feel about me because I know who I am and what I stand for and my goals in this profession. So it's helped me in a lot of ways. It's helped me with my coworkers and me talking to my coworkers and making them feel great about themselves. Because one thing I know for sure is we're not always going to be at 100. Sorry, things happen in a match. Things happen in a match, and you have to be able to pick your face off the ground and keep it moving. If you know yourself and you're mentally stable, you'll be fine.

Mike Johnson: So you had trained and even had a WWE Performance Center tryout at one point before you got to have that AEW debut. What's that pressure like when you're standing there, you know you're about to walk out and you're going to do your thing with Cody. And, you don't know which way it's going to go. You've never been on national TV in this environment before. What's that pressure like before you even walk out and pick up that microphone for the first time? What's going through your brain?

Jade Cargill: Oh my God!  So people don't know that I had no practice prior to me being out there on national TV. I not once rehearsed my lines, not once had I held that microphone. It was a sink or swim situation. Understand a lot of people from AEW have worked Indies, they've worked for other companies. They've been prepared for this moment. For me, it was a sink or swim situation.  I knew that if I fell and broke my face, everybody would sit up there, and they would never forget this moment at all. So I was like, "You know what, Jade? We're going to go out there. You have something to represent. Don't stumble on your lines." That's one thing I told myself was not stumble on your lines. I've spoke on TV before and being that I am a college athlete, I've taken classes, so that helped me out a long way. But I told myself, "You know what, Jade? We're going to go out here. We're going to show them what you're made out of. TK put the trust in you. This company has put the trust in you, and you're going to go out here and deliver." It was very nerve wracking. But I talked myself up. I told myself I can do it, and I did it. As long as I finished, that's all that mattered to me that night.  It was frustrating but fun.

Mike Johnson: How much lead time did you have between knowing this was going to happen and walking out to the ring? Did you at least have a couple of days to mentally psych yourself up? Or was it a quicker situation?

Jade Cargill: No, it was a couple of days, and I just psyched myself up. I didn't know how long I had, I didn't know bullets. I didn't know anything. I just know I had to go out there and hit some points and that's it. That's what I did. I didn't rehearse with anybody. Nobody knew what I was going to say, so when Brandy had came out, she had no idea what I was going to say. Cody didn't know what I was going to say. Nobody knew what I was going to say.

Mike Johnson: When it's all done and you get backstage, is there relief? Is there terror? It's got to be a crazy rush of adrenaline, but what's it like coming off of that? How do you feel about it after that first taste of live TV without a net?

Jade Cargill: I felt accomplished. I felt like I did it. I didn't stumble over my lines. I walked through very confident. Maybe the deliverance wasn't the best. However, I was proud of myself. I was proud of myself that I held it together. A lot of people could sit there and say what they want to say, but the majority of people will probably sit there and be stunned and just look into the camera with no idea and forget everything they prepared for. So I was very proud of myself. Nothing less than that.

Mike Johnson: You're always going to get to be part of history. Hopefully you're going to be part of history with the TBS Tournament. But the match with Shaq, that's Shaq's first real wrestling match in terms of a full-fledged pro wrestling match. You got to be right there with him against Cody and Velvet, who you're going to wrestle tonight. When you look at that match, what are your memories of Shaq and what it was like teaming with him? Again, a huge opportunity handed to you by AEW and Tony Khan very early on in your career. What are your memories, and what was that whole environment like for you?

Jade Cargill: It was such a pleasure. It's not talked about enough, but working with Shaquille O'Neal was a total pleasure. He is such a professional. I remember before going out joking with him. I said, "Don't embarrass me." Just joking. "Don't embarrass me. This is my world." He looked at me in a very serious tone, and he said, "Don't embarrass you? This is my world. This is what I do. I'm a character. This is what I do. You're in my world." He was very serious when he said that.  You know what? I woke up right then and there. I had a little bit of nerves in me because this is my first match. A lot of people expected a lot out of it. I said, "You know what? He's absolutely correct. I'm about to be in the ring with two legends. I have to kill this. I have to kill this. I have to kill all the naysayers. I have to go out here and just perform my butt off and show people that I'm here and I've arrived." It was fun. He was a very hard-working man. He came to the school to work on stuff. Just a great guy, all-around guy. I don't think I've heard anything negative about him. So it was a great pleasure to work with him. Hard-working man.

Mike Johnson: So I've seen you mention in other interviews that you were inspired at different times by the late Chyna, but also by the X-Men character, Storm, who is now part of the Disney family.  I always loved Storm growing up. I always loved Storm growing up. I could still remember buying ... I'm going to nerd out here ... X-Men #201. She has the duel with Cyclops to determine who's going to be the leader of the X-Men, and she kicks the crap out of him. He's one of the original X-Men, one of the first five along with Iceman and Marvel Girl and all that, and she just kicks his ass. I always looked at her even before she had the Mohawk ... People forget about the Mohawk era ... When she had the Mohawk, I was like, this is like the baddest woman that's ever been written about in comics.  I've always appreciate that character. I look forward to when they incorporate her and the other X-Men into the films. Thoughts on her? Why was that character so inspiring for you? What about the idea of Jade Cargill, maybe trying out some acting for the Marvel cinematic universe one day?

Jade Cargill: Yes!  She is a strong Black woman. I represent that same exact thing. But not only that, she controls the weather. I control what goes down in that ring. I control the atmosphere. I control everything about it. I grew up watching this woman. I always wanted to be a part of it.  Me and my girls were sitting around and one of my friend's girl, she's the one who really brought it about. She said, "You know what? I think you should color your hair white. You love her so much. Just do it." And me, I'm like, "What? You think I should really color my hair white?" She was like, "Yeah, you should. You'll kill it. You should." I was like, "All right, let's do it." She was absolutely right. Ever since then, I took off.  As far as acting, I've been taking acting classes. I would love, I would love, love, love, love to play Storm. I would love to do the crossover and do that. I get enough mentions, and I get enough people asking me when I am going to do it, so I'm just waiting on Marvel. I would love to, and now that they've crossed over with Disney, that will be a dream of mine. Absolutely.

Mike Johnson: I'd like to talk about Red Velvet and everything leading up to tonight's Rampage a little bit more. Last week you had the anniversary of your AEW debut. There was a cake. Mark Sterling brought it and in old pure professional wrestling fashion, of course it ended up in his face. Nobody got to enjoy it. First of all, when you look back on a year, does it seem like it's been a year already? It was a crazy year for everybody. Not always the best year, but you've gotten a whole year of national television exposure and being part of AEW and then you get to have this moment. When you think about that moment and everything that led to poor Mark Sterling getting the cake in the face, how do you reflect on that year and all the opportunities that AEW has given you?

Jade Cargill: I'm blessed. I'm blessed that they believe in me and what I stand for. My first match wasn't until March, however it's been a thrill to work for such a prestigious company. Mark deserved that cake. If you looked at that cake, you would know that Mark deserved to get that cake in his face. But you know what? Red Velvet has it coming to her tonight. I mean, she can't do my lawyer like that. We're a team. I would never let anybody disrespect anybody on my team. She did exactly that, and she thinks she's going to get away with Tonight I look forward to facing her. Like I said, she's a little firecracker, and let's see what happens.


Mike Johnson: You've had a chance to face a lot of unique competition in AEW. You've wrestled Nyla Rose, you've wrestled Thunder Rosa. The match a couple, I guess it was about two months ago in Newark, against Leyla Hirsch, I thought was just great. Each of you shined in your own unique way. Obviously you've been in the ring with a lot of women in the Casino Battle Royal, but is there anyone you look at and you go, "Cannot wait until we get to do something one-on-one on a big stage," the way you're going to wrestle Red Velvet tonight, because you know there's something unique, you know you could create something special for the AEW audience? Is there that one or two members of the locker room that you look at and go, "Haven't had a chance to do something with her yet. Can't wait until that happens."

Jade Cargill: It's two people. Serena [Deeb]. Serena is a professional in that range. She is a professor. She is amazing. I think if anybody thinks anything less than that, they are crazy. Actually, I can't wait to get my one-on-one with Thunder. I'm really excited to get that one-on-one with Thunder. I believe we can make magic in the ring. She's a great opponent. She's gritty. I'm a gritty player as well. So those two people in the ring I can't wait to face.

Mike Johnson: When you present yourself as such a powerful character on television, there's always going to be a lot of polarizing reactions, especially in social media, which let's be honest, Twitter sucks. We know that. We all know. We all admit it. So is there something about you that maybe the audience isn't privy to that you'd like them to know about Jade the person as opposed to Jade the performer? Because obviously you present such a unique front and such a unique character on television, but what is it about you that you'd like the audience to know that maybe they don't get to see on Rampage or Dynamite or on pay-per-view because of the type of personality that you're portraying currently?

Jade Cargill:  [Laughs] You're trying to give them all my secrets. I can't tell them. I'm just a confident person. I'm a very confident person. I'm a sure person. I work hard for what I do. As you can tell by my background, I work hard for what I want. I would never, ever enter this profession if I didn't think that I would've been a great, great contribute to women's wrestling. Again, I just started. That's what people forget. People sit back and they compare me to people who've been wrestling for five to 10 to 15 years. This is [inaudible 00:16:24]. I just was introduced to the wrestling universe. It's only going to go up from here and I'm excited. I'm excited and I'm hungry.

Mike Johnson: What was it about pro wrestling that you fell in love with to begin with that made you say, "I want to do this."?

Jade Cargill: I think everybody watched wrestling growing up. Everybody watched wrestling growing up. I got away from it when I started playing sports growing up. When I got the opportunity, I took it and I ran with it. Where I'm from, Vero Beach, Florida, it's close to Orlando, but that's a little bit of a drive for somebody who wants to be in wrestling. So I would've never, ever discovered how to tap into wrestling if it wasn't for Mark Henry. I'm very thankful for our relationship and him being able to connect me to the right people to even start training for wrestling.  So it's just something that has always been at the back of my mind. I don't have the typical story that everybody has, that I wanted to be a wrestler all my life. This is something that came to me, and it was a blessing because I plan to do nothing but take it and make gold out of it. Again, this is my first year. This is my first year. It's only going to go up from here. So me being compared to people who've been doing this for a while, it's a pleasure. Thank you. I don't see a disgrace in that at all because you're projecting me to be a great, and I appreciate that.

Mike Johnson: I know you've worked a lot with Mark Henry and Mark's mentored you quite a bit and you've also been mentored a bit by Heath Miller and Dustin Rhodes at different points. When you think about the people who have mentored you and the people that you've learned from, what do you think is the best advice that you've been given in terms of professional wrestling advice that maybe can be passed on to someone just as life advice and life experience advice?

Jade Cargill: A couple things...just keep your head above water. Just keep your head above water and keep pushing and just ignore the naysayers because they have no idea what it takes to be in this profession. I can say I was one of those people who came in very overly confident and thinking that I could do this 1-2-3, and it does take years to step into your character. It does take years to understand the in-ring psychology. It's not easy. It's not just about the moves. There's so much more to it. So just have patience and just focus.

Mike Johnson: As we mentioned, you're going to be wrestling Red Velvet tonight in the TBS Championship Tournament. What does it mean to you and the rest of the AEW locker room that there's going to be a second women's championship for the company and that it's going to be connected so strongly to TBS and Warner Media who have been a great ally and partner for All Elite Wrestling?

Jade Cargill: It's great. I'm thankful. I would love to be the first female Black champion for the TBS title. It's just great that the women's division, we're getting more belts. So I'm super appreciative for that. We're not just fighting over one belt now. Now there's two, and I plan on winning that.

Mike Johnson: All right, Jade, I want to thank you so much for your time today. Have you got any final messages for everybody who's been supporting you over the last year or even people who have been supporting you in life who have gotten the chance to watch you on your journey as you've come through AEW and started to conquer the world of professional wrestling? I would love to give you a chance to just speak freely to those people.

Jade Cargill: I wanted to say thank you. So everybody understands, I'm just starting. This is us the beginning. So hold on tight because it's going to be a ride.

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