Zack Clayton of ‘Jersey Shore Family Vacation’ on signing with AEW

jerseyshore Family holidays fans have come to know Zack Clayton as more than arm candy for fiancee Jenni “JWOWW” Farley. Outside of the world of MTV reality television, the star has been giving reality checks to her opponents in All Elite Wrestling.

Never one to pull the influence card, he instead relied on his own abilities. The performer honed the resume on the indie scene and was a dependable talent whenever AEW called for bookings. He even struggled when called upon during the uncertainty of a pandemic. It was the hard work in the ring and the gym that finally paid off in the form of an AEW contract. Following the announcement a few weeks ago, Clayton sat down with TV Insider.

What’s it like to be officially signed to AEW?

Zack Clayton: Signing a full-time contract is something that excites me a lot. I feel like it’s been coming for a while…I’ve had conversations with them for a while. I thought it was coming when I was put on the road every week for about a month or two straight.

Who was the one who broke the news?

Christopher Daniels is the one who offered me the contract and handed it to me. We spoke internally with a few other people. It was great. Everyone was very happy for me. I appreciated their help and support. I have a lot of support there, which is great.

Speaking of support, is there anything you did to celebrate at home with Jenni and the kids? How excited were they?

We celebrated privately. We were still traveling at the time for MTV stuff. We couldn’t get out. Our celebrations usually take place at home and we hang out and spend time together.

Zack Clayton on AEW

AEW

What does work-life balance look like? How is he adapting to this new normal?

With Jenni’s schedule, she also travels a lot. I think it was August when I was home for maybe eight days. It was the first major success to be left much. With MTV and other bonds, we left a lot. You take things as they are and go with the flow. That’s how we do it. It seems to be working quite well.

How responsive has AEW been to you continuing to do Jersey Shore Family Vacation?

It’s something I talked to them about when negotiating a contract. They were more than happy to accommodate this request because it was something I had done before. They allowed me to do that and other things that I’m doing right now, which is great.

Find yourself those who got to know you on jerseyshore started watching AEW because of you?

What I noticed is a lot of jerseyshore the fans were not wrestling fans. It became, “Hey, now I know what AEW is and now I like watching the show because you showed it on MTV a bit.” It was one of my goals. I really want to take AEW and make it mainstream and bring attention to it in other entertainment environments. There is a small passage to the fight.

We saw you on Carnage work the Hook mic and face. You’ve been very active in AEW Dark YouTube shows. How do you get the chance to develop your on-screen persona?

It is very important to be filmed as much as possible. Whether it’s formal TV shows or YouTube, which for all intents and purposes gets 500,000 views a week. More than most cable TVs. I have consistency now on the road. I’m really starting out. There are great times ahead.

AEW pulls out big shows in New Jersey with Carnage and Full equipment. Must have been nice having Jenni there.

She is truly one of my big supporters. It’s really important to me. She came because she wanted to. She wanted to see how it was. She’s been to shows before, but this one, she came backstage and stayed all night. She saw it all from start to finish. It was important to me because just as she brings me into her world, I wanted to do the same. When I had my game on Friday, she came out into the crowd and watched my game, and hung out with everyone.

There is also a mutual connection to AEW’s partnership with KultureCity, a non-profit organization that strives for sensory inclusivity.

She has been a board member of KultureCity for four years. We really tie KultureCity to AEW. This is another role that I also take on. I really help the connection and develop the relationship behind the scenes. It’s a great cause and something close to our hearts. This is something we want to work on in depth.

AEW

Does Jenni become more open to managing or being part of a storyline? Is it something we will see on the road one day?

Maybe. Funny enough, 150 people asked him the same question over the weekend, which is great because it tells me this is something people want to see. That means it will be good if it happens, which I hope under the right circumstances. We will see. We joke that she’s a bit shy. There were ideas I had in Newark. It didn’t happen this time, but maybe next time we’ll put on another great show. We’ll see what happens. I know we are going to be on the west coast for a while. We have a great start to the year, and maybe next time we come back we can do something.

We saw JWOWW in the ring before appearing for TNA Impact Wrestling. She was natural in front of this crowd.

She insists she was tricked into doing this, which I believe. It’s funny because she’s really good at it. She doesn’t think she is, but she is. I know it would be great if that happened.

What was the story of meeting the family backstage at the Atlantic City show?

AEW asked if we would be ok with meeting this family. The daughter sent us an e-mail to surprise her mother because she was sick and was going to have surgery. It’s something important and it’s linked to what we do with KultureCity. We brought them back and made it work. They were really happy. Their mother was going to have surgery the next day or two later. That’s all she wanted to do was hang out backstage with me and a few other people she got to meet as well. It was cool to make this evening special for them. The rest of the family didn’t know, except for the girl who made it even better.

Now under the AEW roster, what are your initial goals?

My main goal now is to get on TV every week and create great moments.

AEW dynamiteWednesdays, 8/7c, TBS

AEW Rampage, Fridays, 10/9c, TNT

AEW Elevation and DarkMondays and Tuesdays, 7/6c, YouTube

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