New Jack – The Original Gangster & Legitimate Man of The Mat

On May 14, 2021, the wrestling world was shocked by the announced passing of one of the industry’s most controversial performers of the last decade – New Jack. This information would come from PWInsider’s Mike Johnson who would write: “PWInsider.com is extremely sad to report that Jerome “New Jack” Young passed away earlier this afternoon following a heart attack in North Carolina, where he had lived in recent years.  PWInsider.com was informed by Young’s wife Jennifer of his passing.  Young was 58 at the time of his passing.” With the news of Young’s passing shocking fans of the extreme variety, we here at Pro Wrestling Post would like to recap the career of the self-described “wrestling extremist” (inside and outside the ring.)

New JackThe Beginning

On January 3, 1963, Jerome “New Jack” Young would be born in Greensboro, North Carolina. Young’s life was shrouded with violence from the very beginning. How so? Take for instance this quote from Young’s autobiography New Jack: Memoir of a Pro Wrestling Extremist regarding the brutal stabbing of his mother that he and his four brothers bore witness to. Young would write: “We all just sat there and watched, shaking our heads like it was no big deal. It was worse than we’d ever seen before, but not so much that we were taken aback.” This stabbing would occur due to Young’s father discovering Young’s mother’s infidelity. Young went on to state that the five children wouldn’t seek help for the instance because “no one, not even the law (especially not the law) gave a sh** about black-on-black crime.”

Young’s mother would triumphantly recover from her injuries. Five months after the stabbings, Young’s mother would attempt to leave her husband (and bring a young Jerome along with her.) Jerome’s father would shoot his wife in the leg for her efforts. Jerome’s life was a certified living hell for the first five years of his life until his father died of a heart attack later that year. Not much more of Young’s adolescence would be disclosed past this series of events.

United States Wrestling Association
Early Training and Career

In 1992, Jerome Young would meet professional wrestler Ray Candy. Candy was a popular Georgia professional wrestler who made his name in Memphis, Tennessee. Young would train under Candy and later made his debut in 1992 in the United States Wrestling Association. It was in the USWA that Jerome Young would adopt the New Jack persona. This persona was inspired by the 1991 film New Jack City. New Jack City is a film following a New York City drug lord and an investigator seeking to infiltrate his gang for undercover work. Young’s first wrestling match is unknown. However, his earliest recorded match would be a tag team contest with himself and Homeboy defeating The Scorpion and The Shadow in tag team action.

In the following match, Jack would earn his first taste of championship gold in the industry. On June 21, 1993, Homeboy and New Jack would defeat the team of Simply Devine (Rex King and Steve Doll) to win the USWA World Tag Team Championships! Jack and Homeboy would go on to defend the championships twice against the teams of Mr. Clyde and Sgt. O’Reilly and Rex King and Steve Doll. On June 5, 1993, Homeboy and New Jack would drop the USWA World Tag Team Championships to the team of CW Bergstrom and Melvin Penrod. New Jack would leave the USWA at the end of the summer.

Vice's 'New Jack' doc a bizarre tale of revulsion, not redemption
Photo / VICE

North Georgia Wrestling Alliance
Establishing “The Gangstas”

Jack would move from Memphis, Tennessee to Atlanta, Georgia to wrestle for the North Georgia Wrestling Alliance. In his first match for the promotion, New Jack would win the NGWA World Heavyweight Championship. On March 10, 1994, New Jack would drop the championship to Hillbilly Festus in a six-minute and twenty-seven-second contest. Interestingly, there is no official record of any championship defenses New Jack may have had with the NGWA World Heavyweight Championship. In fact, it isn’t even known who Jack even beat to gain the title. Nevertheless, New Jack’s title reign is officially recognized.

After losing the NGWA World Heavyweight Championship, New Jack would go on to form a team with former WCW enhancement talent Mustafa Saed. Little did the two recognize, at the time, that this partnership would launch their careers into a brighter light. On July 3, 1994, Mustafa Saed and New Jack (collectively known as The Gangstas) would defeat Lee Thomas and Scott Studd for the NGWA Tag Team Championships. Notably, this pairing would go on to vacate the championships after leaving the Georgia territory.

Smokey Mountain Wrestling
New Jack – Gaining Notoriety

By the time The Gangstas made their way back to Tennessee, a new promotion would be at its popularity peak. Hence, we get the debut of The Gangstas in Smokey Mountain Wrestling. Arguably, this is where New Jack and Mustafa Saed first became recognized names in professional wrestling. On July 5, 1994, New Jack would make his SMW debut alongside Saed defeating the team of Scott Studd and Steve Skyfire. It would only take less than three months for The Gangstas to earn tag team gold. On October 3, 1994, The Gangstas would be awarded the SMW Tag Team Championships after threatening a racial discrimination lawsuit over the referee’s decision in a loss to Morton and Gibson back in September. Jack and Saed would defend the championships for two months before dropping the titles back to Morton and Gibson on Christmas 1994.

New Jack, legendary pro wrestler for ECW, dead at 58 - al.com
Photo / AL.com

Extreme Championship Wrestling
The World Is Watching

After dropping the SMW Tag Team Championships to Rock ‘N Roll Express, New Jack and Mustafa Saed would continue to perform in SMW for seven months. Seeking more from their wrestling careers, Saed and Jack would venture up North to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania’s Extreme Championship Wrestling. In June 1995, The Gangstas would attack The Public Enemy at the Barbed Wire, Hoodies, and Chokeslams event.

In July 1995, at ECW Hardcore Heaven, The Gangstas would debut in their first ECW contest against The Public Enemy (Johnny Grunge and Rocco Rock.) Despite the heat accompanying this debut, Grunge and Rock would pick up the victory in this contest. While The Gangstas may have come up short in their debut, their business with The Public Enemy was far from over. These two teams would compete in a lengthy rivalry throughout the rest of the year. Rock and Grunge would end the feud victorious after ECW’s House Party event.

Kayfabe Arrest

At CyberSlam that year, The Gangstas were scheduled to face off against The Headhunters in tag team action. However, New Jack would be written off of ECW television with an arrest angle. At Big Ass Extreme Bash, Jack would return to save Mustafa Saed from a beatdown, reuniting the team as a process and turning them face.

Championship Pursuits

Following their feud with The Headhunters, Jack and Saed would set their focus on tag team gold. The Gangstas would receive multiple title shots against then-champions The Eliminators (John Kronus and Perry Saturn.) Jack and Saed would come up short in all of these championship matches. At Fight The Power 1996, the Samoan Gangstas Party (L.A. SMooth and Sammy The Silk) would make their ECW debuts attacking The Gangstas. Ironically, this would align with the exact way The Gangstas would make their ECW debuts. The Samoan Gangsta Party would cost The Gangstas another championship shot at Hardcore Heaven 1996.

The Gangstas would go on to face Samoan Gangsta Party at Heat Wave 1996, which would end in a no-contest. Feuds between The Gangstas, Samoan Gangsta Party, The Eliminators, and The Bruise Brothers (Don and Ron Bruise) would eventually fuse together. Consequently, this would lead to a four-way dance for the ECW World Tag Team Championships at The Doctor Is In 1996. It would be in this match that The Gangstas would win the ECW World Tag Team Championships.

Following this feud, The Gangstas would defend the championships against the likes of Rob Van Dam and Sabu, the Samoan Gangsta Party, and The Eliminators. As one may expect, the latter team being the one to which The Gangstas would inevitably drop the titles to. On December 20, 1996, The Eliminators would gain their second reign with the ECW World Tag Team Championships after defeating The Gangstas. The Gangstas reign would last 139 days.

Mass Transit Incident

As one of the most controversial, appalling, and difficult-to-process moments within professional wrestling’s extensive history – the Mass Transit Incident lives on in wrestling infamy to this day. If you’re a wrestling fan, you have surely heard of this moment, but we will provide a rundown just in case.

On November 23, 1996, The Gangstas were scheduled to face off against the team of Axl Rotten and D-Von Dudley. For reasons never truly disclosed, Axl Rotten did not end up attending the show. New Jack believes that something had happened to Rotten’s grandmother, leading to his absence – however, these stories have not been corroborated. Who would replace professional wrestler Axl Rotten? If you guessed “an untrained, out-of-shape seventeen-year-old who lied to Paul Heyman about being trained by Killer Kowalski…” well, that is a very specific guess. This untrained child would be Eric Kulas (wrestling under the ring name “Mass Transit.”)

During the match, Kulas had asked New Jack to “blade” him during the match. However, New Jack had cut too deep into Kulas’ forehead. Kulas was rushed to the hospital and eventually received fifty stitches. Charges of assault would be pressed on New Jack, however, Jack was acquitted. Mr. Transit would sue New Jack and Extreme Championship Wrestling for emotional and physical damages. Despite these legal pursuits, they would not pan out in Kulas’ favor.

Eric Kulas would pass away on May 12, 2002, at 22 years old due to complications from gastric bypass surgery. Kulas’ parents would attempt to sue New Jack, as they had believed that their son’s death was attributed to a major eating disorder allegedly caused by New Jack. However, nothing would result from these legal challenges. This situation is considered one of the most disgusting unprovoked intentional acts of a professional wrestler.

The End of The Gangstas

After losing the ECW World Tag Team Championships to The Eliminators, The Gangstas would soon find themselves in the championship picture once more. For several months, The Gangstas would feud with The Dudley Boyz and The Eliminators for the championships but would remain title-less; that was until Heat Wave 1997. At Heat Wave 1997, The Gangstas defeated The Dudley Boyz in a steel cage match to earn the ECW World Tag Team Championships for the second time. The Gangstas would hold on to the titles for less than a month before Mustafa Saed decided to leave Extreme Championship Wrestling. For this reason, The Dudley Boyz would be awarded the titles at Hardcore Heaven 1997. This would officially mark the end of The Gangstas’ run as a tag team.

The Foundation of The Gangstanators

After Mustafa Saed and Perry Saturn departed from ECW, New Jack would form a bond with former rival John Kronus. On August 21, 1997, The Gangstanators would defeat The Dudley Boyz in tag team action in their first match together. One month later, Kronus and Jack would earn a shot at the ECW World Tag Team Championships. They would receive their shots at As Good As It Gets 1997 where they would defeat The Dudley Boyz. This would allow New Jack to earn his third ECW World Tag Team Championship reign.

Jack and Kronus would only hold the championships for a month before dropping them to the Full Blooded Italians (Little Guido and Tracy Smothers.) This would not immediately end Kronus and Jack’s partnership. The Gangstanators would pursue the ECW World Tag Team Championships at different points throughout the rest of 1997 and 1998. However, there was soon to be a great shift in New Jack’s professional wrestling career – and it all started with an ultraviolent spark.

Best Gangstas, Bitter Rivals

Throughout 1999, New Jack would continue to feud with The Dudley Boyz. This feud would lead to the inevitable return of and reformation of The Gangstas. At Crossing The Line 1999, Mustafa Saed would return to ECW to team with New Jack against The Dudley Boyz but would turn on Jack via guitar smash during the match. Saed would be revealed as a third partner to The Dudley Boyz, who sought to run New Jack and The Public Enemy out of Extreme Championship Wrestling.

This betrayal would lead to a classic ECW feud between New Jack and former partner Mustafa Saed. However, this rivalry would be short-lived. At Living Dangerously 1999, New Jack would defeat Mustafa Saed to cap off their singles feud. However, the animosity between the two men would be far from over. At CyberSlam 1999, New Jack would team with the Hardcore Chair Swingin’ Freaks (Axl Rotten and Balls Mahoney) in a losing effort against Saed and The Dudley Boyz. Jack would go on to take some time off from ECW but would return at Heat Wave 1999.

King Of The Streets

On October 22, 1999, New Jack would receive his first world championship opportunity in Extreme Championship Wrestling. Jack would challenge ECW World Heavyweight Champion Mike Awesome but would fail to win the title. Over a week later, Jack would find himself saving the Hardcore Chair Swingin’ Freaks from an attack by Da Baldies (The Spanish Angel, Vito LoGrasso, Tony DeVito, and Vic Grimes.) In this attempt at a save, Angel would staple New Jack in the eyes. This led to a rivalry between Jack and Angel over the title of “King of the Streets.” This rivalry would continue until the bankruptcy of ECW.

The Vic Grimes Incident I

On March 12, 2000, ECW would host the Living Dangerously 2000 PPV event in Danbury, Connecticut. At this event, New Jack was scheduled to face off against Da Baldies’ Vic Grimes. In this match, there was a planned spot where Grimes and Jack would plummet fifteen feet off of scaffolding to the ground floor below. Right before this spot was to occur, Grimes had major anxiety and apprehension about going forward with the move (as this was a majorly risky bump.)

As the story goes, New Jack got very frustrated with Grimes and dragged his opponent to the floor with him without consent. Grimes and Jack would fall in an uncontrolled fashion, leading to the two men missing the tables set to cushion the fall. Grimes would land on New Jack’s head; Jack would suffer brain damage, a broken leg, permanent insomnia, skull fractures, and permanent blindness in his right eye. New Jack would remain out of action for a mere two months but would return at ECW Hardcore Heaven 2000 to defeat The Spanish Angel. This would not be the last incident of Jack nonconsensually tossing Grimes off a tall structure.

The End of an Era

Jack would go on to face combinations of Da Baldies, The Dudley Boyz, and The Spanish Angel. Jack was eventually named the number one contender for the ECW World Television Championship but would fail to overcome the champion Rhino at November to Remember 2000. New Jack’s final ECW match would come against The Spanish Angel on December 17, 2000’s Hardcore TV where Jack would pick up a victory. Jack would stay with the company until its death in January 2001.

Xtreme Pro Wrestling
The Vic Grimes Incident II

One could argue that New Jack’s Xtreme Pro Wrestling run was fairly lackluster. However, many would contest that point due to the following sequence of events. In February 2002’s XPW Freefall event, Vic Grimes and New Jack would face-off in a Freefall match (XPW’s variation of a Scaffold match.) The winner of the match would be the individual to throw their opponent off of the top of the scaffold through the tables stacked in the ring below. However, the ending of the match would shock all members of the XPW roster… all except New Jack.

To cap off this match, Jack broke away from the planned spot and would shoot Vic Grimes with a functioning taser. After tasing his opponent, New Jack would toss a frozen Grimes off of the scaffold 40 feet to the floor. Grimes would only land on two of the twelve placed tables to break the fall and came within a foot of completely missing the ring. Grimes would inevitably dislocate his ankle and accrue a litany of other injuries. New Jack claims to have been disheartened by Grimes’ lack of care for the events that had taken place back in Dansbury, Connecticut eighteen months prior. In 2005, Jack would admit to attempting to kill Grimes for his actions. Jack would wrestle his last match in XPW a week later in a no-contest against The Masked Man.

New Jack dies at 58 years old - Cageside Seats
Photo / Cageside Seats

Facing The Independent Circuit
The Gypsy Joe Incident

In April 2003, New Jack would face off in a no-holds-barred contest against wrestling veteran Gypsy Joe. Given New Jack’s history, when one subtitles a section with the term “incident” involved, one can only imagine what is to come. With Joe being 69-years-old at the time of this bout, New Jack was concerned as to what he was supposed to do with the old-timer. Allegedly, New Jack approached the promoter of the event inquiring on how he was to work with Gypsy Joe. In response, the promoter told Jack that Joe was “tough as leather.” New Jack decided to test the promoter’s statement.

During the match, for reasons not known to the general public, Gypsy Joe decided to no-sell Jack’s offense. After consistent no-selling and stiff offense from Joe, New Jack decided to get some legitimate shots in on the wrestling veteran. Jack would attack Joe with a litany of weapons; including a chain; a framed picture of a woman; a baseball bat wrapped in barbed wire; and much more. The crowd began to chant racial slurs at New Jack for his actions, which further enraged the masochist. In a 2019 interview, New Jack stated: “the more they called me a n***** the angrier I got and the more I beat the guy up.” New Jack was promptly arrested and charged with assault with a weapon. Gypsy Joe would make a full recovery and would retire from in-ring competition in 2011.

NWA-TNA Wrestling

Throughout 2003, New Jack would compete in various matches for Total Nonstop Action. Jack would make his NWA-TNA debut on April 2, 2003, where he (alongside Perry Saturn and The Sandman) would defeat Christopher Daniels, Don Harris, and Ron Harris in a six-minute bout. While never competing for championship gold within his TNA run, he did have some fairly entertaining matches against the likes of The Sandman, Sabu, and The Disciples of The New Church. Jack’s last TNA match would take place on July 16, 2003, where he and Shark Boy would fall to The Harris Brothers.

The William Jason Lane Incident

In this edition of “New Jack Shoots,” we have an incident of further New Jack aggression. At an October 2004 Thunder Wrestling Federation event, New Jack was scheduled to face-off against wrestler William Jason Lane. Allegedly, Lane had approached Jack backstage pitching a few spots to be performed in the match. This was considered a poor choice for Lane, as it was against the common practice for a newcomer to attempt to steer the direction of a veteran like Jack. Jack had a plan to make sure Lane wouldn’t go on to disrespect another professional wrestling veteran again.

During the match, Lane began shooting on New Jack (quite the turn of the tables.) After landing legitimate blows on New Jack, Jack pulled out a blade and stabbed Lane multiple times in the head. It is alleged that Jack stabbed Lane nine times in the skull before the match was stopped by a police officer who had been filming the event. The officer would go on to state that it “went past a routine wrestling match.” Jack would be arrested on multiple felony charges.

Surprisingly, the charges would be dropped by Lane in a somewhat humorous turn of events. In a 2019 Vice interview, Jack would claim that Lane approached him about touring the country building the stabbing as a worked wrestling angle in exchange for the charges being dropped. New Jack would agree to the deal and the charges would be dropped… only for Jack to skip town and never contact William Jason Lane again.

A New Decade of Independent Wrestling

New Jack would announce multiple retirements throughout his wrestling career, but would inevitably break them within months of their announcements. His first retirement announcement would take place at XPW’s 2008 reunion show A Cold Day To Hell. Young would continue working various independent dates for Extreme Rising, CZW, Money Mark Productions, and much more. Jack’s final wrestling content would take place on April 8, 2021, when he, Tony DeVito, and Loc would defeat John Wayne Murdoch, Reed Bentley, and Neil Diamond Cutter at ICW No Holds Barred Volume 11. Jack would pass away on May 14, 2021.

The Most Violent Man in Wrestling Lays Down His Staple Gun
Photo / Grantland

New Jack – A Man of Legitimacy

Young could easily be considered one of the most controversial figures in professional wrestling history. Was he brutal in his matches? Yes. Was he violent outside of the ring? It depends on who you ask. Many within the industry report New Jack to be one of the kindest and most sweet-hearted individuals they have encountered. Others within the industry firmly believe Jack to be one of the most revered and disgusting people to grace a wrestling ring. However, whether you like it or not – one thing is certain: Jerome “New Jack” Young was the most legitimate, straight-shooting, and authentic professional wrestler in the world.

We here at Pro Wrestling Post wish the best for Young’s family, friends, colleagues, and fans.

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