As we’ve mentioned before, many times pro wrestling can get very real very fast. Sometimes it’s accidental, and just as often (if not more so), it’s intentional. Jerome Young, the wrestler known as New Jack, has been involved in more than his fair share of these situations, and pretty much every single one of them has been intentional. Why is that, exactly? Because New Jack is a legitimately dangerous human being. How so? Well, let’s look at a few examples.
1. The Mass Transit Incident
This is one of the most famous moments in ECW history, but not for any good reasons. On November 23, 1996, ECW was hosting a show in Revere, MA. The original plan for the show was a tag team match with Axl Rotten and D-Von Dudley facing the Gangstas (New Jack and Mustafa Saed), but Rotten no-showed the event after claiming ECW owner Paul Heyman refused to buy him a plane ticket to Boston.
A replacement was needed, but the other wrestlers in the building were already booked in other matches. As it happened, an overweight fan named Eric Kulas was in attendance at the show, was backstage, overheard the conversation, and offered up his services, claiming he was a trained pro wrestler known as Mass Transit. Heyman accepted, based on the fact that Kulas looked old enough to work (he was, in reality, only 17, making it illegal for him to wrestle, as you have to be 18 in most states). In addition, his father and another wrestler both claimed Kulas had been trained by Walter “Killer” Kowalski, a famous pro wrestler and trainer who has produced talents like Triple H and Kazarian.
Heyman decided to take a chance based on these testimonies and gave Rotten’s spot to Kulas. The match was originally supposed to be a “squash,” a one-sided affair with one wrestler or team of wrestlers completely dominating the other. Dudley was isolated outside the ring, as was the plan, while Kulas proceeded to take the beating originally intended for Rotten. And when I say “beating,” I mean it literally. Kulas was hit with a variety of weapons, including a toaster, and the end result was him bleeding profusely. Reportedly, prior to the match, Kulas had asked Jack to “gig” him, meaning cut him in the forehead intentionally in order to make him bleed, and Jack responded by carving him with an exacto knife. As Kulas was laying on the mat, blood literally squirting out of his head, his dad screamed for someone to ring the bell, revealing Kulas’s real age in the process.
Medics rushed the ring and stretchered Kulas off, with Kulas trying to keep in character by flipping the crowd off (which later did nothing to help his argument in court. More on that in a moment). As Kulas was being wheeled backstage, Jack got on a microphone and screamed, “I don’t care if the motherf***r dies! He’s white. I don’t like white people. I don’t like people from Boston. I’m the wrong n****r to f**k with.”
Three years later, Jack was charged tried on charges of assault and battery, but the case was thrown out when it was revealed Kulas not only lied about his age, but admitted that he had asked Jack to help him “get color” (make him bleed intentionally, another term for gigging). Other wrestlers on duty that night also backed the story up, resulting in Jack’s acquittal.
In the aftermath, New Jack has stated he had no remorse for what happened to Eric Kulas (who later died in 2002 due to complications from gastric bypass surgery), and even went as far as to say he was legitimately trying to murder Kulas.
2. Jerry Lawler Has a Heart Attack on Live Television
On September 10, 2012, wrestling fans witnessed one of the scariest moments in pro wrestling history. During a live taping of WWE Monday Night RAW in Montreal, wrestling legend and color commentator Jerry “The King” Lawler was doing his job at the announce desk like any other taping. During a tag team match, fans in attendance began standing up and turning their attention towards the desk, which is pretty unusual, especially during a match. It was obvious something was wrong, as the camera men were all instructed to keep their cameras pointed on the action in the ring. As it turned out, Lawler suddenly seized up and fell out of his chair in what would be the first stages of a heart attack.
Lawler was suffering greatly as EMTs rushed to ringside to check on him (WWE fortunately has medical staff on-hand at all events), and later reports stated that Lawler was declared clinically dead as they worked on him backstage. Lawler was then taken to the local hospital to be operated on, where fortunately, the doctors were able to save his life. Lawler has since made a full recovery, and in fact returned to his job around three months later, where he has been ever since.
So, how does New Jack play into this story? By writing some of the most tasteless, disgusting, inhuman things about Lawler I have ever seen in response to the heart attack. I won’t repeat them all, but if you’d like to see them, just click on this link. Needless to say, he goes into great detail about how he wished Lawler had died, and wanted to piss on his grave later on, accusing Lawler of being a bigot and a racist.
Although there’s always been more than enough evidence, these comments have more or less gotten Jack ostracized from the wrestling community, especially considering Lawler is one of the most well-regarded and respected personalities in the sport.
3. Vic Grimes Is Nearly Thrown to His Death
Have I mentioned that New Jack is might not be all there, and that he’s kind of dangerous? I have? Oh, good, because it’s still true here. In 2000, at ECW’s Living Dangerously pay-per-view event, a match scheduled between Jack and “Vicious” Vic Grimes came to a halt when, during a spot in the crowd, both men tumbled off a 20-foot scaffold, with Jack falling through a table. Although the spot was planned, the fall did not go right, as Jack crashed to the floor, which resulted in him suffering brain damage and temporary blindness in one eye, while Grimes was mostly unharmed.
Accidents happen in pro wrestling, and ECW saw more than its fair share of them, including this one. While the spot probably shouldn’t have happened in the first place, you live and learn. Jack never learned, and placed 100% of the blame on Grimes, even though both were involved.
Fast-forward to February 2002. XPW, an ECW-knockoff based out of California and run by porn moguls (no, really) had been going for about two years, putting a heavy emphasis on hardcore wrestling. At that point, both Jack and Grimes were working for XPW (ECW had since shut down), and Rob Black, the owner of XPW, decided to capitalize on the legitimate bad blood between the two, putting them in Freefall, a type of scaffold match.
For those not in the know, a scaffold match is one of the most stupidly dangerous match types there is, and it involves wrestlers fighting on a literal scaffold above the ring with the objective being the first wrestler (or team) to go off the scaffold losing. Usually, the scaffold is constructed a few feet above the ring, so the fall is not too severe, and tables are often put in the ring in order to break the fall, reducing the risk of injury.
In this match, however, the scaffold was ridiculously high, an estimated 40 feet above the ring, with the ring filled with tables. I’m sure you can already see where this is going. Early in the match, both men headed up for the remainder of the match, with the plan being that they would hit each other with various weapons before Grimes would be tossed and Jack declared the winner. However, during the closing moments, Jack produced a stun gun, shoved it in Grimes” chest several times, then launched him off the side. Grimes barely made contact with the tables, bounced off the top rope, and landed awkwardly in the ring. It’s one of the scariest spots I have ever seen in wrestling, and if you don’t believe me, watch the video below:
Fortunately, Grimes miraculously suffered minimal injuries and was even able to continue his career. I had a chance to talk to Grimes about this match over Facebook, and he was kind enough to fill me in all the details.
Man Cave Daily: First Question, Vic, is in regards to the stun gun. I have read articles that say the gun was a gimmick and part of the match, with others saying New Jack shot on you (broke script) and you had no idea.
Vic Grimes: The stun gun was a shoot. I had no idea that he was going to pull it out of his pocket. Was not planned at all. The plan was we were supposed to do a bunch of spots up there.
MCD: The second question is about the fall itself. Again, I’ve seen articles that said it was part of the match and Jack just over-shot the throw, but I’ve seen others (including interviews with Jack himself) where he said he was legitimately trying to kill you, stemming from the ECW scaffold incident.
VG: Both are right. He definitely over-shot it, he definitely was mad and wanted revenge for the Danbury, CT fall (the location of the original scaffold incident). So, he didn’t care if I got hurt or not.
MCD: I’d like to know exactly what happened up there, in your words.
VG: We were supposed to do a bunch of spots up there, then he pulled out a taser. I had no idea he was going to do that. I told him, “If you tease me with that I’ll throw your ass off.” He said, “Don’t worry. I’ll work it.” He hit me twice with it, then picked me up and tried to throw me me off. I wasn’t in the right position because I marked it down on the ground up there before the show. I said, “Hey, I’m not in the right position yet. Hold up.” He said, “Don’t puss out. Come on, here we go.” I said f**k it and threw myself off and missed the mark because there’s no way he could pick up a 380-lb. man and throw him off, especially if I didn’t want to go. So don’t believe that he threw me off. I dove off. I had no fear when I was up there, so don’t believe what he says that I was scared or that I pussed out.
MCD: Did you suffer any long-term injuries or negative affects in the aftermath?
VG: God blessed me with the ability to take a lot of pain, and for some odd reason I didn’t feel much, ever. So as far as me getting hurt, nobody can hurt me. Only God can.
Fortunately for everyone, Grimes was okay and is still going strong. However, as I mentioned in the interview, Jack has made claims in the aftermath that he was legitimately trying to kill Grimes that night, stemming from their days in ECW.
So, to recap, New Jack has claimed he was trying to kill an amateur wrestler, nearly killed a pro one using a debilitating weapon, and then hoped a third would die after suffering a heart attack on live TV. And these are just three examples. I should also point out that he is a former bounty hunter who claims to have four justifiable homicides to his name. So, yeah. Probably not someone you want to get involved with.
Dustin Nichols is a freelance writer, most notably seen on Camel Clutch Blog, where he has reviewed nearly every single episode of WWE Smackdown since mid-2011. He also reviews TNA Impact every week, because he is a complete masochist and wants to save you the pain. When not busy writing new dialogue for the show Castle in his head, he can also be seen on The Geek Link where he discusses games and his obsession with Firefly. You can follow him on Twitter, look at his Facebook page, or even hire him as your personal trainer. Yep, he’s fit, too.