Friday, February 28, 2020

The 11 Greatest New Jack Wrestling Matches of All-Time!

What better way to close out Black History Month 2020 than with a LONG overdue tribute to one of the greatest sports-entertainers of all-time?

By: Jimbo X

Depending on your perspective, Jerome “New Jack” Young is either the worst wrestler to ever ascend to as high a stature in pro wrestling in history or the absolute greatest kayfaber of all time, if not one of the most brilliant performance artists this planet has ever seen.

I don’t think any rassler has ever straddled the line between work and shoot as well as New Jack has. Nobody really thinks The Undertaker is a zombie mortician in real life, but to this day, it’s almost impossible to determine whether or not New Jack really is a psychopathic black man who would kill you as soon as look at you in actuality as well as inside the squared circle. Even over the course of hundreds of shoot videos he hasn’t once broken character, so to speak — indeed, it doesn’t seem like there’s any disparities between New Jack, the character, and Jerome Young, the person, whatsoever. I mean, if the guy is seriously acting, his thespian work in that one shoot interview with The Iron Sheik and The Honkytonk Man alone would be enough to garner him a Lifetime Achievement Oscar — hell, for that matter, all of his shoot interviews should probably already be in The Smithsonian, or at the very least included in an underground seed bank somewhere in case a nuclear war breaks out or something. 

Of course, it remains en vogue to trash New Jack for his (alleged) lack of in-ring ability, but you know what? I think that’s a buncha’ elitist, pseudo-racist horse shit and I have no problem telling you right now that I’d rather watch N.J. bash random motherfuckers upside the head with a vacuum cleaner and Sega Genesis than I would anything involving Zach Sabre or Marko Stunt. The truth is, New Jack simply embodies everything great about pro wrestling as both a carnival of con-men and a kinesthetic art form, and I think it is LONG past-due that somebody finally gave him his proper regards. 

So with this being the last day of Black History Month and all, what better way to ring out February 2020 than by revisiting the 11 greatest matches involving New Jack ever? Trust me, by the time this thing is over and done with, you’ll agree with me that his ass needs to be featured on the back of $20 bill instead of Harriet Tubman ...

Sept. 17, 1994
The Gangstas vs. The Rock & Roll Express (Smoky Mountain Wrestling TV)

This match is just mid-1990s southern-style ‘rasslin sleaze par excellence. I mean, what says “Jim Cornette” quite like watching a washed-up R&R Express doing battle with black nationalists in a no-holds barred grudge match in front of like, 30 people in a high school gym somewhere in RatTiddy, Tennessee? For the first four minutes of the contest it’s pretty much just the two teams punching each other in the face and clobbering each other with blunt objects, and then, it’s time for some good old-fashioned crowd-brawling, complete with a spot where New Jack tries to fucking lynch Ricky Morton in front of a morbidly obese teenage girl wearing a Confederate flag T-shirt! Somehow, Lance Storm, Chris Candido and a guy wearing a bee-mask gets involved in the mayhem, then the Gangstas and Express start brawling in the back, whacking each other over the head with mops, trash cans and two-by-fours. Naturally, this leads to a free-for-all in the parking lot, with the bulleted ref hilariously doing his damnedest to maintain order while Mustafa Saed and Robert Gibson keep conking each other over the head with giant aluminum sheets. And just when you think this can’t possibly get any better, that’s our cue for a post-brawl interview with New Jack, who proceeds to call the Express a bunch of “Caucasian white devils” and lament the high volume of “Uncle Tom negroes” residing in the Johnsonville, Tenn. labor draw area. 

May 20, 1995
The Gangstas vs. The T.H.U.G.S (Smoky Mountain Wrestling Charlotte Memories)

Pound-for-pound, move-for-move, second-by-second probably the single greatest match of New Jack’s career — so, of course, it’s practically goddamn impossible to find video footage of it ANYWHERE on the normal video sharing sites, dabnabbit. It’s the team of New Jack and Mustafa taking on their Caucasian analogues Tracy Smothers and the Dirty White Boy in a street fight, and we’re about three seconds into the match before Smothers conks NJ over the noggin with a trash can. Then DWB starts lynching Mustafa in front of a live audience while Tracy beats the shit out of NJ with a Confederate flag. We get some wild crawl brawling and it ain’t long ’til DWB is juicing like crazy, with even D’Lo Brown picking a few choice shots when the opportunity arises. Eventually, the mayhem culminates with Jack piledriving Smothers through a table, only for D’Lo to miscalculate his frog splash and crush Mustafa’s gizzards, allowing Smothers to make a quick pin. Of course, even after the bell these five maniacs keep whaling on each other, and I think, per capita, this one might have more garbage can lids upside the head than any other match in pro ‘rasslin history. This is just down and dirty, extra sleazy, mega-bloody, rancor-fueled Southern brawling greatness, and if you don’t secretly love this kind of trashy mayhem, you might as well cut your own dick off and move to Canada. This match is everything that makes New Jack great as a sports-entertainment spectacle — you might have to torrent some shit on Dark Web to find it, but trust me, this is one garbage match opus you simply MUST see before you exit the mortal coil, amigos.

Aug. 03, 1996
The Gangstas vs. The Eliminators vs. The Bruise Brother vs. The Samoan Gangsta Party (ECW The Doctor Is In)

After jumping ship to ECW, The Gangstas made an immediate impact and started feudin’ with pretty much every tag team in the promotion, and this bout is noteworthy for giving us New Jack’s first official world championship that kinda’ sorta’ mattered. The match itself is your usual 1996 ECW insanity, with the Bruise Brothers and the Eliminators beating the crap out of each other for two minutes and the Samoan Gangsta Party coming out trying to scuffle, even though their hands are LITERALLY cuffed. Cue “Natural Born Killaz” and here comes New Jack and Mustafa with a bucket o’ plunder. The highlights here include Samu accidentally clobbering tag team partner L.A. Smooth with a waffling chair shot, New Jack (clad in a Malcolm X T-shirt) and Perry Saturn engaging in some parking lot fisticuffing, and, for the grand finale, a bloodied N.J. blasting John Kronus with an ungodly diving chair shot off the top for the bout-clincher.

Nov. 23, 1996
The Gangstas vs. Mass Transit and D’Von Dudley (ECW House Show)

Welcome back from that persistent vegeative state you’ve been in since the mid-1990s if you don’t know what this one is all about. It was supposed to be New Jack and Mustafa Saed against’ D’Von and Axl Rotten, but with Rotten skipping town to probably eat heroin or something, Paul Heyman literally plucked this fat motherfucker out of the crowd rocking a Ralph Kramden gimmick and said have at it, bro. Of course, this “Mass Transit” chap (whose real name was Eric Kulas) wasn’t the Killer Kowalski-trained 23-year-old he claimed to be, but some 17-year-old jabroni who promptly had a major artery in his forehead severed by ours truly. Of course, New Jack being New Jack, even after he committed unintentional aggravated assault on a minor he proceeded to smash him in the face with a garbage can and hit him with a flying chair shot off the top rope, just ‘cause he could. Even better, instead of trying to play down the incident to keep his company from getting booted off PPV, the very first thing New Jack does in the post-fight tomfoolery is grab the house mic and scream “I don’t care if the motherfucker dies, he’s white” — simply further proof that New Jack is indeed one of our greatest national treasures, as both an entertainer and a linguist.

Oct. 22, 1999
New Jack vs. Mike Awesome (ECW on TNN)

To the best of my knowledge, this is the only time New Jack got a shot at the ECW World Heavyweight Championship, and he certainly made the most out of what little opportunity he had to work with here. Of course, this being an ECW on TNN production, Joel Gertner lays it on thick in the ring intro, giving Awesome the microphone, telling him “good luck” and then running for the hills as soon as New Jack’s music hits. Joey Styles does an even better job calling the match, at one point stating “can you imagine, if here tonight, in the Big Easy, New Orleans, Louisiana, we crown a new World Heavyweight Champion in the Original Gangsta New Jack? We had better make sure we have every attorney on retainer and we’re not paying them by the hour.” As you’d imagine, the whole bout is a barely seven minute garbage match jubilee, with New Jack conking’ the mighty mulleted one with a trash can lid to begin the festivities, then whacking him with a kayak oar and trying to strangle him to death with a rope cord. We get some brief crowd brawling, then New Jack crashes and burns on a diving chair shot to the outside. This allows Mike Awesome to grab the furniture and start doling out his usual gauntlet of abuse. New Jack makes a short-lived comeback thanks to a little staple gun fu, but Awesome, remarkably, survives the exploding acoustic guitar over his noggin. Judge Jeff Jones sets up a table at ringside and Awesome just lawn darts him through it; one more scoop slam and a frog splash later, and this one is all over, kids.

Mar. 12, 2000
New Jack vs. Vic Grimes (ECW Living Dangerously 2000)

Yup, the infamous “Danbury Fall” that gave New Jack permanent brain damage and forever blinded him in his right eye. The match starts off in the usual New Jack fashion, with NJ tossing a bucket of plunder into the ring and bashing niggas over the head and testicles with crutches while Ice Cube maks lyrical references to Charles Manson and Jeffrey Dahmer. We get your requisite exploding acoustic guitar spot, a pizza cutter raked over NJ’s forehead, a snow shovel over the lower lumbar and then, the piece de resistance: the part where Grimes tries to toss Jack off a 15-foot tall scaffold onto a double decker of tables, only for both men to miss the tables altogether, with Grimes 300-pound-plus ass landing DIRECTLY on New Jacks skull as soon as he makes a crash landing. All things taken into consideration, it might be the single most dangerous/stupid thing New Jack did throughout his pro ‘rasslin career, and as the matches below and above already demonstrate, that’s goddamn saying something.

Nov. 05, 2000
New Jack vs. Rhino (ECW November To Remember 2000)

For my money, the single greatest “formula” New Jack match of all-time. Seeing as how I’ve already covered this PPV in-depth, please allow me to quote myself, in full, on the matter:

Rhino grabs a chair and just waits for New Jack to saunter down the aisle with his shopping cart of plunder en tow. Jack clocks Rhino with a trash can lid, then he hits him with a Chicago Bears helmet. Rhino gets clobbered over the skull with the rest of the trash can and then Jack breaks a pool cue over his lower back. Now it's time for Jack to choke Rhino with a steel chain. Clean, wholesome fun for the whole family right here! Jack has a sign reading "Left Turn Signal." Ironically, he uses both hands to conk Rhino with it. New Jack's assault continues on the floor below, as he launches Rhino into the guard rail. Jacks takes a running leap off the apron and clobbers Rhino with the road signage one more time. Jack tosses Rhino back into the ring. Now we've got a table in the equation. Rhino hits Jack with a cookie sheet and sets the table up in the corner. Jack with a clothesline, and it's all gangster-like, too. Jack with a snapmare, which looks dangerously like an actual wrestling maneuver so he has to hit Rhino in the balls with a pool cue immediately afterwards. Then Jack pulls out the scythe, just like he promised in the pre-match promo. But Rhino drops him with a clothesline. Jack recovers and conks Rhino with a trash can in the corner. Rhino throws the referee into the way of Jack's next trash can attack, and then Jack breaks out the dreaded STAPLE GUN. We've got a new ref in, but Jack staples his ass, so I take it that means we have no refs now. Rhino lands a scoop slam and goes up top. He misses on the fat, short-man with long hair splash. Jack breaks out an acoustic guitar, strums it a few times and hits Rhino with it. But after the baby powder eruption dissipates, there is this fucking GREAT moment where Rhino completely no sells it, pounds his chest, and Jack — for what has to be the first time in his ECW career — has a look of ACTUAL FEAR in his eyes and Rhino just grabs his ass and plows him through Chekov's table in the corner for the three-count. 

Of course, probably the best thing about the entire match were the INSANE promos these two cut on each other in the lead up to the PPV bout, including the infamous vignette where Rhino threatened to rip New Jack's face off, make New Jack eat his own face and then shit out his own face. Alas, I've sadly been unable to find either the promo where Rhino discusses disembowling his opponent and literally bathing in his blood nor the New Jack promo where he promises to put his foe in a dress and literally prostitute him afterward. Sigh, somebody HAS to have those things uploaded somewhere, don't they?

Feb. 23, 2002
New Jack vs. Vic Grimes (XPW Freefall)

New Jack gets his LONG-anticipated vengeance over Vic Grimes, this time in a scaffold match where the only way to win is to launch your opponent some 30 feet below, because some people REALLY don’t care if they live or die for a $500 paycheck, apparently. So Jack comes out with the usual assortment of plunder (my favorite being the blender with “XPW” scrawled on it in Magic Marker) then he grabs the mic and says if he doesn’t win tonight, he’s retiring from the pseudo-sport FOR GOOD. Well, it doesn’t take long for NJ to crack Vic over the noggin with a keyboard and start forking him Abdullah the Butcher-style. Then Grimes blades NJ with a QUINTUPLE pizza cutter Freddy Krueger glove and Jack fires back with a barb wire-covered rake. Of course, the bout culminates with both men scuffling “some 40 feet in the air” in an 80 percent empty arena, with New Jack getting the upper hand with a stun gun. Of course, the bout ends with Grimes getting Donkey Konged off the scaffold, COMPLETELY missing the tables stacked up below and ALMOST getting impaled on the turnbuckle, Owen Hart-style. Naturally, in subsequent shoot promos, New Jack said he was INTENTIONALLY trying to kill Vic for real, but then again, this is the same guy who lied about being a bounty killer with like 17 confirmed kills in Beyond the Mat, so I’d take those utterances with a VERY large grain of salt. 

Apr. 2003
New Jack vs. Gypsy Joe (Freddie’s Auction, presumably?)

You know, you really have to wonder who thought it was a good idea to put a 69-year-old man with a perma-skullet in the ring against New Jack, but considering the depths of despair so many indie promotions sunk to in the 2000s, I suppose we just ought to be thankful that NJ wasn’t booked against ANOTHER minor here. This otherwise unremarkable bout became infamous when — for reasons humanity may never fully understand — Gypsy Joe all of a sudden decided to stop selling for New Jack altogether, which, naturally, resulted in our main man having to bring the lumber something fierce. All I can say is come for the promise of New Jack trying to impale a senior citizen with an entire front row of plastic chairs and LITERALLY hitting a home run on his noggin with a barbed wire-wrapped baseball bat, but stay for the shamelessly white trash fans in tie-dyed shirts screaming “whoop that nigger’s ass!” while New Jack continues to toss sharp objects in the general vicinity of children and the elderly alike.

Oct. 2004
New Jack vs. William Jason Lane (Thunder Wrestling Federation)

Now, you might be wondering how it would be possible for any marquee-level garbage ‘rassler to outdo nearly killing a senior citizen in a shoot in front of a buncha’ toothless, sleazed indie promotion fans. Well, the answer here is apparent: by LITERALLY trying to stab a motherfucker to death for real on camera and in front of a paying audience, that’s how. Apparently, this no-name William Jason Lane guy got a little too uncooperative against New Jack, so he handled the situation about as diplomatically and delicately as he could — primarily, by pulling a goddamn shiv out of his pants and stabbing him a good dozen or so times in the back before giving him the most BRUTAL shoot kick in the history of professional wrestling. Ultimately, New Jack was arrested and initially charged with FOURTEEN counts of aggravated battery with a deadly weapon — all of which were dropped when it became apparent that Lane, by all objective criteria, had no goddamn business being in a wrestling room and, quite frankly, probably deserved almost getting screwdriver to death by one-half of the Gangstas in front of literally EIGHTS of people. And yes, you need to hear New Jack’s commentary on the match, and you need to hear it right fuckin’ now.

Apr. 05, 2013
New Jack vs. Necro Butcher (Pro Wrestling Syndicate Supercard 2013)

Well, if New Jack had to have a retirement match, I suppose it makes all the sense in the world to book him against NECRO BUTCHER out in the middle of Buttfuck, New Jersey for such a historic occasion. Butcher jumps Jack right at the bell with headbutts galore, only for NJ to pull out a fork and start turning NB’s forehead into lacerated lasagna. Then Jack pulls out a FREDDY KRUEGER glove made out of forks and rakes Butcher in the face with it, only for Butcher to staple his face and conk him over the skull with a garbage can and drop a plastic table on his face while he writhes around in pain on … astroturf? Yep, that’s indie wrestling in New Jersey for you, in a nutshell. Then they brawl in the crowd for a little bit and hit each other with plastic lawn chairs and get blood everywhere. Back in the ring Jack continues to clobber NB with chair shots, only for NB to give NJ a backbreaker on two steel chairs for the extra poetic justice points. And for the grand finale, Jack climbs the top turnbuckle with a bundle of fluorescent lights tubes and makes that shit explode real good all over the storage shed the Pro Wrestling Syndicate Super Card was held that year. Afterwards, Jack thanks Butcher for kicking his ass and the fans chant “New Jack” and “E-C-Dub” and tells some long-haired asshole to get out of the way of the camera. Then New Jack talks about getting the idea for his character watching New Jack City and puts over The Rock and Roll Express, of all people, and cuts a promo about Marty Jannetty’s love of big assess and people in Smoky Mountain Wrestling calling him “a nigger” and getting a job on The Daily Showwhich, believe it or not, actually did happen, for one episode He concludes the post-fight spectacle with a fantastic speech about walking away from wrestling before it walks away from him, complete with the following sage life advice:

“Don’t bend over and take it up the ass, go in there as a man and goddamn do what you’ve got to do and feed your fucking family,” he said. “Ya’ll showed me love, and I felt like the only thing I could do is come back to a company that’s proper, that’s got respect in this fucking industry and I wouldn’t have wnatd to do it no moetherfucking where else than in this bitch right here.” 

Naturally, he concluded the show by doing an impromptu rap concert while a whole buncha’ fans jump in the ring and throw up his iconic “X” gang sign. And if you’re wondering just how permanent this “retirement match” was, well, it might not surprise you to learn that he’s had 14 more matches since then, including a bout as recent as July 2019. Which, naturally, begs the question — just how long until Vince and co. put New Jack in the WWE Hall of Fame like he rightly deserves


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