New Jack, real name Jerome Young has passed away at the age of 58. The Hardcore Icon was one of the most successful stars of Smokey Mountain Wrestling and went on to become one of the biggest standouts of ECW and beyond. New Jack was one of the key figures of any promotion the second he was given a mic and took the promo game to new levels through the things he spat. Not to mention he also become one of the few wrestlers to have his entrance music, “Natural Born Killaz” by Ice Cube and Dr. Dre playing throughout his matches, not just his entrances. He was a cultural icon and one of the ultimate give-no-cares wrestlers ever.
Despite a self-described broken home life, New Jack found his way through sports to wrestling. The Jack Name came to him through the movie New Jack City and started his first bit of training was with Ray Candy in the USWA. He wrestled around Tennessee and Georgia where he battled some of the biggest in Smoky Mountain Wrestling as he got one of his biggest receptions in his early career by remaking the Rodney King beating on the Rock ‘N Roll Express. He took Jim Cornette’s advice of “pissing off white people” to the max and become one of the company’s biggest heels. SMW was also the place where Young found the unit, he was so comfortable in, The Gangstas with Mustafa Saed. This team transcended SMW and took ECW by storm, challenging for the titles and becoming one of the most loved teams in the whole company.
When they fell through, he would bounce around multiple different teams and singles stars as he remained one of the hottest stars in the company. He was going to be the most extreme guy in the match and shock people with his weapons spots and dives. He would go on to form the Gangstanators on with John Kronus and feuded with Saed in a fever pitch feud with the Dudley Boyz. He fought through injuries galore to continue to entertain fans night after night. He would put his body on the line with zero regrets. The worst of those injuries would be against Vic Grimes when the pair fell off a scaffold and suffered permanent brain damage from it as well as a broken leg and blindness in his right eye. He would get his revenge on Grimes a couple of years later in XPW when he tased him and threw him off a scaffold to the floor below.
When ECW folded New Jack worked anywhere and everywhere he could around the independent scene as he worked XPW, Impact Wrestling and CZW where he made multiple appearances. He continued to amass controversies through matches with Gypsy Joe and Jason Lane where his violent style proved too much for those involved. He was a lightning pole for scandal because his style was always determined to show he was still extreme. From Mass Transit in 1996 to the matches just mentioned, Jack would put the hurt on his opponents. He truly blurred the lines between wrestling and serious assault. A line many juries had to decide on. Despite this, he continued to take little bookings here and there all the way up to this year where he took part in the main event of ICW No Hold Barred’s Here and Now event working with the Carnage Crew against the Rejects on April 8th.
New Jack has always been honest and open about his wrestling career, the injuries he suffered, his attitude towards wrestlers and companies. He told his story through multiple documentaries, most recently on Dark Side of the Ring, and wrote a full autobiography detailing everything that’s ever happened. He was unrepentant and people loved him for it. There has been a massive outpouring of support and love for New Jack, he really was a trailblazer for wrestling and one of its most famous or infamous stars from it. WWE, AEW and so many wrestlers and fans have given eulogies throughout social media. Whether you loved him or hated him, he left his impact on the business and inspired a generation of hardcore and regular wrestlers alike. He was so into his character, no one knew for sure who the real Jerome Young was. He was a master of his craft and a wrestler anyone could believe in.
We here at SteelChair send our condolences to his family and friends. You will be missed.
All images courtesy of New Jack, PWI, AEW, Mick Foley