Chris Toplack | Dark Side of The Ring – The Life and Crimes of New Jack FULL RECAP
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Dark Side of The Ring – The Life and Crimes of New Jack FULL RECAP

Dark Side of The Ring – The Life and Crimes of New Jack FULL RECAP

Professional wrestling is an industry absolutely filled with ‘characters.’ And few, if any, measure up to the craziness of Jerome Young, better known to fans as New Jack. Coming up with his moniker from the film New Jack City, Young would go onto become one of the most infamous, and feared, people to ever step foot in the business. The newest episode of Dark Side Of The Ring looks at “The Life And Crimes Of New Jack.”

  • Once again the episode is narrated by ‘Le Champion’ Chris Jericho.

  • Interview subjects include New Jack himself, Jim Cornette, D’Lo Brown, The Sandman, Tiny The Terrible, Stuart Kaplan, John Donovan, MWW,

  • Discussion of how New Jack came into Smoky Mountain Wrestling (an independent federation ran by Jim Cornette in the early 90s) is shown.

  • Footage of New Jack’s first SMW promo where he tells OJ Simpson (at the time on trial for the murder of his wife and her lover) “keep up the good work, that’s two less for us to worry about!” is shown as an example of how he wasn’t afraid to rile up the SMW crowd, mostly consisting of Southern ‘rednecks.’

  • New Jack’s tag team partner in The Gangstas, Mustafa Saed, and his strange quirks are discussed. This includes him rolling pencil shavings and other things into the joints he was smoking, and a tale of him fighting with the police, and exclaiming to New Jack “they wanna fuck me!”

  • D’Lo exclaims that New Jack could get the crowd so riled up, that Hitler himself could walk through the curtain and still be the babyface.

  • Cornette discusses moving The Gangstas into the SMW Tag Title picture, and an angle where they attacked the champions, The Rock N Roll Express, beating Ricky Morton in the ring with nightsticks until he was bloody and begging for help, their own spin on the infamous Rodney King beating.

  • Cornette discusses the NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People) contacting SMW concerned about the angle, and footage is shown of New Jack cutting a promo on-air calling them “homegrown monkeys.”

  • Cornette discusses how anytime The Gangstas were on the air that they had to have a disclaimer ran along the bottom of the screen.

  • D’Lo and New Jack discuss the rampant racism in the South at the time.

  • At this point everyone discusses The Gangstas leaving Smoky Mountain for Paul Heyman’s Extreme Championship Wrestling.

  • Cornette reveals he hated that they all left on bad terms with one another, but also that he knew they had peaked in SMW and would fit in well in ECW, where “everyone already went too far, and New Jack had to go farther than anyone.”

  • Sandman reveals he was sent to meet Sandman when he came up from SMW, making him the first ECW performer to meet New Jack.

  • New Jack discusses his childhood, including witnessing his father stab his mother five times in front of the entire family.

  • A few months after this incident, his mother decided to leave, and while carrying a young New Jack to the car, his father shot her in the back.

  • Both D’Lo and New Jack discuss the impact this clearly has had on him and his psyche.

  • Discussion moves to the infamous Mass Transit incident.

  • Eric Koulas, a teenager who dressed as a bus driver, had been working with Tiny The Terrible and his brother in matches together.

  • The three were asked to appear at an upcoming ECW event.

  • Eric has lied about his age, claiming to be 21 when he was only 17 years old.

  • At the show, Axl Rotten missed the booking due to a family emergency.

  • Eric was slid into is position, totally cutting out Tiny and his brother from the show.

  • New Jack told Paul Heyman, “what I’m gonna do to him, people will be talking about in 10 years.”

  • Stuart Kaplan and John Donovan, members of the ECW security team discuss the incident.

  • Eric Koulas is teamed with D’Von Dudley against The Gangstaz.

  • Koulas apparently approached New Jack, telling him of a few spots that he wanted to perform on him, angering Jack as he was the vet.

  • New Jack discusses how Koulas wanted to get cut and bleed, asking New Jack to cut him.

  • New Jack declares that he didn’t want to kill the kid, but he wanted him to be close to death.

  • After revealing that he had been getting “high as fuck” all day, New Jack says they told D’Von that they were going to throw him out of the ring, and for him to not get back in.

  • Footage is shown of the match, with New Jack literally beating the holy hell out of Koulas.

  • Using a surgical scalpel taped to a stick, New Jack slit open Koulas’ entire forehead.

  • During footage of the match, you can hear Koulas’ father screaming “He’s 17, where’s the fucking ref?!”

  • When asked if the senior Koulas said anything to him, New Jack revealed that he just kept calling him a n****r.

  • As The Sandman was in the next match, he claims he bled like a stuck pig that night just to try and take some of the heat off of New Jack.

  • The incident would gain national attention, and New Jack would be taken to trial for assault, with the possibility of prison time.

  • The trial is discussed, with Tiny The Terrible claiming that New Jack told him he would take care of him if he got off.

  • When asked about Koulas’ passing years later, New Jack if asked how he felt, to which he claims “I didn’t give a fuck”

  • New Jack discusses how he would be doing cocaine every night in the locker room as a boost for what he would do in the ring.

  • Discussion moves to New Jack vs. Vic Grimes and their scaffold match in 2000.

  • Jack discusses how Grimes became hesitant to do the dive, to which he said we’re doing it, and pulled him down.

  • Grimes would do a flip on the way down, landing on New Jack’s head, causing him to lose sight in his right eye to this day and cracking his skull.

  • A year later, New Jack and Vic Grimes were booked in Xtreme Pro Wrestling for another scaffold match.

  • Sandman and New Jack discuss Jack buying a taser to use during the match and his planned assault.

  • Footage is shown of Jack tasing Grimes on top of the scaffold, to which Jack says Grimes told him he couldn’t feel his legs. Jack’s response? “You ain’t gonna need them”

  • Jack would throw Grimes off the scaffold, going through tables and bouncing off the ropes.

  • Jack discusses how he meant to kill Grimes and wanted him to hit the floor but didn’t throw him hard enough.

  • New Jack’s match with Gypsy Joe is discussed, a 72-year-old journeyman wrestler.

  • Gypsy Joe’s gimmick was that he was ‘impervious to pain’ and no one bothered to tell Jack about this, leading to him not selling Jack’s offense.

  • This led to Jack being angered, in addition to the crowd yelling “go home n****r” leading him to attack Joe with a barbed wire baseball bat in the head.

  • Wrestling promoted MWW discusses booking Hunter Red against New Jack.

  • We see both D’Lo and Cornette watching New Jack stabbing his opponent with a blade.

  • New Jack was arrested and spent three weeks in prison.

  • Jack claims that Hunter Red visited him in prison, saying that he would drop the charges if Jack would take him on the road and turn it all into an angle.

  • Once the charges were dropped, Jack left Florida and never spoke with Hunter Red ever again.

  • To close the episode, the interview subjects all discuss if there is a difference between Jerome Young and New Jack, and the complicated legacy he has left behind.

  • Jericho states that the Koulas family was invited to participate but declined due to the traumatic nature of the events.

Following on the two-part Chris Benoit episode, ‘The Life and Crimes of New Jack’ seemed like the only choice to follow up with. New Jack is a complicated figure, and while he provided much entertainment for wrestling fans over the years, me included, it simply cannot be denied that he is not a good person. For anyone who has ever looked into New Jack and his history, there really is so much more to the story than is covered here. Following the in-depth dive in the Benoit episodes, this episode cannot be looked at as anything but a letdown but is absolutely still worth a look.

‘The Life and Crimes of New Jack’ is now available on Vice and Crave if you are in Canada.

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