Back in the late '90s, pro wrestling was at its height, and everybody was watching.
Mill City Nights
While guys like Stone Cold Steve Austin, the Rock, and Hulk Hogan were basically mainstream celebrities, there was one dude from Extreme Championship Wrestling (ECW) who was becoming a legend due to his ultra-violent style, blood-soaked matches, and insane charisma.
That man was New Jack.
A former bounty hunter, New Jack made headlines by leaping off of 20-foot-tall balconies, occasionally blurring the lines between fantasy and reality by “shooting” on opponents (wrestling speak for laying a real-life beating on someone during a match), and brutalizing opponents with weapons that included garbage cans, guitars, box cutters, and frying pans.
This Saturday night, the "Original Gangsta,” as he’s otherwise known, will be gracing Mill City Nights for independent wrestling super show Crushed 2. When asked about his role this weekend, New Jack is quick to reiterate the vague promise/threat of the event flyer, which states he's “coming to Minnesota to do whatever he wants, and that is to kill somebody.”
“It depends on what I feel like doing,” he says cryptically. “I do what I want to do, and I’m known to do that hardcore shit. We’re gonna have some fun though, don’t worry about that.”
That "hardcore shit” can literally mean anything short of death. But regardless of who or what he decides to get involved with, the one thing you can count on is that there will be weapons.
“I like using the staple gun,” he says when asked about his favorite instrument to use inside the ring. “I was suspended from ECW one time, and I was laying some carpet on the floor. I was using a staple gun and thought it was something I had never seen in a match. So I showed up the next time and told the guy I was working with we were going to use it.”
The staple gun became a staple of his matches, though even some of the biggest and toughest people in the business were nervous about letting New Jack near their face with the tool.
“Mike Awesome [former ECW, WCW, and WWE superstar] asked me not to staple him,” he recalls. “I just told him, ‘It’s not gonna hurt!’ He still didn’t want to do it, but he took it. They all did, even if they were being a bunch of pussies about it.”
His most infamous moment happened years ago, when an untrained 17-year-old wrestler faked his way into a match with New Jack, and was bludgeoned brutally, receiving 50 stitches. New Jack faced aggravated assault charges, but was eventually aquitted.
Another time, New Jack and a wrestler named Vic Grimes had planned a stunt during a match where the two men would fall from a scaffold through a stack of tables beneath them. Grimes botched the move and landed on New Jack’s head, causing a cracked skull, nerve damage, and blindness in one eye. Such a horrific injury would likely cause most wrestlers to hang up their tights (and staple gun), but most wrestlers aren’t New Jack.
Two years later, he and Grimes had a rematch. Once again, they found themselves on a scaffold, roughly 40 feet in the air, with tables scattered in the ring below. This time, however, New Jack had real-life revenge on his mind.
“I threw him the fuck off that thing,” he laughs. “I was trying to throw him over the ring and onto the floor as a receipt for what happened to me.”
Grimes lived through the fall, but the legend of New Jack continued to grow.
These days, New Jack makes the occasional in-ring appearance, but stays away from balconies. That said, he is looking forward to being a part of Crushed 2, and has some potentially life-saving advice for whoever ends up staring at him from across the ring.
“As long as they listen to me, I’m not going to hurt the guy,” he says. “But if he doesn’t listen that’s when the shit starts to happen.”
This will be the final wrestling event at Mill City Nights, which recently announced that it would be shutting its doors for good at the end of the year. In addition to New Jack, the event will feature high-flyers from Mexico City, hard-hitting women, former WWE superstars U-Gene and Anthony Carelli (Santino Marella), and local mainstays like “The Anarchist” Arik Cannon and the North Star Express.
IF YOU GO:
Crushed 2 Pro Wrestling
Mill City Nights
Saturday, Oct. 8
7 p.m.; $20-$30
Click here for tickets
Mill City Nights