TRIBUTES are pouring in for pro-wrestling legend Jerome 'New Jack' Young, who has died at the age of 58 in North Carolina.
Dubbed the "most terrifying human being who’s ever made a career out of professional wrestling", he was also "one of the more intense and charismatic performers", say reports.
Who was 'New Jack'?
Jerome Young, aka New Jack, was a fiercely competitive former professional wrestler.
The ex Extreme Championship Wrestling (ECW) star made his name for death-defying balcony diving, and for deliberately making wrestlers bleed by using an array of weapons – including a crutch.
His forehead was heavily scarred as he intentionally butchered his face so he could bleed in the ring.
The 58-year-old was best known for his "violent, hardcore style" while fighting, says the Bleacher Report.
He became notorious after beating Erich Kulas, 18, "mercilessly with a cheese grater, a plastic garbage barrel, and a crutch — and then cut his own forehead deeply enough that blood sprayed everywhere," says a profile in Grantland.
The piece adds that despite the teen passing out, New Jack kept on attacking him and even yelled, “I don’t care if the motherf***er dies!”
Later acquitted of two charges of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon in Suffolk County, Massachusetts, the teen's family civil lawsuit was thrown out.
TMZ Sports explains: "As a result of his wild style – getting hit with chairs, busting through tables, using weapons in the ring – New Jack dealt with a litany of injuries throughout his career."
New Jack was "arguably the single most terrifying human being who’s ever made a career out of professional wrestling", adds Tom Breihan for Grantland.
Breihan's profile gruesomely explains that the former bounty hunter "became famous for bringing trash cans full of weapons to the ring".
New Jack was also notorious "for wearing a staple gun around his neck and then actually using that staple gun on wrestlers’ foreheads, and for leaping off second- and third-floor balconies and onto prone opponents.
"He’s spent nights in jail for intentionally injuring other wrestlers during matches, sometimes stabbing them over and over," writes Breihan.
The star told Breihan about his drug addiction, as he "regularly wrestled while high on coke".
Asked whether he was always high during matches, New Jack replied: “No. But a lot of times I was.”
New Jack started out after forming tag team 'The Gangstas' with Mustafa Saed in the North Georgia Wrestling Alliance and then Smoky Mountain Wrestling.
The duo eventually moved on to Philadelphia-based ECW in 1995.
Ice Cube and Dr. Dre’s Natural Born Killaz blasted over as his theme music, "creating a real life movie fight scene like never before or since in pro wrestling," says PW Insider.
New Jack – one of ECW’s most popular antiheroes – held the sport's World Tag Team Championships several times.
He also featured on Vice TV's Dark Side of the Ring and the 1999 documentary Beyond the Mat.
In 2000 a staged fall went very wrong, leaving him with brain fluid leaking out of his nose and blind in one eye.
His retirement match took place in New Jersey in 2013, where he stabbed Necro Butcher’s forehead repeatedly with a fork.
He later described his extreme wrestling career as "just a job".
Weeks before his death, New Jack declared on Facebook: "I have no regrets for anything I did in or out of the ring and if you don't like me, then get the f*** off my page… you will not be missed!"
What was New Jack's cause of death?
According to his wife, Jennifer, Jerome Young died on May 14, 2021, following a heart attack in North Carolina, where he had lived in recent years, reports PW Insider.
She confirmed his passing on Facebook.
WWE said it was "saddened to learn that Jerome Young, known in ECW as New Jack, passed away today at the age of 58.
"With his fierce, competitive style, New Jack was well-known for pushing the limits of hardcore wrestling to their furthest extremes.
"WWE extends its condolences to Young’s family and friends."
Pro Wrestler Insider said: "PWInsider.com is extremely sad to report that Jerome “New Jack” Young passed away earlier this afternoon following a heart attack in North Carolina.
"At times, Young was one of the most controversial wrestlers in professional wrestling, but he was also one of the more intense and charismatic performers over the last several decades.
"There will be a lot written about Jerome Young in the days to come, good and bad, but the reality was this – he loved to perform and he loved to be New Jack in the public eye.
"He put himself through a lot of physical and mental pain in order to live his life as New Jack and… that he knew what he was getting into and that he would have no regrets, because it was the decision he chose to make.
"There is no denying his place in wrestling history and that he blazed a trail as a performer unlike anyone before and likely, like no one who will ever follow.
"Everyone at PWInsider.com sends our deepest condolences to New Jack’s family, especially his wife Jennifer as well as his friends and fans."
Was he married?
New Jack was married to Jennifer Young.
On his official Facebook page his wife posted on May 15, 2021: "For all the outpouring of love from family, friends, and fans – I'm totally blown away.
"Jerome was not only my husband, he was my best friend and I'm completely gutted.
"He loved a lot of you very much, and you'll never know how much I appreciate the love.
"I can't really respond too much right now because I'm completely broken."
She added: "I'm trying to help kids through this but I don't even know what I'm doing.
"But for those of yall ordering books today and seriously asking if they're autographed, please request a refund and as my daughter so eloquently put it, go stick your face in a lawnmower."
Did New Jack have any children?
New Jack had five children, but there is very little public information about them.
However, there was a very public fallout with one of his kids, Baltimore drag queen Washington Heights.
Heights spoke about their troubled relationship extensively to Vice in 2020.
The performer, 28, tweeted that her dad cut her out of his life in 2017, as he was allegedly ashamed of her, and wanted to keep her career secret from fans.
Heights, who uses she/her pronouns when in drag, then told the website she had not had any meaningful contact with Young, since he removed her as a Facebook friend in April 2018.
Heights said: "I don’t want to think he was ashamed of me.
"I think it was more of, he didn’t know how to damage control with his fans. He didn’t have a proper answer for his fans, so his best way of handling it was to move on from it.”
In an email to Vice, Young replied: “My son was mentioned in my book that just came out last year, so the statement about me disowning him three years ago is simply not true.
"I've heard there was a mention on his Twitter feed that he was upset because he was only mentioned once in a chapter that was half-a-page long.”
“I spoke briefly about him and four of my other children, he was actually one of my kids that was mentioned by name.
"I also mentioned the fact that I keep any information about all of my kids private, because that has nothing to do with wrestling and is my own personal business, that I prefer to keep private.”
After news broke about New Jack's death, a stunned Washington Heights initially commented on Twitter: "S**t."
The drag queen added: "This doesn’t seem real. We had our differences but at the end of the day you were my dad… fly high, killa."
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