Former ECW star and controversial wrestling personality New Jack has died at 58. New Jack, real name Jerome Young, reportedly suffered a heart attack in North Carolina according to PWInsider through a statement from his wife, Jennifer.
New Jack's legacy in the ring easily fills the definition of controversial and extreme. He got his start in Georgia, later forming the tag team The Gangstas with Mustafa during a run in Smoky Mountain Wrestling. New Jack's abilities on the mic and the seething hate of the southern crowd helped push the team over the top and paved the way for their arrival in Extreme Championship Wrestling.
In ECW, New Jack's signature became a shopping cart full of weapons, the booming sounds of Dr. Dre and Ice Cube rapping "Natural Born Killaz" and the type of ultraviolence people paid to see during the Roman Empire. Never make an open challenge in ECW or you'll end up getting smashed with any number of household items.
Contrary to other professional wrestlers, New Jack will not go down in history for his achievements in the ring. Instead, Jack will likely be known for his violent, bloody incidents in the ring and the blur between an in-ring "work" and reality.
Young was taken to court over the infamous Mass Transit incident, his match against the elderly Gypsy Joe that devolved into a brutal beating and near riot, and his attempt to kill, in his own words, a fellow wrestler after a prior botched move injured New Jack and left him with brain damage.
Despite all this, New Jack was popular in his time and earned respect from his peers. He also found success in his gimmick and essentially lived it, sometimes boasting about the "justifiable homicides" on his record. His story was even a centerpiece during season two of Vice's Dark Side of The Ring covering his attitude, controversies, and career trajectory.
While he never made it to WWE or would even be considered for the Hall of Fame, New Jack goes down as one of the most memorable acts in pro wrestling during the modern era. Fans knew what'd they be getting when that music hit and New Jack rarely disappointed.