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BEFORE THE GANGSTAS, THE SANDMAN, BOOKING MASS TRANSIT & MORE QUESTIONS OUT OF DARK SIDE OF THE RING'S NEW JACK EPISODE

By Mike Johnson on 2020-04-02 10:00:00

After watching Dark Side of the Ring, I wanted to ask a few questions about New Jack.  You had him on Highspots' Legends of Extreme and sat next to him.  Given his reputation and well, everything we saw on the show, were you ever worried about dealing with him?

No, absolutely not.  Anytime I have seen him, was around him in ECW, interviewed him or hosted Legends of the Extreme with New Jack, he has always treated me well and with respect and I appreciate that. He has never, ever been anything but fair and professional with me and I have seen him in some pissed moods over the years...and times where I will admit I wasn't sure he knew who I was!   We recently had Jack on the site to promote his book (which you can find at www.TheOnlyNewJack.com) and as anyone who heard it can tell you, he was great.

In the documentary, it was stated Mass Transit, Tiny the Terrible and the other little person were booked by ECW the night of the Mass Transit incident, which seemed like the first time that was stated.  Is that true and if so, why has it never been revealed?

I've never once heard that they were booked by ECW.  My guess is that the story came from Tiny the Terrible, who was interviewed for the piece.  I can't say for sure, but my gut is that like a lot of other wrestlers at the time, they showed up looking to see if they could help out or get booked in case there was a spot.  That is something that used to happen a lot on shows that you don't see happen much these days, at least in the Northeast.  But, I've never heard the story that they were booked specifically.  It wasn't a TV taping.  It was a house show.  In late 1996, ECW wasn't using a lot of talents who weren't regulars for the company on spot shows.

Why didn't someone check Mass Transit's ID?

It looks horrible in hindsight, obviously, and you can't defend that, but at the time (October 1996), ECW was a small, haphazardly run promotion that didn't have any real corporate infrastructure.  The way things worked in pro wrestling at the time, if someone vouched for you as a worker, you were often given a chance or a tryout.  My guess is that the wrestlers he arrived with vouched that he could work and that led to him being in the match with the Gangstas.  It never should have happened and anyone who vouched for him that night before he stepped into the ring deserves blame as ECW management did at the time, as did Kulas himself for lying about his age and even Kulas' father for driving him to the show (knowing he was going there to potentially wrestle).  The fact he was let in the ring was something that ended up biting ECW in the ass and was part of some major growing pains as the promotion evolved from a smaller, fringe promotion into a more nationally televised PPV entity.  There was a lot of blame to be passed around there.  Kulas never should have ever been in that locker room, pretending that he was a competent wrestler when he was really just a kid making a horribly stupid mistake.  

Who were those security guys?  They weren't Atlas Security!

No, they were not.  My guess is they were security for the venue.  Atlas came along later.

Why didn't they mention the Mass Transit thing caused the cancellation of ECW's first PPV?

My guess is either it was cut for time or, more likely, it wasn't germane to the story, which was New Jack's career.  Had they gone down that rabbit hole, they would need a lot more time and would have veered off course, which was New Jack's story.

Why would Jim Cornette let him say all those racist things in Smoky Mountain Wrestling?

The idea was to create heels that people wanted to pay to see the babyfaces beat.  They pushed the envelope for that purpose, right or wrong.  Cornette was trying to make money for his promotion.  It was off-color for sure but it was the springboard for Jack and Mustafa's careers.

Did Jack and Mustafa start in SMW?

No, I seem to remember him wrestling in Memphis before SMW, at least for a short period.  Mustafa was appearing on WCW TV doing jobs before the Gangstas were formed.  I am pretty sure Jack was wrestling in Georgia before Memphis as well but not 100% on that.

Why didn't they interview Vic Grimes for the documentary?

I don't know.  It could be he turned them down or they were unable to contact him.  Let's be honest though - if you were Vic Grimes, would you want to go back and revisit all that?

What happened to the Sandman?  He looked so old.

As Indiana Jones once famously said, "It's not the years.  It's the miles."  Sandman has a LOT of miles on his body.  He's 56, took a lot of punishment in the ring over the last several decades and well, didn't live the healthiest lifestyle, in or out of the ring.  I think given that all he's been through, he's lucky to be alive.  As Tommy Dreamer joked on Vice TV, Sandman looks good for a guy who died three times.

What do you think New Jack's legacy is going to be?

He's going to be someone who's legend grows over time, in a good and bad way.  Some will see him as this mythical crazy brawler, just as people look upon Bruiser Brody and Abdullah the Butcher and Cactus Jack as these crazy monstrous figures.   Some will see him as a guy who went too far.  I think the documentary certainly makes the case for both.  Jack himself said he wants his legacy to be that he was one of the most violent men in the world.  I don't think anyone's going to argue he'll have that title within pro wrestling circles.  I do hope that over time, he is also remembered as a person who really pushed himself to give the fans something they would remember with all the dives.  There were a lot of times those dives could have gone bad. I was there in NYC when he hurt himself going off the balcony in the Elks Lodge. I remember a fan shoving him as he came off a balcony in I believe Milwaukee and he came down SO wrong. I saw him basically take himself out wrestling Bam Bam Bigelow in Georgia. We all saw what happened in Danbury. There are 100 plus other times at least a dive could have gone wrong. It takes a special breed of person to go all out like that.  At the end of the day, he made his name being controversial and I don't think we'll see anyone with that level of notoriety in the future, given how pro wrestling has evolved.  There will only be one New Jack, which is probably a good thing for anyone who he ever felt crossed him!

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