In compiling our infamously too routine article “Wrestling World Cries…” after learning of New Jack’s death at age 58 last night, one person whose thoughts I specifically researched was Paul Heyman.
New Jack rose to fame, or infamy, in ECW. And for better or worse, ECW was Heyman’s baby.
Rather than trying to sum up his thoughts in a tweet, Paul took a few minutes at the end of this week. Talking Smack to talk about New Jack’s passing.
It’s as interesting as I thought it would be, although I wish I didn’t have to hear it:
“I was asked before this show aired if I wanted to say a few words about the passing of ECW original New Jack.
“I avoid praise as best I can because whenever I’m confronted with them the first thing that comes to my mind is, ‘Hey, that sucks, and I can’t put a good spin on it. . ‘
“When I heard that New Jack had passed, I was hoping New Jack had turned to his own wife and said, ‘Hey, I’d like to read my own obituary. Call a group of people and tell them I’m dead. Everyone is going to make a big deal out of it, and I’m going to read about my own life. Then at one point this weekend they were selling a bunch of t-shirts and he would sit there and say, “Gotcha! Because that’s what New Jack would do.
“And apparently it doesn’t – which sucks.
“Usually when we were paying homage to someone here in WWE, we would show a lot of footage of that person, and to be frank, we can’t show you a lot of footage of New Jack because he was THE neither. -Video game performer in the history of sports entertainment. Because New Jack was a “gangsta”. Anyone who was an ECW fan, who came to see ECW, who watched ECW, knew that from the moment his music hit – and no, we were never allowed to use his music. Why? Because as an organization we were “gangstas”, and New Jack was the most “gangstas” of all the “gangstas”.
“That was over 20 years ago, and anyone who’s ever seen New Jack perform live, or heard him cut a promo, understood how real he was. Jerome Young was quite an individual. And deep in his heart he was every piece of New Jack he could give you.
“I wish you all a most extreme weekend – ‘Gangsta style’.”
What would New Jack say? I don’t know what their relationship was like these days – the main story New Jack tells about the man he called “Paul E.” during his episode of Dark side of the ring was talking about Heyman “working” the jurors in the Mass Transit trial. But in the past, New Jack didn’t have much to say about his former boss (FYI – this link is very NSFW).
It does not matter. While, of course, there’s a good chance New Jack will watch him, laugh, and throw up a few middle fingers, it’s still a touching memory from a single artist. If it helps some of the people he misses today to assimilate their feelings, that’s what matters.
Because putting all you have to do, losing people sucks.