While compiling our sadly all-too-routine “Wrestling world mourns...” post after we learned of New Jack’s death at age 58 last night, one person whose thoughts I specifically sought out was Paul Heyman.
New Jack rose to fame, or infamy, in ECW. And for better and worse, ECW was Heyman’s baby.
Rather than try to summarize his thoughts in a tweet, Paul took a few minutes at the close of this week’s Talking Smack to speak on New Jack’s passing.
It’s as worthwhile as I thought it would be, even though I wish I didn’t have to hear it:
“I was asked before this show went on the air if I would like to say a few words about the passing of ECW original, New Jack.
“I avoid eulogies as best I can because anytime I’m faced with them, the first thing that comes to mind is, ‘Hey, this sucks, and there’s no good spin I can put on it.’
Paul Heyman’s Extreme Tribute to New Jack on Talking Smack. pic.twitter.com/FJRPnsqM1T— The Extreme Collector (@extremecollect) May 15, 2021
“When I heard that New Jack had passed away, my hope was that New Jack had turned to his own wife and said, ‘Hey, I’d like to read my own obituary. Call a bunch of people, and tell them that I died. Everybody’s going to make a big fuss about it, and I’ll read about my own life.’ Then, at some point this weekend, they’d sell a bunch of t-shirts and he’d sit there and go, ‘Gotcha!’ Because that’s what New Jack would do.
“And apparently, it’s not so - which sucks.
“Usually, when we would pay tribute to somebody here in WWE, we’d show a lot of footage of that person, and to be blunt, we can’t show you a lot of footage of New Jack because he was THE most non-PG performer in sports-entertainment history. Because New Jack was a ‘gangsta.’ Everybody who was a fan of ECW, that came to see ECW, who watched ECW, knew that fact from the moment his music hit - and no, we never had the rights to use his music. Why? Because as an organization, we were ‘gangstas,’ and New Jack was the most ‘gangstas’ of all of us ‘gangstas.’
“It’s over 20 years ago, and anybody that ever saw New Jack perform live, or heard him cut a promo, understood just how real he was. Jerome Young was quite an individual. And deep in his heart, he was every bit of New Jack that he could offer you.
“I wish you all a most extreme weekend - ‘Gangsta style.’”
What would New Jack say? I’m not sure 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 about Heyman “working” the jurors in the Mass Transit trial. But in the past, New Jack didn’t have much good to say about his former boss (fyi - that link is very NSFW).
It doesn’t matter. While, sure, there’s a decent chance New Jack would watch it, laugh, and throw up a couple of middle fingers, it’s still a touching remembrance of a unique performer. If it helps some of the people missing him today to process their feelings, that’s what matters.
Because put whatever spin you have to on it, losing people sucks.