WWE's Paul Heyman Remembers ECW's Jerome "New Jack" Young

When WWE emerged from the ashes of the Monday Night War victorious conquering rival WCW and purchasing its assets in 2001, they also scrapped up the leftover remnants of bankrupt ECW along the way. Owner Vince McMahon then attempted to salvage what was left importing what he felt was desirable. After the failed ECW-WCW "Invasion" angle, WWE attempted to save face at least with ECW in a rebrand for SyFy mixing original talent with up-and-coming, an early conception of NXT as you will. Among those NOT included in the influx of ECW originals was the late Jerome Young, better known as New Jack, who passed on May 14. Why? The former executive in charge of ECW and current manager of Roman Reigns, Paul Heyman explained how much of a hardcore, bad motherf***er New Jack to this industry to even scare off WWE in a YouTube eulogy from the company itself.

WWE Personality Paul Heyman Remembers ECW's Jerome
Image courtesy of Vice

"[Gasp] I was asked before, this show [Talking Smack] went off the air if I would like to say a few words about the passing of ECW original New Jack and I avoid eulogies as best as I can, because any time 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. When I heard that New Jack had passed away, my hope was that New Jack had turned to his wife and said, 'Hey, I'd like to read my own obituary. Call a bunch of people and tell them that I died and then everybody's gonna make a big fuss about it and I read about my own life. Then at some point this weekend, they sell a bunch of T-shirts.' He'd sit there and go, 'Got you,' 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 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 and New Jack was a gangsta. Everybody who was a fan of ECW came to see ECW, who watched ECW knew that fact from the moment his music hit. No, we never had 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, anybody who ever saw New Jack perform live, or heard him cut a promo, understood just how real he was."

Before collecting himself again, "Jerome Young was quite an individual," Heyman said. "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" as he closed with New Jack's signature X-salute with fists closed, palm-side in front of his face. When ECW folded in January 2001, New Jack made regular appearances in the independent circuit while occasionally appearing in Total Nonstop Action Wrestling, now Impact Wrestling.

While he never appeared in any WWE-organized ECW reunion but did appear for TNA's ECW reunion PPV Hardcore Justice in 2010 never missing an opportunity to eviscerate his former employer in Heyman and McMahon in interviews. The former three-time ECW Tag Team Champion wrestled his final matches with other ECW alumni in C.W. Anderson and Shane Douglas. New Jack's life and career were chronicled on the April 6, 2021 season two episode of Vice's Dark Side of the Ring.

Enjoyed this? Please share on social media!

About Tom Chang

I'm a follower of pop culture from gaming, comics, sci-fi, fantasy, film, and TV for over 30 years. I grew up reading magazines like Starlog, Mad, and Fangoria. As a writer for over 10 years, Star Wars was the first sci-fi franchise I fell in love with. I'm a nerd-of-all-trades.
Comments will load 8 seconds after page. Click here to load them now.