By Mike Mooneyham
Oct. 24, 2004
Jerome Young is in jail, and he needs your help.
The volatile, controversial Young, better known in pro wrestling circles as New Jack, was arrested Oct. 10 in Florida on a charge of aggravated battery with a deadly weapon after allegedly stabbing his opponent 14 times with a prop. The 41-year-old wrestler has been held under $40,003 bond in the Duval County Jail and is scheduled for a Nov. 2 court appearance, but has been unable to post the $5,000 bond needed to release him from incarceration.
In the meantime, his Web site has been attempting to raise his bail money, including an eBay auction where a dubious winner will receive a call from the wrestler from prison.
“New Jack will call you at your home, work or office,” according to the notice. “Note that this will be a collect call right from Jacksonville, Fla., jail where the Original Gangsta is waiting to stand trial for 14 counts of assault with a deadly weapon during a hardcore match. It doesn’t get any cooler than this!”Funny, but cool isn’t quite the word I’d use to describe this situation, which isn’t the first for Jerome Young nor likely will it be the last.
The arrest stems from a match involving New Jack (Young) that was part of a Jacksonville-based Thunder Wrestling Federation event. Young and his opponent told police the prop in question was part of a hard-core match. Adrian “Tank” Lewis, a performer for locally based Carolina Pro Wrestling, was in attendance and called it the bloodiest bout he’d ever seen.
“It was something you don’t expect to see on a wrestling show – not even for a hard-core match,” he said. “All you could see was the knife going in and out.”
Young told police he and his opponent, William “Hunter” Lane, 37, planned before the match to use a piece of metal to inflict “some injury.” Lane, who was treated and released at a Jacksonville hospital, told officers he wasn’t sure what happened but that “this is a dangerous sport,” according to a police report.
“There was no script in that match. It was a pure shoot,” said Lewis. “It didn’t look like any hard-core match I had ever seen, and I’ve seen New Jack wrestle in hard-core matches before.”
A woman identified as Lane’s girlfriend told The Florida Times-Union that the match was supposed to be hard-core but not violent.
“It wasn’t supposed to happen like that. But it did, and he got hurt pretty bad,” said Meghan Hancock.
Lewis said Young brought crutches, brass knuckles with claws on them and a baseball bat wrapped with barbed wire to the ring. Fortunately, said Lewis, Young never got around to using those gimmicks. “The knife was all he got a chance to use, but it was more than enough,” he added.
Lewis said it was less than five minutes before the referee stopped the match. He said he was videotaping the show, but stopped filming when the promoter walked up to Young.
“It was just something I didn’t want to videotape anymore,” Lewis explained. “It was a match I wouldn’t want to show anybody, especially some young wrestler coming up in the business.”
Witnesses claim that the promotion has staged a number of hard-core matches in the past, and as recently as last month featured a Jacksonville Street Fight that included New Jack. Lewis confirmed that Young had appeared in similar hard-core matches for the company, including one in which he smashed 15 fluorescent light bulbs over his opponent’s head.
Lewis said the event’s promoter, Maurice Williams, was actually Young’s uncle, and that Young’s opponent had asked to work with him in a hard-core match. Williams said wrestlers will be checked closely before future bouts.
“We wrestle. You won’t see any barbed wire bats and chains … There will be nothing (like that) ever coming near Thunder again,” he posted on his Web site.
The senseless bloodletting wasn’t the first for Young. The Georgia native was involved in a similar incident in 1996 in the now-defunct ECW when he carved up a 17-year-old novice named “Mass Transit” Erich Kulas during a match in Revere, Mass.
Young, known for hauling shopping carts to the ring loaded with foreign objects and routinely stapling opponents’ heads with a staple gun, sank an X-Acto knife into the 370-pound Kulas’ scalp before the youngster was carted off in a stretcher. The incident generated considerable negative press for the promotion and a subsequent trial, and raised questions about the violence level in the wrestling business.
While the video of the savage beating was aired, Kulas was not viewed as a credible witness as his testimony was contradicted by a number of witnesses, who pointed out that Kulas had been a participant in a weapons match just weeks prior to the bout with New Jack, and that he had been aware that he was going to bleed in the New Jack match. Young was acquitted of aggravated assault and assault with a dangerous weapon in a 1999 trial in Boston.
Young, a former bounty hunter who once shot and killed a man during a bust, has long been regarded as one of the most unpredictable performers in the business and a proponent of extreme wrestling. He has broken his back and both arms, and has broken a leg on four occasions. He also claims to have suffered 38 concussions.
Young, who has been a mainstay on the independent wrestling circuit, reportedly had told friends in recent weeks that he was having talks with WWE to be part of a new Nation of Domination group.
– “Dr. Death” Steve Williams, who has been battling throat cancer and underwent removal of his voice box last month, is back in the hospital for further surgery.
Williams, who underwent a laryngectomy (removal of the voice box) earlier this month, was scheduled to undergo a 10-hour procedure Friday in which skin was to have been taken from his leg and used to patch a hole in his throat. The surgery was done in hopes that Williams would eventually be able to speak again.
– Longtime wrestling announcer “Mean” Gene Okerlund has undergone a second kidney transplant. A distant relative reportedly donated the kidney.
– John Bradshaw Layfield (with Orlando Jordan) will defend his WWE title against The Undertaker in the main event of a Smackdown event Nov. 27 at the North Charleston Coliseum. Also tentatively scheduled: Big Show vs. Kurt Angle; Eddie Guerrero, Rob Van Dam and Rey Mysterio vs. Booker T, Luther Reigns and Mark Jindrak; Chavo Guerrero vs. Carlito Caribbean Cool in a U.S. title match; Rico and Charlie Haas (with Miss Jackie) vs. Rene Dupree and Kenzo Suzuki (with Hiroko); John Heidenrich vs. Hardcore Holly; Johnny “The Bull” Stamboli and Nunzio vs. The Dudleys; Spike Dudley vs. Paul London vs. Billy Kidman in a three-way match for the WWE cruiserweight title; and Funaki and Scotty Too Hotty vs. The Basham Brothers. Smackdown general manager Theodore Long and Torrie Wilson also will appear.
Ticket prices are $41, $31, $26 and $21 (plus applicable fees). Tickets are available at the North Charleston Coliseum box office, all Ticketmaster outlets, charge-by-phone at 554-6060 or on-line at ticketmaster.com.