Derek Burgan reviews New Jack Hardcore
Produced by Hollymood Entertainment
"Well, Jim Cornette is a racist and everybody knows it."
New Jack Hardcore is the latest DVD release from director Michael Moody (of 101 Reasons Not to be a Pro Wrestler fame). Think of it as an interesting twist on presenting a shoot interview as Jack goes over his entire sordid wrestling career throughout the course of the film. With New Jack you're all but guaranteed to hear something controversial, something funny, and more than likely a lot of bad language. This should be quite the trip. Jack immediately started talking about doing the Gangstas gimmick in Smokey Mountain Wrestling, which is where the above quote came from. New Jack also said he gave Cornette a list of possible team names, with Gangstas being the last on the list. Cornette still had to wrap his head around the term being Gangstas and not "the Gangsters." One thing that was cool about the DVD as a whole is that it would often cut to indie footage of Jack doing exactly what he was talking about. Moody's not going to be able to use SMW or ECW footage, so he does the next best thing by getting an indie equivalent. We don't see New Jack and his Gangsta partner Mustafa in SMW, but we do get to seem them at an indie show. We don't get to watch New Jack's dives in ECW Arena, but we get to see the same dive at a smaller show. It's a small thing, but after watching hundreds of shoots, it's easy to appreciation being able to see what the subjects are talking about.
Anyway, back in SMW, Cornette told New Jack to "go out there and say something to make the white people mad" for Jack's first promo. Jack proceeded to go on the mic and drove the southern rasslin' fans insane by bringing up OJ Simpson and that OJ did the world a favor by taking out two white people. You have to remember this was 1994, when the story was still hot, and the crowds SMW was playing in front of weren't exactly Wrestling Observer subscribers. Jack said that the Gangstas had to get a police escort out of the building their first night in thanks to the crowd heat. Jack then gave a bunch of great stories how he would completely fuck with the SMW fans. I really need to see some of these shows on DVD.
New Jack running buddy Chris Hamrick made an appearance by talking about how he first met New Jack. Turns out Hamrick was doing jobs in WWE and got noticed by Jim Cornette, who then brought Hamrick down to SMW. Hamrick sold his ass off for New Jack and Jack never forgot it. Later Jack was able to get Hamrick into ECW. While in ECW, Jack was getting tired of his mid-card status and was determined to go to the top of the card. Mustafa didn't mind where the Gangstas were at, and New Jack replied, "I'm glad you have that slave mentality Kunte Kinte!" After being in the ECW dog house for months and getting jobbed out, New Jack decided to start doing his crazy ass dives in order to get people to notice him. Eventually Paul Heyman started asking New Jack to do the dives, so Jack asked for, and got, more money. This would have been in the '97 time frame.
With the crowds chanting "New Jack" and not "Gangstas," Mustafa began to get upset, surprisingly, even after Jack told him that "anyone can play your part, bro." The heat between the two partners eventually became so bad that one of them had to go. Bye buy Mustafa! New Jack continued his climb to the upper half of the ECW card and felt justified in saying, "I killed all my doubters… not literally."
You know that in any shoot interview that Jack does, he's gonna talk about the ring rats. "I meet a lot of women on the road," said Jack, as a montage of him interacting with female fans aired. In one bit, the DVD took a page out of the playbook of the TV show Blind Date by having a cartoon caption of "I hope she's 18" above Jack's head as he hugged a 'rat. New Jack talked about getting an email from a 'rat that included a picture of "the ugliest kid" Jack's ever seen. Think of the ground that covers. The 'rat told Jack this was his baby and it was time for him to take responsibility for it. Long story short, Jack set up an appointment for a DNA test and the girl pulled an Ax Rotten and no-showed. Jack never heard from her again. I would love to see Jack go on one of those Maury Povich-like shows where they reveal whether or not the DNA test matches. Actually, I just heard from wrestling historian Keith Lipinski that New Jack was on one of those shows! I need to get a tape of that post haste!
New Jack briefly gave his thoughts on backyard wrestling. Jack is flattered many of these wresters copy him, but he doesn't respect them and feels the backyarders should go to a wrestling school and learn the right way. That's our ironic statement of the shoot. Believe it or not, this led straight into a segment on stapling. Yes, the fine art of using a staple gun to apply objects to the human head. Personally, I have no problem seeing guys drop from 20 feet onto stacks of tables. I don't flinch when guys catch on fire or have barbed wire literally attached to their body. But man, when someone gets a piece of paper stapled to their head, I cringe.
"Missy Hyatt…wow, what a piece of work."
I've seen shoot interviews with New Jack before, and there is just something about Missy Hyatt that brings out the very best in Jack. In ECW, Jack claimed Missy was a heroin addict and she believed it was Jack's job to babysit her. As you can imagine, Jack wasn't down with that. Jack told the details of a long talked about story involving ECW gaining the services of MMA star Paul Verleins for Hardcore Heaven '96 in exchange for sexual favors from Missy. Jack said Missy was the type of girl that would talk to her dog, her plants, and even chair. The scary thing was, in Missy's head, the chair talked back.
Speaking of insane girls. My girlfriend happened to stop in the living room as I was watching this part of the DVD and decided to add her commentary to it. When Jack used discretion and wouldn't say Missy's legit first name, just that it was, "M. Hyatt," my girlfriend immediately said, "It's Melissa." You have to understand that my girlfriend, despite not knowing anything about Missy Hyatt, was at that point absolutely convinced she knew Missy's real first name with the certainty a Physics teacher would have explaining the answer of 2+2. My girlfriend then started going out of her mind by asking, "Why is he (Jack) doing this interview from a bathroom?" followed by "You see the counter, the towels?" "Yes, I SEE IT! I said, then I paused the DVD and asked, "Are you done? Are you done?" Eventually she got up and left.
"A bunch of grown men acting like kids."
Jack talked about the old ECW crew and admitted he doesn't keep in touch with any of them, but does run into them at shows on the road. Jack misses the Sandman most of all as the two had some wild times. I can imagine. There were some incredible Sandman stories here, including Sandman using Dawn Marie's hair brush on his pubic hair. Sandman himself even gave his version of the night when he stripped naked in the middle of the ring during a show in Pensacola, Florida. At the time, Sandman felt the tape of that show was destroyed by Paul Heyman, but he later found that not to be the case. Jack also talked about the recent revival of ECW by saying, "they may bring the letters back, but the company will never come back." I guess that rules out New Jack versus THE ZOMBIE~!
New Jack called the Dudley Boys "Dumb & Dumber" and talked about how they started on the ECW ring crew before becoming wresters. Jack called D-Von "the flunky of the two" and then said at first he didn't mind watching the Dudleys go to WWE and completely rip off his gimmick. However, New Jack wasn't impressed at all with the little dig the Dudley's threw at him in the WWE Originals CD. Jack talked about some of the locker room incidents in ECW, such as Taz getting the taste slapped out of his mouth by Rob Van Dam and Taz not doing anything about it. "That's when I knew Taz was a punk," said Jack before telling a story of a fight he had with the Sandman after being called the N-WORD~! Jack also gave his thoughts on why ECW went out of business, including what Jack feeling that Paul Heyman had a gambling problem.
While ECW guys like Tommy Dreamer, Taz, and Van Dam ended up in WWE, New Jack said he couldn't play the political game and ended up working the independent circuit. Jack claimed he was approached by WCW when they were still in business, but they wanted to water down his character, so he passed. I believe that's kayfabe for "the money wasn't right." Actually, Jack did go on to talk about WCW and WWE cherry picking ECW talent, and then making the talent look like goofs. Jack was flabbergasted that the ECW guys didn't see the big picture and how the big two were, in effect, killing the little guy.
After running down XPW, Jack talked about his infamous match from October 9, 2004, in Jacksonville, Florida in which he was arrested afterward. This match is shown in its entirety and is brutal to watch. Jack does not let his opponent do anything, and then brings out a knife to start cutting the guy. Seriously, I mean stabbing the shit out of this poor dude. Outside the ring, Jack's opponent just curled up into turtle-like defense as Jack stood defiantly on the poor guy's head, warding off the guy's friends. Completely surreal to watch. Jack said his was in jail for three weeks before the charges ended up getting dropped as apparently Jack's opponent said the stabbing "spot" was planned.
"Gypsy Joe was probably over when gas was 12 cents a gallon."
After both New Jack and Chris Hamrick told stories of fans having liquid courage and getting into trouble with Jack, the DVD covered the most bizarre wresting match I have ever seen, New Jack vs. Gypsy Joe. I was able to see this match in its entirety on the Moody produced 101 Reasons Not to be a Wrestler, and it is just as bizarre to see now as then. Jack talked about being pissed off that Gypsy Joe wouldn't sell his offense, so he started to beat the guy. Unless it was one of the best gimmicked baseball bats ever, the sight of seeing New Jack hit Joe with an aluminum baseball bat covered in barbed wire was a true "OH MY GOD" moment. This is not a Hulk Hogan chair shot, this was New Jack swinging for the fences. Beyond insane and it was actually funny to hear that the hardcore match was stopped due to "unnecessary roughness." That's gotta be a first, and is right up there with the Randy Savage/Avalanche (R.I.P. John Tenta) match from WCW's first Uncensored PPV in which a No DQ match ended in a DQ. Jack closed the interview by saying he was second to nobody, and in several areas, I have to agree with him.
Bonus Features: There is actually a ton of extra footage, over 30 minutes, that didn't make the DVD. You know when it starts off with New Jack tearing apart the sheet writers ("I have no respect for these people") and starts going off on Dave Meltzer and Wade Keller, along with the "snitches" that talk to them, you're gonna have my attention. There is also the complete New Jack vs. Gypsy Joe match. This DVD has, complete, two of New Jack's three most infamous matches (the third being the Mass Transit debacle in ECW).
Overall Thoughts: This DVD is a big leap up in terms of production values when it comes to the oeuvre of Michael Moody and I like that he's gotten better and better with each release. Billed as a documentary, I'm much more comfortable recommending this as a solid New Jack shoot interview. In fact, in terms of a shoot, it is the version to get as it is visually dynamic and has New Jack being New Jack. In a word, outrageous. New Jack never bites his tongue when it comes to any topic. I liked that other wrestlers, such as Sandman and Chris Hamrick, also had the chance to tell some stories on the DVD. The two New Jack matches included are worth going out of your way to see if you have never seen them before if only to come to the realization that all of the stories you've heard about New Jack are absolutely true. A fun ride with the Original Gangsta'. For more information on New Jack: Hardcore, Click HERE or head on over to www.HollyMoodEntertainment.com.
Special Thanks to Keith Lipinski for his help with this review.
Heroes of World Class: The Story of the Von Erichs DVD
Shoot Interview with Tammy "Sunny" Sytch DVD
James Guttman's World Wrestling Insanity book
and be sure to check out the much talked about Wrestling Enjoyment Index~!
THE TWF "MENTAL WELLNESS TEST!"
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