New Jack vs Gypsy Joe

Date: April 2003
Location: Freddie’s Auction Barn in Columbia, TN
Source: Wrestling Observer Newsletter, Armpit reader Tim

Gypsy Joe, who passed away in 2016, was known for his legendary toughness as a regional star in the Tennessee area. New Jack was known for having a short temper and getting into more backstage fights than probably any other wrestler in history. When the two men faced off in 2003 for NWA Main Event Wrestling, it had the potential to get ugly.

Trouble started before the show, as Jack didn’t really understand or respect who Joe was. The problem was that Joe was 69 years old at the time of the match, and his body looked it. To Jack, he was just an old man who had been around for decades, and he felt it was beneath him to have a match with someone his age. It was very much a ridiculous match to book, and Jack was going to look bad no matter what, whether he sold for someone over 20 years older than he was, or tried a comedy match with him.

Before the match started, Jack already had an altercation with a fan who called him the N word. He swung at him and knocked his hat off, but security took the man away. While nothing further happened with the fans, it put Jack in a bad mood.

Also before the match, Joe had been bragging that he was hardcore before hardcore was even invented. This also may have angered Jack, as he felt he was known for being the most hardcore wrestler. Joe also claimed Jack showed him no respect backstage, and despite his age, he wasn’t the kind of guy who would just roll over and let Jack get away with anything.

At some point during the match, the two had problems and things fell apart. Jack claims Joe gave him a stiff headbutt, which was one of his trademark spots for years, along with a stiff blow to the neck.  Joe claims Jack felt woozy from the headbutt because of drugs Jack was allegedly taking before the match. He felt it was a hardcore match and therefore anything goes, including stiff headbutts.  Whatever the case, Joe wouldn’t sell any of his offense. Frustrated, Jack threw him down several times and roughed him up. Joe continued to no-sell, so Jack threw chairs at him and even whipped with a chain, all for real. Fans were in shock. Even though they knew Joe for decades was a tough guy, they were appalled that Jack would be so stiff with a man his age.

Finally Jack pulled out an aluminum baseball bat wrapped in barbed ware. Jack proceeded to whack Joe in the upper back with it, hard. Joe kept no-selling it, so Jack threw him into a row of chairs before walking away and threatening people in the crowd. The promoter had to come out and stop the match due to excessive violence.

The funny part was that Joe just walked off like nothing, still not selling being hurt at all. A lot of people were furious at Jack, as they should have been, given his behavior and Joe’s age. If Joe were younger, he’d have cleaned Jack’s clock. Still, friends of Joe maintained they weren’t worried at all because they all believed Joe was incapable of being hurt.

Indeed, Joe wrestled the next afternoon. He wasn’t as upset about the stiff shots as he was about the lack of respect Jack showed him before the match. Joe remained very bitter about it, and carried a knife with him in his gym bag when he worked indie shows. He had hoped Jack would be booked on the same show with him, but the two ended up never seeing each other again. That was for the best, as Jack is capable of anything and Joe was stubborn enough to not back down from him.

The match was taped and can be seen online, but it’s uncomfortable to watch.