Date: May 3, 1998
Location: Cobb County Civic Center in Marietta, GA
Source: Wrestling Observer Newsletter, Pro Wrestling Torch, Shootinterviews.com, Armpit reader Chuck Richmond
There was an altercation backstage between New Jack and the Junkyard Dog during the ECW Wrestlepalooza pay-per-view, just days before JYD died in an automobile accident.
There was heat between the two stemming from Junkyard Dog borrowing $300 worth of marijuana from New Jack and refusing to pay him back. Jack had driven JYD to an indie show and JYD promised to pay him, but that the promoter paid him with a check and that he’d pay him later.
Before the PPV show (JYD was brought in as a legend to be honored), JYD had called Tommy Rich’s house while some wrestlers were there having a cookout. Jack got on the phone and asked him to bring the money he owed him from a few years ago, and that if he didn’t have it, to not show up at the PPV. Jack claims JYD told him, “I ain’t paying you nothin’!”
On the day of the PPV, JYD was there and immediately told Jack, “I bet you thought I wasn’t going to show up. I ain’t paying you nothin’!” Jack claims Paul Heyman (who knew how volatile Jack could be) asked him not to cause any trouble during the PPV, and that whatever JYD owed him, he’d write him a check. Jack told Heyman that he didn’t want his money, that he wanted JYD’s money. But he respected Heyman enough to not cause any trouble at the show, and whatever JYD said, he let it go.
But Jack claims JYD kept antagonizing him, and Jack finally shouted back. The argument became heated, with JYD not backing down, and “punches were exchanged,” according to most reports. Jack claims JYD charged him in the hallway, and that he was able to knee him in the crotch and punched him in the face with his pinky ring. The ring cut JYD under the eye, which is why he wore a bandage on the PPV show. He also had to change his shirt, because there was blood on it that would’ve been visible on TV.
There’s little known about JYD’s side of the story, other than he claims New Jack jumped him from behind. Old school wrestlers almost always claim a sucker punch or being hit from behind, as it gives them an excuse if they were on the losing end of a fight. Neither Jack’s nor JYD’s stories look to be confirmed by anyone else. Whatever the case, it was quickly broken up. JYD was much older than Jack and out of shape by that point, so it’s a good thing it was broken up.
Jack claims JYD later tried to make amends and offer to pay him back by offering him dates on some indie shows he was promoting. Unfortunately JYD passed away just days later in auto accident, in which he was driving back home from his daughter’s graduation (which he ended up missing, to make the story even sadder). Jack never got his money, which probably made him wish he had taken up Heyman on his offer at the PPV.
Later on the PPV, Jack had a match Bam Bam Bigelow and collapsed at one point. Bigelow then tossed a bunch of chairs on Jack to wait for him to wake up. Many people believe that whatever energy Jack exerted in the fight, or blows he may have taken, contributed to his passing out. Jack claims he was conscious when Bigelow started piling on the chairs, and that one of the chairs knocked him out when it hit him behind his neck. Most involved believe Jack was just using that as an excuse, and the he did collapse on his own prior to the chairs piling up. Bigelow has also since passed away.
The whole story is sad, given JYD’s later fate and because it’s never fun to hear of an older legend getting physical with someone younger and in better shape. Luckily there were no serious injuries from either side, but it’s still an ugly incident we wish had never happened. As much as Jack has taken blame for things over the years, he did have a right to be upset for net getting paid back. It’s not clear why JYD didn’t just promise to pay him back with his ECW payoff for the show, let alone from all the years preceding that in which he could’ve paid him back.