Tag Team Appreciation Month

THE GANGSTAS

1994 - 1997

SMW Tag Team Champions

ECW World Tag Team Champions

 

 

Written by Adam Zimmerman

New Jack and Mustafa Saed first formed The Gangstas while wrestling in the North Georgia Wrestling Alliance. Prior to this, New Jack had a brief stint in the USWA while Mustafa was trained by Gene Anderson and was being used as enhancement talent for WCW and the WWF. After forming the team, they quickly won the NGWA Tag Team Titles and also, just as quickly, left the territory and dropped the title belts. 

 

The next place The Gangstas showed up was Jim Cornette's Smoky Mountain Wrestling and man, did they ever cause some chaos! I've personally never seen a tag team with such intense, "nuclear" heat the likes of which they had. The SMW version of The Gangstas also originally included D-Lo Brown. D-Lo was basically used as the "worker" of the group; the member who had the most experience and could work a decent match and could also be used to take a pinfall or beating if need be so as to not make the two core members of the group look weak. You know, he played the "Buddy Roberts role" of the group. When they burst onto the SMW scene, though, New Jack was definitely the talker of the group.

New Jack would come out and cut scathing promos on the fans that he deemed racist and hillbillies and inform them that they HAD to put up with him. He threatened to beat everyone "like I own 'em". One of his most infamous lines is when he said, "I'd like to give a shout-out to my homeboy, OJ Simpson. That's two of them down, keep up the good work!". 

 

The Gangstas also utilized two-counts to win their matches due to "Affirmative Action" which further infuriated the fans. The fans absolutely hated The Gangstas and since they were the most over heels, they were thrust into a feud with the most over babyfaces; the Rock N' Roll Express. The two teams feuded heavily for the SMW Tag Team Championships throughout 1994 even participating in a bloody, violent "street fight" match that was perhaps the precursor to The Gangstas violent days to follow in ECW. This is also where my own, personal story of meeting New Jack comes into play.

During the big angle between the Rock N Roll Express and The Gangstas, SMW held a house show at (once again) Expoland in Fishersville, VA. Expoland covers a lot of area and is still used for Monster Truck rallies, demolition derbies, gun shows, and various other things that the rednecks (I use that term in the kindest of ways *ahem*) around here enjoy... including wrasslin'. 

 

The SMW show was held indoors in one of the many smaller buildings scattered around the complex. It's pretty safe to say that this was probably one of SMW's smallest house shows but their television played around here and I suppose they wanted to give us something to see live in order to keep us invested in the product. Despite it being a small show, the main event was still headlined by the R-N-R Express vs The Gangstas. 

 

It's nice that even though it was a "B-show", Corny brought in the "A-team", so to speak. Not literally as in there were no confirmed Mr. T sightings but the "A-team" nonetheless. I was 13 when my family and I attended this show which would make my sister around 9 or so: she's the "star" of this encounter. I'd think that even she would admit that she was sort of a loud, obnoxious kid during those years and one of her favorite things to do was yell at the "bad guys" when we attended wrasslin' shows. On this particular night, her target was New Jack.

When The Gangstas made their entrance, she ran down to the entrance ramp while my family and I kept our seats a few feet back from her. She kept yelling to New Jack, as loud as she could, "You suck! You suck!", and when he passed by, we saw him turn to her and say something. She walked back to us with sort of a confused look on her face and one of us asked her, "What did he say?".

She said, "I kept yelling 'you suck' and he told me, 'You will too... when you get a little older". You gotta love New Jack. Whether it's hitting an old man with an barbed-wire baseball bat or making a vague, sexual reference to a pre-teen girl; he's always a class act. Seriously, though, you do have to love New Jack (at least I do). There's nobody else quite like him.

 

The Gangstas left Smoky Mountain Wrestling, bound for ECW, in June of 1995 in a somewhat controversial manner, at least if you're Jim Cornette. Cornette has said that he knew The Gangstas were finishing up in SMW but he had them booked in shows through June. Apparently, they had agreed to fulfill the bookings before The Gangstas left but they ended up leaving a month early thus no-showing bookings where they were advertised. 

 

The Gangstas' ECW debut ended up being a run-in against The Public Enemy where they left TPE battered and bloodied. They went on to be known for carrying weapons to the ring and brutalizing opponents while Ice Cube and Dr. Dre's "Natural Born Killaz" blared over the PA system. While feuding and having violent and bloody matches with pretty much everyone around; they eventually won the ECW World Tag Team Championship twice. Once from The Eliminators and once from The Dudley Boyz. After Mustafa left ECW in 1997, New Jack went on to win the title for a third time with John Kronus teaming as The Gangstnators. 

 

New Jack, of course, went on to his infamous, solo career, maiming and hurting people across the nation and getting into various trouble. Mustafa seemed to lead a quieter life but still stayed somewhat active in various places. They've "reunited" a few time since, in the ring, and can often be seen together like when they (playfully) crashed one of Jim Cornette's shoot interviews for Kayfabe Commentaries in order to reminisce with him about old times. In the annals of great pro wrestling tag teams; The Gangstas definitely deserve a spotlight.

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