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Jacobs reinvents himself in ROH
By CHRIS SCHRAMM - SLAM! Wrestling


Jimmy Jacobs excites the crowd after punishing Josh Ambercrombie in the corner during a recent show in Royal Oak, Mich.
-- photo by Chris Schramm

When Jimmy Jacobs started in wrestling, he needed a gimmick. His size was his biggest opponent, standing only 5-foot-7 and weighing 160 pounds. He looked at others his size, and saw they got into a high flying and faster style of wrestling. Jacobs decided to go the opposite route.

Bruiser Brody was a wrestler who was 6-foot-5 and weighed 290 pounds. The Berzerker John Nord was a knock-off of Brody and was of similar size. They were the complete opposite of Jacobs. Jacobs loved the idea of a smaller version in the ring. He took on the moniker "The Barbaric Berzerker" including black tights, fuzzy boots and the "Huss Huss" chants that Brody and Berzerker would march to the ring doing.

Five years have passed, and although his size has remained the same, Jacobs has changed his gimmick. Nothing remains of the Brody-like image. He revived his young career by using the power of the Internet to present an angle to Ring of Honor fans.

Jacobs will bring that gimmick to Detroit this Friday when he and Tyler Black take on the TNA tag team of Alex Shelley and Chris Sabin, better known as the Motor City Machine Guns. It is the first ROH appearance for Shelley and Sabin in over a year. TNA prohibits contract wrestlers from appearing on DVD and PPVs of other companies. ROH had decided that is was pointless to use TNA talent if they could not sell their matches to those outside the live crowd.

"You'd be mistaken if you are to see this Friday's contest between the Motor City Machine Guns and the Age of the Fall as just another pro wrestling dream match," Jacobs wrote on AgeoftheFall.com. "As Shelley and Sabin try feverishly to fit in with today’s over produced, faux counter culture, they end up looking like fools to the kids who believe in everything after looking the part."

As Jacobs heads into one of the biggest matches of his career, he sat down with SLAM! Wrestling to discuss his career, injuries and future.

"Wrestling is always adapting to the world," Jacobs said when asked about the idea of presenting a wrestling angle on YouTube. Jacobs explained the idea to the people behind Ring of Honor in 2006. Valet Lacey seemed more important to Jacobs than the matches, thus costing Jacobs numerous matches due to being distracted.

Music videos began to emerge on YouTube of Jacobs' proclaiming his love to Lacey. When Jacobs was out of action last year with an ACL injury, he kept himself familiar with fans by filming short vignettes of him and Lacey in Chicago together. He would also accompany Lacey to the ring during her matches in ROH.

"When we started the videos, YouTube was hot, Emo was hot," Jacobs said. Jacobs had changed his look, becoming more Emo-looking including a darker look with a cane and long jacket.

Lacey complimented Jacobs for helping her career as well. "He put a tremendous amount of effort into everything he did for me," she said. "Writing the songs, making the videos and more was dedication. You have to admire that."

"I was almost out of a job at Ring of Honor," Jacobs recalled. "My buddies and I made the first video and sent it to Ring of Honor."

The videos were the buzz of the Internet. It almost brought confusion to some as something like this had never been tried. It was a success and was the talk of Ring of Honor for most of 2007.

Jacobs became a cult favorite including fans shining the light of their cell phone screens during his dark entrance.

Jacobs would go on to form "The Age of the Fall" with Necro Butcher and Tyler Black. The formation of the group was built around cryptic messages on message boards detailing a new group coming to ROH named "Project 161." Even ROH Brooker Gabe Sapolsky claimed it was just some ROH fans and nothing should be made of it.

Then came a September 15, 2007 ROH pay-per-view taping where Necro Butcher hung a bloody Jay Briscoe from the rope that held up a title belt during a ladder match. The footage was determined to be too controversial and was pulled from the pay-per-view.

The group has been successful, including Black and Jacobs winning the ROH Tag Team titles from the Briscoes on December 30, 2007. The two would lose the belts on January 26 of this year.

But Jacobs is young and has a long career in front of him.

Jacobs noted his desire to wrestle in Japan as a goal of his. Jacobs has found wrestling a full-time job for him, working Ring of Honor, as well as promotions around his house in Michigan.

Jacobs heads into Friday’s ROH show in Detroit hoping to take another step in his career. "I have goals I want to meet, and I will be shooting for those."

Chris Schramm has written for SLAM! Wrestling since 1997. He has a degree from the School of Journalism from the University of Kansas. Like Jacobs, he currently resides in Michigan where he hopes to one day escape from the madness.