Born and bred in Brooklyn, N.Y., and now living in New Jersey, I have developed a deep appreciation for maniacal toughness, especially when it comes to professional wrestling.
So, that’s why I love watching the trio of male Garden State grapplers such as Joe Gacy (NXT), Ace Austin (Impact Wrestling) and Jay Lethal (AEW).
Gacy, real name Joseph Ruby, is from Batsto, NJ (Twitter), and performs for WWE’s NXT 2.0 brand, with the Schism, Rip Fowler and Jagger Reid, by his side.
Gacy is veteran of the squared circle, having wrestled for promotions the likes of Combat Zone Wrestling (CZW), where he was three-time World Heavyweight Champion and three-time Wired title holder.
Gacy also wrestled for Evolve, where he held the tag team strap with Eddie Kingston (AEW), Brii Combination Wrestling, where was the Heavyweight Champ, and East Coast Wrestling Association (ECWA), wearing the Mid-Atlantic Heavyweight Championship around his waist.
I saw Gacy wrestle Chris Payne at a Five Borough Wrestling card in Brooklyn in 2017, and at an EVOLVE Wrestling event as part of the faction known as The Unwanted in September, in Brooklyn, in 2019.
The Unwanted stable also featured Kingston, Sean Maluta (Ex-NXT), Natalia Markova, Shane Strickland (Ex-NXT. AEW), and Colby Corino (ex-Ring of Honor).
Gacy, known as the wrestling manic on the pro wrestling indie scene, and for good reasons, lived up to his billing, kicking ass and bleeding for his craft at every turn.
Real-life name Austin James Highley, Austin is known for his amazing, high-flying ariel tactics, winning three Impact Wrestling X-Division Championships, and is a current Bullet Club member for New Japan Pro Wrestling (NJPW).
Additionally, Austin, who hails from Atlantic City, N.J., has performed for CZW after graduating from the “Wild Samoan Pro-Wrestling Training Center” wrestling school.
Plus, he has stepped into the rings of federations such as Major League Wrestling (MLW), Tommy Dreamer’s House of Hardcore, Florida-based World Xtreme Wrestling (WXW), as well numerous other promotions across the globe.
Born in Elizabeth, New Jersey, and as Jamar Shipman, Lethal has captured 13 championships between ROH and TNA (now known as Impact Wrestling) across his longstanding, illustrious pro wrestling career.
The list of championships is downright impressive for Lethal, who was a Two-time ROH World Champ and holds the record for most total days with the World Championship in company history.
Plus, the wrestler F.K.A Black Machismo was a ROH two-time World Television title holder, securing the strap for an impressive 567 days. And he was a former ROH World Tag Team Champion with Jonathan Gresham and enjoyed a stint as the promotion’s Pure Champ.
Also, Lethal was a six-time TNA X Division Champion and a former TNA World Tag Team Champion with Consequences Creed (WWE’s Xaiver Woods) as The Lethal Consequences. — Jerry Del Priore