Independent Focus: Defeating Addiction, The Inspirational Story Of Jimmy Jacobs

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Independent Focus: Defeating Addiction, The Inspirational Story Of Jimmy Jacobs
Jacobs has become a fixture in both EVOLVE and Dragon Gate USA (Photo courtesy of S. Finkelstein - getlostphotography.smugmug.com)

In the world of professional wrestling, tragedy has become a common theme.

Over the years, we’ve all heard the stories of wrestlers who have passed on far too young. The list of names is seemingly endless and many of these deaths can be attributed in one way or another to the abuse of drugs.

It has become a sad truth of the business, and it is something Jimmy Jacobs knows all too well.

Most fans of the independent wrestling scene will recognize the name of Jacobs as the man behind The Age of the Fall, one of the most dominant stables in Ring of Honor’s history.

It was as the leader of this stable where Jacobs cemented his status as a star in the wrestling industry.

The Age of the Fall was made up of Jacobs, Tyler Black, the Necro Butcher and Joey “Mercury” Matthews among others.

They ran roughshod over ROH together for nearly two years. Their reach even extended into other indy promotions, including Full Impact Pro and Pro Wrestling Guerrilla.

Longtime fans will remember Jacobs for his over-the-top “Barbaric Berzerker” gimmick, where he donned Bruiser Brody inspired furry boots and constantly channeled the legend with chants of “Huss!”

Shortly after his debut in ROH, Jimmy met Lacey and one of independent wrestling’s most notorious love affairs began.

Jacobs spent more time worrying about winning over Lacey than he did winning matches, which ultimately led to the demise of his partnership with BJ Whitmer.

The former ROH World Tag Team champions would go on to have one of the most violent feuds in the history of the promotion, all while Jacobs continued to attempt to win the heart of Lacey.

In 2007, the Age of the Fall made their debut at ROH’s “Man Up” event and Jacobs’ persona was transformed from that of a lovesick emo kid into a demented leader of one of wrestling’s most rebellious factions.

The sight of Jacobs clad in a white suit coat, being covered by the blood of Jay Briscoe, who was hanging upside-down by his feet, delivering the opening promo for the Age of the Fall, is undoubtedly one of the most disturbing moments in ROH history.

The Jacobs and Lacey love story would play on over the next few years, before she ultimately left him for Austin Aries.

The result was another one of the most violent and brutal feuds in ROH history, which culminated in an outstanding “I Quit” match at the Rising Above 2008 PPV event.

The Age of the Fall began to fall apart shortly afterwards. Tyler Black and Jimmy Jacobs feuded throughout the first half of 2009 before Jacobs announced that he was leaving Ring of Honor in July.

Since his departure from ROH, Jacobs has been bouncing between independent promotions and has spent much time battling his own personal demons.

Last month, Dragon Gate USA released a three part series of videos on YouTube entitled “Jimmy Jacobs Revealed.” These videos not only give the viewer a look into the personal life of Jacobs, but they reveal a great deal about just how bad Jacobs’ addictions had become.

In the videos, Jacobs speaks candidly about his painkiller addiction. He talks about quitting Ring of Honor, living in a van and eventually going to Europe to wrestle, essentially because he needed a place to sleep.

His addiction became so bad that he even got on the mic before a match in Europe and asked the crowd “before I wrestle, who’s got pills?”

Jacob’s downfall is a rough example of the toll that being a professional wrestler can take. Thankfully, he has managed to defeat his demons and avoid becoming another name on the long list of wrestlers who have passed on too soon.

Jacobs cites a phone call from former ROH booker Gabe Sapolsky as a major reason for his ability to overcome his addiction. Sapolsky offered Jacobs a chance to wrestle for his Dragon Gate USA promotion.

“It was the right call at the right time. I wanted to break free from my addiction, I wanted to do something with my life and here I was given an opportunity for a rebirth,” says Jacobs in his video.

Jacobs has indeed experienced a rebirth. Over the past year, he has become a regular part of the DGUSA promotion. He has also become one of the top-ranked competitors in another of Sapolsky’s promotions, EVOLVE.

The EVOLVE promotion revolves heavily around wins and losses and Jacobs currently stands at 4-1. He has positioned himself right at the top of the rankings by picking up wins over Kenn Doane, Johnny Gargano, Brad Allen, and Adam Cole.

While he may be achieving great success in EVOLVE, Jacobs is currently on the losing end of a bitter feud with Jon Moxley in Dragon Gate USA.

This rivalry really became heated at the “Fearless” PPV when Moxley and his then-associate Brian Kendrick brought out Jacobs’ former flame, Lacey, as a means of distracting Jacobs.

The situation turned chaotic when Moxley laid out Lacey with a vicious lariat in the middle of the ring.

That set up a No DQ match at DGUSA's "Uprising" PPV, which saw Moxley pick up the victory after fighting Jacobs all over the arena.

Since then, the two have posted videos on YouTube adding fuel to the fire. Moxley insulted Jacobs, calling him a spoiled rich kid.

Jacobs claims that he sees himself when he looks at Moxley, whose anger and penchant for violence are awfully similar to Jacobs circa 2007.

This feud has spilled over into Insanity Pro Wrestling, where Moxley defeated Jacobs to retain his IPW World Heavyweight Championship this past August.

The two also battled in a Chicago Street Fight at DGUSA’s “Untouchable 2010” show last month. Moxley again emerged victorious after brutally and repeatedly nailing Jacobs with a steel chair.

Despite these setbacks, Jacobs is determined to take Moxley down. They are set to go at it once again, this time in an “I Quit” match, when DGUSA debuts on Internet pay-per-view with “Bushido: Code of the Warrior” on Oct. 29.

Will Jacobs be able to defeat the man who he sees so much of his former self in?

Can he make Moxley say the words "I Quit" in front of DGUSA's biggest live audience?

Inspirational stories like Jacobs’ personal rebirth don’t come around often enough in the world of pro wrestling.

He may not be a household name and he might not be competing under the bright lights of the WWE spotlight, but Jimmy Jacobs has shown the true heart of a champion and if he can keep himself on the right path, there is no telling what he can do next.

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