The Mass Transit Incident was an infamous event in professional wrestling that occurred at an Extreme Championship Wrestling house show on November 23, 1996 in Revere, Massachusetts. Eric Kulas, an aspiring 350-pound (158.7 kg) teenager who wanted to become a wrestler, convinced Extreme Championship Wrestling president and booker Paul Heyman to allow him to fill in for Axl Rotten, who was scheduled to work a tag match with D-Von Dudley against The Gangstas (New Jack and Mustapha Saed). Kulas performed as Mass Transit.
During the match, D-Von and Mustapha brawled outside of the ring while New Jack and Transit fought inside the ring. The match was a squash, as Mustapha easily isolated D-Von outside the ring while New Jack severely beat Transit with foreign objects such as chairs and toasters. The end saw New Jack blade Transit deeply, which sparked a series of incidents that included New Jack's arrest and the cancellation of ECW's impending first pay-per-view broadcast Barely Legal. Authorities later determined that Kulas had lied to Paul Heyman about his age and experience; Kulas claimed to be 19 years of age, but he was really 17 years old. He claimed to have been trained by Killer Kowalski, and Stephen Kulas (his father) even vouched for his son, but Kulas was never formally trained to wrestle.
Three years after the incident, Jerome "New Jack" Young was tried on charges of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, and was later sued by the Kulas family. After hearing about Eric Kulas' request to New Jack to make him "get color" (bleed), a jury acquitted Young of all charges in the criminal trial, and he was later declared not liable in the civil trial. The incident led to the cancellation of the Barely Legal pay-per-view by pay-per-view provider IN DEMAND, but Paul Heyman (by his own admission in The Rise and Fall of ECW documentary), begged and pleaded with IN DEMAND and was finally able to convince the company that they had been misled and were placed back on the schedule some time later. Performers who testified at Jerome Young's trial stated that Eric Kulas was extremely arrogant and demanding backstage prior to the match, and, when told he'd have to bleed as part of the match, Kulas had asked Young to do it since he had never done it. They testified that Stephen Kulas began berating The Gangstas and screamed, "He's only 17!" and "Take it easy on him, he's just a kid!" when they isolated his son from D-Von Dudley and double-teamed him. When it came time to actually blade Kulas, Young claimed that Kulas flinched during the process, causing the exacto knife blade embedded in a piece of wood he used to cut deeper than he planned; two arteries in Kulas' forehead were severed. The wound took fifty stitches to close. Young later stated, in Jeremy Borash's unauthorized documentary, Forever Hardcore, that it was a surgeon's scalpel.
Due to the event being a house show, the match was not televised. However, Extreme Fan Cam was on hand to record the event on a camcorder, which was used as evidence for the trial; video footage showed New Jack asking Kulas: "You alright?" This prompted some to consider his actions moments later as part of the show and not representative of his true feelings. After the blading, the Gangstas proceeded to work Kulas over even more, prompting Stephen Kulas to scream, "Ring the (Expletive) bell, he's 17!" As medics rushed into the ring to aid Kulas, New Jack grabbed the house microphone and exclaimed, "McMahon, Bischoff, look at this motherf**ker! As far as I'm concerned, that fat piece of sh*t can bleed to (Expletive) death, because I don't give a (expletive)". With the help of the Internet, the video of the incident has spread among the wrestling community.
Eric Kulas died on May 12, 2002 at the age of 22 due to complications from gastric bypass surgery.
New Jack later stated in interviews that after he found out about Kulas' duplicity, he didn't have any remorse for what he had done. In the WWE book, "The Rise and Fall of ECW", Paul Heyman states that Kulas's dubious credentials as a student of Killer Kowalski were endorsed by a then-known midget wrestler who was with Kulas when he and his father approached the staff about getting Eric in. The book also states that as the medic crew carried him out, he was escorted by Tommy Dreamer, who held Kulas's hand. Passing by the audience, Kulas began giving them the finger in an attempt to continue on "being the bad guy".
I think the real villain in this story is Paul Heyman and this kids father for arranging him to compete with no training, no background or experience in wrestling, while being totally out of shape for it too.
I mean, if you're gonna do something like that, put the kid up against Spike Dudley (no disrespect to Spike) not New Jack, or just make the match a handicap or 1 on 1.
What kind of father encourages their 17 year old son into a ring with the most dangerous extreme wrestler of all time?