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   August 21, 2014



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Jay Lethal

Jay Lethal
- courtesy JAPW

REAL NAME: Jamar Shipman
5' 9", 192 pounds
BORN: Elizabeth, New Jersey
NICKNAMES: Hydro

A former multimedia student at Union County (New Jersey) College, Jamar Shipman, the man TNA and Ring of Honor fans have come to know as Jay Lethal received training for his 2002 wrestling debut came as a result of winning a contest, which entitled him to six months of free training at the Jersey All Pro Wrestling school.

After the JAPW school closed down, he also studied under Mickey Whipwreck and names Dan Maff as a mentor.

With his career barely started, Shipman aka Jay Lethal defeated Ghost Shadow and Rain for the Jersey All Pro Wrestling television title on September 13, 2002 to begin a reign that lasted 11 months before he lost the title to Skinhead Ivan on August 2, 2003. He quickly followed up with success in JCW, winning that organization's Television title on June 29, 2003 with a victory over Dirty Money, and the J-Cup by defeating Homicide on August 24, 2003.

Meanwhile, Lethal, was wrestling for Ring of Honor, where he was known as Hydro and joined forced with Jody Fleisch, Angeldust, Deranged, Izzy, Dixie, Slim J, Slugga, Yeyo, and Brian XL as part of a heel stable known as Special K (a ravers gimmick), competing in several "Scramble" matches against other teams in Ring of Honor, most notably the Carnage Crew and the Spanish Announce Table.

Splitting time between Ring of Honor and JAPW, Lethal (as he was still known in the organization) defeated Azrael, Insane Dragon and Jack Evans on February 28, 2004 to win the JAPW Light Heavyweight title and, in June, would defeat Amazing Red and Sonjay Dutt at an APW show. Lethal would work for several other independent companies, including Combat Zone Wrestling and USA Pro Wrestling and, in September, would defeat Jerrelle Clark at the NWA Wildside 5th anniversary show, the same month he would team with former adversary Azrael to win a tag team tournament in NWA Upstate New York. (Azriel would, in December, upend Lethal for the JAPW Light Heavyweight title in a "belt vs. loser leaves town" match.)

Starting in July 2004, on the advice of Samoa Joe, who told him to start acting more serious, Lethal would drop the Hydro moniker in Ring of Honor, and left Special K. Lethal began battling Princess Nana's stable, especially the Weapons of Masked Destruction (which included Flash Flanagan) and Jimmy Rave. A victory over Rave on February 19, 2005 made Lethal the number one contender to the ROH Pure title. The current Pure champion John Walters defeated Lethal in Lethal's first title opportunity, but Lethal remained a top contender for the title.

Back in JAPW, Lethal's quest for that organization's Heavyweight Championship saw him attacked by his former mentor and then-champion Dan Maff after a January 28, 2005 title match that saw Lethal win the title, only to have the decision overturned. Maff tried to give Lethal the title, then attacked his former protege when Lethal's back was turned, and received help from referee Sean Hanson.

On March 5, 2005, Jay Lethal defeated John Walters to become ROH Pure Champion. Then, on March 26, 2005, Lethal was to be awarded the vacant JAPW Championship (Maff had subsequently retired). Preferring to earn the title, Lethal lost a subsequent title match against Homicide but finally defeated Homicide on May 21st in a fatal fourway match that also included Kevin Steen and Samoa Joe.

Lethal's ROH title reign lasted until May 7th, when he lost to Samoa Joe. When Lethal and Joe were attacked after the match by Homicide and Low Ki, the pair teamed up in a tag match that saw Lethal stretchered from the ring after being injured by Homicide.

Lethal would return to ROH and team with Samoa Joe against Homicide and Low Ki (aka the Rottweilers). In JAPW, meanwhile, Lethal faced off against Charlie Haas, who had turned on Lethal (and his father) during a six-man tag match against Steve Corino, Ricky Landell and Ricky Silver. Lethal would successfully defend the JAPW title against Haas on September 10, 2005.

Samoa Joe and Lethal continued to team, even after their feud with the Rottweilers was over. That is, until Lethal turned on Joe during a December 3rd match between the two. One of their first rematches came not in ROH, but on an episode of TNA Impact, where Joe defeated Lethal by submission.

On January 7, 2006, Lethal's reign as JAPW Champion came to an end at the hands of Rhino. That same month, he agreed to terms with NWA-TNA and was released from Ring of Honor, following a loss to Samoa Joe. He would go on to battle NWA World Champion Jeff Jarrett on an episode of Impact and recently qualified to be a member of Team USA in the upcoming X Cup. At Against All Odds, Lethal won a Fatal Fourway match over Petey Williams, Alex Shelley, and Matt Bentley.

--- compiled by John M. Milner

JAY LETHAL STORIES

  • September 2, 2011: Lethal still paying tribute to Savage with impression
  • July 9, 2010: Flair bout to be pinnacle of Jay Lethal's life
  • May 14, 2008: For Jay Lethal, having fun is the goal


    Visit the SLAM! Wrestling store!


    See Jay Lethal in action!
  • Best of Indys 2004 Volume 1 DVD-R
  • Best of Indys 2004 Volume 2 DVD-R
  • JAPW 7 Year Anniversay Show Double DVD-R