Jesse Scott has appeared in Canadian rings for over 20 years under his alter egos JT Playa and Tiberius King.

Behind the scenes he has been a booker, trainer and owner of his own wrestling organizations, most notably NEO Spirit Pro. Through those roles, he affected many lives along the way. He is giving of his love, energy and passion for the sport of professional wrestling, but more importantly, to his friends. I am fortunate to be one of those friends.

Now we need to give back to him.

Jesse Scott has terminal cancer.

He is a husband and a father of three boys.

Jesse needs our help (and not just through the GoFundMe campaign).

The thing is that Jesse would never brag, he’d never tell you that he did anything exceptional. He is humble to a fault, always deflecting any praise with a joke, a fun story or a silly pantomime.

But I know better. We know better.

Once we spread the word that we were collecting stories on Jesse Scott / JT Playa / Tiberius King, the floodgates opened. His friends, colleagues, students and contemporaries have graciously shared their thoughts about he means to them.

ADDENDUM: Jesse Scott died May 8, 2024.

Jesse Scott accepts his induction into the NEO Spirit Pro Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2023. Photo by Sam Cino,

Jesse Scott accepts his induction into the NEO Spirit Pro Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2023. Photo by Sam Cino,

Sam Cino: Without Jesse, there is no NEO. Without NEO, there is no me.

Jesse is my wrestling father. A title we give to those who trained or mentored us. I had already been refereeing for some years on the Ontario indies when Jesse returned to actively wrestling. We met at PWA Niagara where I had refereed his matches. I had heard stories of the original NEO from veteran wrestlers and when I read about the 2010s re-launch I knew it was where I needed to be.

NEOs original run had given spotlight to so many now-famous names. A small selection of names being: Showtime Eric Young, Cody Deaner (then Cody Steele), Shawn Spears, and Crazzy Steve. Other names from that era are still well known (and some are still active!), such as: The Original Hacker, The Italianos (Primo Scordino and Stickball Tony Carbonie), Jake O’Reilly, Notorious TID, Custom Made Man. NEOs second run featured names such as: Rhyno, Kevin Nash, RJ City, The Blade (then Pepper Parks), Anthony Darko, Tyler Tirva, Asylum & Burns (The Flatliners). On the ladies side: Jennifer Blake, The Bunny (then Cherry Bomb), Rosemary/Courtney Rush, and Allysin Kay.

He had his referee spots already filled, but he needed a photographer. Our marketing team (consisting of Jesse, his wife Stella, and myself) spent many nights photographing the iconic NEO posters and marketing art during this second run when he ran the NEO dojo. I sat in on many training classes taking behind the scene photos and learned the craft second hand. He taught me what’s needed not only in a match, but the overall production of a show. The timing, flow and pacing, everything you could think of. He has such a mind for wrestling I cannot put it into the appropriate words.

He is an asset to all locker rooms and deserves many, many, many more accolades than he has received. He should be on TV every week and in WrestleMania’s main event. He will forever be one of the greats from Ontario. He is my friend and now my one of my business partners as we begin the second year of NEOs third run. Without him, I would not be here.

JT Playa and Eric Young in NEO Spirit Pro Wrestling on July 19, 2003. Photo by Emanuel Melo

JT Playa and Eric Young in NEO Spirit Pro Wrestling on July 19, 2003. Photo by Emanuel Melo

Eric Young (currently in TNA): Jesse Scott is one of my best friends. I feel like a lot of people would say that and that is indicative of the type of person he is! A very talented performer both on the the mic and in the ring and I believe a very underrated wrestling mind very ahead of his time. More importantly a great friend and great man and great husband and father. This terrible disease is taking someone that should NEVER be taken from us. Although it is very unfair to us and his wife and his kids, his impact during his short time on this earth is unmeasurable.

I feel I would not be the man or the performer I am without his friendship and his trust in me as a performer! I learned so much working for Fighting Spirit and NEO Pro Wrestling, like what it was to be relied on in a big spot, what it was to main event a show, about long form storytelling where there were very few places even doing that independently anywhere in the world.

Jesse helped put me on the map as a wrestler and gave me a platform to do what I do and excel at it. Really, I believe he and his promotion gave me the confidence to become the performer I am today and not sure I could have or would have made it to my level of success without him.

He lived with me in Nashville for a few years in a little apartment where we shared everything, and those were two of the best years of my life! He can make anything interesting and fun — watching TV shows, watching movies, playing video games, working on bad small wrestling shows.

To me he is one of the most special human beings I have ever met and I am a better person having met him and shared so much time with him! I love this man and everything about him — and always will.

Kevin Nash and Jesse Scott. Photo by Sam Cino,

Kevin Nash and Jesse Scott. Photo by Sam Cino,

RJ City (currently in AEW): JT was someone I was happy and lucky to work for, with and against. A constant pleasure in the locker room and the ring — though he had a horrible habit of constantly doing an impression of Scott Hall. One time, Tyler Tirva and I wrestled JT and Kevin Nash, on JT’s birthday. Nash said, “It’s your birthday? Why don’t YOU do the jackknife powerbomb tonight?” JT just giggled, and graciously accepted that Nash didn’t want to powerbomb either of us.

JT Playa in NEO Spirit Pro Wrestling on October 25, 2003. Photo by Emanuel Melo

JT Playa in NEO Spirit Pro Wrestling on October 25, 2003. Photo by Emanuel Melo

Emanuel Melo, photographer: He pioneered a promotion that gave birth to so many future wrestling stars: Shawn Spears, Cody Deaner, Crazy Steve, Angel Williams, and Beth Phoenix to name a few. At my first NEO show, future WWE Hall of Famer Beth was taking tickets at the door. The return of NEO in 2023 was met with so much excitement for Ontario wrestling fans. That’s a testament to how great Jesse was in building NEO. Top it off with the fact that Jesse is probably one of the kindest individuals in wrestling.

Josh Alexander (currently in TNA): When I first started, 18 plus years ago, I met Jesse Scott. The one thing I can say is there’s a lot of veterans, especially in this Ontario wrestling bubble, and a lot of them were very protective and didn’t want to help out younger talent, stuff like that — very protective of things, and that’s just the way it was back in the day, and still is somewhat to this day. But Jesse has always had this energy and kindness, and he has always had this ability to make me and everybody else laugh.

I think that his presence in locker rooms is something that is needed. It’s something that I’ve taken tidbits up from my own way of managing myself in locker rooms. He’s the utmost professional, man. He’s one of the kindest people you’ve ever met in your life. He loves wrestling and he just bleeds that when you talk to him and when you see him.

Look for both Crazzy Steve and Josh Alexander in tihs group photo with Jesse Scott from NPSW on October 18, 20211, in Niagara Falls, Ontario. Photo by Tabercil

Look for both Crazzy Steve and Josh Alexander in tihs group photo with Jesse Scott from NPSW on October 18, 20211, in Niagara Falls, Ontario. Photo by Tabercil

Crazzy Steve (currently in TNA): When I was still attending wrestling shows as a fan, There were always two promotions in Ontario that, to me, were the cream of the crop when it came to independent wrestling. One being, Border City Wrestling out of Windsor, Ontario, and the other bein, NEO Spirit Pro based out of Niagara Falls, which was owned and operated by Jesse Scott.

For a lot of us, our professional wrestling journey would look a lot different if it wasn’t for Jesse and NEO Spirit Pro Wrestling. Guys like myself, Cody Deaner, Jake, O’Reilly, and Shawn Spears all got our break in professional wrestling thanks to Jesse Scott and NSP. Besides giving us a stage to perform on, Jesse gave us all something much more worthwhile, he gave us a family.

Sure you don’t always get along with each and everyone of your family members, but at the end of the day, the men and women who frequented the NEO Spirit Pro locker room all had the same passion and love for professional wrestling as Jesse does. To this day, the core group of my closest friends have all stemmed from that locker room, some of whom I’ve been fortunate enough to travel the world with, and collectively, we all have memories that are equal parts hilarious, insane, and unforgettable. None of this would be possible if it wasn’t for Jesse Scott and his merry band of madmen and misfits that he collected within that locker room.

To me personally, Jesse is more than a wrestling fanatic or promoter. Jesse is the best of all of us! The light that he brings with him, and the passion that he carries with him on a day-to-day basis is something that inspires me to this day. Jesse is a loving husband, he is a father. He is a brother. He is the best of us all, and he does so with class, charisma, and a touch of insanity.

Tiberius King and Shawn Spears look outside the ring on January 21, 2012, in Niagara Falls, Ontario. Photo by Tabercil

Tiberius King and Shawn Spears look outside the ring on January 21, 2012, in Niagara Falls, Ontario. Photo by Tabercil

Shawn Spears (currently in NXT): Jesse Scott and NEO Pro Wrestling will always hold a special place in my heart both professionally but more importantly, personally. NEO was the first big company I worked for when beginning my career over 20 years ago in the Niagara region and Jesse was the one to give a no-named kid with big ears and barely any experience, a real chance at this wild world of pro wrestling.

It wasn’t just me though. He did that for anyone he believed in and who loved this industry. Many professional wrestlers from the Ontario area that have moved on to work for some of the biggest wrestling companies in the world, at some point or another, worked for Jesse and performed under the NEO banner. Jess booked shows, performed in the ring as the always charismatic JT Playa and ran a very respectable promotion. Very few have succeeded in doing all three simultaneously.

But what I have come to admire most about my very talented friend, is his love and devotion to his wife and sons. Everything he is and everything he has done, is all for them.

A quality that I try to emulate now being a Dad myself. Thanks for leading by example my friend.

I believe that when a good man looks back on the totality of his life, it won’t be for how much he was able to get for himself. It will be about whether or not he feels he was a good man, a good father and if he was brave enough to live a life worth living. If those three things are enough to define a successful life, then not only is Jesse Scott a good man… he’s THE man.

Tyler Tirva (Ontario wrestler): Jesse Scott is probably without a doubt the best human being that I’ve met in wrestling. There’s a lot of guys that are cool, but like, honestly, that guy’s just told so many stories and made so many people smile and laugh endlessly. It’s not even just like, ‘Oh yeah, that’s funny,’ like belly laugh. That guy’s had me in tears over and over again. For me, he’s part of a brotherhood of guys that are super close. It’s extremely heartbreaking to hear what’s going on. I wish I could put into words how much he means to me, but also how much he means to everyone around him, because he has helped so many young wrestlers in different times in their career. He’s just as obsessed with wrestling now as he was when he started. I met him in 2009, so I was still a year in, but I was glad that I had a bit of maturity to me, because I wouldn’t have been able to appreciate how awesome he is.

Carmen “Primo” Scardino of the Ontario-based tag team The Italianos: Jesse Scott is the embodiment of all that is good about the professional wrestling industry. He has a certain way of bringing out the best in everyone he comes in contact with. His passion and love for professional wrestling is second only to his family, and the industry is a better place because of him. As a promoter, a performer, a booker, a business partner, & most importantly a friend, I am a better human being in all aspects of my life because of him.

Matteo “Stickball” Cintione of The Italianos: Jesse Scott to me is a great friend, an amazing father, a superstar promoter, and just the best human being. If you’ve ever been in his presence you definitely had some good laughs. Jesse can instantly light up any dressing room backstage. Without him, and his love for pro wrestling there would have never been NEO. He would fire us all up with his pre show speeches from the heart. We all fed off his passion, and energy. Now he’s fighting the fight of his life. At times I say to myself life isn’t fair that this great guy has to go through this. God gives his toughest battles to his strongest soldiers. I pray everyday that his cancer will go away.

Tiberius King sends Jake O'Reilly up and over on May 4, 2012, in Collingwood, Ontario. Photo by Tabercil

Tiberius King sends Jake O’Reilly up and over on May 4, 2012, in Collingwood, Ontario. Photo by Tabercil

Jake O’Reilly (Ontario wrestler): I could write a book about how much Jess means to me, and to wrestling in Ontario. He gave me the opportunity to have my first ever match, a match in NEO Spirit Pro no less. I was just a skinny/fat 18-year-old with a farmer’s tan. To this day it still blows me away that my first match was in NEO.

To know Jesse is to love Jesse. I’ve had too many ridiculous adventures with him to mention, and many I can’t mention here. Shooting off fireworks with Scott Steiner on the 4th of July at Jeff Jarrett’s house comes to mind. Driving to Florida to get extra work on TNA, but mostly to party, comes to mind.

“Jake, if you give me a German, don’t drop me on my head,” comes to mind. I got excited and dropped him right on the top of his head. Jess is one of my favorite opponents and we just rolled like that. Always plan a Memphis style match and end up having a 2005 NOAH Kenta Kobashi head dumper extravaganza. Jesse is one of my best friends, a brother of war, and I love him with all my heart.

Without JT Playa there is no Jake O’Reilly. Period.

Jeffery Scott (announcer for Border City Wrestling): I’ve known him since he was JT Playa back, oh, it’s got to be 20 years ago. We used to travel the roads together. A lot of time with Max Pro, when we were doing a lot of those Niagara Falls loops. Always a smile on his face. Always the best guy to have around in the locker room. Never mad, never in a bad mood, never a somber moment around with JT Playa. We even did a Border City show, it had to be 2013, and my girlfriend at the time brought her kids and Jesse was so nice to the kids and I got pictures taken with him and the kids. Just one of the more genuinely nice guys in this business. I have been doing this for 31 years and you meet a lot of people and a lot of different personalities and nobody is more loved and no one I looked more forward to seeing than guys like Jesse Scott. Jesse, we love you and we’re thinking about you.

"Lookie here! Lookie here!" Tiberius King cries out on April 12, 2012. Photo by Tabercil

“Lookie here! Lookie here!” Tiberius King cries out on April 12, 2012. Photo by Tabercil

Rip Impact (Ontario wrestler and trainer): I remember vividly him standing out with his promos, he had his catchphrase, “Lookie here, lookie here, lookie here.” That was always awesome… I’ve taken inspiration from him as a wrestling coach and trainer because I know when he was training guys, at his NEO dojo, all the stories I hear about how patient he is, I think that’s such a great quality to have as a trainer and coach. I really admire him, and I keep that in mind when I’m training my next generation and making sure I’m patient. I just want to thank Jesse for all our interactions and he’s just one of the best.

Chris LaPlante (former wrestler, promoter Crossfire Wrestling): Jesse Scott has contributed to professional wrestling for a very long time. He has not only given his body to this great sport but also time. For over 20 years he has been a performer, a trainer helped many wrestlers get started and some of the talents would go onto bigger pastures. He is one of the best promoters in the history of the Niagara region that still have people talking about past events years and years later. His legacy is cemented for all accomplishments in and out of the ring in this business.

Order the Jesse Scott Fighting Spirit signature T-shirt from the Rest When Dead clothing line. All profits from this shirt will be donated to the Scott family to aid with their expenses.

Order the Jesse Scott Fighting Spirit signature T-shirt from the
Rest When Dead clothing line. All profits from this shirt will be donated to the Scott family to aid with their expenses. ORDER HERE

“The Professional” Jaxon Jarvis (Ontario wrestler): I have known Jesse Scott since high school. When I started Grade 9, I was told of a Grade 10 student who shared a similar obsession with professional wrestling. After some initial egotistical resistance (I was a WWF fan and he was a New Japan fan), we broke bread and he introduced me to the world of ECW. I joined his crew of misfits, regularly attending shows at the Burt Flickinger Center in Buffalo.

Our friendship has endured the test of time since then. After high school, Jesse dragged me along as a ring announcer and referee during the bloody, ultra violent early days of FSPW (NEO). Training under his expert tutelage eventually led me to a successful five-year run as “The Professional” Jaxon Jarvis, with a television appearance in a wrestling episode of CBC’s Murdoch Mysteries.

Jesse possesses the rare ability to inspire, motivate and bring out the best in everyone that he comes into contact with. I am grateful and blessed to know Jesse Scott as a friend in this journey of life. He has been the same person since day one, and I am beyond inspired by what he has accomplished as a man, a wrestler, a father, husband and businessman. There is no quit in Jesse, and his fearless fight to beat cancer has earned him not only the real life status of superhero, but has also made him the most deserving person for the title of The Professional.

Myself and the entire Ontario independent wrestling community owes Jesse Scott an endless debt of gratitude.

Jesse “Kincaid” Frisky (NEO Spirit Pro original): I honestly think and wholeheartedly believe that Jesse Scott became and still is the face of Ontario indy wrestling. You would be hard-pressed to find anyone in any dressing room that would have anything negative to say about him. He is one of the nicest guys on the planet.

I consider him my brother. He is family. One of the funniest and most creative people I have ever met. He is an amazing husband and Dad. He told me once that he was raising little men to be proper in a world that is far from it. And being true to his word he is doing it in spades. His boys are awesome, polite little gentlemen.

Tiberius King on March 16, 2013. Photo by Tabercil

Tiberius King on March 16, 2013. Photo by Tabercil

Vince Valor (Buffalo wrestler, trained by Jesse Scott): Selfishly, all I’ve ever dreamed of since I began wrestling is to have a match against my trainer, so that he can hopefully be proud of what he’s created. If not for Jesse Scott, there would be no Vince Valor. Every bit of success I’ve achieved in the wrestling business, I owe it all to Jesse. He’s a tremendous wrestler, trainer, mentor, and most importantly a friend.

The lessons I’ve learned and continue to learn from Jesse all these years, I carry on through my students today at the Buffalo Wrestling Academy. He will never truly know just how much he’s shaped the future of professional wrestling. I’m forever grateful for all that Jesse has given me, and given to this business that he loves so much. I just hope to make him proud.

James Ponce (Niagara Falls Comic Con promoter): Jesse’s impact on the Canadian wrestling scene cannot be measured. He’s helped put so many faces fans know and love on the map. You simply can’t measure the lives he has touched in and out of the ring. He’s one of the most loving, hard-working and respected men I’ve ever known. It’s impossible to find anyone with anything negative to say about the man.

Cody Deaner struggles in the grasp of Tiberius King on April 15, 2012, in Woodstock, Ontario. Photo by Tabercil

Cody Deaner struggles in the grasp of Tiberius King on April 15, 2012, in Woodstock, Ontario. Photo by Tabercil

Cody Deaner (TNA wrestler, motivational speaker): I can’t overstate how much Jesse has meant to me in terms of my wrestling career and as a friend. He’s been there alongside me since Day 1, since my first day of wrestling school. If it wasn’t for Jesse taking the initiative to start a wrestling school, I might not have ever had the opportunity to break into the wrestling business in the first place.

I can take that a step further and say that if Jesse didn’t take the initiative to start Fight Spirit Pro Wrestling (later NEO), I wouldn’t have gotten the first big breaks in the business I got or been in the ring with such great talent that catapulted my skills and confidence to the next level so I could go on and achieve the things I have in wrestling.

I’m not the only one in the Ontario independent scene who can trace their success back to Jesse Scott. We wouldn’t have a thriving scene today or be able to be proud of so many local guys getting bigger opportunities and making a career out of this business if it wasn’t for Jesse Scott. That’s not an exaggeration. It’s not hyperbole. It’s just the God’s honest truth.

Add to all of that, that he is one of the kindest, funniest, most genuine friends I have in my life… and, well… It’s safe to say my life is exponentially better because Jesse Scott is in it. I love that man very, very much.

— with files from Greg Oliver

TOP PHOTO: Fans surround Jesse Scott as Tiberius King on August 18, 2011. Photo by Tabercil

ADDENDUM: Jesse Scott died May 8, 2024.


Jesse Scott has survived wrestling’s ups and downs