- "Ring the fucking bell! He's seventeen!"—Eric Kulas' father, ECW, November 23, 1996
The Mass Transit Incident is one of the most infamous moments in ECW history. Unlike other moments, it started out rather mundane. The Gangstas (New Jack and Mustafa) were supposed to face D-Von Dudley and Axl Rotten, but Axl no-showed. Eric Kulas, a seventeen-year-old kid with zero experience, showed up, lying about his age and about having been "trained" by Killer Kowalski, and offered to take Axl's place. He was billed as Mass Transit, a wrestling bus driver based on Ralph Kramden from The Honeymooners. He suggested that New Jack blade him, which New Jack agreed to, along with generally beating the hell out of the kid, prompting the quote above. This was, along with Raven's Nest crucifying The Sandman, one of the two debacles that nearly killed ECW's chances of getting on PPV.
New Jack was arrested at the time, but was ultimately let off when the court found out that Kulas had lied to Paul Heyman about his age and experience level.
- Ax-Crazy: New Jack, of course.
- Be Careful What You Wish For: Eric Kulas wanted to serve as a Jobber for the EWC, and got in despite not having enough training or even being a legal adult. Before the match, he had asked an irritated New Jack to blade him, without specifying how or how much. It's easy to see how much of the blame for the incident is targeted directly at him.
- Captain Ersatz/No Celebrities Were Harmed: The Mass Transit gimmick being based on Ralph Kramden.
- Exact Words: Prior to the fight, Kulas asked New Jack to put "color" on him. He never said how or how much.
- History Repeats: A similar incident happened in the WWE earlier in The '90s, when a match between Marty Jannetty an an untrained Chuck Austin ended with the latter paralyzed from the shoulders down. It was a hard lesson for the WWE about properly screening applicants and having emergency staff on stand-by, just as the Mass Transit Incident was for the EWC.
- Hufflepuff House: D-Von Dudley and Mustafa were there in the match along with Mass Transit and New Jack, but weren't central to the scandal as the latter two were.
- Jobber: Eric Kulas intended to serve as one, although what he's gone through was excessive even by the standards of this trope.
- Joke Character: Deconstructed; while Jobbers are normally expected to be curb-stomped by the big names, they should at least be trained so that they don't (actually) get themselves hurt as they're being pommeled. Eric Kulas as Mass Transit didn't even have this as he entered the ring, and in his lack of experience nearly got himself killed.
- Naïve Newcomer: Deconstructed; entering the ring despite having no wrestling experience can only end badly.
- Really 17 Years Old: Eric Kulas is a textbook example of how this could go horribly wrong.
- Squash Match: How the match would have played out with Mass Transit, regardless of the outcome.
- Too Dumb to Live: Eric Kulas, for lying about his age, lying about being a trained wrestler, and asking New Jack to blade him. Which he did, with an Exacto Knife.
- Unwitting Instigator of Doom: Axl Rotten likely had no clue what harm would come from his no-showing that night.