The Juicy Implosion: David Starr and JT Dunn Prepare to Tangle in Combat

The relationship between David Starr and JT Dunn is living proof that paper always beats rock.

After dominating the independent wrestling tag team scene for almost two years, the formerly known 'Juicy Product' members once had a rock solid relationship. But now, they sit across the table from each other -- not able to look at one another -- with a contract they both signed barring them from physical touching each other before their Oct. 10 fight at Combat Zone Wrestling's Tangled Web 8.

As badly as both men want to get their hands on each other, they are not ignorant to the success their union had for their careers.

“I can't deny that Juicy Product helped to put me on a stage I hadn't been before," said Starr."We won tag titles everywhere, we had bookings I could never imagine on my own at that time and it was a good way to elevate me into people's minds, just in general. As far as that, I'd be ignorant to ignore that.”

Much like Starr, Dunn shares similar sentiments about Juicy Product's success.

“I think the most important thing to me that happened with Juicy Product is [in] independent wrestling, it's hard for people to stand out and to step out of the shadows of others that maybe are in a better light or better position," said Dunn. "And we kinda just worked hard and kinda gave everybody the middle finger while we did our thing.”

In 2013, Starr and Dunn's careers were going in two different directions. Dunn, a seasoned veteran of the independent wrestling scene was “ready to break out,” as he puts it. For Starr, he was just getting his feet wet after making the jump from being a near All-American wrestler in college.

CZW owner DJ Hyde put Starr and Dunn in the ring to wrestle each other, with a stipulation unbeknownst to fans being that the wrestler to get the best reaction from the live audience would become a full-time member of the CZW roster. However, both men were able to maximize their time and left the ring after their match having garnered a tremendous reception,

Therefore, both competitors became full-timer performers with CZW and the Juicy Product was born.

Over the course of the next year and a half, the duo won several Tag Team championships, including CZW and FIP Tag Team championships, winning those two titles within a week of each other. Juicy Product also wrestled some of the top Tag Teams on the independent scene, including The Young Bucks, Team Tremendous, The Beaver Boys and more.

“At the end of the day, regardless of what JT and I do out of the same mindset, we both want to be the best," said Starr. "I never said JT is not a great wrestler, because he absolutely is. There's just a lot of things that maybe we go on two different pages about, but we held the same attitude.”

Months of obvious friction blew up and the Juicy Product was suddenly nothing more than a memory. Dunn and Starr were being booked on the same shows around the country, for promotions such as Beyond Wrestling, Legacy Wrestling, House of Glory, Five Borough Wrestling, and more.

Simultaneously, under the same roof, Starr and Dunn would manage to assault one another, with each incident yielding it's own unique twist on their issue. One specific incident saw Dunn and Starr join forces to take out a staff of security, just so they could go at it with each other.

 But according to Dunn, this feud was never a planned thing, rather an emotional roller coaster gone bad -- mixed with momentary impulse reactions of two individuals who like Starr said, “want to be the best.”

"A lot of that stuff just happened," said Dunn. "There was never a design where somebody said 'Hey, go beat up David Starr' or 'Hey, when JT is not looking, Starr, go get him.' That's natural instinct, that's raw emotion, that's 'I'm sick of acting the way you are,' and vice versa.

CZW owner DJ Hyde holds Dunn and Starr back 

With those comments, it's obvious that Dunn is looking to end the taunting problem known as David Star and continue the momentum he built up by being in the ring with the likes of Austin Aries, Paul London, Chris Hero, Samoa Joe, Johnny Gargano, and more.

David Starr
Starr is no slouch either. While he hasn't been around as long as Dunn, “The Product” has shared the squared circle with the likes of Joey Ryan, Eddie Edwards, Brian Myers, and others.

That's why despite their differences that will likely end in a bloody, brutal, and barbaric match on Saturday, both men respect each other enough to know that they bring out the best in each other. 

“There's not a lot of people in the locker room who hold a candle to us,” said Dunn. “I don't like him, he doesn't like me and there's no ifs, ands or buts about that at this present time. But in that locker room, there is not anybody that can do what we do.”

At this stage, the Starr vs. Dunn feud may be the New York Yankees vs. Boston Red Sox rivalry of the independent wrestling circuit. And one former Major League Baseball player who experienced both sides of the rivalry is good source of comparison -- and that player is Johnny Damon.

Starr and Dunn during their stint as The Juicy Product. (Credit: Sulaiman Larokko)
A native of Providence, Rhode Island, Dunn shares a resemblance to the Red Sox version of Damon. A long-haired, bearded, and gritty competitor who puts his heart and soul into every performance. Whether it be Damon crashing into the outfield wall to make a catch, or Dunn crashing his elbow into the cranium of his opponent, neither man will have their heart questioned.

As for Starr, who grew up in a well-off home, with his biggest concern being "running out of Cheerios,” as Dunn says, he shares a resemblance to the Yankees' incarnation of Damon. A clean-cut pretty boy, viewed as a “sell out” by the audience who once religiously cheered for him. No matter the case, Dunn is convinced that Starr's arrogant style and cocky demeanor is what will cause his downfall on Oct. 10.

JT Dunn. (Credit: Sulaiman Larokko)
"I'm not a stepping stone, I've never been, I've made my name by knocking people off their f****ng block and knocking the chip off your shoulder," said Dunn with the intensity in his voice growing. "Look at him, look at his [David Starr's] stupid face, you can just tell, this is an arrogant son of a b**ch right here and needs to be put in his f****ng place."

Continually insisting that this rivalry is not personal, Starr, with a sly-smile on his face added fuel to the fire by making comments about Dunn's private life. A proud man, who overcame addiction to alcohol and drugs, Dunn leads a sober lifestyle, unlike the one he lived years ago, which might have ended up with him six feet under.

“You had to beat addiction because you weren't strong enough to go through life without it.,” said Starr in an attempt to downplay Dunn's recovery.

But with his final remarks, Starr brought up one person who is six feet under, one person who Dunn will never see again, and one person who Starr vehemently says Dunn will disappoint again.

"He [JT Dunn] fights for a lot of things and one of those happens to be his mother,who passed away and he's afraid he's going to disappoint her," said Starr. "Point blank, that's how it is. I know he has her name tattooed on his body and that's because she means a lot to him. The fact is, when she's looking down on her son, he's going to be beaten by a better man on Oct. 10."

Listen to the FULL interview below:

Mark Suleymanov

Sports Journalist.