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 Posted: Wed Dec 11th, 2019 03:53 pm
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srossi
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ECWA - The East Coast Wrestling Association, the longest running promotion in the United States, starting in 1967, has been sold. Jim Kettner started ECWA in the mid 60s when the territory system was still very much in place, and the promotion has managed to weather many storms over the years and has changed with the times.

The organization has had some of the most famous names in the wrestling world pass thru its doors, including Bryan Danielson, Tessa Blanchard, Low-Ki, Austin Aries, Jeff Hardy, Christian, Christopher Daniels, and so many more!

ECWA's biggest claim to fame, perhaps, is the ECWA Super 8 tournament, with previous competitors and winners including Adam Cole, Tommaso Ciampa, Rich Swann, Bobby Fish, Xavier Woods, Jerry Lynn, Davey Richards, Paul London, Petey Williams, AJ Styles, Ricky Reyes, Jamie Noble and so many more. The Super 8 has been a hotbed for up and coming wrestlers. If you want to see the future of pro wrestling, the future is OUR Tradition here at the ECWA.

Jim Kettner would sell ECWA in 2009 to Mike Tartaglia who would run the promotion as "The Boss" sometimes putting himself first, instead of the talent. This is something that new owner Joe Zanolle plans to correct.

Zanolle, a staff member for ECWA since 1999 has a great rapport with current and past talent and is hoping to bring back some familiar fan favorites who may have had a falling out with former management. As discussed with Brady Hicks on the In The Room podcast last night, Joe is looking to bring back "positivity" back to ECWA and make it the most fun experience possible for both fans and wrestlers alike.

If you've never seen an ECWA, or you may have skipped the last few years we encourage you to check out our next event on January 18th in New Castle, DE to enjoy pro wrestling the way it used to be, with the newest and most exciting talent out there today. 

 For more information visit http://www.ECWAprowrestling.com

Last edited on Wed Dec 11th, 2019 03:53 pm by srossi



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 Posted: Wed Dec 11th, 2019 04:06 pm
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Kriss
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ECWA starting in 1967 is kayfabe, no? I'm pretty sure no one has been able to find any evidence of ECWA cards prior to 1993.



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 Posted: Wed Dec 11th, 2019 04:11 pm
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srossi
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Kriss wrote: ECWA starting in 1967 is kayfabe, no? I'm pretty sure no one has been able to find any evidence of ECWA cards prior to 1993.
I heard there were some backyard-type shows before that, but I have never seen results from prior to the '90s.  I started a thread about this many years ago and came up empty.  



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 Posted: Wed Dec 11th, 2019 04:17 pm
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Are they bringing back the cheetah master?

Growing up on the west coast I always felt like ECWA got an disproportionate amount of coverage in the apter mags considering how small they were.



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 Posted: Thu Dec 12th, 2019 03:35 am
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DaClyde
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A quick search of ECWA and Kettner at Newspapers.com turns up an article in the News Journal (Wilmington, DE) about an upcoming 5th Anniversary show on 26 April 1985.  So that would put them back to 1980-81.  I found some other mentions in Virginia, North Carolina and New York dating back to 1977 referencing shows by an "East Coast Wrestling Association".  

But given how sporadic the references are, while the name may have existed as far back as 1967, I don't think it has been one continuously operating company all that time.  It is probably similar to how Dale Gagner restarted the AWA.

Last edited on Thu Dec 12th, 2019 03:44 am by DaClyde

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 Posted: Thu Dec 12th, 2019 11:10 am
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Kriss
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DaClyde wrote: A quick search of ECWA and Kettner at Newspapers.com turns up an article in the News Journal (Wilmington, DE) about an upcoming 5th Anniversary show on 26 April 1985.  So that would put them back to 1980-81.  I found some other mentions in Virginia, North Carolina and New York dating back to 1977 referencing shows by an "East Coast Wrestling Association".  

But given how sporadic the references are, while the name may have existed as far back as 1967, I don't think it has been one continuously operating company all that time.  It is probably similar to how Dale Gagner restarted the AWA.


I think I just found the same articles you did. There is an article with photos from a show they did in 1983. It's high school and college kids doing "television wrestling" on gym mats. The PWInsider story says "Jim Kettner started ECWA in the mid 60s when the territory system was still very much in place." This is severely overstating what Kettner was doing. I can't find any evidence of him using any "professional" wrestlers until 1993.



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 Posted: Thu Dec 12th, 2019 01:04 pm
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srossi
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Kriss wrote: DaClyde wrote: A quick search of ECWA and Kettner at Newspapers.com turns up an article in the News Journal (Wilmington, DE) about an upcoming 5th Anniversary show on 26 April 1985.  So that would put them back to 1980-81.  I found some other mentions in Virginia, North Carolina and New York dating back to 1977 referencing shows by an "East Coast Wrestling Association".  

But given how sporadic the references are, while the name may have existed as far back as 1967, I don't think it has been one continuously operating company all that time.  It is probably similar to how Dale Gagner restarted the AWA.


I think I just found the same articles you did. There is an article with photos from a show they did in 1983. It's high school and college kids doing "television wrestling" on gym mats. The PWInsider story says "Jim Kettner started ECWA in the mid 60s when the territory system was still very much in place." This is severely overstating what Kettner was doing. I can't find any evidence of him using any "professional" wrestlers until 1993.

Pretty sure that PWInsider just posted a press release from ECWA, so ECWA is over-selling themselves. 

According to ECWA's Wiki page, they've had a HOF as far back as 1982, with Kettner inducting himself, Red Devil, Super Smenkowski, Tiny Tom, Mike Schroeder, manager Captain Tom, and announcer George Koukedis into the first class.  There are additional inductions every year until 1988, then no activity again until 1992.  I'd be very curious if someone could find any information on any of these names.



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 Posted: Thu Dec 12th, 2019 01:14 pm
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Kriss
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I looked up some of those names in the newspapers. Super Smemkowski is a good one because it's very unique. That's where I got the articles. They did monthly (they say monthly, but I think every three months is more accurate) shows for a kids club. The audience were all between 5 and 14 and Smemkowski was 17 in 1982. It wasn't taken seriously at all. DM me your email and I'll send you the articles later today if you're interested. If I post them on the site, they will he too small to read.



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 Posted: Thu Dec 12th, 2019 01:50 pm
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srossi
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Kriss wrote: I looked up some of those names in the newspapers. Super Smemkowski is a good one because it's very unique. That's where I got the articles. They did monthly (they say monthly, but I think every three months is more accurate) shows for a kids club. The audience were all between 5 and 14 and Smemkowski was 17 in 1982. It wasn't taken seriously at all. DM me your email and I'll send you the articles later today if you're interested. If I post them on the site, they will he too small to read.
Will do.  I've actually been interested in this for many years and previous posts haven't turned up much.

George Koukedis is another fairly unique name and I'd be curious what he was announcing.  Live commentary over a PA system?  Just a ring announcer?  Did he ever work in the business again?

Last edited on Thu Dec 12th, 2019 01:51 pm by srossi



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 Posted: Mon Mar 16th, 2020 07:36 pm
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So in reading all the articles that Kriss sent me and doing my own research, it looks like the ECWA as we know it began in 1979-1980, mostly using gym mats and providing free entertainment for children, and the wrestlers barely qualify as more than children themselves. They also run fundraisers and claim that they have been generating $10,000 a year in donations in the mid-'80s, with the talent all working on a volunteer basis for free. Kettner doesn't get involved a few years later, some time before 1985. The ECWA name also develops in the early '80s at some point, but isn't there at the very beginning, although the talent is the same. Around 1992-93, the promotion starts charging a small fee, bringing in a few ex-WWF guys as attractions, and actually having real indy talent work alongside their mostly self-trained weekend warriors. Between 1985-1992, it's unclear how often they were running shows or if they took a hiatus, but prior to that it seems they were regularly doing something every 1-3 months.

Kettner than retro-fits his own personal experience with the ECWA to get these weird 1967 start date. That date is based on Kettner wrestling in his backyard as early as 11, and maybe running some small shows as a teen. But that is not connected to ECWA at all.

So you can make the case that ECWA is actually celebrating its 40th anniversary, which is impressive enough without the exaggerations. The lineage goes back to 1980, but ECWA as a legitimate company probably goes back less than 18 years.



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 Posted: Mon Mar 16th, 2020 08:18 pm
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Kriss
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srossi wrote: So in reading all the articles that Kriss sent me and doing my own research, it looks like the ECWA as we know it began in 1979-1980, mostly using gym mats and providing free entertainment for children, and the wrestlers barely qualify as more than children themselves. They also run fundraisers and claim that they have been generating $10,000 a year in donations in the mid-'80s, with the talent all working on a volunteer basis for free. Kettner doesn't get involved a few years later, some time before 1985. The ECWA name also develops in the early '80s at some point, but isn't there at the very beginning, although the talent is the same. Around 1992-93, the promotion starts charging a small fee, bringing in a few ex-WWF guys as attractions, and actually having real indy talent work alongside their mostly self-trained weekend warriors. Between 1985-1992, it's unclear how often they were running shows or if they took a hiatus, but prior to that it seems they were regularly doing something every 1-3 months.

Kettner than retro-fits his own personal experience with the ECWA to get these weird 1967 start date. That date is based on Kettner wrestling in his backyard as early as 11, and maybe running some small shows as a teen. But that is not connected to ECWA at all.

So you can make the case that ECWA is actually celebrating its 40th anniversary, which is impressive enough without the exaggerations. The lineage goes back to 1980, but ECWA as a legitimate company probably goes back less than 18 years.

I think you mean 28 years...

From an interview Kettner gave in 1996, which lists his age as 41, he was born on December 24, 1954 (His birthday with no year was listed at wrestlingdata.com, which I've since corrected). "When I was 13, I built a ring in my back yard and put together a show. About 10 people came to see my friends and I stage a show. That's how it got started. 1997 will be our 30th year."

The earliest reference to Kettner is in 1985, when a show on April 26th is billed as their 5th anniversary. Kettner wrestled on that show, and other subsequent mid-80s shows. I'd be willing to bet that he used a different name and was wrestling there from the beginning. The article for that show says a "Big Bill Page" was running the shows until recently when left for California. He came back for the anniversary and says they'd been running the shows monthly for the past 5 years, but that seems to be an exaggeration. Page was a University of Deleaware sophomore in 1983 according to another article, which gives you an idea of how old these guys were.



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 Posted: Tue Mar 17th, 2020 01:47 am
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The promotion that wanted to train me for next to nothing.

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 Posted: Fri Jun 11th, 2021 05:09 am
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I watched the 2/22/97 Super 8 tonight and it was interesting it was actually pretty good for what it was. The kids were going crazy for cheetah and everyone seemed to boo Ooh La La



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 Posted: Fri Jun 11th, 2021 02:15 pm
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WWE dates back to 1953 with Capitol Wrestling. The became WWWF in 1963

The line of "longest running promotion in the United States" is complete bullshit and not even good bullshit at that.



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Never said that I could 100 % substantiate it. And convincing you 100 % is not a concern of mine.
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