AS I SEE IT - 1/16/2002
For those of you who complain about Monday and Thursday nights filled with
endless promos, mindless T&A, toilet humor, and more comedy skits than a room full of
Bortsch Belt comics... under the banner of "sports entertainment"... here is a
chance to see a very different product: wrestling.
The sixth annual Super Eight Tournament is sponsored by the ECWA's Jim Kettner, and is viewed by many as one of the top independent shows each year, with a concept that has since been copied by many other promotions.
Since February 1997, the Super Eight has featured an impressive list of light heavyweights that includes Steve Bradley, Jeff and Matt Hardy, Christopher Daniels, Christian York, Billy Kidman, Lance "Simon" Diamond, Devon "Crow Bar" Storm, Reckless Youth, "Lightning" Mike Quackenbush, Scoot Andrews, Chad Collyer, Jet Jaguar, Shark Boy, Trent Acid, Low Ki, American Dragon, Tony Kozina, Spanky, Jayson Reign, and Billy Fives.
This year's lineup is no less notable.
From NWA Wildside...A.J. Styles, Atlanta, GA
From Pro Wrestling NOAH... Donovan Morgan, San Francisco, CA
From Puerto Rico's World Wrestling Council...Bobby Rude, Toronto, ON, Canada
From Combat Zone Wrestling...Red, Brooklyn, NY
From Jersey All-Pro Wrestling...Xavier, Queens, NY
From Heartland Wrestling Alliance... Matt Stryker, Cincinnati, OH; Pepper Parks, Buffalo, NY, and R.C. Haas (formerly Charlie Haas), Edmond, OK.
Here is some background on these participants:
Styles is likely the most talented unsigned junior heavyweight in North America. He was trained by NWA-Wildside's NCW Training School.
He does a shooting star press to the floor that is breathtaking to watch, balances high-flying with polished matwork, and has adapted easily to a wide variety of wrestling styles, old-style Southern, hardcore, and everywhere inbetween.
Styles has worked for the nationally televised NWA-Wildside, NWA-Nashville, Florida's IPW-Hardcore Wrestling, OMEGA/North Carolina, All Pro Wrestling/California, with brief stints in WCW and the WWF.
He holds the NWA-Wildside Heavyweight Championship (currently), had held the NWA-Wildside TV Title three times, and the IPW-Hardcore Wrestling Heavyweight Championship once.
Morgan was trained by Michael Modest. Both were longtime workers for California's All Pro Wrestling; before leaving to start working for Mitsuhara Misawa's Pro Wrestling NOAH, and to start their own school/promotion, Pro Wrestling IRON, out of Northern California.
Morgan works a Japanese workrate-based style of wrestling, and has worked for All Pro Wrestling and Ultimate Pro Wrestling out of California, Midwest Championship Wrestling (Illinois), with brief stops in World Championship Wrestling and the WWF.
He's held the APW Heavyweight Championship, Tag Team Championship, and Internet Championship and the MCW Junior Heavyweight Championship.
This will be the East Coast debut for Morgan, and his appearance will be highly anticipated by many fans of the Japanese style.
The Canadian representative of this year's Super Eight, Bobby Rude was trained by Sean Morely (aka Val Venis), and works a technical/matwork based style.
He has primarily worked in his homeland of Canada, and for Puerto Rico's World Wrestling Council.
He has worked for Real Action Wrestling and Atlantic Grand Prix in the Maritimes of Canada and Ontario's Apocalypse Wrestling Federation and Border City Wrestling, as well as Carlos Colon's World Wrestling Council.
He has held the Real Action Wrestling Heavyweight Championship and Atlantic Grand Prix Tag Team Championship.
Rude has been elected to the Sun Newspaper-sponsored SLAMWrestling Canadian (Wrestling)Hall of Fame.
Xavier was trained by Tony DeVito. He works a mixture of styles, mixing high flying in with his real-life training in Tae-Kwon-Do & Jujitsu.
He has worked for many independents in the New York/New Jersey/New England area, including East Coast Wrestling Association, Northeast Wrestling (CT), Jersey All Pro Wrestling, Impact Championship Wrestling, USA Pro Wrestling, and Millennium Wrestling Federation (Massachusetts).
He has held the USA Pro Heavyweight Title, the ICW Heavyweight Championship and Northeastern Championship, the JAPW Light Heavyweight Championship and the Northeast Wrestling Light Heavyweight Championship.
Red is a member of the Spanish Announce Team, all of whom were trained by Mikey Whipwreck.
He works an incredible high-flying style exciting for anyone that is lucky enough to see him throughout the Northeast.
Red has worked for promotions throughout the Northeast, including Combat Zone Wrestling, Jim Kettner's ECWA, the Premier Wrestling Federation (suburban Philadelphia), Maryland Championship Wrestling, Dusty Rhodes's Turnbuckle Championship Wrestling, Jersey All-Pro, NWA-New Jersey, Impact Championship Wrestling/NY, Phoenix Championship Wrestling, and Puerto Rico's International Wrestling Alliance.
His titles include the Premier Wrestling Federation Light Heavyweight Championship, ICW (Impact Championship Wrestling/NY) Heavyweight Championship, and the HWA (New York)Heavyweight Championship.
To round out the participants, Les Thatcher's Heartland Wrestling Alliance will send three wrestlers to the Super Eight this year.
Stryker's mat style is a mixture of matwork and aerial wrestling, a necessary balance to succeed in the HWA, a WWF developmental territory.
Stryker works for both of the midwest-based WWF developmental territories, the Cincinnati-based Heartland Wrestling Association and Jim Cornette's Louisville-based Ohio Valley Wrestling. He has twice held the HWA Cruiserweight Championship.
Pepper Parks also works for the Heartland Wrestling Association and Ohio Valley Wrestling, with more of an aerial style than Stryker.
He has held the HWA Cruiserweight Championship and HWA Tag Team Championship as part of the "A Squad" with Chat "The Jet" Jablonski and Dean "The Dream" Jablonski.
R.C (Charlie) Haas.
The real-life story behind this wrestler is the most emotional of the tournament.
Charlie Haas has taken the name "R.C." professionally to pay tribute to his brother, fellow WWF developmental talent Russ Haas, who died suddenly from cardiac disease on December 15, 2001.
Charlie and Russ Haas worked together for nearly three years as the Haas Brothers tag team for the ECWA, Jersey All Pro Wrestling, Combat Zone Wrestling and the WWF developmental territories MCW. During their time together, they won the ECWA Tag Team Championship, the JAPW Tag Team Championship, the CZW Tag Team Championship and the MCW/Memphis Southern Tag Team Championship.
Along with the above, Charlie Haas has worked for Heartland Wrestling Association, Memphis Championship Wrestling, Pennsylvania Championship Wrestling, Maryland Championship Wrestling and the Pennsylvania-based World Xtreme Wrestling.
Most recently, in an emotional win, Charlie Haas won the HWA Heavyweight Title from E.Z. Money as part of a "Ultimate Jeopardy" style match, featuring Haas teaming with The Island Boys to defeat thre team of EZ Money, Val Venis, & Steve Bradley; pinning Val Venis to capture the HWA Heavyweight Title for himself and the HWA Tag Team Titles for the Island Boys.
Haas's return to one of the wrestling venues he shared with his brother will no doubt be an emotional night for all concerned, adding another dimension to what has been memorable night for each of the last five years.
Come to Wilmington on March 2nd and see some WRESTLING.
Until next time...
(Credit: ECWAprowrestling.com, HWAOnline.com, SLAMWrestling.com, CZWnews.com, JAPW.net for information on wrestler histories)
(If you have comments or questions, I can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org)