AS I SEE IT - 9/24/2002:
This Week's Wrestling Good, Bad, and Ugly
Think about it...this dinner celebrates 35 years of a single promotion running wrestling shows... since 1967.
The real world in 1967 saw the movement against the Vietnam War becoming stronger; as for the first time, a majority of Americans questioned the foreign policy of their country. Riots broke out in major northern cities. Drug use, ranging from LSD to marijuana was becoming an issue in households all over the land. Social and economic issues were being confronted as never before.
Professional wrestling in 1967 saw Gene Kiniski the NWA World Heavyweight Champion, having held the belt for a year. In the Northeast, Bruno Sammartino was the WWWF champion, having held the belt for four years. The territorial system was in full bloom, with territories throughout the United States... and a small promotion in Wilmington DE, began running shows.
A large part of the reason that the ECWA is still around in existence is promoter Jim Kettner. Kettner's product is family-friendly in an era where a successful wrestling product is thought of over-the-top action mixed with heaping helpings of sex and profanity. While the latter is true for many promotions, it isn't for Jim Kettner's market... and for his market, his product has worked.
There are family-friendly promotions that may be friendly to your children, but as for the parents, well... tend to induce sleep at a rapid pace.
ECWA shows, on the other hand, are something you can take your children to, but not be bored to sleep watching yourself. The promotion offers a mix of clear babyface-heel storylines and great light-heavyweight matches.
Since 1997, the promotion has featured the top independent junior heavyweight tournament in the United States in the yearly Super Eight tournament, which has have featured top level independent stars as American Dragon, AJ Styles, Donovan Morgan, "The Amazing" Red, "Fallen Angel" Christopher Daniel, Reckless Youth, Scoot Andrews, Vic Capri, Shark Boy, Chad Collyer, Jet Jaguar, Inferno Kid, Steve Bradley, Xavier, Bobby Rude, and Matt Stryker.
It has also featured the WWF's Jamie Knoble, Mick Foley, Matt and Jeff Hardy, The Dudley Boyz, Scott "Too Hotty" Taylor, Terri Runnels, Bob Holly, Kevin Kelly, Andrew "Test" Martin, Jacqueline, Christian and Edge, Kurt Angle, WCW's Billy Kidman, Devon "Crowbar" Storm, and Shawn Stasiak, ECW's World Champion Steve Corino, Lance "Simon" Diamond, Christian York and Joey Matthews.
If you're in the Wilmington area that night, this is a promotion worth celebrating.
Then the bad... or more correctly, the tragic.
The wrestling world lost Ted (Flyboy Rocco Rock) Petty as the result of a massive heart attack suffered Saturday night while in transit between halves of a doubleshot, having worked earlier that evening in Jersey City, NJ and on his way to 3PWrestling's show later that night at the ECW Arena.
1wrestling.com's Georgianne Makropoulos reported Sunday that Petty was being driven from his first match that night with Devon Storm at a show in Jersey City, to what would have been his second show of the evening at the ECW Arena, working the promotion's Heavyweight Champion Gary Wolfe. While being driven, Petty told the driver that he was having trouble breathing. The driver called 911 from a cellphone, and was told that EMS would meet them at the next Toll Plaza. When EMS personnel arrived, they pronounced Petty dead.
It seems sadly ironic that Ted Petty died on his way to a show at the building that made him famous, along with partner Johnny Grunge... the ECW Arena.
As a fan said on a wrestling message board shortly after the news was announced, it seemed that "Heaven needed a hoodie".
But a lot of us wish he hadn't been needed quite so soon.
Then, there was the ugly.
This past Saturday, America's Most Wanted featured a segment involving the August 1st assault on William (Messiah) Welch of CZW and EPIC.
The show featured some clips of Messiah in the ring, as well as an attempt to show the world of independent wrestling, with workers putting up rings, working out their matches before a show, and other elements of the life of an independent wrestler.
Welch discussed what actually happened during the attack. As has been reported all over the Internet over the last 2 months, two men entered his apartment. Welch, assuming they were friends of his roommate/ girlfriend, asked, "What’s up?". They replied, saying "Not much, man." Welch said that he could see the two assailants arguing who would attack him in the reflection of the TV screen he was playing video games on. When he saw the assailants lock the door behind them, he confronted them, and was attacked.
In the fight, Welch struggled on the floor with the assailants. One got Messiah in a choke hold, and the other took out gardening shears. Welch described in eerie detail how he saw the shears wrapped around his thumb, and then heard and saw his thumb come off.
Welch finally fought them off and reached the locked door, but did not have his thumb to open it. He was again jumped by the assailants. Welch showed how one assailant reached down to his belt as if he wanted to cut his penis off, but Welch finally fought off the assailant off, who then fled.
Composite sketches of the men were shown, and investigators speculate over why Messiah was attacked like this. Speculation centered on a relationship between the assault and XPW promoter Rob Zicari, as a result of a relationship between Welch and Zicari's wife/girlfriend Lizzy Borden, with pictures shown of each. Film was shown of the attempt made by America's Most Wanted to interview Zicari, whose Extreme Associates offices were mysteriously closed during the business day at the time America's Most Wanted came to interview him.
The show speculated that Welch's thumb, which was taken by the assailants, may have been taken as proof for a paid hit on him.
Composite sketches and descriptions of the two assailants were shown and are available at the America's Most Wanted website.
The Welch segment is available for readers (with high speed/cable modems and Flash) to view now, through CZWinsider.com.
If anyone believes that they have information on the Welch assault please call 1-800-CRIME-TV.
Until next time...
(If you have comments or questions, I can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org)