AS I SEE IT - 11/17/2000
Most of the time, fans go to a wrestling show because their favorite
promotion is in town. Other times, if it's an independent show, the promoter is featuring
a big name that they want to see and haven't gotten the chance to before, or haven't seen
in a while...or they just decide to go because we're looking for something to do on a
But if you live in the Northeastern United States, there is a very different reason to attend a wrestling show on November 25th, the Saturday during Thanksgiving weekend.
The show is called the "ECWA Battle at the Bob", sponsored by Jim Kettner's East Coast Wrestling Association, an independent promotion running out of Wilmington, Delaware that I've previously spoken about in this column.
The ECWA has featured major talent such as the WWF's 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 Lance "Simon" Diamond, Christian York and Joey Matthews, Japanese legends "Doctor Death" Steve Williams and Dory Funk, Jr., King Kong Bundy, Gillberg, Jim Cornette, Capt. Lou Albano, Bob Backlund, Tom Pritchard, Afa the Samoan, George Steele, Tito Santana, Hacksaw Duggan, Ivan Koloff, The Headbangers, and Luna Vachon.
The promotion has featured noted independent talent such as Reckless Youth, Cheetah Master, Ace Darling, Inferno Kid, Steve Bradley, Scoot Andrews, Vic Capri, Shark Boy, Chad Collyer, and Jet Jaguar.
But, while those notable wrestlers and wrestling legends speak volumes for the promotion, they have nothing to do with why you should attend this show on November 25th.
The reason is 18 year old US independent wrestler, Jeff Peterson, who has been fighting a serious battle with lymphoma, a serious form of cancer.
Jeff has worked for his uncle Jim Kettner, promoter of the Delaware-based East Coast Wrestling Alliance, Pennsylvania Championship Wrestling, IPW-Hardcore Wrestling in Florida, and California's All-Pro Wrestling. He is a two time former IPW light heavyweight champion.
Peterson was trained by Lance "Simon" Diamond and Too Cold Scorpio at the ECWA/Pennsylvania Championship Wrestling Wrestletech wrestling school. Peterson wrestled two years in a row in the ECWA "Super Eight" tournament that many call US independent wrestling's version of the Super J-Cup, losing this year to archrival Jet Jaguar, with neither being able to continue after both suffered serious concussions.
Peterson has worked with such other independent mainstays as Reckless Youth, Christopher Daniels, Jimi V, Chan Hill, as well as Florida's OG Scarface and Frankie Capone.
Back in the April 21st AS I SEE IT, I told a story about Jeff:
"My favorite thought on Jeff Peterson comes from one night last year at an ECWA show down at their homebase of St. Matthew's in Newport, Delaware. It was at the end of another of the traditional heel-babyface matches Kettner favors. As the end of this tag team match approached, my younger brother and I played armchair booker and tried to guess the finish. Then, one heel stood on the apron holding one of the babyfaces with his arms pinned waiting for the inevitable punch; so we said out loud 'rollup, or...'.
Immediately behind us, chirped this voice (in a carny stage whisper) 'sk-iz-ool-biz-oy', with a grin on his face. It was Peterson, who was back in the crowd being a fan, after he'd already worked earlier in the evening."
Jeff has been receiving chemotherapy for his lymphoma since April, and has had a difficult time of it. He was in remission for some time, but recently was forced to resume treatment.
Paterson was unable to make the Jeff Peterson Benefit Show organized by IPW-Hardcore Wrestling down in Florida on June 10th with talent appearing from IPW, Combat Zone Wrestling and other independents, as well as from World Championship Wrestling; due to feeling under the weather because of his chemotherapy.
Peterson's health did improve enough to allow him to make a surprise visit to the IPW locker room on July 15th, which then leads to the events at the July 22nd ECWA house show at St. Matthew's in Wilmington, DE.
The ECWA has had a storyline over the last six months with longtime promotion babyface Cheetah Master "expressing displeasure" toward ECWA promoter Jim Kettner involving another babyface in the promotion. But in the July 22nd show, Cheetah Master went after Kettner, claiming Kettner is "more interested in chasing his dream of working for the WWF than keeping a relationship with his Delaware fans."
In the storyline, Cheetah Master called for Kettner to move to a
"higher level"... to a bigger building, such as the Bob Carpenter Center (known locally as "the Bob") in Newark, DE, which has housed RAW tapings in the past. In the angle that night, Kettner repeatedly refused Cheetah Master's request to do this.
After the July 22nd main event, Cheetah Master renewed his call for the fans at St. Matthew's to demand that Jim bring ECWA to the larger Carpenter Center in November. The locker room emptied with the heels and face wrestlers and managers surrounding the ring and join in the chants of "To the Bob! To the Bob!"
Cheetah told Kettner that he was turning his back on the wrestlers and the fans by refusing their wishes to schedule a show at the Bob. "But," he continued, "there is one person that you wouldn't dare say 'no' to."
Then out came Jeff Peterson, who hadn't worked or even attended an ECWA show since his cancer diagnosis due to his health. Earlier in the week, Peterson decided that he felt well enough between treatments to come up from Florida to see the show.
The fans at St. Matthew's went absolutely wild, erupting in a prolonged chant of "Jeff! Jeff! Jeff!"
The dialogue (from the ECWA website at www.ecwaprowrestling.com) went as follows:
"CHEETAH: Will you take the wrestlers to the Bob in November?
CHEETAH: Will you take the fans to the Bob in November?
CHEETAH: Will you take Jeff Peterson to the Bob in November?
Peterson then took the mike, with a loud prolonged chant still going on for him...
"JEFF: Ever since I got into the business two years ago, my dream has been to walk the aisles at the Bob Carpenter Center.
KETTNER: Jeff, you *will* walk the aisles of the Bob Carpenter Center in November."
Needless to say, the crowd went nuts...
The matches at the ECWA "Battle At The Bob" show features matches with storylines that have been built over 6-8 months. But the real reason to attend the show is a far more important moment than anything having to do with sports entertainment.
The ECWA plans to recognize Jeff Peterson as a "Hero of the Heart" that night.
Here's how they describe it on ECWAprowrestling.com:
"Hero. A four letter word rarely used to its proper context in today's world full of chaos and turmoil. What characteristics does a true hero possess? Strength, perhaps? Courage in the face of severe adversity. The ability to put on a smile though the heart is aching. In this life, and more particularly in the East Coast Wrestling Association, a young man of eighteen years is the obvious choice. Since he was a toddler, all Jeffrey Peterson ever wanted to do was wrestle, nothing more and nothing less. Nearly three years ago, his uncle and ECWA promoter Jim Kettner awarded him to opportunity to live a dream.
On March twenty-first in 1998, WrestleTech's first student, "All-American" Jeff Peterson made his pro-wrestling debut. The then-sixteen year old was a picture of charisma, a true underdog who had overcome the odds to achieve his goals. On February 27 of the following year, Jeff was allotted the chance to live another dream, wrestling in the annual Super 8 tournament.
On that very night, Peterson wrestled Christopher Daniels in a match that will forever be remembered by many as the greatest in tournament history. Young Jeffrey Peterson had once again defied the odds. It was his turn to bask in the spotlight.
One year later, he did it again, battling Florida independent star Jet Jaguar in a classic, high-flying game of chess. It would be his last match in the ECWA, at least for the time being. A month later, Jeffrey was dealt a curve ball that a normal teenager would get caught looking at, to borrow a line from baseball. But not Jeff, not now, not ever. Jeff Peterson was diagnosed with cancer. Months passed with Jeff receiving treatment after treatment and going in and out of the hospital in his home state of Florida.
To be quite honest, at the time of this writing, he remains in the hospital receiving his latest treatment. But Jeff, despite the illness, still had another dream that the East Coast Wrestling Association had yet to make come true. He wanted to walk the aisle at the Bob Carpenter Center.
Emotions were at an all-time high when the 'All-American' made his triumphant return to the ECWA on July 22. Another superstar fans rightfully call a hero, Cheetah Master, declared that one man whose dreams could not be denied was Jeff Peterson. Jim Kettner agreed, thus setting the entire East Coast Wrestling Association on the 'road to the Bob.' Jeff Peterson, tears in his eyes, embraced his uncle as the entire locker room surrounded the ring, pounding the mat to 'Jeffrey, Jeffrey' chants in the ultimate show of unity and team spirit. Jeff is fighting his horrible illness with dignity and unheard of bravery. He has spat in the face of adversity. Jeff Peterson is a hero of the heart.
On November 25th, the East Coast Wrestling Association will proudly induct 'All-American' Jeff Peterson into its prestigious Hall of Fame. It is the ultimate honor for any competitor who has bled, sweat and cried between the ropes of an ECWA ring.
And for Jeff, it is the greatest symbol of appreciation from his peers and fans for his courageous battles throughout the past several years, both inside and out of the ring. No one can predict the future. And we cannot change the past. All a person can do is live life to its fullest right now. The dawning of each new day is the greatest gift we as humans receive.
But the ECWA will do their part to ensure that November 25th is not simply ordinary for Jeff Peterson. On November 25th, the East Coast Wrestling Association will do its best to give Jeffrey a hero's welcome. After all, no other kind will do."
Tickets for the "ECWA Battle at The Bob" event, can be purchased at the Bob Carpenter Center Box Office, which is open Monday-Friday from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm, and Saturday from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm.
You can also call for tickets at the ECWA phone at (302) 325-1592, or the Bob Carpenter Center Box Office at (302) 831-4012.
$18.00 ringside (floor seats)
$16.00 bleacher seats (chair backs)
$13.00 bleacher seats
(parking at "The Bob" is included with ticket purchase)
ALL University of Delaware box offices accept cash, MasterCard, Visa, Discover Card, American Express, travelers and personal checks, and UD1FLEX accounts.
Directions from the north and the east: I-95 South to Delaware exit 1-B, Route 896 north. Bob Carpenter Center is located on right just after Routes 4/896 intersection.
From the south and the west: I-95 North to Maryland Exit 109B, Route 279 north (also called Route 2). Proceed on this road which becomes Elkton Road into Newark. Turn right at the intersection of Routes 2 (279) and 4. Turn left at intersection of Routes 4/896. The Bob Carpenter Center is located on the right.
The matches on this show are as of press time:
* ECWA Heavyweight Championship
JJ "The Ring Crew Guy" Johnson vs. Cheetah Master
* ECWA Tag Team Championship
The Haas Brothers (champions) vs. The Briscoe Brothers
* Lance "Simon" Diamond and Dawn Marie are scheduled to appear in an unstated capacity.
* Ty Street and the WWF's Kevin Kelly (who has been playing a heel manager of the "Connecticut Connection") in a "Prince of Darkness" match.
* WWF Smackdown co-host Michael Cole will host the event.
Last year, I spoke often about the late Brian Hildebrand, and the ways his friends, co-workers and fans honored him in the late stages of his own battle with cancer. It always struck me as especially touching that Brian got to see on numerous occasions what others thought of him before his death. All too often in this life, that doesn't happen.
If you live in the area, please take the time to be at ECWA's Battle At The Bob" on November 25th. Come see a wrestling show with one of the best-organized and most-established independent wrestling promotions on the East Coast.
But more importantly, take some time during the Thanksgiving weekend to give thanks for life itself, and tell a young man named Jeff Peterson how much he is appreciated for showing the guts he has to fight the battle against cancer over the last year.
Until next time...
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