It’s the longest running indie wrestling tournament still running in the United States, the ECWA Super 8, and tonight’s edition, the 22nd entry, saw “The Most Marketable Man In Wrestling” Richard Holliday win a tournament that featured Bullet Club‘s Chase Owens, ROH’s Cheeseburger, Ty Awesome, Mike Law, Bolt Brady, and Anthony Greene. In the final match, Holliday defeated Owens to win the trophy.
— The Wrestling Estate (@TheWrestlingEst) April 22, 2018
While not as well known as other top US indies like PWG, Beyond, PWX, EVOLVE or others, the East Coast Wrestling Association (ECWA) is a highly respected indie promotion, one that is arguably one of the oldest indie promotions in the country. The Delaware promotion was founded in 1967 by wrestler Jim Kettner, who ran the promotion until retiring in 2010. Since then, it’s been run by indie wrestler Mike Tartaglia. Tartaglia was a former owner of Tri-State Wrestling Alliance (TWA), but in 2011, TWA shut down and he switched all focus on ECWA. In the 1990s and early 2000s, they became a breeding ground of top tier indie superstars who all went on to great careers, such as Bryan Danielson (Daniel Bryan), Billy Kidman, Low Ki, Austin Aries and WWE’s Hardy Boyz – all were ECWA regulars in their earliest days. WWE’s Christian, ROH/Impact’s Christopher Daniels, Amazing Red and ECW’s Simon Diamond all held the ECW Heavyweight Championship early in their careers, and Charlie Haas is a former ECWA Tag Team Champion, alongside his brother Russ. Tessa Blanchard, Deonna Purrazzo, Karen Q and Renee Michelle are all former ECWA Women’s Champions. They were one of the home promotions for three hugely influential late 90’s indie wrestlers, Ace Darling, Reckless Youth and Trent Acid. ECWA’s style of wrestling was an influence on Ring of Honor‘s formation in 2002, and many of ECWA’s regulars would migrate to ROH.
In 1997, they initiated the ECWA Super 8 Tournament, with Ace Darling winning the inaugural event. Since then, the winners have featured the likes of Simon Diamond (’98), Christopher Daniels (’00, ’04), Low Ki (’01), Paul London (’03), Petey Williams (’05), Davey Richards (’06), Jerry Lynn (’07), Xavier Woods (’10), Tomasso Ciampa (’11), Matt Cross/Son of Havoc (’14) and Jason Kincaid (’15).
Richard Holliday is an emerging star on the indie scene, who got his start in 2015. He worked under Paul Roma at Paradise Alley Pro Wrestling (PAPW) in Connecticut, and has begun to work other regional indies, including a victory over Matias De Napoli at CZW Dojo Wars 125 in 2017. At EVOLVE 95, he defended his PAPW Heavyweight Championship against R.J. Rude. With Holliday getting more exposure on some national indies, and the track record of ECWA Super 8 winners success in professional wrestling, Holliday just may be a prospect to start paying attention to.
Here’s a taste of Holliday’s prior work, in a match against one of the indie’s top superstars, AR Fox.