It’s the longest running indie wrestling tournament still running in the United States, the ECWA Super 8. 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, All Elite Wrestling’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). Last year’s edition was won by new Major League Wrestling (MLW) star Richard Holliday, who is part of the stable The Dynasty, featuring MJF and Alexander Hammerstone.
This year’s edition takes place on Saturday, April 20 at the South Philadelphia High School in Philly, and has a unique theme – all competitors in the tournament are at least second generation grapplers. Here’s a rundown of the eight competitors in this year’s ECW Super 8.
Lance Anoa’i is another member of the rich Anoa’i family in pro wrestling. His grandfather is Wild Samoan Afa, while his father is Samu (of WCW’s Samoan SWAT Team and WWE’s Headshrinkers), making him the nephew of Roman Reigns, Umaga and Rikishi, and cousin of the Usos. Lance started out in his grandfather’s World Xtreme Wrestling (WXW) in 2010, and has remained on the indies for nearly a decade, working with MCW Pro, House of Hardcore, and lately has been featured in Major League Wrestling (MLW), where another cousin, Jacob Fatu, recently debuted as well.
The son of WWE Hall of Famer Gerald Brisco and nephew of former NWA World’s Heavyweight Champion Jack Brisco, Wes Brisco started out in WWE developmental in 2009 with Florida Championship Wrestling (FCW). Following his release in 2010, he headed to the Florida indie circuit, before signing with TNA/IMPACT Wrestling in 2012. The following year he joined the biker gang stable Aces & Eights, before being released in 2014. He continues to work the independents.
The son of former ECW World Heavyweight Champion (and current WWE producer/agent) Steve Corino, Colby Corino got his entry in pro wrestling at an early age. He appeared as a toddler in 2001 in a match with his dad (much like King Maxel did with father “Broken” Matt Hardy in IMPACT a few years ago), but by 2012 he was more mature and began wrestling more seriously. He debuted in in 2015, but personal demons soon took over and his career took a slight detour. He’s since returned with great gusto and a healthy attitude, and now competes for Game Changer Wrestling (GCW), Premier Wrestling Xperience (PWX) and EVOLVE Wrestling, where he’s part of the stable, The Unwanted, alongside Shane Strickland, Eddie Kingston, and Joe Gacy.
Brian Pillman Jr.
The name says it all. Brian Pillman Jr. is the son of legendary WCW, ECW and WWE Superstar “Flying” Brian Pillman. Trained in Calgary (like his father) with Lance Storm and then polished off in his native Ohio with Sami Callihan and The Crist Brothers (Dave & Jake), Pillman has really come into his own the past year, primarily with MLW where he’s a member of the new Hart Foundation with Teddy Hart and Davey Boy Smith Jr.
A 16-year indie veteran, Leland Race is the son of former 8x NWA World’s Heavyweight Champion Harley Race. Leland Race has spent the bulk of his career working for his father’s World Wrestling League (WWL) where he’s a 4x WWL Heavyweight Champion but has also appeared for Pro Wrestling NOAH and NJPW in Japan. He recently fought against Nick Aldis for the very NWA “Ten Pounds of Gold” that his father held.
Marshall & Ross Von Erich
Brothers Ross & Marshall Von Erich are the sons of Kevin Von Erich, part of the legendary (yet tragic) Von Erich family, and the cousin of former IMPACT Wrestling star Lacey Von Erich. The two Von Erich brothers began in Harley Race’s WWL in 2012 and soon traveled to Japan to train with Pro Wrestling NOAH. They’ve made continued appearances with NOAH, as well as guest appearances with TNA/IMPACT, and now wrestle primarily with Oklahoma’s World Class Revolution (WCR), where they held the tag team titles for 447 days. The two will be working singles for this tournament, and a chance to further the Von Erich legacy.
The son of former American Wrestling Association (AWA) World Heavyweight Champion and WWE and WCW Superstar “The Living Legend” Larry Zybyszko, Tim Zybyszko has been wrestling since 2012, trained by his father. He primarily competes for Florida’s I Believe In Wrestling and Belleview Pro Wrestling (BPW), where held the BPW Heavyweight Championship for 789-days.