The longest-running independent promotion in the United States is expanding its territory to Atlantic City.
The East Coast Wrestling Association (ECWA) presents Thanksgiving Fall Brawl High $take$ at the Showboat this Saturday. It’s the start of a new relationship as ECWA promoter Mike Tartaglia says the hotel reached out to him with hopes of adding a new permanent attraction. It could be a win-win for both parties, as Tartaglia has been looking to branch out from the oversaturated South Jersey market.
“There are five local promotions running here so it splits the fans,” Tartaglia says. “We really want to establish a new fan base in Atlantic City because there aren’t a lot of promotions out that way.”
Tartaglia purchased the company from founder Jim Kettner in 2010, and then merged ECWA with the resurrected Tri-State Wrestling Alliance. Running monthly shows in Woodbury Heights, New Jersey, ECWA celebrated its 50th anniversary this past September. Many stars cut their teeth in ECWA over the past half century, including Daniel Bryan, AJ Styles, Austin Aries and the Hardy Boyz.
Since 1997, the company has gained national recognition for its annual Super 8 Tournament, a one-night, single-elimination tourney featuring the hottest stars on the indie scene. Tartaglia says acquiring the Super 8 was the main reason he purchased the company, and in 2014, he took it to another level with the Super 8 ChickFight.
“Jim Kettner was never big on the women,” he says. “But it’s been very successful.”
Deonna Purrazzo won the tournament in 2015 and 2016, a first in Super 8 history. This year she lost in the finals to Karen Q, the current ECWA Women’s Champion. They’ve had a long-standing feud dating back several Super 8 ChickFights and the next chapter takes place at High $take$.
“Deonna vacated the women’s title when she thought she’d be signed by WWE, so she was never beaten for the belt,” Tartaglia says. “She’ll be signed eventually, though. She’ll definitely be signed to a contract.”
Also on the High $take$ card, ECWA Heavyweight Champion Azrieal defends his title against number-one contender Joe Gacy. Referred to as “Pro Wrestling Maniac,” Gacy recently lost the CZW World Heavyweight Championship, and is hell-bent on wrapping another title around his waist. “Azrieal is the most underrated guy in independent wrestling,” Tartaglia says. “This is going to be a great match.”
In other championship action, Breaker Morant defends the ECWA Mid Atlantic Title against arch-rival Chris Wylde. The ECWA Tag Team Champions One Mean Team (Brian Johnson & Justin Pusser) team with Adam Chandler the Great to face Jay D. Luscious and WWE Hall of Famers Tito Santana and Tony Atlas.
“I wanted to bring some former WWE guys to the Showboat to try and make an impact. I wanted to get the old wrestling fans interested in wrestling again,” Tartaglia says.
ECWA prides itself on fun for the whole family, and High $take$ will be no different. Fans can expect some solid wrestling along with entertaining shenanigans, a live variety show of sorts. If all goes well, Tartaglia plans to double down on bringing ECWA to AC.
Doors open at 6 p.m. Show starts at 7 p.m.
For tickets and more information, visit ecwaprowrestling.com.