After 43 years of promoting pro wrestling under the East Coast Wrestling Association (ECWA) banner in the state of Delaware, Jim Kettner has retired from the ECWA. Kettner promoted his first show in 1967 in his backyard and went on to run one of the most successful, consistent, longest running, reliable and recognized independent promotions in the United States.
Kettner was originally trained to wrestle by Victor Riviera, Joe Alfano and Bulldog Brower. Kettner wrestled for some local independent groups in the late 1970s-early 1980s, but spent most of his time since 1967 developing the ECWA. In the early days, Kettner did wrestle on his own ECWA shows and is a 2-time ECWA Tag Team Champion. Kettner also has done some part time training, promoting and other jobs for World Wrestling Entertainemnt (WWE) over the years.
The ECWA is known for many quality talents that have come through the promotion over the years, where Kettner had a hand in training and honing their skills. Men like Charlie & Russ Haas, Christopher Daniels, Bryan Danielson, Billy Kidman, Steve Corino, Christian, Simon Diamond, and Test as well as hosting appearances by some of the bigger name talents.
The ECWA is best know for it’s Super 8 tournament that was established in Feb 22, 1997 and recently hosted it’s 14th annual event on July 10, 2010. The list of wrestlers that have competed in the Super 8 over its history is a who’s who in wrestling, men like Jeff & Matt Hardy, Austin Aries, Bryan Danielson, Davey Richards, Ace Darling, Simon Diamond, Reckless Youth, Christopher Daniels, AJ Styles and many more. In fact, the original Ring of Honor (ROH) style of matches were patterned after the Super 8 styles of matches in the early 2000’s and in fact many, many of the talents that Kettner brought to the East Coast for the first time went on to ROH and later Total Non-Stop Action (TNA) Wrestling and WWE.
Jim Kettner’s last ECWA show was August 14, 2010. At his request and insistence, Kettner left quietly and with no fan fare, as he has never been one to put himself in the spotlight. Jim wanted to convey his thanks and gratitude to all the folks over the years that have been part of the ECWA family and have supported it so faithfully, from the staff, to the ring crew, to family and friends, to the sponsors, to the wrestlers and most importantly the fans. Jim said that Jim Kettner is not the ECWA, that no one person is the ECWA, that the ECWA is the collective group of all the people who have been a part of it over the years.
The transfer of daily operations from Jim Kettner to Mike Tartaglia was arranged by Joe Zanolle. Zanolle, a former pro wrestling referee and currently a photographer for Pro Wrestling Illustrated (PWI) magazine and booker for Mike Tartaglia’s Tri-State Wrestling Alliance (TWA) at www.twaprowrestling.com, hase been attending ECWA shows for over 10 years and has also served as a photographer for the ECWA. The current TWA mirrors the ECWA in many ways as both are family shows that showcase some of the best independent wrestling performers on the East Coast.
Tartaglia and Zanolle plan to run the TWA and ECWA shows as separate events, retaining both names and changing as little as possible, using many of the same names and keeping the rosters separate for the forseeabel future while there will be some talents switched from one promotion to another and some talents will appear in both promotions. Tartaglia and Zanolle will maintain many of the ECWA traditions, including it’s most highly visible event, the Super 8 which will celebrate it 15th year this year.
The TWA will continue to be based out of the Flyers Skate Zone in Voorhees, New Jersey while the ECWA will continue to be based out of the Newark Boys & Girls Club in Newark, Delaware.
Mike Tartaglia was a wrestler (Mike Bruno) in the original TWA in the early 1990’s and competes sporadically in the current TWA. Tartaglia ressurected the current TWA with a reunion show on October 24, 2009 and has run shows in South Jersey and Pennslyvania over the last year. The TWA has used WWE legends such as Jimmy “Superfly” Snuka, Ax & Smash “Demolition,” Al Snow, the Kat/Stacy Carter and Kamala, TWA Originals like “Hitman” Tony Steston, “The Beast” Glen Osbourne and “The Living Legend” Larry Winters, kid’s favorites such as Shockwave the Robot, Mr. Ooh La La, The Blue Meanie and Kid America and great local independent talent like TWA Champion Breaker Morant, TWA Tag Team Champions “The Best Around” TJ Cannon & Bruce Maxwell, the Logan Brothers, and “Mr. Wrestling” Steve Corino w/ Rob Dimension. The TWA has also raised awareness and funds for several charities and has appeared in Pro Wrestling Illustrated (PWI) magazine, The NJ Gloucester County Times Newspaper, the NJ Courier Post Newspaper and on NBC Philly CW57 and NJ 95.7 BEN-FM.
Tartaglia is also a local South Jersey business man and has owned several of his own businesses over the last decade.