The ECWA Super 8 Tournament is the oldest and most prestigious tournament in the world of independent professional wrestling. A lot of today’s stars in WWE, TNA, and ROH got their first big break as unknowns in the single elimination tournament. Even today, just being selected as an entrant is a top honor and on most wrestler’s bucket lists before their career is over. But how much impact has the tournament really had? Here’s a brief history lesson:
The Super 8 Tournament was the pet project of former ECWA owner Jim Kettner back in 1997. It was a revolutionary idea that created a new whole world and style of wrestling. Back in the 1990’s, independent wrestling was still caught in the past of larger than life, slower paced wrestling that was more popular in the 1980’s. Kettner recognized things had to change. And so he went about changing the landscape forever… the wrestlers chosen could fly… really fly around the ring at high speeds and do amazing high flying moves off the top rope. The idea took off big time! Fans loved the fast paced action and Delaware got to see some of the top talent in the country. Names like Billy Kidman, Ace Darling, and Reckless Youth ushered in a future filled with names today’s wrestling fan would know. Names like the Hardy Boys, Christopher Daniels, Brian Kendrick, Austin Aries, and even WWE’s Daniel Bryan all either won or had great showings in the tournament.
The unique hard hitting style was a revolution on the indies on the East Coast. Soon every company copied the style… wrestlers changed their style… and even whole companies were created copying the Super 8’s wrestling… As a matter of fact Ring of Honor was created from the idea of the Super 8. Some of founding fathers were Steve Bradley, Donovan Morgan, and Low Ki —- all former Super 8 competitors.
And so on Saturday April 5, 2014 in Newark, Delaware at the Greater Newark Boys & Girls Club the l8 year legacy of the Super 8 continues. This year is filled with some of the best professional wrestlers in the entire country!
Here’s a quick rundown of the men chosen to be the field of 8 this year:
1. ‘M Dogg 20’ Matt Cross- Cross has traveled the world perfecting his craft as one of the top high flyers in wrestling. He looks for redemption as he was to be in the tournament in 2007 but had to withdraw because of injury.
2. ‘Maple Leaf Machine’ Kao Storm- Some people say he’s been Delaware’s best kept secret for years. Now he gets his chance to prove it and show he belongs in a tournament full of sharks.
3. Steven ‘The Fever’ Walters- Walters is widely known for his technical ability that backs up his hard hitting suplexes. So much so he just signed a deal with the WWE! Will he still be as motivated to win the tournament?
4. ‘Southern Savior’ John Skyler- Skyler’s bad attitude is quickly becoming his M.O. But for good reason… he hits hard and kicks even harder. Certainly a front runner to win it all.
5. Ricky ‘The Model’ Martinez- A fast rising star that’s recently came into his own. His flamboyant personality mixed with his resource old school wrestling style make him many people’s favorite to win.
6. ‘King of the Midway’ Oliver Grimsly- This mysterious master of the dark carnival is the most interesting entrant in the tournament in years. Known more for his playful personality, can he go toe to toe with the other 7 men?
7. Gran Akuma- The most experienced man in this year’s tournament is seeking vengeance for 12 years of being the forgotten man. His array of amazing slams and suplexes make him a deadly foe to deal with.
8. ‘Vietnam Phenom’ Matt Saigon- Saigon is determined to follow in the footsteps of his friend Damian Dragon who won the tournament last year. What makes him unique to this year is his unmatched power. He’ll look to ground his much faster opponents.