Every pro wrestler in the WWE or TNA today had their start in a independent promotion. Every single one of them from John Cena to Triple H had humble beginnings. I think that is incredible.
Whether they started in Ohio Valley Wrestling, Ring of Honor, Combat Zone Wrestling, Eastern Championship Wrestling Association, or countless other promotions, they all had their beginnings in the indies.
The ECWA has become one of the most respected independent wrestling promotions in the country since it was established in 1967 by Jim Kettner.
The promotion has gained a lot of respect in the past 10 or 15 years for being home to Billy Kidman, Paul London, Christian Cage, the Hardy brothers, Christopher Daniels, and countless other young talent who have become some of the most successful wrestling performers of the current generation. Other examples of the ECWA alumni include Low-Ki, Petey Williams, and Beer Money's Robert Roode.
Although ECWA has gained notoriety for giving the wrestling superstars of today their first big break in the world of pro wrestling, the promotion's biggest claim to fame isn't their alumni, but the annual Super 8 Tournament that the small promotion holds.
The Super 8 Tournament has become the most respected tournament in the United States since its inception in 1997. The tournament started as a way to crown an ECWA Television Champion which was won by Ace Darling, but soon blossomed into an annual tournament attracting some of wrestling's greatest talents to become part of the Super 8.
In the following years ECWA's annual tournament has had many notable competitors and winners including Christopher Daniels, Low-Ki, Paul London, Petey Williams, Jerry Lynn, and many others.
Like most independent wrestling promotions in the United States, the ECWA has a roster of completely unknown wrestling performers. Someday, they could be headlining WWE's Wrestlemania.
No one knew who Christopher Daniels was when he won the Super 8 Tournament in 2000 and no one really knew who the Hardy brothers were, when they wrestled in ECWA back in 1999. The indie wrestlers of today will be the WWE and TNA stars of tomorrow.
Independent wrestling promotions like ECWA don't have five-star matches and big budget pay per view events. What they do have, is the future of pro wrestling sitting in their laps. It is their job to groom them and prepare them. Much like a grade school teacher, these indie wrestling promotions are not getting enough credit for the opportunities they have given to these guys and the hard work they do.
The ECWA has become one of most notable wrestling promotions outside of TNA, ROH, and the WWE because of their ability to recognize potential in young talent and their ability to create one of the most respected wrestling tournaments ever.
This article is my tribute to the ECWA and all independent wrestling promotion and wrestling schools because without them there would be no future for the "sport" we all love.