AS I SEE IT
Pro Wrestling: Between the Sheets
Full Impact Pro Wrestling returns to Brooksville, FL on October 28, for the first night of the annual Jeff Peterson Memorial Cup tournament, with night 2 taking place the next evening in Crystal River, FL.
Over the years, indies have come and gone, but Jeff has been remembered by the wretling community of Florida.
He was and is held in the highest regard by all those with whom he works; in his uncle’s ECWA, Pennsylvania Championship Wrestling, IPW-Hardcore Wrestling in Florida, California’s All-Pro Wrestling, or elsewhere. He was trained by Lance “Simon” Diamond and Too Cold Scorpio at the WrestleTech wrestling school, affiliated with Pennsylvania Championship Wrestling and the ECWA.
He worked such independent mainstays of the day as Reckless Youth, “Fallen Angel” Christopher Daniels, Jimi V, Chan Hill, as well as Florida’s OG Scarface and Frankie Capone. Peterson wrestled in the 1999 and 2000 ECWA Super 8 tournaments, losing in 2000 to Jet Jaguar.
Jeff received chemotherapy for his lymphoma beginning in April 2000. He had a difficult time of it, with one remission, then a return of the cancer. He also missed being in and around wrestling and his extended family in the ECWA…which seemed to him to be the biggest hurt of all.
In July 2000, while still battling his cancer, he came back to a ECWA show to be inaugurated into the ECWA’s Hall of Fame; and to help his uncle, promoter Jim Kettner, get over the angle that would result in the ECWA’s biggest moment to date: the November 25, 2000 show at the Bob Carpenter Center, which drew over 2,200 fans far and away the largest crowd in the promotion’s history.
The ECWA website had at the time a report on the July 22 show which ran the angle to set up the “Battle at the Bob”. It speaks of Jeff and his history in words far more eloquent than any I can summon:
“Hero. A four letter word rarely used to its proper context in today’s world full of chaos and turmoil. What characteristics does a true hero possess? Strength, perhaps? Courage in the face of severe adversity. The ability to put on a smile though the heart is aching. In this life, and more particularly in the East Coast Wrestling Association, a young man of eighteen years is the obvious choice. Since he was a toddler, all Jeffrey Peterson ever wanted to do was wrestle, nothing more and nothing less. Nearly three years ago, his uncle and ECWA promoter Jim Kettner awarded him to opportunity to live a dream.
On March 21, 1998, WrestleTech’s first student, ‘All-American’ Jeff Peterson made his pro-wrestling debut. The then-sixteen year old was a picture of charisma, a true underdog who had overcome the odds to achieve his goals. On February 27 of the following year, Jeff was allotted the chance to live another dream, wrestling in the annual Super 8 tournament.
On that very night, Peterson wrestled Christopher Daniels in a match that will forever be remembered by many as the greatest in tournament history. Young Jeffrey Peterson had once again defied the odds. It was his turn to bask in the spotlight.
One year later, he did it again, battling Florida independent star Jet Jaguar in a classic, high-flying game of chess. It would be his last match in the ECWA, at least for the time being. A month later, Jeffrey was dealt a curve ball that a normal teenager would get caught looking at, to borrow a line from baseball. But not Jeff, not now, not ever. Jeff Peterson was diagnosed with cancer. Months passed with Jeff receiving treatment after treatment and going in and out of the hospital in his home state of Florida.
Emotions were at an all-time high when the ‘All-American’ made his triumphant return to the ECWA on July 22. Another superstar fans rightfully call a hero, Cheetah Master, declared that one man whose dreams could not be denied was Jeff Peterson. Jim Kettner agreed, thus setting the entire East Coast Wrestling Association on the ‘road to the Bob.’ Jeff Peterson, tears in his eyes, embraced his uncle as the entire locker room surrounded the ring, pounding the mat to ‘Jeffrey, Jeffrey’ chants in the ultimate show of unity and team spirit. Jeff is fighting his horrible illness with dignity and unheard of bravery. He has spat in the face of adversity. Jeff Peterson is a hero of the heart.”
His last actual wrestling appearance was on the April 6, 2002 ECWA show, working Ruffhouse Rivera. It appeared he had beaten cancer, as it was announced that his cancer was in remission.
Seldom was I happier to go to an independent show than I was on April 6th, then, to see Jeff in the ring. As I said in the April 9, 2002 AS I SEE IT:
“…The lineup wasn’t a blow-away lineup….it was pretty much a typical lineup for an ECWA show.
There weren’t any new workers I hadn’t seen before, and was anticipating seeing like I had the month before…and there weren’t any ***** matches on it as there had been at the promotion’s annual Super 8 show the month before.
Still, I came home very, very happy that I was there.
Jeff made his comeback on that April 6th show and worked a match with heel Ruffhouse Rivera. The match won’t make any Dave Meltzer Match of the Year list. Rob Feinstein and his RF Video won’t sell tons of the tape of the show, as he has of the 2002 Super 8 from the month before…except perhaps to the ECWA regulars and to the people who know Jeff Peterson.
But the show was far more important than the far more ballyhooed (and deservedly so) show of the month before….because a gusty young man came back from the worst killers of all… cancer; and has returned to live out his dream of being part of the business he’s loved since childhood….professional wrestling.
Far more important than a ***** match, a good buy-rates or a TV ratings, a courageous young man got to live on and keep living his dream.
That’s why I was happy to go to St. Matthews Parish Center on April 6th.”
Peterson was last seen by wrestling fans on a tape airing at the July 20, 2002 ECWA show via videotape on the promotion’s video screen, airing to the audience at St. Matthew’s Parish Center.
Sadly, the cancer returned just two months later, and with Jeff continuing to battle it until his passing yesterday.
My favorite thought on Jeff Peterson comes from one night back in 1999 at an ECWA show down at their homebase of St. Matthew’s in Newport, Delaware. It was at the end of another of the traditional heel-babyface matches Kettner favors. As the end of this tag team match approached, my younger brother and I played armchair booker and tried to guess the finish. Then, one heel stood on the apron holding one of the babyfaces with his arms pinned waiting for the inevitable punch; so we said out loud “rollup, or…”.
Immediately behind us, chirped this voice (in a carny stage whisper) “skiz-ool-biz-oy”, with a grin on his face. It was Peterson, who was back in the crowd being a fan, after he’d already worked earlier in the evening.
As October winds down, we’re approaching the Holiday season, and as I ask each year, please e-mail any announcements about scheduled holiday (charitable-themed) wrestling or MMA events to firstname.lastname@example.org
First off in that list…and the first independent or mainstream wrestling promotion in the Delaware Valley to do Toys for Tots collections was United Wrestling Coalition, which has been performing family style independent professional wrestling events for 15 years. They have become known for their annual Toys for Tots Pro Wrestling Toy Drive, held annually at Burlington County College. In fact December 3rd, 2011 will feature their 15th annual event! The December 3rd Toys for Tots event is FREE, when fans bring and donate a new unwrapped toy. For more information, contact Lois Thomas at 609-792-9328
Next on the list, 1CW and the Smyrna Clayton Boys and Girls Club proudly presents “Stuffin Stockings 4 the Kids” Saturday, November 26th with a special 3 pm bell time … 4 Title matches already signed
1) 1CW Heavyweight Champion Christian York to defend against TNA STAR Robbie E
2) First State Champion Ryan Mc Bride to defend against “Cuban Crippler” Ricky Reyes
3) 1CW Cruiserweight Champion Brian Hardy to defend against Crazii Shea … in a Best 2 out of 3 falls match
4) 1CW Tag Titles are up fpr grabs as the 900+ lbs of the Nigerian Nightmares take on the challenge on the D-LINE
also signed a 25 Man over the Top Rope Battle Royal , The NEW Freebirds with their TWIN 7 footers the Brotherhood of Brutality, Country Strong, Kindred, Kotori, Scott Dukes and all the stars of 1CW, plus a SPECIAL appearance by Santa himself …
The event benefits the Boys and Girls Club of American and the Delaware Food Bank.
Next, on November 13, Hoosier Pro Wrestling presents its “13 Years of Old School Wrestling Anniversary Show” along with a fundraiser for the Columbus Fire Department Cheer Fund to raise money and collect toys and clothes for children needing help at Christmas. This event is highlighted by the return of former WWE star UGENE who teams with Columbus’s own Donny Idol, who will face Sign Guy and Diceman Ronnie Vegas in a Loser Gets Head Shaved Match, plus a Pacific Northwest Ladies Title Match with Lylah Lodge vs. Cameron Star, plus 2 other Hoosier Pro Wrestling Title matches. Come out to this great show and great cause bring a new toy or kids clothing item and enjoy the best wrestling in Indiana with UGENE and all the HPW Stars! This is the fourth straight year of HPW and JD Byrider teaming up to benefit the Cheer Fund!
Additionally, another update on for this year’s Toys for Tots events at The Arena in Philadelphia. Arena management, as they have for the last seven years, has offered to possibly have the collections done at more events during the Holiday season than in the past. CHIKARA will feature collections at their Sunday, November 13 iPPV show, as well as their Joshi Mania show on December 2. featuring Joshi legends Aja Kong and Manami Toyota, as well as talent from Japanese women’s promotions Osaka Women’s Pro, JWP, Sendai Girls, WAVE and Union Pro.
The next day, Cage of Death 13 will be a doubleheader featuring an international mix of Combat Zone Wrestling, Big Japan Pro Wrestling, K-DOJO, and Freedoms.
The afternoon show on Cage of Death Saturday will feature Kaientai Dojo (K-Dojo), Dramatic Dream Team (DDT), FREEDOMS, and Big Japan Wrestling as part of the International announcing Ryuji Ito and Jaki Numazawa.
For attending the events organized this year, we ask that you please bring an unwrapped toy to the Asylum Arena; and donate it to the Toys or Tots program, who will have collection bins at the entrance of the Arena. The mission and goal of the Toys for Tots program is to collect new, unwrapped toys and distribute those toys as Christmas gifts to needy children in the community. Though a new toy at Christmas, a message of hope is delivered to less fortunate children that will assist them in becoming responsible, productive, patriotic citizens.
Until next time…
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