John Casey is the founder and promoter of Northeast Championship Wrestling, having managed in NCW for years as JC Marxxx. Since 2012 JC has continued working behind the scenes for NCW Commissioner Dean Livsley as a representative of the NCW offices. This is his story.
Time inside the wrestling world can be very subjective.
For the majority of people time flows freely. Day by day, month by month, year by year time passes on. But for professional wrestling (and Rust Cohle) ‘time is a flat circle.’ Everything that once was will be again, and for wrestlers living inside that bubble you feel like you’re in an endless loop. When I sit back and realize ten years ago Northeast Championship Wrestling held its first live event at the Jacob Jones VFW Post in Dedham, Massachusetts it makes me truly wonder where the time has gone.
That fateful night in Dedham was revolutionary for NCW (and myself) as we attempted to find our place once more in the wrestling world after a shaky start earlier that year thanks to an imaginary commission and a struggle to define ourselves, finding a balance between old NCW and the new.
A decade later, I can confidently say we pulled it off.
A ROCKY REVIVIAL
It had been two years without an NCW show, and the independent wrestling landscape had shifted dramatically from the time of our last event in September 2002. “Brutal” Bob Evans had brought Slamtech University down from New Hampshire shortly after NCW’s sabbatical, and former Heavyweight Champion “Revolution” Chris Venom joined forces with Bob as a flourishing partnership with New England Championship Wrestling (NECW) began supplementing a new crop of fresh talent to the local scene. Meanwhile PWF-Northeast (the promotion that evolved from NCW’s sister promotion ICCW ran by former NCW Tag Team Champion “Mad Dog” Matt Storm and his ‘brother’ Kyle) continued to provide fans their local flavor of pro wrestling, developing the careers of many former NCW talents like Triplelicious, Sean Gorman, Mike Paiva, and Jason Blade.
Without the help of Tim Kilgore, I’m not sure NCW would have ever come back. While I had missed wrestling and the people within it, the task of starting up again after so long seemed daunting and near impossible. Nevertheless after attending a Ringside Wrestling show at the world famous Loomis Arena (namedrop) at Kilgore’s insistence I knew I had no choice in the matter, seeing the talent performing that night Yup, we were coming back.
NCW’s 2005 REUNION took place on February 19th, 2005 at the Elks Lodge in West Warwick, Rhode Island. It was a nostalgic night for me, but also a tough learning experience as well. While the show went well, I tried too hard in pleasing the “NCW Originals” along with the new pool of talent. And while a handful of great wrestlers debuted that night (Doug Summers and Paul Lombardi spring to mind) the spotlight was clearly shone on the old guard.
Two months later at the 2005 Big City Rumble I flipped the script and brought in a ton of new wrestlers (Davey Loomis, Osirus, Cenobite and Jon Thornhill to namedrop a few) without rhyme or reason to overcompensate for the lack of new blood at REUNION. They were just there to fill up space, never a good sign when it comes to a wrestling show.
Granted my mind was elsewhere, as NCW found itself waging war with a nonexistent Athletic Commission in what turned out to be a handful of trolls causing trouble between NCW, the folks at PWF-Northeast, and local wrestling promotions all throughout the Rhode Island area. Young, dumb, and angry (did I mention dumb?) I was prepared to fight back against the anonymous jerks causing trouble, and began planning NCW’s third event of the year at the West Warwick Elks. It would be called NCW NO FEAR, and we’d show the world we weren’t scared of anything.
NO FEAR, NO SHOW
That was was canceled.
Despite my bravado and bluster in this ‘war’, certain things were out of our control, indefinitely postponing NO FEAR much to my chagrin. Ongoing issues with the Elks also forced us to begin looking at alternative venues, and eventually led me to a small VFW Post on the outskirts of Boston.
The Jacob Jones VFW had been on my radar going back to the beginning of the year when NCW was getting ready for its return. Unfortunately a sleazy one and done promoter had run a show at the VFW a year earlier, and had screwed over the fans, the wrestlers, and the building in one fell swoop. I was determined to prove that NCW wasn’t like other companies, and sat down with the Hall Manager Carmen, asking for a chance to prove ourselves and offering a larger deposit on the hall in a show of good faith. After weeks of back and forth, Carmen eventually relented. I’d like to think my negotiating tactics were that good, but he was probably just sick of my nagging.
During the months since the Big City Rumble and our impending debut in Dedham I had a lot of time to sit down and look at the NCW roster, giving real thought to what this new generation of NCW wrestler was all about.
While Doug Summers, Paul Lombardi, and newcomers like Bryce Andrews and Rob Impact were seen as top prospects (rightfully so), I was also into the legacy aspect of the Davey Loomis and Timothy Pittman types, two guys who couldn’t be anymore different from one another but shared a very specific history with NCW and local wrestling as a whole.
Davey, as an accomplished High School amateur grappler, and was bred to wrestle. In truth he was one of the biggest reasons I opted to bring NCW back after seeing his potential, and selfishly wanting to book him ahead of the other companied. Heading into our Dedham debut I knew I wanted to showcase his wrestling skills, and decided to put him in the ring against my old friend and former NCW Heavyweight Champion Richard Pacifico, a man who hadn’t wrestled in NCW since 2001.
“The Boy Next Door” Tim Pittman was one of my favorite competitors at the Ringside Wrestling show I’d seen, a young fan who used to attend NCW events in 2001 and 2002 and eventually went on to become a wrestler, training first with former NCW Tag Team Champions The Elements of Suicide and eventually with Slamtech University. Keeping EOS in mind, I was determined to revitalize the NCW tag team division, pairing Pittman with high-flyer Jon Thornhill and his manager Amber for the upcoming NCW Tag Team Invitational. NO FEAR would see the debut of Generation SLAM, as the dynamic duo would challenge for the vacant Tag Team Championship against The Fighting Tootsies (NCW Originals Tim Kilgore & MTE), Afterburn (Ray Diamond & PC Cruz), and The Maine State Posse (making their NCW debut Scotty “By GOD” Vegas and Alex Chamberlain).
Putting the final touches on the event, reigning NCW Heavyweight Champion “The Portuguese Sensation” Ruy Batello (then a 1x time Champion) decided to put his title on the line in an open challenge, while the new NCW New England Champion “Hot Stuff” Paul Hudson was slated to put his championship on the line against Doug Summers in the night’s Main Event. Opting to put the New England Championship in the main event slot was a conscious decision on my part, declaring that any title in NCW was important enough to headline our show while ushering in the new era of NCW competitors.
The lead up to the big night had been great. The local press wrote up a great article about NCW’s debut and the promotional blitz was in full force. Unfortunately since nothing can go 100% right the night of a show (in all types of entertainment really) I arrived at the Jacob Jones Post with a 100º fever and hardly able to stand only to find out my New England Champion was even sicker, sleeping in his car with an awful bout of the flu. Being the incredible performer he is, Hudson promised he would be able to wrestle his match without any changes being made to the night’s lineup.
When the bell rang on October 8th, 2005 for that opening match between Osirus and Bryce Andrews I swear to you magic happened in that very moment. The crowd was electric, the wrestling was fantastic, and everything I had hoped NCW would be with its return was finally coming to realization.
Davey Loomis tore through Pacifico like a hot knife through butter, using his amateur skills to out-wrestle the rusty Pacifico (he got better) and cinch in his new submission hold ‘The Banana Split’ in record time. The elusive and mysterious Wisconsin Badger delighted the Dedham fans with his unorthodox performance, and the winning combination of Timothy Pittman & Jon Thornhill dominated the inaugural Tag Team Invitational, winning the vacant titles and ushering in the ‘Era of Good Feelings’ kicking off an epic rivalry with Chamberlain and Vegas over the tag team gold.
In a surprise turn of events, during the NCW Championship Challenge Derik Destiny (perennial good guy turned old school villain) formed The Original Kings of Old School in his efforts to unseat Ruy Batello as champion, bringing the former beast Dean Livsley back to NCW, working as Destiny’s enforcer in TOKOOS after teaching Livsley every maneuver in the wrestling textbook.
And in the Main Event Summers defeated Paul Hudson to win the New England Championship, with the new NCW Tag Team Champions Generation SLAM and the Heavyweight Champion Ruy Batello joining the celebration at ringside to cement themselves as the pillars of the new NCW foundation.
Remember earlier when I said time was a flat circle? If you don’t just scroll up and check it out. I’ll wait.
Ten years later as NCW NO FEAR comes to the Norwood Elks Lodge for our penultimate event of the 2015 Season on October 16th I’m consistently amazed at what NCW has become over the last decade. It took awhile, and there were still some bumpy roads ahead but the talent that has come through our doors over the years has been staggering, and the fans that have supported us have to be considered some of the best fans around. When NCW moved to Norwood from Dedham three years ago I had the same butterflies I did in 05′ and have become so proud of the work we’ve done since making Norwood our home. The excitement I had for that young crop of talent ten years ago is the same excitement I have today for guys like The Lumberjake, Crossfit, Anthony Greene, Christian Casanova, Tim Lennox, and so many more.
Time is a flat circle people, what once was will be again.