For the first time since its inception more than two decades ago, the tri-state area-based Super 8 Legacy Tournament is coming to South Philadelphia.
Hosted by East Coast Wrestling Association, one of the oldest independent wrestling tournaments in the United States, the annual highly anticipated event has been drawing hundreds of crowds, as well as national professional wrestlers, for the past 20 years.
On Saturday, April 20, this year’s “Legacy” edition will be hosted at South Philadelphia High School, 2101 S. Broad St., at 7 p.m.
Veterans of this eight-man showdown have climbed the ranks to esteemed professional programs, such as World Wrestling Entertainment.
Aside from making its South Philadelphia debut, this year’s Super 8, an eight-man, single-elimination tournament, is not only fostering athletic entertainers for the future but also honoring those from the past, as this is the event’s very first “legacy special.”
“The legacy name basically implies that they’re all second and third generation,” said ECWA producer and creator and South Philly native Joe Zanolle. “So, their dads or grandads wrestled.”
The 2019 lineup at South Philly High School descends from renowned wrestling families like the Von Erichs, Harley Race, Brian Pillman, the Briscoes and the Wild Samoans.
Competitors include Brian Pillman Jr. – son of Brian Pillman (NWA/WCW/ECW/WWE); Timothy Zbyszko – son of Larry Zbyszko (WWE/NWA/AWA), grandson of Verne Gagne (AWA); Colby Corino – son of Steve Corino (ECW/NWA); Lance Anoa’i’- son of Samu Anoa’i’(NWA/WCW/WWE) and grandson of Afa Anoa’i’ (WWE/NWA); Marshall Von Erich – son of Kevin Von Erich (World Class WCCW); Ross Von Erich – son of Kevin Von Erich (World Class WCCW); Leland Race – son of eight-time NWA World Champion Harley Race (NWA/WWE/AWA); and Wes Brisco – son of Gerald Brisco (NWA/WWE).
“We thought this would be a good location for the fans. It’s more accessible…story-wise, just the history of wrestling in Philly with names of people that their families have wrestled in Philly,” Zanolle.” It’s the name of the guys people grew up with.”
The evening, which Zanolle says is the oldest and longest running eight-man, single-elimination tournament in pro wrestling in the United States, will also feature the six-way ECWA Heavyweight title match, featuring Ty Awesome versus Kekoa versus Blk JEEZ versus Azrieal with AJ Pan versus Mike Law with AJ Pan versus ECWA Mid Atlantic Champion Joey Ace with AJ Pan.
Zanolle says, considering the amount of competition faced by other rising wrestling promoters, the ECWA team starts cultivating its Super 8 matchups months in advance.
He also notes that ECWA prides itself on authenticism, allowing the athletes to transpire their performance more naturally in the ring, as opposed to being entirely dictated.
“We’ll give the guys the outline, but they’ll fill in the blanks…In wrestling, I let the guys play to their strengths,” Zanolle said.”If you force them to do something that’s not their strength in front of a live crowd, it’s not gonna work.”
The tournament, which is described as a “self-contained story,” strives to tackle that genuineness on several levels.
South Philadelphia High School’s gym lends itself to a more intimate experience for audiences, which Zanolle says in essence of professional wrestling that has dwindled over the years with massive stadium events such as Wrestlemania.
“Now, you’re far from the ring,” Zanolle said. “The wrestler will look at the crowd, but won’t look at you. There’s not that intimacy. The bigger the show gets, the less there is of that…The bigger the show gets, the more produced it is.”
Continuing to return to the roots of old-school wrestling, Zanolle stresses that the event is family friendly, featuring limited over-the-top violence and non-explicit music.
Above all, he says audiences will experience a thrilling showcase, as seven of some of the most renowned names in wrestling will seek to hold their legacy. However, only one competitor can clinch the Super 8 prize.
“(Audiences) can expect interaction with the talent,” Zanolle said. “These guys are accessible. It’s a good time.”
Info: The East Coast Wrestling Association’s 23rd Annual ECWA Super 8 Tournament Legacy Edition will be held Saturday, April 20, at South Philadelphia High School, 2101 S. Broad St. Doors open at 5 p.m. Bell time is 7 p.m.
Tickets: First row costs $35, Second row cost $25. General admission is $ 20 for adults and $10 for children 12 years old and younger. To purchase tickets, visit /ecwaprowrestling.com/ecwa/event-info/ecwa-mens-legacy-super-8-tournament-april-20/
or call 609-220-5598.