Heartland Wrestling Association

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Heartland Wrestling Association
Acronym HWA
Founded 1996
Style American Wrestling
Headquarters Cincinnati, Ohio, United States (1998-current)
Founder(s) Les Thatcher
Owner(s) Brandon Charles(2013-current)
Website HWAonline.com (inactive)

The Heartland Wrestling Association (HWA) is a Midwestern independent professional wrestling promotion based in Cincinnati, Ohio. A former developmental territory for both World Championship Wrestling and the World Wrestling Federation during the 1990s, it was listed as one of the top independent promotions in the United States by The Professional Wrestlers' Workout & Instructional Guide by Harley Race, Ricky Steamboat and Les Thatcher in 2005.[1]


The Heartland Wrestling Association was started in 1996 by Les Thatcher and Brady Laber, in association with his wrestling school Main Event Pro Wrestling Camp, and held the first annual Brian Pillman Memorial Show in 1998.[2]

The promotion served as the developmental territory for both World Championship Wrestling (WCW) and World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE), with alumni including wrestlers such as Mike Sanders,[3] Shannon Moore,[4] Victoria,[5] the Hardy Boyz and brothers Charlie and Russ Haas, as well as former WCW veterans Bill DeMott and Elix Skipper.[6] Among the top independent wrestlers to have competed in the promotion are Nigel McGuinness, BJ Whitmer, Matt Stryker, Shark Boy, Cody Hawk and Chad Collyer.[7] Although WWE pulled out of the HWA to cut their budget, HWA continues to have a working relationship with the promotion. The HWA was once featured in an episode of MTV's True Life in the episode "True Life: I'm A Professional Wrestler".

HWA aired a weekly TV program "Adrenaline" nationally on the America One television network. As of early-2007, HWA has produced three online pay-per-view events: "CyberClash" from the HWA Arena in Evendale, Ohio, on March 17, 2006, "Road to Destiny" from the Dayton Gym Club in Dayton, Ohio on June 10, 2006, and "CyberClash 2.0" from the HWA Arena in Evendale, Ohio on March 10, 2007.

In August 2007, the HWA seemed to be shut down, with Cody Hawk launching a new promotion called EGO Pro Wrestling. However, it wound up being a split, as the HWA found new investors and began running live events and producing new episodes of "HWA Adrenaline." The first "HWA Reborn" event occurred on November 9, 2007, with subsequent live events being announced through 2008.[8] Starting in September 2008, HWA performed at The Sorg Opera House in Middletown, Ohio. In August 2009, Jake Crist became the longest reigning heavyweight champion in HWA history. After a brief hiatus from weekly shows HWA returned starting on May 31, 2011 at the Great Miami Event Center in Hamilton, Ohio on a weekly basis known as "Adrenaline" which was every Tuesday. In addition to these events HWA ran weekend events regularly in Norwood, OH and at its home in Hamilton, OH respectively. Recently HWA was sold to new owners in Middletown, Ohio. HWA has announced that they will move operations to Georgia in 2015.


Current champions[edit]

Championship Champion(s) Previous Date Won Location
HWA Heavyweight Championship Chance Prophet Ron Mathis July 27, 2013 Middletown, OH
HWA Tag Team Championship TBD & TBD Jesse Emerson & Chris Hall

Retired and inactive championships[edit]

Championship Champion(s) Previous Date Won Location
HWA Television Championship Ganger Quinten Lee June 5, 2007 Cincinnati, OH
HWA European Championship Nigel McGuiness Hoss November 4, 2003 Cincinnati, OH
HWA Barroom Brawl Championship JT Stahr Vacant April 21, 2006 Cincinnati, OH


  1. ^ Race, Harley, Ricky Steamboat and Les Thatcher. The Professional Wrestlers' Workout & Instructional Guide. Champaigne, Illinois: Sports Publishing LLC, 2005. (pg. 6) ISBN 1-58261-947-6
  2. ^ "Les Thatcher Bio". LesThatcher.com. Retrieved 2007-04-18. 
  3. ^ Speer, Phil (2003-02-11). "EPWT Training Camp Testimonials". WWE.com. Retrieved 2007-04-18. 
  4. ^ Hardy, Matt and Jeff Hardy. The Hardy Boyz: Exist 2 Inspire. New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 2003. (pg. 7) ISBN 0-06-052154-6
  5. ^ "Much To Celebrate For Victoria On Her Birthday". Retrieved 2007-04-18. 
  6. ^ Lacroix, C. (2005-03-10). "Primetime has reached the big time". Canadian Online Explorer. Retrieved 2007-02-22. 
  7. ^ Horie, Masanori (1999-02-22). "View from the Rising Sun". Archived from the original on 2005-07-12. Retrieved 2007-04-18. 
  8. ^ HWA (2003-02-11). "Heartland Wrestling Association". hwaonline.com. Retrieved 2007-12-10.