Windy City Pro Wrestling

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Windy City Pro Wrestling
Acronym WCPW
Founded January 30, 1988
Style American wrestling
Headquarters Chicago, Illinois (1988–present)
Founder(s) Sam DeCero
Owner(s) Sam DeCero (1988–2008)
Armando Estrada (2008–present)
Parent Windy City Pro Promotions, Inc.
Formerly Windy City Wrestling
Website Official website

Windy City Pro Wrestling was an American regional professional wrestling promotion based in Chicago, Illinois. Established by retired wrestler Sam DeCero in 1988, the promotion was one of several major regional territories in the Midwest during the late 1980s, along with Dick the Bruiser's World Wrestling Association, and among the oldest independent organizations in the United States until its close in 2010.

History[edit]

1980s[edit]

After retiring from professional wrestling due to a back injury, Sam DeCero purchased a 95th street garage in Chicago's South Side and began training local wrestlers advertising as far as Hammond, Indiana. With Mike Gratchner, a former promoter and wrestling photographer, DeCero decided to establish his own promotion. Within a year, he had managed to secure investors including relatives, friends and co-workers and held the promotions first event at a South Side nightspot featuring Steve Regal against Paul Christy in the main event on January 30, 1988. The event, which was attended by 160 people, was successful, and soon the promotion began holding events in similar venues offering to hold cards ranging from $3,500 to $9,500.

DeCero soon began running televised wrestling events with then-22-year-old Paul Heyman,[1] who was also working for Southeastern promotions Southern Championship Wrestling and the Continental Wrestling Federation.[2] Their events were held at DaVinci Manor and the International Amphitheater,[3] which later aired on WMBD-TV. During the summer, the promotion saw serious losses due to poor attendance, including losing $10,000 at a show in Rockford, Illinois and between $12,000–13,000 at the International Amphitheater. In September, despite drawing a large crowd at a card featuring Terry "Bam Bam" Gordy and Bam Bam Bigalow in the main event, the promotion still lost money.[4]

Eventually recovering after additional funding by his investors, within four years, the promotion operated two training facilities and had a weekly half hour television show airing on SportsChannel. They also participated in several fundraisers for charity organizations including Toys for Tots, Muscular Dystrophy, Maryville City for Youth and the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless.[5][6]

During the late 1980s, the promotion featured many popular wrestlers of the era including Dick Murdoch, Shigeri Akabane, Dennis Condrey,[7] Steve Regal,[8] and George Ringo, who acted as honorary commissioner. Prior to his death in Puerto Rico, Bruiser Brody had been scheduled to face Nord the Barbarian at the International Amphitheater in Chicago, Illinois on August 12, 1988.[9] Other mainstays included "Mean" Mike Anthony,[10] Trevor Blanchard,[11] Rockin' Randy,[12] Tony Montana,[13] and The Power Twins (Larry & David Sontag).

1990s[edit]

Although going into a slump during the early 1990s, its annual Battle of the Belts supercard was aired on SportsChannel on May 22, 1993,[14] and two years later, it presented Sailor Art Thomas a "Lifetime Service to Sport Award" on May 16, 1995.[15] The promotion also began holding events in smaller venues outside the Chicago-area such the Hammond Civic Center in Hammond, Indiana and Hempstead High School in Dubuque, Iowa in February 1996.[16] In September, the promotion became involved in a nine-month legal dispute with Ted Turner's World Championship Wrestling regarding trademark infringement over use of the WCW acronym. The matter was settled out of court, and in late 1997, the promotion was renamed Windy City Pro Wrestling.[17]

2000s[edit]

The promotion managed to survive during the decade, and due in part to its wrestling school and televised events in the Chicago-area, several light heavyweight wrestlers such as Ace Steel,[18] Sosay,[19] Kevin Quinn,[20] Christopher Daniels,[21] "Tenacious" Terry Allen, Steve Boz, Brandon Bishop, Vic Capri, and Jayson Reign emerged from the promotion during the late 1990s and early 2000s. During the last several years, independent wrestlers such as Colt Cabana, Abyss and Austin Aries among others have made appearances in the promotion as have WWF veterans King Kong Bundy, Greg "The Hammer" Valentine,[22] and Jerry "The King" Lawler.

In August 1999, the promotion began broadcasting live events via the internet through the website LiveOnTheNet.com as part of its Sunday afternoon sports lineup featuring Mike Anthony, "Tenacious" Terry Allen, Ripper Manson, Stone Manson, Steve Boz, Willie "Da Bomb" Richardson, Sgt. Storm, The Outfit, Lips Manson and Greg "The Hammer" Valentine.[23]

The promotion remained popular with Chicago wrestling fans favoring its "old school" wrestling approach unlike "sports entertainment" based promotions such as the World Wrestling Federation,[24] and it began competing with rival promotions such as All American Wrestling, Independent Wrestling Association Midsouth and AWA Slam.[25] Working with its affiliate organization Urban American Professional Wrestling in Chicago's inner-city areas in recent years,[26][27] its South Side wrestling school was featured on Insomniac with Dave Attell in 2002.[28]

In 2004, with over 1,000 in attendance at Morton College in Cicero for their supercard Battle of the Belts 16 grossing over $15,000, the following year Battle of the Belts 17 was held at the Hammond Civic Center on May 17, 2005; shortly before signing with World Wrestling Entertainment, Rob Van Dam had previously headlined a WCPW event against League Champion "Tenacious" Terry Allen at the building on May 26, 2001 attended by 2,000 fans.[29][30]

Roster[edit]

Male wrestlers[edit]

Female wrestlers[edit]

Championships[edit]

Active until 2010[edit]

Championship Notes
WCPW League Championship The major single title of WCPW. It was established in 1993, when the promotion's weight class divisions were created, and continued to be defended until 2010.[31]
WCPW Heavyweight Championship The heavyweight title of WCPW. It was established in 1988 and continued to be defended within the promotion until 2010. The title was served as the promotion's top singles championship before the creation of the League Championship in 1993.[31]
WCPW Middleweight Championship The middleweight title of WCPW. The title was established in 1991 and continued to be defended until 2010.[31]
WCPW Lightweight Championship The cruiserweight title of WCPW. It was established in 1991 and continued to be defended until 2010.[31]
WCPW Ladies Championship The women's title of WCPW. It was established in 1988 and continued to be defended until 2010.[31]
WCPW Tag Team Championship The tag team title of WCPW. It was established in 1988 and continued to be defended until 2010.[31]
WCPW 6-Man Tag Team Championship The 6-Man tag team title of WCPW. It was established in 1997 and continued to be defended until 2010.[31]

Retired, defunct, and inactive championships[edit]

Championship Notes
WCPW Battle Royal Championship The battle royal title of WCPW. It was established in 2000 and continued to be defended within the promotion until 2010.
WCPW Bare Knuckles Championship The title was established in 1999 and defended until 2008.
WCPW Midget Championship The title was established in 1988 and continued to be defended until 2001.

Lee Sanders Memorial Tournament winners[edit]

Between 2001 and 2010, Windy City Pro Wrestling hosted an open-invitational tournament, the "Lee Sanders Memorial Cup", as part of an annual tribute to longtime WCPW mainstay Lee Sanders, who wrestled as Staff Sgt. Storm, in which any independent wrestler throughout the U.S. was eligible to enter.

Year Name Date Location Notes
2001 Terry Allen March 10, 2001 Chicago, Illinois
2002 Germel "GQ" Quinn March 16, 2002 Chicago, Illinois GQ also won the UAPW Heavyweight Championship.
2003 Baltazar March 15, 2003 Chicago, Illinois
2004 Mike Anthony March 13, 2004 Chicago, Illinois
2005 Cassius XL March 12, 2005 Chicago, Illinois Cassius also won the WCPW Middleweight Championship.
2006
2007 Mitch Blake March 10, 2007 Chicago, Illinois
2008 Steve Boz March 8, 2008 Chicago, Illinois The tournament final was a four-way match also involving Acid Jaz, Derik Durton, and Sean Mulligan.
2009 Chris Collins March 14, 2007 Chicago, Illinois Collins was awarded the vacant WCPW Middleweight Championship.
2010 V-Factor March 27, 2010 Chicago, Illinois

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Paul E. is managing to live Dangerously". Chicago Sun-Times. Apr 8, 1988
  2. ^ Loverro, Thom. The Rise & Fall of ECW: Extreme Championship Wrestling. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2006. (pg. 17–18) ISBN 1-4165-1058-3
  3. ^ "Live bouts return to Amphitheater". Chicago Sun-Times. Apr 29, 1988
  4. ^ "Still Learning The Ropes: Wrestling Promoter Pins Hope on School, Local TV pact". Crains Chicago Business. Dec 11, 1989
  5. ^ "Amphitheater bouts to aid homeless". Chicago Sun-Times. May 17, 1991
  6. ^ Benaka, Lee (July 25, 2005). "The Lee Banaka Interviews: Sam DeCero". DeathValleyDriver.com. 
  7. ^ "`Lover Boy' Condrey revs up for slugfest at Amphitheatre". Chicago Sun-Times. Aug 12, 1988
  8. ^ "Windy City champion Regal is ready to `electrify' Cicero". Chicago Sun-Times. Feb 10, 1989
  9. ^ Grahnke, Lon (July 1988). "Frank "King Kong" Brody dies, outlaw wrestler". The Unofficial Bruiser Brody Memorial Page. 
  10. ^ Meltzer, Dave (October 19, 2006). "Wrestling Observer Headlines, 10/19/06". Wrestling Observer. 
  11. ^ Banaka, Lee (July 25, 2005). "The Lee Benaka Interviews: Trevor Blanchard". DeathValleyDriver.com. 
  12. ^ "Rockin' Randy: "From Ethiopia to Edgerton, I'll beat any wrestler out there!"". WrestleRevue.com. December 2001. 
  13. ^ Pearlman, Cindy (November 21, 2004). "Former pro wrestler prefers Hollywood ring". Chicago Sun-Times. 
  14. ^ "Raquel Copies Liz in Krantz's 'Torch' Affair". Chicago Sun-Times. May 22, 1993
  15. ^ "'The Sailor' To Be Honored". Wisconsin State Journal. Apr 20, 1995
  16. ^ "Razzle dazzle". Telegraph Herald. Feb 25, 1996
  17. ^ Fifer, Samuel. "Media/Intellectual Property Case Summeries" (.doc). Sfifer.com. 
  18. ^ Young, Doc; Les Thatcher (January 30, 2007). "Ace Steel & Kevin Kleinrock Interviews: Steel on Trump, Kleinrock/WSX". WrestleView.com. 
  19. ^ "Sosay: Character Evolution". OfficialSosay.com. June 2007. Archived from the original on November 4, 2007. 
  20. ^ "Interview with Kevin Quinn". PuroresuFan.com. June 2004. Archived from the original on June 11, 2008. 
  21. ^ Milner, John M.; Tim Baines and Corey David Lacroix (September 5, 2005). "SLAM! Wrestling Bios: Christopher Daniels". SLAM! Sports. 
  22. ^ Gallagher, Jon (March 23, 2006). "Wrestling at the Knox County Fair". The Zephyr. 
  23. ^ Windy City Pro Wrestling Events Hit The Web: LiveOnTheNet Provides Video Streaming of Today's Top Independent Wrestling". Business Wire. Aug 17, 1999
  24. ^ Keilman, John (September 28, 2004). "Small local shows operate in the shadow of WWE but the low-rent version grips fans with a gritty, hold over style" (.doc). Chicago Tribune. Archived from the original on October 26, 2009. 
  25. ^ Seay, Jenny (October 11, 2005). "Lords of the Ring: The fellowship of foes on the indy wrestling circuit". NewCityChicago.com. 
  26. ^ Douglass, Ian C. (May 25, 2005). "Urban league lets wrestlers live dream, increase income". Medill School of Journalism. 
  27. ^ Lou, Melissa (March 23, 2006). "So You Want To Be A Pro Wrestler?". Extra News. 
  28. ^ "Dave Attell's 'Insomniac' won't keep anyone awake". Chicago Daily Herald. Dec 5, 2002
  29. ^ Williams, Scott (June 1, 2001). "Wrestling: An interview with Rob Van Dam (Part Two)". Buzzle.com. 
  30. ^ Douglass, Ian C. (May 10, 2005). "Windy City Pro Wrestling books its biggest show". Medill School of Journalism. Archived from the original on May 14, 2005. 
  31. ^ a b c d e f g Royal Duncan & Gary Will (4th Edition 2000). Wrestling Title Histories. Archeus Communications. ISBN 0969816154. 

External links[edit]