Tony Ricca

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Tony Ricca
Tom Ricca aka Tony Ricca Autograph Signing.jpg
Ricca signing autographs
Birth nameThomas Ricca
Born (1968-06-07) June 7, 1968 (age 51)
Hammonton, New Jersey, U.S.
Professional wrestling career
Ring name(s)Tony Ricca
The Pharaoh
Hammonton Hitman
Nicky Sauce
Billed height5 ft 9 in (175 cm)
Billed weight255 lb (116 kg)
Trained by Larry Sharpe
DebutOctober 1990

Thomas Ricca (born June 7, 1968) is an American professional wrestler, better known by the ring names Tony Ricca of WWE and The Pharaoh. He is also the promoter of the New Jersey-based promotion AKW Arena Kaged Wrestling and currently Showtime Wrestling.[1]

Professional wrestling career[edit]

Early career[edit]

Thomas Ricca grew up in Hammonton, New Jersey. Ricca is a Hammonton Native and the only graduate of Hammonton High School to Wrestle for WWE. He trained as a wrestler under Larry Sharpe and debuted November 9 of 1990 as one half of the tag team called "The Hammonton Hitmen". His debut was an event that help benefit the troops that were serving in the Gulf War. After his debut, Ricca was asked to work independently as "The Hammonton Hitman".[2]

World Wrestling Federation[edit]

In 1991, Ricca was contacted to wrestle by WWE and wrestle for World Wrestling Entertainment. Ricca's WWF Superstars of Wrestling debut as Tony Ricca was on July 29, 1991, against Hacksaw Jim Duggan at the Worcester Centrum in Worcester, Massachusetts. This was a TV taping that aired nationally on August 31, 1991, on Network Television commentated by WWE owner Vince McMahon and Roddy Piper.[3]


The Pharaoh - Wrestler

After wrestling with WWE in 1991, Ricca looked to create the right persona for his career. In 1992, during Easter weekend, Ricca, watching The Ten Commandments with friends, saw the Pharaoh character. That was the start of his most popular persona known as The Pharaoh. Before debuting as The Pharaoh, he decided to further his training by taking private gymnastic lessons to execute a moonsault, which he dubbed "The Sphinx". Ricca debuted as The Pharaoh on June 12, 1992, and won using "The Sphinx". The local newspaper quoted the move as "A Spectacular Flying Backflip".[4] Following Ricca's debut as the Pharaoh, Ricca was approached by former WWE referee Dick Woehrle to see if he was interested in working on his shows in the Caribbean, Europe, Africa, Asia and around the world. Ricca accepted and instantly became Woehrle's top prospect and was introduced in late 1992 to WWE President Gorilla Monsoon. Monsoon thought The Pharaoh would be a good fit in the WWE and invited him to the WWE Headquarters in Stamford, CT to discuss future work for a three year contract with WWE. In 1993, however, Ricca was injured in a motor vehicle accident and was unable to continue wrestling for an extended amount of time. The offer was still available during his recovery. Ricca accepted the offer as The Pharaoh from WWE.[5]

Wrestling promoter[edit]

In June 1998, Ricca ventured further into the professional wrestling business and opened up Powerslam, a pro wrestling training center on Vine Street in Hammonton.[6] In October 1998, Ricca promoted a wrestling event for the World of Wrestling. 2,000 plus attended the wrestling event which included headliners Jimmy Snuka and King Kong Bundy. Ricca followed with more promotions until he unveiled his new promotion, The AKW, Arena Kaged Wrestling in 2000 at the same location. Ricca brought independent wrestling to another level by adding a caged structure surrounding the fans while watching the event. Ricca had the matches taped for TV and aired on cables network WMCN until Spring of 2002. Ricca promoted many headliners including, Disco Inferno, Vito LoGrasso, Daffney, Captain Lou Albano and many undercard wrestlers. Ricca also wrestled in the AKW as Nicky Sauce using a mask. Nicky Sauce was part of a group called "The Movement", a group in Pro Wrestlings AKW, removes opponents that are voted out of the AKW from AKW's online poll. In 2018, Ricca launched Showtime Wrestling[7] and had taken the AKW promotion into the Showtime Wrestling brand.[8]

In wrestling[edit]

The Pharaoh's Finishing Move (The Sphinx)
  • Finishing moves
  • Nicknames
    • "Tony Ricca"
    • "yo Tony"
    • "The Hammonton Hitman"
    • "The Pharaoh"
    • "Nicky Sauce"

Championships and accomplishments[edit]

Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame[edit]

Ricca was inducted into the Pro Wrestling Hall of Fame at the DePace Museum on November 25, 2017.[7]

WWE Alumni[edit]

Ricca is a WWE Alumni[9][circular reference]

Writer and Article Features[edit]

Ricca has written for top publications as Entrepreneur[10] and has been featured in the Huffingtonpost[11], Thriveglobal[7] and ESPN.

TV and Radio[edit]

Ricca wrestled on TV for WWE and has done several radio interviews with ESPN[12] and other radio stations.


Gabriella Ricca USAIGC/IAIGC Gymnastics International World Champion.

In June 2014, Ricca's daughter, Gabriella Ricca,[13] won the USAIGC/IAIGC Gymnastics International World Championships as the 12-year-old division's All-Around Champion and Bar Champion in Orlando, Florida. She was the only 12-year-old to receive at least a 9.0 in each event. Her accomplishments received coverage in USA Today,[14] the Courier-Post[13] and The Press of Atlantic City.[15]


  1. ^,
  2. ^ Toner, Noreen (11 November 1990). "Wrestling with ways to help troops in gulf". The Press of Atlantic City.
  3. ^ Hacksaw Jim Duggan Vs Tony Ricca Video,The History of WWE
  4. ^ Castone, Ben (18 June 1992). "Brawl' brings furious action to St. Joe". The Hammonton News.
  5. ^ Castone, Ben (18 June 1992). "Brawl' brings furious action to St. Joe". The Hammonton News.
  6. ^ The Hammonton Gazette July 2, 1998
  7. ^ a b c
  8. ^ AKW Show Intro, Showtime Wrestling Hammonton
  9. ^–R)
  10. ^
  11. ^
  12. ^
  13. ^ a b Steckler, Jared (28 July 2014). "Hammonton girl adjusts, wins gymnastics title". Courier-Post. Retrieved 11 December 2014.
  14. ^ "Hammonton girl adjusts, wins gymnastics title". USA Today. Retrieved 18 December 2014.
  15. ^ Brunetti, Michelle (13 July 2014). "Everyone Has a Story: Ex-wrestler dad helped young gymnast grapple with fear". The Press of Atlantic City. Retrieved 11 December 2014.

External links[edit]