Wrestling fans in Hammonton, NJ have been treated to some excellent wrestling shows over the years. From the indies to the major federations, the town has been a mini mecca for the wrestling business.
Years ago, the legendary golden age wrestler Karl Von Hess talked about some of the older carney shows that took place in Hammonton.
And, did you know that the WWWF actually had shows in Hammonton, NJ? Stars like then WWWF Champion Ivan Koloff, Tony Marino, Chief Jay Strongbow, Manuel Soto, BlackJack Mulligan, & The Black Demon along with some of the other local South Jersey Wrestlers all entertained the crowds in the early 70’s, until the WWWF began to focus their efforts in Atlantic City.
Hammonton in the 1980’s would still get the occasional indy show to pass through town, and in the 1990’s, several promotions ran shows in the area. In fact, Hammonton native Tom Ricca, who actually worked for the WWE (then WWF) ran a promotion called AKW (Arena Kaged Wrestling). They drew strong local crowds, and had their last show in 2002, which featured Big Vito (Vito Lo Grasso) vs. Disco Inferno (with another Atlantic County resident John Tarsitano, aka “Millionaire Ted Jr” in Disco Inferno’s corner).
Additionally, ECW’s Pitbulls (Gary Wolfe & Anthony Durante, also from Hammonton) ran several successful shows at the site of the old Jamesway store, in the lot of the Blueberry Shopping Center that featured ECW style action, women’s wrestling, and even midgets!
Pro wrestling took a hiatus in the town for several years, then in 2008, former ECW star “IronMan” Tommy Cairo again turned to the town when he brought his original Force One Pro Wrestling to the Rollway Skating Rink. Veterans like Stevie Richards and Danny Doring worked with some of Cairo’s young students from his wrestling school like Josh Adams, Ryu Lee (now known as Matt Saigon), Carlos “Razor” Rivera (also from Hammonton), Bear Borcelli and Kevin Cunningham. Also the trainers, Diego De Marco & White Lotus both held titles during the time those shows ran.
When Force One changed hands, the new owners continued to run shows under the name ForceOne Pro, and brought in lots of new talent never seen before in the area. The new ForceOne, run by Johnny Calzone, drew very well at the Rollway Skating Rink, but unfortunately ran their last show there on April 21, 2012, and appear to have stopped running shows.
And now, it’s Coastal Pro Wrestling‘s turn, and the action will continue in Hammonton, a town rich with pro wrestling heritage!!