Newark, Delaware-based East Coast Championship Wrestling has been a hotbed of wrestling action and a proving ground for young stars for almost half a century. With so many great stories of redemption, fortitude and triumph, it's a near-Herculean attempt to pick one or two that exemplify the spirit of that organization but an ultimate list of the companiy's highlights would surely have to include the tale of "Heartkiller" Chris Wylde. As a boy, Wylde attended ECWA shows with his dad and although his smaller frame and struggles with asthma made things tough from time to time, Wylde eventually became a wrestler himself, eventually scoring title gold in ECWA, winning the company's Mid-Atlantic and heavyweight straps. Wylde recently spoke to WrestlingINC.com regarding the highlights of his career as a wrestler as well as his personal life and goals for the future.
Chris, you've garnered a tremendous following and many successes through your work in ECWA but you worked in a number of other independent promotions prior to your current gig. How did your work in places like DCW and OVW prepare you to the challenges you've faced as a standout of ECWA's roster?
I don't think anything really prepared me for the challenges I would face in the ECWA but working with these places early in my career would help me pay my dues. Driving a ring truck around. putting up a ring with just two other people, and doing things such as work the cameras, security , and concessions really made me appreciate the business. That's taking nothing away from the talent at these places. DCW allowed me the chance to learn my basics. I remember constantly trying new things on film to try and impress then ECWA owner Jim Kettner.
Your 2012 heavyweight title win over Greek God Papadon was an emotional one and arguably your biggest victory to date. How does that achievement compare to your Mid-Atlantic title reigns, including your current stint with that title? Should fans expect to see you carrying ECWA heavyweight gold again in the near future? What do you need to do to earn a shot at Bobby Shields?
Winning the ECWA title from Papadon in 2012 was up to that point the biggest thing to happen to meónot just in my wrestling career but my life. Growing up in the area I would go to ECWA shows and watch guys like Chris Daniels, Christian, Glen Osbourne, Fred Sampson (Darren Young) and others carry the "Big Red" title and wish that someday I would. It was a dream that many said I would never accomplish. Winning it in front of my newborn daughter was special. My ECWA title reign was like going to school for me. I can't tell you how much I learned from guys like Papadon, Josh Daniels, and Tony Mamaluke. Winning the Mid-Atlantic title for a second time this year meant even more to me for a couple of reasons. The first being that because of everything I learned from guys i worked with I now felt like I was "ready." And the second being that I fulfilled another dream of mine by having my friend and mentor J.J. Dillon in my corner for the match I won it in, against Ricky Martinez. It was J.J.'s first time managing in ten years. This meant the world to me. I feel I am more ready now to hold the ECWA title then I was before. Fans can expect me to make a push for this title in the future for sure.
Title aspirations aside, it's a safe bet that you'd love to grab the top spot in the Super 8 Tournament someday. You've competed in a couple of those tournaments thus far. What distinguishes the Super 8 from other Big Events and invitational of the indy scene? What would a Super 8 win mean for your career in the broad scheme of things?
The Super 8 is hands down what ECWA is most known for. It gave guys like the Hardys, Austin Aries, and Daniel Bryan a place to shine. It's something that I remember reading about in PWI magazine every year. In 2010 I got the call from Jim Kettner to not only debut for ECWA but to compete in this tournament. I could have fainted when I got the call. I would go on to lose to Tomasso Ciampa in the semis, but the feeling of how special just being in the tourney was is something I will never forget. I would be in the 2013 Super 8 and again fall short. Winning this is a goal I will always have. Winning the Super 8 puts you with some of the best to grace the ring.
When you're not kicking copious amounts of ass in the ring, you're a devoted father. How do you turn off the adrenaline and intensity of training and competition to be a tender and attentive dad?
I watched the WWE Halll of Fame this year and remember the Warrior saying the most important job he has ever and will ever have is being a father. Just thinking about it gives me goose bumps because it is so true. Being a father has pushed me so much in wrestling, because I don't just want to make it for me anymore, but I want to make it for them as well. There really isn't a way to turn off the intensity of training and being a wrestler. I just direct that intensity into being a kick-ass dad.
For independent wrestling fans outside of the Philadelphia and Newark areas, what's the best way to see what "Heartkiller" Chris Wylde is all about?
At Elkhart, Indiana's Strong Style Wrestling show on July 26, Russ Jones defeated Mr. 450 via pinfall and Chris Hall pinned Lightning Bolt Johnson. In the main event, Dru Skillz, Remi Wilkins and Appollo defeated Sugar Dunkerton, Matt Knicks and Chris Castro.
Florida Super Championship Wrestling's new episode (Season 2, Episode 21) is posted on YouTube. Included in the show is a 15-man over-the-top battle royal and a match between Snake Eyes and Black Adam (That's right...the G.I. Joe guy vs. Captain Marvel's arch-nemesis) Episode 22 features an all-female elimination match: Catwoman vs. Mary Marvel vs. Storm vs. Pink Power Ranger vs. Chun Li. Rick Grimes takes on Beast in a "Zombie on a Pole" match. Yeah, you read that last part correctly. You can watch that episode here.