Background: The World of the EWA

Last Updated: May 12, 2017

The world certainly has changed since the EWA initially closed its doors on Halloween night, 2001. The final EWA show ended with Chris Kage as the EWA World Heavyweight Champion, and uncertainty in the world of professional wrestling. Business was down at the time for the “sister federation” of the EWA, the New York State Wrestling Federation, which would close its doors the following year, marking the end of the “boom period” of professional wrestling. Analysts felt that after the terrorist attacks of September 11, many Americans sought out other, less violent forms of entertainment, leaving professional wrestling to struggle to maintain a foothold in popular culture.

A number of promotions attempted to start up afterward in America. An executive within the ranks of the NYSWF, Darren Richard, attempted to branch out on his own, forming the National Wrestling Federation, Many popular names such as Grady Smith, Michael and Erik Draven, and SmirtDogg made their final stands in the American wrestling scene here. Alas, Richard’s business skills were insufficient, and the NWF closed to lack of funding after just six months.

Meanwhile, back in 2002, a new promotion had begun to gain popularity in the criminal underworld of Japan – a fight club of sorts, known to the few daring enough to seek it out. This promotion, initially ran by the Yakuza, was known as The SHOOT Project. The Yakuza reached a deal with a businessman named Jason Johnson to expand their organization, and on September 29, 2002, the Under Siege event exploded the SHOOT Project into the mainstream. While the company was wildly successful for a good portion of the decade, Johnson’s erratic behavior saw the company close on multiple occasions, including what many presumed to be for good back in 2013.

After the SHOOT Project’s closure in 2013, the professional wrestling well dried up. Various independent promotions were ran out of gymnasiums and bingo halls, and the hardcore fans still traded videos over the internet and on social media, but for the most part, professional wrestling as a successful industry ceased to exist.

Enter Erik Draven.

‘The ICON’, the former five time EWA World Heavyweight Champion and legend of the industry, formed an investment firm headquartered in Boston in late 2014 with his brother Michael, who had recently been released from a psychiatric hospital in Texas. The firm, D&D Investments, was a means to one end – reopening the EWA and restoring it to its former glory.

The first step was purchasing the rights to the company from its former owner, Duane Gates, who started the organization back in 1998. Gates agreed to sell the EWA and all its trademarks to the Dravens for pennies on the dollar, in exchange for being hired as the company’s Head of Talent Relations.

The Dravens set a starting date of October 2015, and began quietly signing talent from both the glory days of the EWA, as well as talent who had previously competed in the SHOOT Project – names like Osbourne Kilminster, Sinnocence, and X-Calibur. The EWA returned with a bang in Boston on October 2, 2015, to critical and public acclaim, and has steadily increased its name recognition and popularity since that time. However, behind the scenes, not all has went according to plan.

Michael Draven, the younger brother of Erik Draven, had been seeking revenge on his arch-rival from the NYSWF, Alexander Haven, for over a decade, for events that Haven had perpetrated back in 2001. Draven’s fiance, Alyssa Marie Adonis, had left him in a public display of humiliation, entering into a relationship and eventual marriage with Haven. Haven was the leader of a group called The Youth, formed solely to make the younger Draven’s life a living hell. The group succeeded on all fronts, as Draven was never able to successfully pin Haven, and left the business in 2003, a shell of the man he once was. The younger Draven brother had been missing for almost eight years before a suicide attempt led Erik to him in Detroit – Erik had Michael institutionalized for two years, prior to the formation of D&D Investments.

From the beginning, Michael made it clear that his sole motivation in developing this company with Erik was to lure Haven out from wherever he was, into a final confrontation to settle the score. This drove a wedge between the two, as increasing company dollars and resources were spent locating Haven instead of furthering the growth of the EWA. It all came to a head just two weeks after the relaunched EWA’s first show, when Michael snapped, launching a vicious attack on Erik that would leave the older Draven bedridden – and Michael in control of the company.

Adding to the chaos surrounding the company, Chris Kage – Haven’s best friend – and Alyssa Marie Haven resurfaced, declaring that Haven had died in a tragic accident overseas two years prior. Kage became obsessed with what he felt was Draven’s disgracing of his friend’s memory, and launched a war against the Dravens, culminating in an attack on Erik at his home during the Live From New York event on November 13, 2015. Draven pledged revenge against Kage for the assault on the co-owner of the EWA, and the two would meet at Champions Summit on December 31. In the meantime, the grief-stricken Alyssa Marie began to develop a romantic relationship with Michael Draven.

However, Kage shocked the world at the Champions Summit by revealing Haven was in fact alive, and the entire plot had been a ruse by the trio to once again ruin Draven’s life. This sparked a series of reckless and illogical decisions by Draven, which turned the Head of Talent Relations, Duane Gates, against him. Gates had his own selfish agenda, desiring to once again control the EWA, and became consumed with a plot to do so, secretly enlisting the help of former EWA World Heavyweight Champion Osbourne Kilminster.

Meanwhile, Gates’s secretary, Stacy Vandervort, was essentially left running the EWA. Erik Draven was absent from Boston, recuperating from injuries at home in Charlotte. Gates became increasingly consumed with gaining full control of the company, neglecting his existing duties. Michael Draven’s attention was focused almost entirely on Haven, as well as a budding relationship with EWA rookie Maggie McIntyre. Stacy continued to steady the ship, sacrificing her own relationship with EWA World Heavyweight Champion Sinnocence in the process.

The situation came to a head at Battlelines 8 on February 26, with Gates having challenged Michael Draven to a match for the title of interim CEO of the EWA, a role that Erik Draven had bestowed upon Michael in his absence. Gates would recruit Kilminster to fight for him, and ultimately win, launching a new era of tyranny onto the EWA.

Despite Gates’s obsession with causing grief for certain members of the roster such as Sinnocence, Johnny Napalm and Azrael Goeren, upon being placed in power, the EWA immediately secured its first tour outside of the eastern seaboard of the US, holding events in Mexico City, Daytona Beach, & Savannah, as well as announcing a live event in Chicago in June. Gates also built a partnership with the reopened SHOOT Project, and established a social media presence that the two promotions would share.

However, Erik Draven became extremely upset by Gates’s continued harassment of certain individuals on the roster, flashing back to his own tenure under Gates in the late 90’s, when Gates treated him in the same manner. He announced, in the spirit of competition, a massive tag team elimination match for Battlelines 11 on April 29, 2016, with the losing team being forced out of all power within the company – if Team Draven won, Gates would be fired and banned from the promotion he created, while if Team Gates won, the Dravens would sell the company back to Gates in its entirety, with Michael Draven remaining on under a wrestling contract.

At Battlelines 11, Gates continued his reign of terror. Laura Seton, the long-ago flame of Gates, had successfully captured the EWA World Heavyweight Championship from the Youth’s Chris Kage just ten days prior. This sent the Youth into a rage, and they threatened to pull from the elimination match that night unless Kage were to receive an immediate rematch. Gates forced Seton to the ring to defend her championship in a no disqualification match, wearing street clothes. She would ultimately lose the title back to Kage.

Michael and Erik Draven led Team Draven into battle – consisting of the two Draven brothers, X-Calibur, Azrael Goeren, Sinnocence, and a returning Grady Smith – against Team Gates – made up of Osbourne Kilminster, Alexander Haven, Lunatikk Crippler, Chris Kage, Martin Robertson, and Grace Goeren. After a war lasting over an hour, it was Grady Smith and Michael Draven who emerged victorious, sending Gates packing from his front office role within the EWA. Stacy Vandervort, who had been working as the Executive Assistant to Gates, was revealed prior to the match as a “double agent” working with the Dravens, and in the aftermath of Gates’ departure from the front office, was placed into power by the Dravens – retaining their ownership of the company after the victory – as the primary authority figure for the EWA. Gates, meanwhile, would return to the EWA just seven days later, as the new manager of Grace Goeren.

Stacy’s reign immediately kicked off with controversy, as she signed a match for Battlelines 12 with The Youth – Haven & Kage – meeting the Hierarchy – Goeren & X-Calibur, with the Hierarchy’s Tag Team Championship, X-Calibur’s Tapout Championship, and Kage’s World Heavyweight Championship all on the line. When senior official George Abjornson went down during the match, junior official Rick Iley stepped in, making a three count for Goeren and declaring him the new World Heavyweight Champion. However, Vandervort overturned the decision, stating that the championship could not change hands due to an unauthorized official making the three count. Kage and Haven would go on to win the match in controversial fashion.

The Youth would continue their campaign to wipe Michael Draven out, targeting his girlfriend, fellow EWA competitor Maggie McIntyre, in a series of brutal and disgusting attacks and mind games, designed to tear her away from Draven. The moves would have the opposite effect, though, bringing Draven and McIntyre closer than ever. Ultimately, Draven decided he needed to be finished once and for all with Haven, having been defeated by his rival in controversial fashion back in March at Asylum de los Muertos. Draven proposed a match against Alexander Haven – title for title (Haven was the EWA’s Atlantic Coast Champion at the time, while Draven held the Tapout Championship), with Draven’s ownership in the company on the line, in a ladder match. Haven accepted, and the match was set for August 19 at the Live From Tokyo event.

At Battlelines 15, an event occurred that would change the landscape of the company as a whole. HATE, a powerful group consisting of former NYSWF leader NOTHING, Lunatikk Crippler, Dredd, and Indrid Calder, staged a vicious assault on the Youth, hospitalizing both Alexander Haven and Martin Robertson (the son of Grady Smith). Haven and Martin were both hospitalized, with Robertson placed in a medically induced coma for weeks. The Youth began to gain crowd support from the EWA fans, and publicly announced their failures as a group, stating that while they’d previously sought to destroy the EWA, now they needed to save it from HATE.

Meanwhile, Erik Draven uncovered a secret – the EWA World Heavyweight Champion, Chris Kage, had been in a secret relationship with EWA Executive Assistant Stacy Vandervort. The relationship had been kept so quiet that not even Kage’s best friend, Haven, was aware of it. In a face to face meeting at EWA Fight Night on July 20, Erik acknowledged the outstanding work that Vandervort had done in her role as Executive Assistant, but announced he could not tolerate even the notion that she could abuse her power to help Kage, and promptly fired her from her duties.

At Battlelines 16, Haven asked Draven to call off their impending match and join forces against the true threat – HATE. Haven appealed to Draven that together, they could work to defeat HATE once and for all. Draven, whose girlfriend, Maggie McIntyre, had begun to have nightmarish visions of Indrid Calder (who had been stalking her for months), appeared to contemplate Haven’s request, before flatly denying it, dropping the bombshell that he’d enlisted HATE to help him defeat Haven at Live From Tokyo. In response, Haven requested that Grady Smith be named the special guest enforcer for the match, a request Draven agreed to.

The stage was set for Live From Tokyo, and true to Draven’s word, HATE showed up, devastating the Youth and Grady Smith. However, the group turned on Draven as well, laying him out and leaving both he and Haven on the mat before departing. The world watched as Maggie McIntyre ran down, throwing Haven out of the ring and setting the ladder up for Draven to climb…only to knock him off at the last moment. Maggie would align herself with HATE and Indrid Calder – the man who had been stalking and haunting her for months – severing her relationship with Draven. Haven would climb to the top and retrieve the newly christened EWA Combat Championship, designating him as the official co-owner of the EWA, alongside Erik Draven. However, moments later, Erik Draven was ran down in the parking lot by a black Hummer, dealing him with a series of grave injuries and leaving him unable to fulfill his duties as owner – thereby ushering in the era of Alexander Haven as the sole power of the company. It was widely believed Haven was behind the attack – an accusation he vehemently denied. At Champions Summit II in January 2017, it was shocking revealed that Erik’s own brother Michael was behind the assault, immediately following his loss to Haven – this was just the beginning of a mind-boggling turn of events at the EWA’s biggest show of the year.

With Haven in charge, the EWA would catapult to even greater heights. Haven immediately dove headfirst into the leadership role, re-hiring Stacy Vandervort as EWA Executive Assistant and promoting his wife, Alyssa Marie Haven, to Chief Operating Officer. Profits began to sore, and sponsors were pleased with the upswing of the company. The EWA began booking itself in larger venues around the country, and Haven announced a massive match for EWA Out For Blood on October 19 – HATE against The Youth and Grady Smith, in a dreaded, violent contest known as The Final Solution, a two-ringed steel cage.

But not all was perfect in the EWA. At Live From Tokyo, a new faction had reared its ugly head, led by the vile Grace Goeren. Daughter of Azrael Goeren, Grace had began training to become a professional wrestler at the start of 2016, and took to the sport like a sponge. Grace, an abused child who had been raised to think her father Azrael had abandoned her in favor of his decadent life on the road, had one goal in mind – destroy her father at all costs. She soon linked up with Duane Gates, who became her manager, and at Live From Tokyo, joined two other deranged women – Elizabeth Gaunt, former flame of SHOOT Project legend Issac Entragian, and Sahara, the wife of former Hierarchy member Marcus Mirage. The three, along with Gates, formed The Fallout, and began to blaze a path of devastation and destruction through the EWA, attacking announcers, referees, and wrestlers alike. Grace Goeren, who in June had become the inaugural Path of the Warrior tournament winner, would cash in her championship opportunity at Live From Tokyo to become the EWA World Heavyweight Champion. Sahara, who had developed an infatuation with Grace, soon followed suit, allowing The Fallout to viciously assault her husband, Mirage. Sahara would benefit from The Fallout’s help in even defeating the far more experienced Alexander Haven at Battlelines 18 for the Combat Championship. The Fallout continued their efforts to wipe out Azrael Goeren and dominate the EWA to this day, but at Out For Blood, Goeren unleashed literal hell on the Fallout – and the EWA itself – in the form of The Ivory Terror, Issac Entragian. Grace Goeren would go on to lose the EWA World Heavyweight Championship in the Warrior’s Trial III, thanks to her father, and would then meet Goeren in a “Career vs Championship Opportunity” match at Champions Summit II.

Meanwhile, Michael Draven would reappear in October 2016, revealing that he’d purchased a portion of Erik Draven’s share in the company, thus making Alexander Haven the Majority Owner of the EWA. Haven and Draven were scheduled to meet in the final chapter of their rivalry in a steel cage match at Champions Summit II. However, leading up to Champions Summit II, Alexander Haven suffered a broken collarbone in a car accident. EWA Physician Dr. Mark Furman refused to clear Haven for the match, causing Haven to go over his head and change the match to an unsanctioned street fight. Meanwhile, Grace Goeren, in one of the more vile acts in the history of the sport, would commit a vicious assault on her half-brother Max Goeren as a way of sticking it to her father one final time before their match.

However, at Champions Summit II on January 19, 2017, Azrael would obtain his final revenge, defeating Grace Goeren despite interference from the Fallout en masse. With Ray Willmott, Laura Seton, and a returning Sinnocence fighting off Grace’s minions, Goeren would achieve his greatest victory over his daughter, stipulating that she could never again receive a shot at the EWA World Heavyweight Championship.

The next night, as Champions Summit II, a shocking sequence of events saw Alexander Haven – now full owner of the EWA, after both Michael and Erik Draven sold their shares of the company to him – turn on his long-time best friend Chris Kage, costing him the World Heavyweight Championship in his match against Indrid Calder. The shocks continued, as Michael Draven first brutally assaulted Maggie McIntyre during that match, gaining a measure of vengeance for her betrayal at Live From Tokyo…and then, in one of the most surprising moments in EWA history, joined his long-time nemesis, Alexander Haven, along with Martin Robertson, to form a powerful new faction in the EWA – 3K. Haven would go on to use his influence as owner of the EWA on April 21, 2017, at EWA Live From London, to unjustly force Grady Smith, then EWA World Heavyweight Champion, to put the title on the line against Haven immediately after his successful title defense against Ray Willmott – thus capturing the EWA World Heavyweight Championship.

In April 2017, the EWA made headlines when wrestler Sean Boden, a long-time staple of the business, was detained for questioning in the murder of Mexican wrestling legend Roberto Cortez. Boden, however, was released by police after his attorney, Duane Gates, formerly of the Fallout (having been recently betrayed by Grace Goeren and Sahara), was able to demonstrate the lack of evidence Boden was being held on – Boden would go on to compete at Live From London later that month, and be challenged to the most dangerous match in professional wrestling – the Human Torch match – by former business associate Ryan Cuddihy, acting on vengeance from Cortez’s death. That match will take place in July at Champions Summit III.

Meanwhile, things had not gone well for Grace Goeren since her crushing defeat to her father, Azrael Goeren. Grace had lost all opportunities at regaining her World Heavyweight Championship as a result of her crushing loss to her father at Champions Summit II. Grace had managed to capture the Combat Championship, rechristening it the “World Combat Championship”, but her problems began to mount up. She essentially had lost control of the Fallout, as Elizabeth Gaunt became increasingly self-aware of the “false idol” Grace represented. At Live From London, in a final effort to salvage what was left of the faction, Grace savagely attacked Sahara, excommunicating Sahara from the Fallout entirely. The blond “Crimson Queen”, who had recently entered into a relationship with Michael Draven, was savagely beaten, and went missing shortly after the event for a brief period of time.

Draven, meanwhile, had a violent match with Maggie McIntyre, his former lover and fiancee, at that same event, culminating in the two embracing in the ring after battling out their aggression and hatred, and left the arena together, presumably marking the end of McIntyre’s tenure within HATE.

But perhaps the most shocking moment of all at Live From London was the stunning debut of Donovan King, the legendary former SHOOT Project Heavyweight Champion, who revealed himself as the mysterious masked man who had been attacking Goeren since January 2017. King, who was not under contract at the time of his debut, vowed that this was “only the beginning” for Azrael Goeren.

Leading into Champions Summit II, things would only get more intense for the EWA’s power players, as (TBC)