Since the year 2000, New England Championship Wrestling has been entertaining its fans with great professional matches. The promotion is based out of Boston, Massachusetts, and is under the leadership of owner, Sheldon Goldberg. The promotion has had some talented superstars perform in their ring.
Wrestlers such as John Cena, Kofi Kingston, Fin Balor, Eddie Edwards, Sumie Sakai, and Bobby Fish are just a shortlist of the well-known talent to do battle in New England. Even The Boss herself, Sasha Banks had her very first match with the company when she went by the name of Mercedes.
“We consider ourselves very fortunate,” Sheldon Goldberg said. “The level of talent that has come in here to work with us over the years is very humbling.”
Sheldon grew up watching wrestling and he has fond memories of watching Bruno Sammartino back when Vince McMahon Senior’s company was called the World Wide Wrestling Federation. Becoming a promoter wasn’t a lifelong dream for Sheldon, but more of a by-product from some of the people that he had met along the way. Wrestler Tony Rumble was one of those people. Sadly he passed away in 1999. The two friends were close. Tony’s absence was difficult for Sheldon, and six months later he opened up NECW for business.
Sheldon and his company strive to put out the best product that they can. Their efforts are paying off because, after 20 years of being in the business, NECW has built a following that consists of new and repeat customers. Most of which are families.
“We have never been edgy in the terms of adult content,” Goldberg explained. “We have always been a show that everyone could come out and see.”
NECW has always wanted to get as many eyes on their wrestling product as possible. With the cost of television being so expensive that was not even an option. Sheldon and his team explored every avenue and they felt that the World Wide Web was the way to go.
In 2004, NECW started streaming their matches over the internet and the result was quite positive. At that time, very few if any promotions were going in that direction to deliver their content. It was only a matter of time when other wrestling promotions started to take notice of how the internet could be used to grow their businesses.
“It was a great way for people to follow our storylines and a way for us to promote ourselves at the same time,” Goldberg commented. “It was quite effective for us and people quickly copied what we were doing. “
NECW and Sheldon continued to move forward and by putting on a few shows a month, the company sustained itself. However, around 2018 Sheldon was in an accident in which he broke his shoulder in five different places. That setback put him on the shelf for a better part of a year and it challenged his company’s progress. Though the promotion did a few shows and fundraisers during that period it wasn’t like it had been in the past.
Then in 2020, when NECW was hoping to celebrate their 20 years of being in business, the Covid pandemic halted their shows for well over a year. Despite the disappointing circumstances, the promotion once again turned to the internet to stay connected with their fans.
“We wanted to commensurate that milestone so we went into our archives and put 20 of our matches that best sum up the 20 years of NECW,” Goldberg continued. “You can watch one match and come back or watch the whole thing. I wanted it to be easy and accessible.”
In the time that NECW has been in operation, they have always held their matches in VFW halls, high school gyms, or community centers. Even though those venues have served their purpose, they haven’t been ideal locations for television.
Goldberg is hoping to change all that. For some time, NECW has been working on a plan to obtain their building that will be solely used for professional wrestling. The idea is for the atmosphere to be inviting for the fans that have enough concessions and seating, plus an area for memorabilia. The end goal would be to turn the promotion into a full-time business rather than a part-time operation.
“We want a place that screams pro wrestling when the fans walk in the door,” Goldberg answered. “We want to create a destination.”
The past few years haven’t been business as usual for Goldberg and his NECW promotion. However, there has been a silver lining to his shoulder injury and the worldwide pandemic. Goldberg has had the time to refocus his thoughts and efforts on his business plan.
NECW has been a successful wrestling promotion in the Boston area for two decades. Its ability to survive through tough times and their loyal fan base is a reflection of its staying power. Goldberg loves professional wrestling and he has a specific vision for his wrestling product going forward.
“Anybody can say they are going to innovate wrestling, but wrestling is wrestling,” Goldberg remarked. “I want to innovate the surroundings for wrestling. If we can do that we can attract great talent, run more regular weekly shows, and we could create full-time jobs.”