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Rob Strauss

Robert “Rob” Strauss[4] (born October 1, 1983) is an American professional wrestler, currently signed to Total Nonstop Action Wrestling under the ring name Robbie E. He has also competed in Northeastern and Mid-Atlantic independent promotions under the ring name Rob Eckos, including Chaotic Wrestling,[5] the East Coast Wrestling Association,[6] Hardway Wrestling, Jersey All Pro Wrestling, the National Wrestling Alliance, Pro-Pain Pro Wrestling[4] and Mikey Whipwreck’s New York Wrestling Connection.

Professional wrestling career

[edit] Early life and career

Eckos began watching professional wrestling at the age of 4[7][8] and was a fan of The Ultimate Warrior, Sting[9] and Shawn Michaels. He saw his first live event at a local wrestling show in Woodbridge, New Jersey headlined by “Iron” Mike Sharpe and later became interested in becoming a professional wrestler. When he turned 16, Eckos began training at Kevin Knight’s Camp IWF in Woodland Park, New Jersey,[10] where he practiced regular drills and exercises for four months until his debut against Chad Warwick on October 1, 2000.[11]

[edit] Independent Wrestling Federation

Eckos spent his early career in the Independent Wrestling Federation, a local promotion based in Woodland Park, New Jersey, defeating Damian Adams at West Orange High School on January 21, 2001. He also participated in a 12-man battle royal later that night which included Dr. Hurtz, Marc Verow, BJ Thomas, Damian Adams, Jade Divine, HP Walker, Hadrian, Josh Daniels, Psycho Bitch, Tony Rage and Rapid Fire Maldonado.

On February 11, he lost to Kevin Knight and Damian Adams in two separate matches at an IWF show in West Peterson. He and Hadrian lost a tag team match to Roman & Kevin Knight on March 4 and faced Kasey Coresh, Damian Adams and Tony Balboa in singles matches during the next few weeks. On May 20, he defeated Hadrian via disqualification and, on June 3, he beat Tony Balboa at the West Orange Community Center. He also participated in a 12-man battle royal which included Dr. Hurtz, Damian Adams, Josh Daniels, Rapid Fire Maldonado, Tony Balboa, BPA Barry, Ryan Lockhart, Kasey Coresh, St. Patrick, Mr. Mike and Biggie Biggs. Eckos lost to Hadrian at the Brookwood Lounge Outdoor Car Show in Jackson, New Jersey, several days later.

On July 7, 2001, Eckos scored another disqualification win over Roman in Edison, New Jersey. The following night however, he lost to Roman in a match for the IWF Heavyweight Championship. On July 26, he beat Kasey Coresh and Ryan Lockhart in a three-way match and faced both in single matches during the next few weeks. On September 15, he and Josh Daniels lost to Damian Adams & Hadrian. He also lost to Josh Daniels the following night.

Losing to Roman in a rematch for the IWF Heavyweight Title on October 28, 2001, he also entered a 15-man Royal Rumble whose participants included Roman, Shane O’Brien, Sir Michael, Ryan Lockhart, Biggie Biggs, Rapid Fire Maldonado, BPA Barry, Psycho B*tch, John Royal, Mr. Mike Winner, Hadrian, Josh Daniels, Damian Adams and Kevin Knight. Losing to Roman in a three-way match with Kevin Knight on November 24, he defeated Erik Andretti the following night. On December 29, 2001, Eckos and Dylan Black lost to Roman & Hadrian in a tag team match. The show was later broadcast on News 12 New Jersey.

He also entered the 2-day IWF “Tournament of Champions” and defeated Shane O’Brien in the opening rounds but was eliminated by Josh Daniels in the quarterfinals on December 30, 2001.[12]

In January 2002, Eckos was one of several independent wrestlers to star in a commercial for the 2002 Royal Rumble.[4]

[edit] Pro-Pain Pro Wrestling and the independent circuit

On June 29, 2002, Eckos made his debut in 3PW at A War Renewed losing to Josh Daniels at the ECW Arena in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. On September 9, he also defeated Ryan Wing for the SSCW Lightweight Championship in Paramus, New Jersey.

He would make three more appearances in 3PW later that year defeating White Lotus at A Night for the Flyboy on October 19, 2002, and facing Joey Matthews and Josh Prohibition in a 3-Way Dance at Return of the Dream on November 23. He was pinned by Matthews after a 12-minute match. At Year End Mayhem, he defeated Damian Adams in a singles match and, later on, in a tag team match with Matt Striker against Damian Adams & Josh Prohibition on December 28, 2002.[13] The following night, he won the JCW Junior Heavyweight title from Jay Lethal in Union City, New Jersey.

On March 15, 2003, he lost to Billy Reil in a four corner ladder match with Low Rida and Abunai in Passaic, New Jersey, for the ICW Super Juniors Championship.[14] Suffering a serious injury that same month, he was forced to vacate the JCW Junior Heavyweight Championship in Garfield, New Jersey, on March 23. He lost the SSCW Lightweight Championship to Dave Webb in a 3-Way Dance with Johnny Ova five days later in Clifton, New Jersey. On March 28, 2003, Eckos returned to defeat The Sandman for the SSCW Heavyweight Championship. The Sandman had won the vacant title that same night.

Eckos also made three appearances for Total Nonstop Action Wrestling (TNA) on their secondary Xplosion television show, losing to Josh Daniels on May 21, 2003, Norman Smiley on August 6, 2003, and to Team Canada (Eric Young and Johnny Devine) in a tag team match, where he teamed with Damian Adams, on July 4, 2004.[9][15][16] He and Matt Striker defeated Christian York & Joey Matthews at A New Era on June 21 and Amish Roadkill at That’s Incredible on August 19. Later that year, he and Billy Bax defeated Johnny and Joey Maxx for the ECWA Tag Team titles in Wilmington, Delaware, on September 6, 2003. They held the titles for over two years before eventually losing to The Heavyweights (Sean Royal & Dan Eckos) in Newark, Delaware.

Losing the SSCW Heavyweight title to Damian Adams on November 7, 2003, he also lost to The Blue Meanie at Raven’s Rules on November 22. On December 27, 2003, he made his 3PW appearance for the year beating CJ O’Doyle at Su-Su-Superfly at the ECW Arena.[13]

On January 31, 2004, Eckos faced Ken Scampi at a show for Stars & Stripes Championship Wrestling.[17] He made his return to 3PW the next month appearing at its second anniversary show at the ECW Arena losing to Derek Wylde. On April 2, Eckos and Matt Striker faced Ken Scampi & Spyder (with Tara Charisma) at an event for the New York Wrestling Connection.[17] The following night at the 2004 Super 8 Tournament, he and Bax defended the ECWA Tag Team titles defeating Striker & Ace Darling.[18] At 3PW’s The Future is Now on April 17, he faced his tag team partner Matt Striker fighting him to a no-contest. He also defeated Nate Mattson at Not Enough Time on May 15, 2004.[13]

Reuniting with his partner weeks later, he and Stryker lost to Slyk Wagner Brown & April Hunter at Splintered on June 19, 2004, and to Rockin’ Rebel & Jack Victory the following month at No Limits.[13] He and Stryker also faced Ken Scampi & Spyder twice more during July, including a three-way match with Wayne & Tyler Payne on July 24, before leaving the NYWC.[17] On August 21, he and Stryker competed in a tag team Royal Rumble at 5-Star 4-Way to crown the first 3PW Tag Team Champions eventually won by Slyk Wagner Brown & April Hunter. The other teams included The Blue Meanie & Roadkill, Gary Wolfe & Mike Kruel and Jack Victory & Rockin’ Rebel.[19] A week later in Wayne, New Jersey, Eckos was pinned by his partner in a match billed as the “battle of the Youngbloods” at the CyberSpace Wrestling Federation’s Cybercade on August 28, 2004.[20]

Feuding with CJ O’Doyle, he traded victories with him at Till We Meet Again on October 16, 2004, and For the Gold on November 20.[13] In December, he and Billy Bax also lost to The Solution (Havok & Papadon) in a non-title match for the ECWA Tag Team Championship at the debut show for New Millennium Wrestling. Organized by Devon Storm, the “Headlock on Hunger” show was a benefit show held at St. Mary’s Parish in Rutherford, New Jersey and featured The Patriot, Simon Diamond, Rick Fuller, Ace Darling, Scotty Charisma, Danny Doring and Amish Roadkill.[21]

[edit] New York Wrestling Connection and the East Coast Wrestling Association

On February 19, 2005, he made his last appearance for 3PW at its third anniversary show where he lost to CJ O’Doyle.[13] He spent the next year in ECWA where he was featured in a video released by the promotion later that year. His matches included a singles match against Shawn Patrick, a 10-man battle royal and a 3-Way Dance between himself, Billy Bax and Scotty Charisma for the ECWA Heavyweight Championship.[22]

Later that year, he appeared at the debut show of Piledriver Pro losing to Josh Daniels on September 10, 2005. On September 23, he won a 20-man battle royal to win a title show against NYWC Interstate Champion Amazing Red but was unable to defeat him later that night. He remained in NYWC for the rest of the year defeating Spyder, Plazma and Disturbed Damian Dragon in a four-way match on October 8 and, with help from Billy Bax, he pinned Mikey Whipwreck on December 17, 2005. During this time, he and Billy Bax also competed in Chaotic Wrestling where they and Brian Milonas beat John Walters, Luis Ortiz & Psycho in a 6-man tag team match.

On January 2, 2006, Eckos made his first appearance for World Wrestling Entertainment when he was attacked in a skit by Edge who was doing a mock impersonation of Ric Flair during WWE Raw. Defeating Mikey Whipwreck & Matt Hyson on February 25, he and Bax would continue making appearances for the New York Wrestling Connection as well as making appearances in the East Coast Wrestling Association and National Wrestling Superstars during the next several months. He and Bax also wrestled and lost to The Heart Throbs at a fundraiser for Children’s Benefit in Toms River, New Jersey, on June 3, 2006.

In November, The Valedictorians defeated Jason Blade & Kid Mikaze and Team Supreme (Nicky Oceans & Corvis Fear). They also won a four-way match against Aden Chambers & Andrew Ryker, Kid Mikaze & Jason Blade and Shane Hagadorn & Pelle Primeau on December 5, 2006.

A participant in the 2007 Super 8 Tournament,[23] he defeated Billy Bax in the opening round before losing to Sonjay Dutt in the semi-finals in Newark on November 10. He later lost to Billy Bax in a rematch on December 1, 2007.

[edit] World Wrestling Entertainment

On January 29, 2008, Eckos appeared on ECW on Sci Fi, losing to Kofi Kingston.[24]

[edit] Total Nonstop Action Wrestling

On July 27, 2010, Strauss wrestled in a tryout dark match for Total Nonstop Action Wrestling, losing to Bobby Fish.[25] On August 5, it was reported that TNA had signed Strauss to a contract.[26] At the August 10 tapings of TNA Impact! Strauss wrestled a dark match under the ring name Robbie E with a gimmick inspired by the television show Jersey Shore, defeating Jeremy Buck, while being managed by Cookie.[3][27] On the August 26 edition of Impact!, vignettes began airing to promote Strauss’ upcoming debut.[28] Prior to their televised debuts, Robbie E and Cookie made an appearance on September 24 at TNA’s live event at The Arena in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, interrupting Jeremy Borash and insulting the crowd, before Robbie was defeated in a match by Rhino.[29] At the following day’s event in Rahway, New Jersey, Robbie and Cookie interrupted Mick Foley, before Robbie was again defeated in a match against Rhino, with Foley serving as the special guest referee.[30] Robbie and Cookie made their televised debuts on the October 7 live edition of Impact!, hyping Robbie’s in-ring debut the following week.[31] The following Sunday at Bound for Glory Robbie attacked X Division Champion Jay Lethal after his title match with Douglas Williams, claiming he was a disgrace to New Jersey.[32]

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