Wrestling Then and Now

by Joe Rules

The "All American" Jeff Peterson's first match was in a battle royal for the East Coast Wrestling Association the month before, but his first one-on-one bout was with me in May of 1998 in Pennsylvania Championship Wrestling. My originally scheduled opponent was a no-show, and Peterson, the first graduate of "WrestleTech," a school jointly owned by PCW and the ECWA, stepped in as the replecement. Even though it was his singles debut, the match actually turned out much better than it would have if the wrestler I was supposed to face had showed up!

Peterson lost the match when I took him to the batcave, but he was most certainly the fan favorite that evening. The match remains one of my favorites to this day; I liked it so much, I put it on my demo tape which was sent out to many wrestling promoters when I was looking for bookings.

Jeff was a good kid. I always enjoyed working with him. I worked with him in a few tag team matches also, usually teaming with Rick Silver against him and Boogie Woogie Brown. These matches were always fun.

We would goof on him all the time. Once right after a show in Reading, Pennsylvania, Jeff was putting his sneakers on. He got one on, but Patricia M. Steinman made off with the other one. He had to chase after her, one shoe on/one shoe off, through the gym, out the door, and finally back to the changing area before he got it back. Whenever we ribbed him, though, it was always in fun and good-natured, and he had a sense of humor about it.

Jeff Peterson died on November 29. He was only 21 years old. Just one year older than my niece. He had been battling lymphoma since 2000, and although it had gone into remission and he was even able to wrestle for the ECWA one more time, he finally succumbed to the cancer.

I regret that I didn't do a better job of keeping in touch with Jeff after my time with PCW came to a close, and he moved down to Florida.

My deepest sympathies go out to his uncle Jim Kettner, his entire family, his friends, and all who knew him.

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