The 1990’s were an era where pro wrestling was red hot. With promotions like WWF, WCW and ECW selling out venues and television ratings skyrocketing, no doubt that the business was on fire. In the shadows of all these flourishing wrestling companies was a small, independent promotion based in North Carolina. While not as well known during that time period, it was revolutionary and became a breeding ground for many future stars. The promotion in question, was known as OMEGA.
OMEGA stood for Organization of Modern Extreme Grappling Arts…and saw many of its alumni go on to compete in the ‘Big Three’ companies of that era. The OMEGA promotion was originally known as East Coast Wrestling Federation (ECWF) and was founded in 1992 by three friends….Tracy Caddell and Matt and Jeff Hardy. They were young, unknown, up and coming pro wrestlers from North Carolina that started ECWF, because there were very few places for wrestlers like themselves to work and hone their craft. Caddell and the Hardys did everything for the ECWF including booking talent, plan the matches, put up and take down the ring and wrestle themselves.
After a few years of putting on shows, ECWF changed names to the more hip and modern OMEGA in 1997. The company still operated on a shoe string budget, but what made OMEGA stand out on the indie scene was their willingness to put on a show much different from other indie promotions. They used a more fast paced, high flying wrestling style combined with hardcore wrestling. Many of the wrestlers brought in were friends of Caddell and the Hardys.
Matt Hardy knew that the OMEGA wrestlers needed colorful, outrageous outfits to stand out from any other indie wrestlers. Matt designed and created all of the ring gear the wrestlers wore. While Matt and Jeff began appearing on WWF television as enhancement talent…whatever money they made went in to help fund ECWF/OMEGA. Some of the wrestlers names from OMEGA were Venom, Surge, Kid Dynamo, Ice, Willow the Whisp, Cham Pain and Kid Vicious. Not exactly household names that you would recognize in pro wrestling today…but many of them went on to have stellar careers.
The alumni that had their careers begin at OMEGA were wrestlers like Gregory ‘Hurricane’ Helms, Joey Mercury, CW Anderson, Shannon Moore, Joey Abs, Caprice Coleman, Steve Corino, Christian York, The Dupps and of course the Hardy Boyz. Angelica aka Lita aka Amy Dumas also competed for OMEGA as a part of their Goddess Division. OMEGA became one of the hottest independent promotions of that era. By the time 1999 rolled along, the Hardy Boyz were becoming very popular with WWF fans and management and were signed to full time contracts. Once the Hardy’s signed with the WWF, they could no longer give their full attention to OMEGA and decided to fold the company.
Many of the other wrestlers found work in various indie promotions in the area, because of the buzz they received for their work with OMEGA. Soon, some of those wrestlers got bigger opportunities working in places like the WWF, ECW, WCW and elsewhere. Matt Hardy and Hurricane Helms would briefly revive OMEGA in 2013 and helped new talents from the North Carolina gain experience and exposure. Most notably, was the son of one of the original founders Tracy Caddell….Trevor Caddell (Better known as Trevor Lee on Impact Wrestling or currently as Cameron Grimes in NXT)
While countless independent groups have come and gone in the long history of professional wrestling, there is no question of the major impact that OMEGA had on the business in the short time it was around.