Empire Wrestling Federation
HeadquartersSouthern California
Founder(s)Bill Anderson and Jesse Hernandez
Owner(s)Jesse Hernandez

The Empire Wrestling Federation (EWF) is an independent wrestling promotion based in Covina, California. It is owned and operated by Jesse Hernandez. The EWF is also tied to Hernandez's wrestling school, The School Of Hard Knocks. The EWF is the longest running promotion in Southern California, running continuously from 1996. The EWF is a former affiliate of the National Wrestling Alliance.


EWF was founded in 1996 by Bill Anderson and Jesse Hernandez. The promotion's name comes from the Inland Empire, the popular name of the area surrounding San Bernardino.

It saw its first show in May 1996 at the Boys and Girls Club of San Bernardino as Bobby Bradley defeated Tom "Zuma" Howard to become the first EWF Heavyweight Champion. In 1999, Bill Anderson left the EWF and formed his own promotion and wrestling school, the International Wrestling Council in Riverside, California. In June 1996, a tribute to Superstar Billy Graham was held.

Several EWF wrestlers from the past have gone on to national fame, including Rico Constantino, Awesome Kong, Louie Spicolli, Frankie Kazarian, Christopher Daniels, Shelly Martinez and Melina Perez. In 1997, Chris Jericho and Lee Marshall of World Championship Wrestling (WCW) mentioned EWF on WCW broadcasts and Marshall attended a show in Hemet, California. Other pro wrestling stars have made appearance at EWF shows including Mando Guerrero, Peter Maivia, Ludvig Borga, The Honky Tonk Man, Tony Atlas and Tom Brandi. Many EWF wrestlers appear as jobbers on World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) broadcasts, and at the 1999 Royal Rumble the orderlies sent to apprehend Kane were performed by the EWF roster, including then owners Bill Anderson and Jesse Hernandez.

They held their 20th Anniversary Extravaganza at the EWF Arena in Covina, Ca on May 6, 2016.

School of Hard Knocks

The EWF School of Hard Knocks is owned and operated by Jesse Hernandez and is currently located at the American Sports University, 399 North "D" Street in San Bernardino, CA. The School of Hard Knocks became the Official Training Facility of the National Wrestling Alliance in 2007 and has trained countless students from such countries as Canada, France, Australia, India, Great Britain, Russia, Mexico and others, in addition to those students who come to the school from all regions of the United States. The EWF's School of Hard Knocks has sent several wrestlers to prominent promotions across the globe including Melina, Rico Constantino, Frankie Kazarian, Awesome Kong, Rocky Romero, Ricky Reyes, Alex Koslov and Shelly Martinez. The School of Hard Knocks also has served as the training area for Chris Jericho, Layla, Eve Torres, Rhaka Khan, Lena Yada and others, who looked to brush up on their in-ring skills. The school and some of its students are set to be promoted in the upcoming reality show, "Slam School".

Current champions

Championship: Current champion(s): Date Won: Won From: Days Location:
EWF Heavyweight Championship Richie Slade April 8, 2023 Anthony Idol 329+ San Bernardino, CA
EWF American Championship Michael Badwolf April 29, 2023 "El Vato Loco" Erick Rojas 308+ Riverside, CA
EWF Tag Team Championship Los Compas (Ray Malvado & Flecha Fugaz) September 23, 2023 Los MexiMachos (Tio Chulo & Tortuga) 161+ San Bernardino, CA

Defunct championships

The EWF Cruiserweight Championship was introduced in 2004 and was won by Liger Rivera in a 4-Way match. It was defended from 2004 until it was retired in 2011. It had been featured in the EWF's Match of the Year in both 2009 and 2010. Ray Rosas was the last EWF Cruiserweight Champion. Also defunct was the women's championship belt. It has yet to be brought back into the company.

Annual events

The Empire Wrestling Federation previously held two annual events, the Great Goliath and the Inland Title Tournament. The Great Goliath is a battle royal, held in honor of the wrestler who trained Jesse Hernandez, the EWF's owner and promoter, it has been held during the EWF's Anniversary Extravaganza in May since 2006. The winner is awarded a shot at the EWF Heavyweight Championship.

Great Goliath Battle Royal

Won By: Year Won: Location: Notes:
Anthony Idol 2022 San Bernardino, CA Used his title shot against J2 Mattioli at Jingle slam 2022 & won.
Anthony Idol & Raunchy Rico 2021 San Bernardino , CA This was for the Vacant EWF Tag Team championship.
Jordan Clearwater 2019 Covina, CA This was for the Vacant EWF American Championship.
The Decapitator 2018 Covina, CA He has yet to schedule his title shot.
Friar Juan Roman 2017 Covina, CA Used his title shot against Fidel Bravo in August of 2017 and lost.
Dr. Krueger 2016 Covina, CA Never received title shot due to injury.
"Baby Bull" Vance Garayt 2015 Covina, CA Used his title shot against the Ironman the following month and lost.
Tyshaun Prince 2014 Covina, CA Used his title shot against the Ironman the following month and lost.
Ironman Mike Maze 2013 Covina, CA Won the vacant EWF Championship
Joey Ryan 2012 Covina, CA Last minute surprise entrant
Josh Dunbar/Shaun Ricker 2011 Covina, CA Both men eliminated each other simultaneously, declared Co-Winners
Chris Kadillak 2010 Covina, CA
Devon Willis 2009 Covina, CA Used his title shot at The Covina Classic, winning the match by countout against then champion, Brandon Gatson. Lost their rematch at Knockdown Dragout 3
Ryan Taylor 2008 Covina, CA Used his title shot at The Covina Classic, losing to then champion, Scorpio Sky.
Dan "The Man" Kobrick 2007 Covina, CA Used his title shot at The Covina Classic, losing to then champion, Joey Harder.
Cincinnati Red 2006 Covina, CA Gave the trophy to Great Goliath's daughter, Paloma, and forfeited his right to a title match.

Inland Title Tournament / Series

Up until 2014 the EWF held the Inland Title Tournament. Originally conceived as a Round Robin Tournament it was later changed to a traditional single elimination format. The winner each year would receive an EWF Championship title match.

Charity events

The Empire Wrestling Federation is always giving back to the communities it runs in. On March 10, 2012, the EWF put on a show for the students of Thompson Elementary School in Highland, CA. “Honestly, I see this as a way to keep the families engaged and involved,” said Principal Funchess, adding, “This is just a great opportunity for Thompson families to come enjoy a positive event here at the school while supporting academic achievement.”[1]

In 2016 The Empire Wrestling Federation held an event at the Fox Theatre in San Bernardino to benefit victims of the 2015 San Bernardino Attack.[2]

Hall of Fame

In 2016, EWF announced its first hall of Fame inductees, who were inducted in its 20th anniversary show in Covina California. The first Inductees were:

The 2017 class included:

Class of 2018 will be:





Commentators: Dates:
"Mr. Wonderful" Rock Riddle and Bryan White July 2016 – Present
"Webmaster" Wade Needham and "The Expert" Matt Sinister October 14, 2011 – July 2016
Kelli Lee and "The Expert" Matt Sinister July 2, 2011 – October 14, 2011
Lalo Gonzalez, Kelli Lee, and "The Expert" Matt Sinister June 5, 2011 – July 2, 2011
Lalo Gonzalez and Kelli Lee N/A – July 2, 2011
Lalo Gonzalez and Larry Pena 2008-2011
Mike Aguirre, Larry Pena, Mad Macintosh, and Lalo Gonzalez 2008
Mike Aguirre, Larry Pena, and Mad Macintosh 2007-2008

Ring announcers

See also


  1. ^ "Throwing down for grades at Thompson".
  2. ^ "San Bernardino charity wrestling event scheduled for this Friday". 11 April 2016.
  3. ^ "A Look at the EWF Hall of Fame's Inaugural Class". 28 April 2016.
  4. ^ "A Look at the EWF Hall of Fame's Inaugural Class". 28 April 2016.
  5. ^ "A Look at the EWF Hall of Fame's Inaugural Class". 28 April 2016.