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By Mike Johnson on 2018-06-01 18:00:00

Charles "Chuck" Williams, who dating back to the earliest days of Joel Goodhart's Tri-State Wrestling Alliance wrestled for many years in the Philadelphia-area independent scene as the Rockin' Rebel, was discovered dead this morning by family members in what authorities believe to have been a murder-suicide.

A press release issued by the The West Goshen Township Police Department noted, "The West Goshen Township Police Department was dispatched to a shooting in the 300 block of North Five Points Road, West Chester, PA 19380.   The responding officers arrived at the scene and were met by family members in the driveway. The officers searched the home and observed two bodies in the living room of the residence. An adult male and an adult female resident were found deceased inside their home. There are no outstanding suspects and there is no danger to the public. The preliminary investigation has determined the event to be a murder followed by a suicide."

As of this writing, the names of Williams and his wife have not been officially confirmed by authorities, but their names have been openly shared by everyone in the wrestling world all day as news of the situation traveled quickly among those in the wrestling world.  While had been waiting for authorities to officially release the names, several secondary outlets have reported Williams’ identity, which was known to us earlier today.

There is no official word on what led to the tragedy.  Some in the wrestling world have passed a story on that Chuck Williams was responsible, but we caution that until authorities complete their investigation, nothing is confirmed and known to be accurate.  Again, there is no word on what happened, officially, as of this writing.  

There were a lot of complicated, conflicting feelings about Williams' death among those we spoke with today.  Some were extremely angry about his wife's death, particularly since the couple had children.  Others were simply mourning the death of a person they knew and shared locker rooms with regularly, wondering how things had led to today’s incident and the tragedy left behind.    Still others were numb, unable to even ascertain how this happened, although they only knew Rebel from the shows they had performed on with him.  

To a person, there were however two common threads among everyone - shock, feeling that this had seemingly come out of nowhere and that no one really saw this coming and anger, knowing that Williams and his wife have left two young children behind.  To a person, what happened today seemed unthinkable and will remain such until authorities are able to determine the events that led to what happened this morning.

The Philadelphia ABC affiliate, in their reporting of the story, quoted neighbors as saying police had been called several times previously to the Williams home and that the couple was rarely seen going out.

While Williams was liked by some, including those he tried to mentor, others felt he was off-putting and was always politicking for a bigger push and a bigger role, no matter where he worked.  There was no doubt that Williams was a big self-promoter and was always trying to make things happen for himself.   In certain cases, he was his own worst enemy, burning bridges with promoters, which may have been a factor in Williams eventually getting his own license to promote in Pennsylvania.

Rebel always pushed the envelope when it came to getting heat, especially on the independents.  If he wasn't supposed to grab the mic and cut a promo, but thought he should, in that moment, he would.  If he thought he could cross the line to piss off fans, he did it without worrying about what it meant for the rest of the show.  There were times he would go deep into some racially-tinged material during his time in CZW and while it was cheap heat to the utmost degree then, if it was pulled now, it likely would have caused a huge uproar.  He pushed the envelope, to the point that there were promoters who loved him as a person but who would stop using him, because he couldn't be trusted to do what was asked of him because in the moment, he did what he thought would get heat.

That said, some today remembered Williams as a straight shooter who didn't BS anyone while others remembered him as someone who was endlessly trying to get himself further in the business.  

Over the years, there have been lots of stories of Rebel cold calling those in WWF and WCW management to pitch himself and his tag team partner as a team to get into those companies, often with those partners (some of whom had indeed worked with him on the independents, but also some who never had teamed with him) learning about it after the fact, as Rebel was calling without their knowledge.  

While the tragedy this morning, if the early stories making the rounds are correct, certainly destroys whatever legacy Williams would have otherwise left behind, it is undeniable that he was a journeyman who was there for pretty much the entire evolution of the Philadelphia wrestling scene.

Williams was a perennial name in the Philadelphia independent scene for most of 1990s, and was the first ever Tri-State Wrestling Alliance champion, feuding with The Sandman and D.C. Drake, among others.  Williams had been trained by Ricky Morton after being turned on to pro wrestling while pursuing martial arts.  The precursor to ECW, the TWA featured a lot of elements of what would be considered hardcore wrestling with tons of brawling and crazy stipulation matches imported from Memphis and FMW.  He also worked as one half of a team with Jimmy Jannetty.  The TWA was an awesome, fresh promotion utilizing lots of names that diehard fans loved at the time from all over the world for big shows and then sprinkled in the locals, often in crazy stip matches.  The promotion bled out money due to overspending and shut down due to financial issues.

Rebel was among the talents who shifted over to Eastern Championship Wrestling when Tod Gordon, who had been silently backing the TWA, was convinced to start fresh.  Williams was a regular for ECW as an undercard heel, but never received a major push, in part because of his backstage demeanor and in part because while he was fine for an undercard heel, he was never going to be the top-level talent he perceived himself as being and pushed others to see him as.  Had he not pushed so hard and had he not rubbed others the wrong way, he'd have been a pretty solid commodity to the company, but just like his inability to just do what was needed of him, he had an inability to just try and be the best in the spot he was given.

One night at an ECW house show in Wildwood, NJ, Williams' rep for pushing himself too hard backfired on him in what was a funny practical joke at the time.  Rebel was told privately by Paul Heyman and Tod Gordon that he was going to win a battle royal and then go on to win the ECW title that night from then-champion Shane Douglas, but to keep it to himself.  Excited, Rebel did just that.  Meanwhile, everyone single other person in the battle royal was instructed that Rebel was to go out immediately.  The bell rang, and everyone made a beeline for Rebel who valiantly tried to hang on to the ropes and communicate to this horde intent on throwing him over the top to stop because he was supposed to win the belt.   Williams failed in his protests and was dumped to the floor.  Jimmy Snuka eventually won the battle royal that night.

Rebel would also be the answer to an extremely odd piece of ECW trivia - he was the first person in the promotion to ever be hit with a frying pan, courtesy of Tommy Dreamer at the May 1994 ECW When Worlds Collide event.  

At one point, Paul Heyman had figured out a role for Rebel and he was to be the second for the soon to debut Raven.  For whatever reason, Rebel ended up getting himself in hot water, likely because of the way he carried himself behind the scenes and lost the spot - which he may never have even known he had.  Instead, a talent who was showing up regularly and having good matches instead got the nod.  The introduction of Dancin' Stevie Richards, clueless putz, one of the hottest heel characters for ECW in 1995, began. In another universe somewhere, it would be Raven and Rebel.  In this world, however, Rebel was instead phased out of ECW. 

Post-ECW, Williams worked everywhere he could, including dark matches for the WWF and WCW. Williams' Linked In page lists him as working for WCW for a year, although he was never actually under contract there.  On the WWE side, Williams had long told the tale that he had been offered a WWF job after a dark match many years ago, but said the wrong thing, giving the appearance that he had a bad attitude and lost the opportunity.  Whether there was ever anything to the story is unknown, but Rebel was always a storyteller in locker rooms and it may just have been an embellished story.

Outside of the United States, Rebel worked for Big Japan and had also toured Korea.  He wrestled for Carlos Colon's WWC in Puerto Rico and at one point of another, popped up in independent promotions big and small across the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic area, usually in Pennsylvania, Maryland and Delaware.  He was almost always working as a heel and would do anything he thought would get him heat in the ring.

In 2000, Rebel joined Combat Zone Wrestling as a heel.  The promotion at the time was owned by John Zandig and was built around the Ultraviolence theme.  Rebel, who held a Pennsylvania promoter's license by then, was also intimately involved with the Pennsylvania State Athletic Commission and would run interference for the promotion to insure they could get away with more of their crazier antics.  At the same time, he was working as a heel as a member of Lobo's Army and notably feuded with Ruckus, a feud that featured a lot of the aforementioned racially-tinged comments and actions from Rebel that certainly were designed to get heat but would never fly today with a major promotion.

After Lobo left pro wrestling, Rebel led his own Army, including a team with Greg Mathews, who had been featured on the first season of WWF's Tough Enough series.  The two worked for several promotions in the area surrounding Philly, including WORLD-1, The PWF, Pro Wrestling Unplugged and 3PW.  While Mathews eventually left pro wrestling, Rebel had remained active on the independents and on social media consistently through earlier this year.

During the Philadelphia independent wars of the early 2000s, Williams, having the ear of the Pennsylvania State Athletic Commission (Williams considered the late Frank Talent of the Commission to be one of his best friends), certainly assisted CZW and others.  He was also technically the "promoter" of record for Ring of Honor in the time period after Cary Silkin took over the promotion.

While he was not wrestling as often, Williams was still working the Northeastern independent scene, particularly in Delaware and Pennsylvania   Just yesterday, Williams had his usual social media presence and had spoken with at least one person about using his license for an upcoming event. 

Until today, Chuck Williams was just one of those wrestlers who was seemingly around anywhere he could get a booking, because he liked being one of the boys and being part of the business and was still looking for the magic formula that would finally net him his fame and fortune.  Unfortunately, instead there will be a much darker notoriety, for the worst reasons imaginable.

Everyone at issues our deepest condolences to the Williams' family and their friends during this horrible time, especially the couple’s children, who are left with an unfathomable new reality.


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