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In this edition of the THURSDAY VETERAN SPOTLIGHT, I want to discuss a guy from the great Garden State who has truly done some innovative things in the world of independent wrestling. Personally, I have been a fan of his since his days in ACE, but he has done so much more to represent the Jersey indie scene than people realize.

This week’s veteran is CHRIS ROCKWELL.


My earliest recollection of Mr. Rockwell came in 2003, when he was a part of the infamous Special K faction in Ring Of Honor.

The vision of the group was simple: a bunch of young, high-flying, high living partiers that disrupted the serious wrestling environment of ROH with their risk-tasking, hard impact style.

A plethora of performers competed in Special K, including Hydro (Jay Lethal), Angel Dust (Azrieal), Izzy (Insane Dragon), Dixie, Deranged, Jody Fleisch, Scott from Tough Enough 3, Cheech and Cloudy, just to name a few. Rockwell was one as well, going under the alias of Hijinx.

To me, the most memorable Hijinx moment came at the inaugural Death Before Dishonor event at the RexPlex in Elizabeth, NJ, when after Low Ki forced the majority of the young, intimidated athletes to scatter, Hijinx stuck around, laughing at Cloudy, who just got the soul slapped out of him by the inaugural ROH Champion. After laughing together for a few moments, Ki ruined Hijinx’s night by throwing him down to the canvas and forcing him to tap out to the Dragon Sleeper Clutch.

Needless to say, Rockwell became more of a serious competitor after that humbling moment.

I first saw him live at American Championship Entertainment during Rise 2 Power 2007, forming the innovative tag team called the Garden State Gods alongside Myke Quest. Coming out to “Timebomb” by Beck, Rockwell and Quest took over, putting on classic fights with Sam Sational and Rayza of Team YEA!, and Style and Finesse of Rob Vegas and Mike Donovan.

At Crossroads IV, Quest and Rockwell’s eight-month odyssey to the ACE Tag Team Championships was achieved, as the Garden State Gods defeated Donovan and Vegas in a tables match at the Soccer Domain in Montclair, NJ at Crossroads IV.

However, Quest found himself out of ACE not too long after, and Rockwell had to find a new partner, which he did in Hollywood Inc’s William Wyeth. But Rockwell’s greatest accomplishment was on the horizon, in a galaxy far, far away.

On September 19, 2009 at Collision Course, Rockwell and Sam Sational, now known as Sam Shields, attacked their partner Envy after a six-man tag team contest with the BS Express and Frightmare, and formed the Midnight Sensations.

Originally supposed to be two sharp-dressed men under the tutelage of Mike Lewis, the duo transformed themselves into time-traveling aliens. Adding a cutting-edge YouTube show called the Midnight Hour, the Sensations became, in my opinion, the most popular team on the ACE roster.

In 2010, the Sensations and R8D X, comprising the aforementioned Envy and Neeno Capone, put on two of the greatest tag team ladder matches in independent wrestling history. In particular, the Crossroads XI TLC match for the ACE Tag Team Titles was an absolute blockbuster. Rockwell was especially proud of this match, since the first one, at St. Valentine’s Day Massacre in February, he didn’t remember due to being knocked out cold in the early stages of the match.

Those two matches helped push Rockwell and Shields to the stratosphere. The duo became a much-sought after tandem, winning championships in ACE, WORLD-1, NWA DAWG and the ECWA. Even with this success, to me, I truly believe they were ahead of their time and deserves their flowers for their efforts.

Rockwell’s singles career is nothing to slouch about either. He is a former PWF and WORLD-1 Heavyweight Champion, an ECWA Legacy titleholder, and, back in 2018, he transformed into his Hijinx alter-ego and won the EWA Maryland Championship for the second time. He has wrestled old school veterans like Steve Corino, CW Anderson, Tommy Dreamer, and Homicide, amongst others.

Currently, Rockwell has become “Clutch” and is part of the Backyarders faction in the ECWA. He is still a dedicated performer for the promotion and, to this day, is a well-respected veteran for his accomplishments in the independent scene.

Jon Harder, the founder of this site, had this to say about Rockwell.

“When I started learning this industry at the ACE Wrestling Academy, Rockwell was one of the nicest guys in the locker room. I was an incredibly awkward guy - still am - and Rockwell did his best to try to loosen me up, calling me Marcus. However, with my self-confidence in the crapper at 23 years old, I couldn’t appreciate his kindness at the time.

Years later, at the first Hero’s Celebration in Union City, NJ, Rockwell was a surprise entrant in the rumble match for the Mike Morgan Jr. Cup. He came up to me and said hi and asked how I was. I tried to just keep it professional, but he would not be deterred. He said something to this day I have always remembered. “Don’t try and work me, I want to know how you are doing. Don’t be afraid to be yourself.”

He might not even come close to remembering that, but I did. From that day on, I always tried to be more open for conversation with others in the locker room and to not keep myself closed off. For that alone, I always respected Chris.

And for the record, the term Marcus was absolutely hilarious.”

I am so proud to give Chris Rockwell his flowers here in the THURSDAY VETERAN SPOTLIGHT. He made, and continues to make, wrestling fun. We wish him continued success and best of luck.

As an added bonus, I found a vintage Midnight Sensations clip here:


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