Thomas Ricca is an American professional wrestler, better known by the ring names Tony Ricca of WWE, The Pharaoh, Nicky Sauce and The Hammonton Hitman. He is also the promoter of the New Jersey-based promotion AKW Arena Kaged Wrestling and Women's Championship Wrestling.
Tom Ricca grew up in Hammonton, New Jersey. He trained as a wrestler under Larry Sharpe at the Monster Factory and debuted in November 1990 as one half of the tag team called "The Hammonton Hitmen". His debut was an event that help benefit the troops that were serving in the Gulf War. After his debut, Ricca was asked to work independently as "The Hammonton Hitman".
In July 1991, Ricca was asked to wrestle for the WWE / World Wrestling Federation. Ricca was signed to Ricca's WWF Superstars of Wrestling debut as Tony Ricca was on July 29, 1991, against Hacksaw Jim Duggan at the Worcester Centrum in Worcester, Massachusetts. This was a TV taping that aired nationally on August 31, 1991, on Network Television during Labor Day weekend and was commentated by WWE owner Vince McMahon and commentator Roddy Piper. He continued to wrestle with the WWE until he left to persue a persona that would catapult him to a different level that no one has seen.
After wrestling with WWE in 1991, Ricca looked to create the right persona for his career. In 1992, during Easter weekend, Ricca, watching The Ten Commandments with friends, saw the Pharaoh character. That was the start of his most popular persona known as The Pharaoh. Before his debut as The Pharaoh, he decided to further his training by taking private gymnastic lessons from an Olympic Gold Medalist from Bolivia to execute a new type of flying backflip (Currently known as a moonsault) which he dubbed "The Sphinx". He was the first in Pro Wrestling to bring that fast acrobatic style to wrestling in the U.S.A. Ricca debuted as The Pharaoh on June 12, 1992, and won using "The Sphinx". Following Ricca's debut as the Pharaoh, Ricca was approached by former WWE referee Dick Woehrle to see if he was interested in working on his shows in the Caribbean, Europe, Africa and Asia. Ricca accepted and instantly became Woehrle's top prospect and was introduced in late 1992 to WWE President Gorilla Monsoon. Monsoon thought The Pharaoh would be a good fit in the WWE for a long term contract and invited him to the WWE Headquarters in Stamford, CT to discuss future work for a three year contract with WWE. In 1993, however, Ricca was injured in a motor vehicle accident and was unable to continue wrestling for an extended amount of time. The offer was still available during his recovery. Ricca accepted the offer as The Pharaoh from WWE.
Tom was Ranked as the Number one Wrestler from PWRankings for one year in 1991 as Tony Ricca and Two years Straight as The Pharaoh which he had won all of his matches.
In June 1998, Ricca ventured further into the professional wrestling business and opened up Powerslam, a pro wrestling training center on Vine Street in Hammonton. In October 1998, Ricca promoted a wrestling event for the World of Wrestling. 3,000 plus attended the wrestling event which included headliners Jimmy Snuka and King Kong Bundy. Ricca followed with more promotions until he unveiled his new promotion, The AKW, Arena Kaged Wrestling in 2000 at the same location. Ricca brought independent wrestling to another level by adding a caged structure surrounding the fans while watching the event. Ricca had the matches taped for TV and aired on cables network WMCN until Spring of 2002. Ricca promoted many headliners including, Disco Inferno, Vito LoGrasso, Daffney, Captain Lou Albano, just to name a few and many mid and undercard wrestlers. Ricca also wrestled in the AKW as Nicky Sauce using a mask. Nicky Sauce was part of a group called "The Movement", a group in Pro Wrestlings AKW that removes opponents and are voted out of the AKW from AKW's online poll through their website.
Ricca started his training at The Monster Factory. He also trained at The ECW training center. He trained at Dick Woehrle's training facility to get polished for the WWE.
Tom is busy helping to educate other wrestlers about the business. He reads letters sent to him from around the world as well as emails and social media sites and writes back to all his fans. He says that they're amazing and it's a humbling experience.
He is also helping his daughter outside of her personal gymnastics training. He is working with helping elevate her skills.
He also is a drummer and Keyboard & Synth creator of songs. He loves writing his songs during the late evening hours. He says it's a nice quiet and open minded time to create that music magic. Tom's son, Tom Jr. is a guitarist (still learning from his guitar teacher Anthony, an excellent teacher). Tom is helping him learn how to create and learn the music business. His son is a dedicated weightlifter and looks to possibly be a wrestler but isn't sure if music will be his direction of choice or both.
He Co-Founded with his brother Mike, Ricca Brothers Brick Oven Bread Factory & Pizzeria in Hammonton, NJ.
Tom is also the founder of CannoliWorld.com. Tom grew up in a family bakery business and learned his skills of baking from bakers that came from many area's of the world. His cannoli style is one of a kind and has many natural flavors that is world class.
Tom, at the early age of five, would watch his sister Maria during her piano lessons. When he had the opportunity to play it, he would practice what he saw and eventually develop slight ballads and certain melodies. At five years old, he was also given a drum pad with drum sticks because his mother, Dolores Ricca (a homemaker), would get annoyed when he did drum rolls at the dinner table. He would get sheet music to just learn snare drum elements from it. His family had a piano and Tom's sister Maria Ricca, would have lessons taken with it as he watched. This fascinated him to the point of remembering what she was taught and would practice and learn on his own, though his real passion at that time was to be a drummer. He desired a drumset and asked his father for one. His father, Cosimo Ricca, a first generation Italian American, who worked on his father's (Giuseppe Ricca from Sicily, Italy) farm and at his uncles bakery as a youngster. He signed up for the US Army and was a true dedicated patriot for his country that had served as an infantry and 82nd Airborne soldier in the US Army in the Korean War and earned the Purple Heart after being shot. After returning from the war he opened up a bakery and named it Vet's Sunrise Bakery (Vet's stands for Veterans, Sunrise for the battles that took place during the war and bakery - as it is a bakery). The answer to Tom's question from his father about getting a drumset was, it has to be earned before getting it. So Tom's father had him work with bakers that worked their. He learned from various bakers (Pastry Chefs) of different cultures that had different methods of how they baked from start to finish. He was influenced from the bakers baking styles of Italian, French, German, Polish, Spanish, Russian, African, Asian, British and many more styles of a bakers baking methods. The bakery had their own house recipes but many of the bakers would introduce their styles. The bakery was an Italian style bakery but would provide many styles of the bakers products to showcase them. Tom would use drumsets from friends that would lend to him because they didn't use them. He would practice drum beats and uncover different patterns that would improve his skills. He was influnced by all genres. He enjoyed the musical structures of the rythyms and said he spent many hours a day learning and understanding the way they were put together. Some of his influences were music from Rush, Duran Duran, Hall & Oates, The Police, Michael Jackson, Wham, The Bee Gee's, The Pet Shop Boys, Information Society, Men at Work, Genesis, Boy George, George Michael, Journey, U2, Modanna, C&C Music Factory, The Beatles, Elvis, Sade, The Thompson Twins and the list goes on. He said no one should be left out. Once Tom showed his work ethics at the bakery to his father he was rewarded with a used drumset of his own and eventually bought a new one. Tom played drums and also sang while drumming. He got together with a few musician friends and started playing at High Schools. He would work with various bands at many gigs in the South Jersey area and the Atlantic City area. He was also a studio recording drummer. While doing that he would get to use the synthesisers and keyboards. He eventually bought Keyboards and Synths, mics and everything neeeded to create music. He would call his close friend, singer Rich Roldan to work with him on some music that Tom had written. He said he had such a beautiful voice that he felt it blended with the style of music that he had written and was still writing. They made several songs to release but unfortunately the place they recorded at moved to another place and their music was not found. They thought about redoing everything but decided not to and during that time Tom went to start training for his Pro Wrestling career. Tom never stopped creating music even while he wrestled. He said there's nothing like it. It's very special when you can do that. He believes all can achieve if they desire to. One must put the time and dedication into it. Look for Tony's music Club Euro.
Tom is the founder of CannoliWorld.com. From his baking experiences as a youth, he has innovated a flavorful cannoli filling that blends well with type of cannoli shell that's used. There are various cannoli varieties that are made with natural ingredients. Some of them include, The Olde World Cannoli (Traditional Ricotta with Chocolate Chips), Vanilla Italian Cream, Chocolate Italian Cream, Blueberry Capital of the World Blueberry Cannoli, Italian Rum Cake, Strawberry Shortcake, Pistachio, Chocolate Fudge, Fudge Brownie, Italian Mocha, Chocolate dipped Ricotta, Bananna Cream Pie, Peanut Butter Fudge plus many more and holiday specials. CannoliWorld.com offers online ordering for shipment of Cannoli World products throughout the USA as well as supplying distributors with the World's Best Cannoli Cream Varieties. Franchising of all Units are available to entrepreneurs Worldwide. The Units are a Cannoli Food Truck, Hitched Trailer Cannoli Cart and a Push Cannoli Cart. Tom grew up in his family's Italian Bakery for years and dedicated his baking to everything Cannoli. His Olde World Cannoli is coined as the World's Best along with the most varieties from any company. Cannoli World is the Makers of the World's Best... Olde World Cannoli.
In June 2014, Ricca's daughter Gabriella Ricca, won the USAIG/IAIGC Gymnastics International World Championships as the 12-year-old division's All-Around Champion and Bar Champion in Orlando Florida. Gabriella was the only 12-year-old to receive at least a 9.0 in each event. Gabriella was headlined in the sports section of USA TODAY throught the Country and World. She is currently training and has her eyes set on the 2020 Olympics or 2024 Olympics in Boston.
Tom enlisted in the U.S. Army (Regular) in 1986.
Tom is a Black Belt in the art of Tae Kwon Do. He tied for Gold in the NJ States finals. Tom had taken his Black Belt Test but his results for the test was not received. He was instructed to compete against higher black belts during competitions that were 2nd degree and above, even though he didn't receive the results from his Black Belt Test as it takes time to find out. He was told that he was qualified to compete. He qualified at the NJ State and Regionals competition. The Olympics opened up the sport of Tae Kwon Do for demonstrations in 1988. To get to the Olympics, Team USA, Tom had qualified for it and was featured in many newspapers as heading to the Nationals and asked to be a demonstrator for the 1992 Olympic Games. He pursued his Black Belt Training for the Olympics in Tae Kwon Do until he entered into professional wrestling. He was thrilled and grateful of the invitation but was already Wrestling Professionally before the Olympic Games and was unable to attend. He is very thankful for Olympic invitation and enjoys the Games when they are on. Tom also enjoys the World Games, which are held yearly and are one of the same as it's the same competition in both games. He is also a World Champion.
Tom was asked from the UFC about competing for them before the UFC started. Tom went to training sessions at a camp, not knowing much about the sport and noticed they were having different disciplines fighting against one another in a tournament style match. As a master and champion in Tae Kwon Do, Aikido and Hapkido and his admiration and training in boxing, Tom had more than one discipline which helped him gain the interest of a couple of other camps, which there were only few at that time before UFC started. Tom enjoyed training with the company but was still wrestling as he continued to do so and decided not to leave wrestling and thanked the UFC for the opportunity. Tom had competed in MMA fights and was a World Champion.