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By Mike Johnson on 2015-01-07 12:55:22
Tim Roberts, who wrestled on the independent scene in The Northeast and Puerto Rico under the name "Tim Arson" and famously appeared on the first episode of ECW on SciFi as the "ECW Zombie" passed away sometime overnight. There isn't much known about the circumstances of his passing, except that he was found in bed.

Roberts broke into the business training at Johnny Rodz' school in Brooklyn, NY and began working for a number of independent promotions in the Northeast in 2011. USA Pro Wrestling used him in a prominent position very early on in his career and it was obvious from those matches that he had tried to pattern himself after Triple H early in his career, both in physique and his style in the ring as he was a huge fan of the old school style of working in the ring.

In 2006, Arson began working regularly for World Wrestling Council, IWA Puerto Rico and NWS, an independent promotion on the Island at the time, including a feud with perennial top Island babyface Glamour Boy Shane.

Roberts got a look from WWE around the same timeframe and when fellow Rodz alumnus Big Vito vouched for him, Roberts ended up cast as the ECW Zombie. In one of those only in wrestling stories, the original script for the debut episode called for The Sandman to cane a Martian as a send-up of ECW being on the Sci Fi Network.

The Network objected, afraid to offend their regular fan base and somehow, a deal was made that a Zombie would be OK. So, Roberts ended up becoming the first-ever character to appear on the show, doing a growling promo and being caned by Sandman.

While the character was never seen again on WWE TV, Roberts smartly began performing it on the independents and was booked all over the New Jersey indy circuit playing the character. During the Halloween season, he would even end up offered (and took) bookings to play the character at Halloween parties. So, he went from trying to emulate Harley Race to playing a character but picking up far more bookings because of it, something he often joked about.

Although injuries had curtailed his wrestling in recent years, Roberts was still around the business, helping out from time to time at Rodz' school.

I last saw him a few months back when he was visiting at the TNA tapings in NYC. At the time, he was hopeful and looking forward to getting back into ring shape and having some fun wrestling again but was far more animated and excited talking about his son, who he absolutely adored.

I knew Tim for a number of years and always found him to be a good guy who just loved the hell out of the wrestling world. I always enjoyed talking with him when we'd run into each other at shows. I'm really saddened by his passing.

On behalf of everyone here at the site, I'd like to express our deepest sympathies to Tim's family (especially his son), his friends and his fans.

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