AS I SEE IT 3/13: An incredible day at the ECW Arena
AS I SEE IT
Pro Wrestling: Between the Sheets
This Saturday at the ECW Arena was an example of what happens when 2 independent promoters work together, instead of engaging in the ego-tripping, turf-protecting, self-massaging exercises that all too many consider an everyday part of being an independent professional wrestling promoter. Two promoters...GASP...actually did business...to (even bigger GASP) DRAW MONEY; instead of worrying about whether "their guys" were protected to look good. Both promoters put over the competing promotion in the main event slot of each other's shows, to further the next stage of the feud.
Both promotions (and most importantly, the fans) were rewarded with one of the wildest days in the history of the ECW Arena; as Ring of Honor and CZW packed the old bingo hall with the largest one day attendance in the building's history...more than ECW...more than the Barely Legal PPV...more than Hardcore Homecoming.
Ring of Honor first debuted at the ECW Arena yesterday before the largest afternoon crowd in Philadelphia independent wrestling history, outdoing ECW afternoon TV tapings, and even the ROH afternoon show at the National Guard Armory in northeast Philadelphia that preceded Final Battle 2003, drawing 800-900 people who were white-hot for the show and the CZW-ROH angle
In what was amazing to many CZW's fans seemed to outdraw ROH's own fans at this Ring of Honor show (many fans DO attend both shows in Philadelphia), as the CZW chants during those moments throughout the show at least equaled Ring of Honor chants. Tony Mamaluke's wife commented that it actually seemed that some of the ROH fans that attend only ROH events were afraid of some of the CZW fans.
Homicide and Ricky Reyes defeated Dunn and Marcos, Jason Blade and Kid Mikaze and The Briscoes in a Tag Team Scramble Match to earn a shot at the ROH Tag Team Titles after Homicide pinned Marcos following a copkiller (Kudo Driver) .
Roderick Strong defeated Jimmy Yang via submission in an excellent technical match, but a small percentage of what one could assume were CZW fans started whining "boring". They were quickly shouted down by the majority of CZW fans and the Ring of Honor fans with comments that aren't exactly repeatable here.
BJ Whitmer and Necro Butcher was largely a brawl, with Super Dragon joining in on the fun, then the ring was rushed by ROH Students and The Briscoes to make the save.
Austin Aries defeated Matt Sydal with a 450 splash by pinfall.
Post-match, The Briscoes ran in and attacked both Aries and Sydal. Roderick Strong ran in to make the save, but got beaten down. Sydal finally got the upper hand, and Generation Next is left in the ring. Sydal takes the mike and issued a challenge to The Briscoes to wrestle him and AJ Styles at April 22 in Philadelphia.
A long intermission followed....as there were DVDs to be sold...plus Samoa Joe was flying in from Mexico after working the AAA Rey de Reyes show Friday night and ROH needed to stall.
In a filler match, The Dempsey Brothers defeated. Pelle Primeau and Shane Hagadorn after Derek Dempsey reversed a Primeau Triangle Choke into a powerbomb for the pin.
"Irish Airborne" Jake and David Crist (better known as Crazy J and Lotus) defeated Sal Rinauro and Tony Mamaluke, pinning Mamaluke. The finish saw one of the Crist (not sure who is who) take up Mamaluke in a Death Valley Driver, while the other came off the top with a knee to Mamaluke's head. The second Crist then got on the mat with knees up, and the first one hit another Death Valley Driver onto the knees of the second.
The winner of the Wrestlemania contest was announced as John Reynolds from Englewood, OH; who won tickets to Wrestlemania and the Ring of Honor Chicago Ridge, IL events, as well as hotel and airfare. The Philadelphia crowd promptly booed.
After too much talking (again to fill time while Samoa Joe's place was landing), "American Dragon" Bryan Danielson defeated. Alex Shelley via a funky looking Cattle Mutilation Cradle Pin to retain the Ring of Honor World Heavyweight Title.
Samoa Joe wins the Three Way Dance of sorts against "Classic" Colt Cabana and "The Fallen Angel" Christopher Daniels. The match was started with Cabana vs. Daniels. Cabana eliminated Daniels with a rollup pin. Then, Samoa Joe's music hit, the crowd went nuts as Samoa Joe finally pinned Cabana after two Musclebusters.
Then, the REAL fun started...
BJ Whitmer came out and called out CZW, as he had earlier in the evening. "A fan" threw something at Joe. In what looked like a reprise of the angle done in Edison, NJ, Joe charged into the crowd, grabbed the fan and handed him off to ROH security. Joe and Whitmer then challenged the CZW locker room.
Then... all unfettered and unmitigated hell broke loose from what seemed like every direction in one of the wildest moments in the ECW Arena's history.
In a wild, over the top brawl, ROH and CZW went at it, as Zandig charged the ring with a barbed wire bat, and Wifebeater charged the ring with the long-banned (by the busybodies of the Pennsylvania State Athletic Commission) weedwhacker, along with Lobo and CZW's locker room others, ran out Samoa Joe and the ROH students who'd hit the ring. Two wrestler brawled out into the crowd and into Swanson Street. CZW finally cornered BJ Whitmer in the ring and taped him to the ropes. They stapled dollars to his face and ran the barbed wire bat over his face. Zandig spraypainted CZW over the ROH logo on the ring apron.
CZW "took control" of the video screen and their music played to end the show. Zandig went off in a shootfabe interview on Ring Of Honor on the mike. CZW's Justice Pain and Hardcore Nick Gage hopped in the crowd challenging the Ring of Honor fans.
After a 45-60 minute break to switch over the building, CZW then returned to the ECW Arena for the evening half of the day's events. The show started at somewhere between 9:00 and 9:15 pm as CZW's ring crew and assorted staff did a yeoman's job in turning over the Arena from ROH's set-up.
Adam Flash, Sonjay Dutt, and B-Boy defeated Nate Webb, Sexxxy Eddy and Messiah after B-Boy pinned Nate Webb
Hallowicked defeated Larry Sweeney, Jigsaw and Andy Sumner (pinning Jigsaw).
Justice Pain defeated El Generico after a Pain Thriller through chairs. To describe the match, Pain basically beat the sh*t out of El Generico. In a post-match out of character moment, Pain led the crowd in a standing ovation for El Generico. This match was far better than most thought it would be. While Pain got the majority of the offense, El Generico was able to get a decent amount of his own in, while being convincing.
Hardcore Nick Gage defeated DJ Hyde and Danny Havoc to retain the Ultraviolent Underground Title in a Panes Of Glass Deathmatch. Gage pinned Danny Havoc after a second rope piledriver through a pane of glass laid across chairs. Post-match, DJ Hyde gave Danny Havoc 2 shadow drivers into the shattered glass. Poor Danny Havoc seems to get over by how much of a beating he's willing to take show after show.
Kevin Steen defeated Super Dragon to retain the CZW Ironman Title (after the evening's interpromotional fun started with a run-in by BJ Whitmer) after a Steen 450 splash. Kevin Steen has no business being able to do such a move that well with his size). After the bout, Necro Butcher ran in, only to be jumped by Whitmer, then had his ankle put in a chair, then "Pillmanized".
In a wild high spot filled juniors match, Niles Young became the new CZW Junior Heavyweight Title defeating Derek Frazier, Sabian, Cheech, Cloudy and Heretic after a wild sequence that saw Derek Frazier hit a Spinning Tomikaze off a ladder through a table, Sabian gave Heretic a seated top rope double stomp wedged between a ladder and chair in the corner. In one of the sicker looking moves I've ever seen in the ECW Arena, Cloudy gave Cheech a Canadian Destroyer off the ring apron through a ladder wedged between the apron and guardrail.
In the main event...the ROH/CZW tag team match, Ring of Honor's Austin Aries, Roderick Strong and Matt Sydal defeated BLK OUT's Ruckus, Eddie Kingston, along with Necro Butcher after Matt Sydal pinned Eddie Kingston following a Shooting Star Press in a great match to end an unbelievable day.
Post-match, Zandig, Lobo and The H8 Club made the save for CZW, with Pain and Zandig leading the crowd in an out of character moment thanking the crowd for a dream night (and afternoon); then back in character, bitched at Kingston for losing, designed to set up a H8 Club-Blackout match down the road.
Zandig said Ring of Honor "had better watch their ass come their 100th show on April 22nd in Philadelphia". Gabe Sapolsky responded sometime this AM while normal people were asleep with this tirade, making clear that this inter-promotional feud has legs:
"I've had enough. Our debut show at the former ECW Arena was completely ruined by those CZW idiots. Weedwackers? What the **** is that? The ROH roster is made up of real wrestlers, athletes who don't expect to get hacked. Our guys go to PPV and national TV, they don't need to show up with scars from a weedwacker.
So then I get a call from BJ Whitmer after the CZW show saying Zandig was talking trash about April 22nd. Hey Zandig, you owe us $3000 for a new canvas and banners you stupid ****. What the **** was with the spray paint.
I could sit here all night and rant and rave but i'll just sum this up simply.
The gloves are definitely off now. We have been having our fun with you guys, but now you are making us get deadly serious. April 22nd ROH has a show back in our Philadelphia home of the National Guard Armory. We challenge anyone from the CZW roster to show up for a fight. You bring a team to face team ROH.
We'll even make things seem a little like home for you. On April 22nd we will have bleachers on both sides of the ring. One side for the ROH fans. One side for the CZW fans. The CZW fans will be made at home in their own section so you guys will have plenty of support. Now the question is do you have the balls?
You got our attention now. You ruined our debut and only former ECW Arena show. April 22nd show up because it's time to pay the price."
Guess I'll be writing about this feud for awhile.
I'll say it again and again...the crowds at both the CZW and the Ring of Honor show (not to mention the merchandise revenue) are what happens when independent promoters think with their brains, instead of well...other parts of their bodies. Working together will help everyone make money...make bruised egos feel much, much better...and allow people, both promoters and workers to do what they love....and allow us as fans to watch the spectacle.
Now if you want to support that kind of intelligent thinking by promoters, be sure to buy the tapes/DVDs from Smart Mark Video and firstname.lastname@example.org)