RD: I meet up with Pete in the city for this year's annual trip to the Super 8. This year ends up having the least amount of DVDVR turn out in forever as pretty much everyone but Pete and I had previous plans. I weep bitter tears thinking of how the Sizzler waitresses are going to put their kids through college without the giant tip plate we leave each year. Unfortunatley, I stocked up on Pocky at the Korean market before finding this out as well as Pete picking up Dean's six pack of swill before he backed out. Since we weren't bailing for the Sizzler, we actually stuck around the lined up stuff. Low Ki popped by to say hi on the bus before JJ Dillon came on and took questions. We ended up getting in early for the pre-show press conference with the panel of the Super 8, the highlight being when asked of who were the wrestlers that everyone was first a fan of, Austin Aries says "Rock 'n Roll" Buck Zumbhov.
PP: The lack of Playa involvement in this year's 8 was pretty shocking if you ask me, especially considering how long Schneider has been on Reyes and Romero's dicks. Nevertheless we press on as I have a sixer of China's finest beer to anyone who brings me the Nectar of the Carolinas. Bus down is fun as we watch the Funk/Corino I Quit match from MLW plus UFC from the night before (Lawler's KO is a true "rock em sock em robots" moment) and talk shop with Steve DeAngelis and the 1BobWolfpack crew. JJ Dillon is all class and his Q&A on the bus is pretty great as he talks about working Australia and the Amarillo territory in the early 70s. It turns out that he's originally from Jersey, which allows me to ask "how does a guy from Trenton wind up dressing like Porter Waggoner" ala the Flair DVD. He gets a big kick out of the question which I didn't expect. Pre-show press conference was great just for Aries name-checking Buck motherfucking Zumhoffe plus the Pitbulls outing themselves as l'il Hulksters growing up. As the fans come in Ray and I set up shop opposite where we've sat for past 8s... Lucha Mike shows up with Dorothy and the lucha war stories begin in earnest. Mike is always fun to sit with at shows, if not quite as catty as Joanne, and a fellow Sugaa Boy hater ("It isn't like I don't see that ass at 90% of the shows I go to"). THE STRIKER! wanders by and mentions wearing our shirt on MLW TV. Damn you Count. We take note of the fact that the ECWA-Tron is showing ads from some of the wrestling websites like DOI, the Clothesline, etc. and immediately make plans for next year's DVDVR ad on the Tron featuring Dean's pic with Arashi.
RD: The Show opened up with the crew coming out and JJ "The Ring Crew Guy" Johnston came out and said a few words about one of the members of the ring crew and one of the long time fans who had recently passed away and they did a 10 bell salute for them. They followed by doing the introduction ceremony with JJ Dillon presenting medals to everyone as they came out. Nicho ended up having to pull up the horns on his mask so JJ could put the medal on him.
PP: Said fan was the handicapped dude who'd been coming to the shows as least as long as we'd been going, and a favorite target of ES Easton's.
Match 1: AUSTIN ARIES
vs. SHAWN DAIVARI
RD : This was pretty fun. The thing that really sticks out about Aries is how quick and smooth he is on chaining moves together. This being my first time seeing him, it blew me away of some of the moves he was chaining together. His strikes looked really good too and he was dishing out some mean chops and elbows as well. I think Daivari looked good too, though his punches looked kind of bad, but he only threw a few before switching to chops and elbows which looked as good as Aries. Aries did something that was like a gutbuster, into an STO into this neato barrel roll elbow drop. Daivari set up for the Magic Carpet Ride, but Aries was able to get out of the way. Austin hit a kamikaze into the 450 for the win.
PP: Aries is a total mutant when it comes to chaining moves and sections together. I dug the hell out of his match with Danny Daniels in Elizabeth (up to the point where they burned through about 15 different finishers in 5 minutes) and he continued to impress here. Daivari looked good and has a really fun gimmick as he's like a more grounded Sonjay Dutt. His Magic Carpet Ride finisher is loony and great although Aries moves out of the way to set up the finisher. I guess Daivari hit an air pocket or something on the way down.
Match 2: MIKE KRUEL vs.
RD: Apparently, I'm the only person who liked this match from the other net folks I talked to at intermission who felt this was kind of squashy. For what it's worth, I liked the amateur style section of this as Kruel is good on the mat and Reyes looked real comfortable exchanging stuff with him. The finish was kind of a surprise as Kruel caught Ricky with a front facelock/choke with a body scissors in the middle of the ring for the tap out.
PP: I liked this too as Kruel and Reyes can never do enough matwork for my tastes. Reyes looked solid if not quite as good as Rocky did in the following match.
Match 3: ROCKY ROMERO
vs. "Fallen Angel" CHRISTOPHER DANIELS
RD : This was easily the best of the first round and kind of made me disappointed they ended up putting Romero out in the first round. Rocky threw some great kicks and went after both Daniels legs and arms at different points in the match. Daniels looked great in this as he does a lot of the little things and has great presence. Rocky had some great stuff like whipping out some nice armbars including a nice Minoru Special 1 and I think a jumping triangle armbar at one point. I think he also did a great jumping knee off the apron onto Daniels, it was either him or Reyes, but I'm pretty sure it was Rocky. The finish was neat was Daniels sets up for the Angel's Wings but ends up getting countered by Rocky into another triangle or jujigatame and Daniels converted it into a cradle.
PP: Really strong performance from both guys. Rocky is the goods and did a great job of incurring the wrath of the fans as he works over Daniels. A "Rocky Sucks" chant actually breaks out and I try in vain to start a "Die Rocky Die" chant in return. Really, Rocky's performance here was why I questioned the idea of bringing out the Pitbulls if they're both going one-and-out for the tournament.
Match 4: "Hurricane"
JOHN WALTERS vs. NICHO
RD : This was probably the worst match of the night. Walters is really a guy who I don't see why a lot of people are behind, though I've only seen him a few times. I don't think he's entirely to blame as it seemed like Nicho wasn't really in gear until the end of this. I'm kind of surprised they didn't put in Reyes or Romero with Psicosis as at least they have experience working in Mexico and I wouldn't think there would be a language barrier issue. About half way through the match Nicho started loosening up his mask before finally ditching it and eventually getting rid of his chest gear too. Nicho hit a tope con hilo and got a near fall with the top rope leg drop before Walters caught him in the DDT out of a powerbomb move for the win.
PP: Nicho in full Psicosis gear was... odd... and he was having problems with the mask all night long. My theory is he did it knowing that Dorothy was taking pictures for Super Luchas, so theoretically they wouldn't publish any photos of him losing to a shmoe like Walters if he was wearing the mask he'd lost in Mexico. Whether or not the theory is a valid one, it became moot the second Nicho said "Screw it" and ditched the mask. He hits a wild tope and follows up with the Tijuana Jam legdrop before Walters puts him away to advance. I joke to Mike that Nicho's 8 medal will turn up on some homeless guy in TJ within a week and he's like "he'll sell it to some mark and make a profit on it."
Match 5: MIKE KRUEL vs.
"Fallen Angel" CHRISTOPHER DANIELS
RD : This started with Kruel getting right in the face of Daniels at the start as Kruel won the title from Daniels back in November I think. This was the shorter of the two second round matches. Pete was distracted by Kruel's white boots. This was another pretty good match though the finish came as sort of a surprise finish as Daniels got caught with a flatliner into the Yoshida leg trap sleeper move which Kruel tapped out to. After the match, Kruel got on the mic and said that he considered himself a fighting champion and then handed the belt over to Daniels who seemed surprised and sort of like he didn't want the belt, but took it anyway.
PP: Dear lord, Kruel must never wear white boots again. Nevernevernever. I point out the boots to Ray and he does this borderline Tex Avery reaction to it. Pretty much everyone figured the final was going to be Kruel/Walters so this was the first monkey-wrench thrown as Daniels taps Kruel out of nowhere with the leg trap that Kruel fights and fights and fights before finally giving up. During Kruel's first round match I'd entertained the idea of him putting up the ECWA title ala CZW or the UWFi tourney, but the postmatch for this still pretty much came out of left field as Kruel "awards" Daniels the title and walks out.
Match 6: AUSTIN ARIES
vs. "Hurricane" JOHN WALTERS
RD: I liked this match a lot and is probably the best John Walters match I've seen so far. At one point they did a pretty crazy spot where Aries was up on the top rope going for something, Walters cut him off and was on the apron and sort of did a swinging DDT/Implant DDT with Aries dropping him face first onto the apron. Austin came back and hit a slingshot tornado splash though it seemed like he landed on Walters' knees. I'm kind of blurring out the finish of the match, but Aries was able to hit the 450 to advance. I had the feeling they were going to push Walters to the finals, so I got no beef with them putting Aries over.
RD : After the match, they show Carleton Hightower looking for the Valedictorians, Bax and Rob Eckos who are outside putting a "Bus for Sale" sign on the bus we rode down on before getting pulled back into the building. The wrestler who was talking to a girl and pointed out where the Valedictorians were takes off and Mr. Ooh La La swoops in to mack on the girl, but ended up taking his comedy bump by leaning on a door and forcing it to collapse.
PP: The Valedictorians gimmick is freaking hysterical as these guys really have a Three Stooges vibe to their shtick like trying to put the bus up for sale. I am amused at constantly forgetting what Hightower looks like and then going "Oh yeah, he's the wee feller" each time I see him. BECAUSE HE'S HIGHTOWER!
Match 7: TAG SUMMIT
RD : Prince Nana and Mozart Fontaine are the first out, thus breaking up the rule of Mr. Ooh La La always being the first guy in the Summit. They do mic work promising that they are going to win the match. The next team out is Japanese Pool Boy who comes out dressed like Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz to the "We're off the see the Wizard" song. He has a basket with a stuffed Toto in it. He's joined by someone dressed as the Scarecrow. The only thing that would have made this rule even more was it if was Low Ki under the Scarecrow gimmick and he started murdering people, but it was still great none the less. Nick Malakai and Johnny Maxx were next. They were followed by Mr. Ooh La La and Roughhouse Rivera and then by J-Busta and Freak Nasty. J-Busta's team eliminated the Scarecrow and Pool Boy, but not before Scarecrow left a ton of straw in the ring. Cheetah Master and I don't know who his partner were out next. I was disappointed Cheetah didn't do his full ring entrance as 8 teams would pass by and go in before he hit the ring. The Shaolin Wrecking Crew were next in with Cheetah's team eliminating Ooh La La and Rivera. Big Benny (the Amish guy) and Xero were next followed by Big Sky (not that one) and Mike Mayhem (not the New York one). The SWC went out. Mike Fury and Low Ki were out next. Ki ended up being a last minute substitution for Brian XL and ended up just chopping the hell out of Big Sky for most of his time in. Xero and Benny got eliminated, Striker and Ace Darling headed in. Malakai's team and Cheetah's team were eliminated and the Maximos are the last team in. J-Busta's team and Mike Mayhem's team were both the next out. The Maximos set up Low Ki for the Spanish fly, but he was fighting them off. I'm pretty sure it was Fontaine who ended up pushing Ki and I think Jose off the top rope eliminating them both, with Maximo taking a crazy bump almost taking out the trophy and the time keepers table. Ace and Striker ended up eliminating I think Nana to win the match.
PP: Teddy Long got a load of Easton's suit and went "HOLLA AT ME GANGSTA!" Just a stupendous ensemble, all red and sharkskinny. Nana does this big promo sort of burying the past Summits as "throwaway matches" and promising that he and Mozart will win the straps. Of course, JPB comes out in full Dorothy gimmick to the Wizard of Oz music along with his partner... "The Scarecrow!" We immediately mark out picturing Ki as the Scarecrow who suddenly starts murderlating people left and right. This is actually quite good by Summit standards as the tag team stip mixes things up a bit and adds some urgency to the proceedings. Benny and Xero hit the ring at one point and I take some amusement at the idea of an Amish guy coming out to "Song 2." Ki gets a big pop coming out as the sub for XL and he starts going nuts on Mayhem lighting him up with chops. The Ki/Fury & SAT elimination was all sorts of crazy as Fonatine pushes Ki and both Maximos off the top all at once as they go for the Spanish Fly and get nothing but floor. Finish comes down to Ace/Striker vs Nana/Mozart, with the former team going over as Ace superkicks Nana over the top rope being conveniently held down by Striker. Fine little match.
Match 8: ACE DARLING/STRIKER
vs. The VALEDICTORIANS (Bax & Rob Eckos) w/ Carleton Hightower for
the ECWA TAG TEAM TITLES
RD : Darling's tights are like a pink version of the padding they put down under carpets. This was kind of short, but fun as both teams did some nick double teams, especially the Striker/Darling team who did a face eraser by Striker and a diving DDT by Darling and a drop out of a gory lock into a CIMA stunner by Darling. Bax and Eckos ended up getting the pin after I think Darling took a bump out to the floor and Striker got hit with a back suplex/jumping neckbreaker drop off the ropes for the Valedictorians to win. Post match, the Valedictorians celebrated by throwing their caps into the air.
Match 9: SUPER 8 FINALS:
"Fallen Angel" CHRISTOPHER DANIELS vs. AUSTIN ARIES
RD : I put this off too far and ended up seeing more wrestling after this to give this a proper review, but needless to say, this was a good match, and probably better than the last two 8 Finals before it. Daniels looked really good and Aries kept up with him fine. The finish was Daniels' hitting 3 consecutive "Greatest Moonsaults Ever", which is a feat in itself with the ECWA ropes being what they are to score the win.
PP: Good match with a really great finish as Aries (I think) misses his 450 which allows Daniels to just nuke him with 3 straight GMEs for the pin. Finishing sequence is pretty damn tremendous as watching it, you can say "There's no way in hell he's going to kick out of this"... and he actually doesn't. Daniels sells the win like it's the biggest victory of his career and he even looks like he's going to cry at one point... truly above and beyond the call of duty from an NJPW titleist who is also arguably the top guy in the American indy scene. Good show.
RD : All and all, it was a really good Super 8. Going in I was kind of disappointed with Daniels and Nicho being in the event, but that's mostly because I kind of like the whole thing of the event being filled with guys who are waiting to break out. Daniels really didn't need to win the tournament, but he delivered the goods in all his matches, so I don't really have a problem with it. Aries and Romero looked really good in their matches. It was worth it to take the trip and once again I look forward to next year's event.
PP: A fine Super 8 once you get past the more eclectic than usual lineup for it. Aries and Rocky are the goods and Aries in particular comes out of this looking like a superstar. As we're heading out I bolt back to the bus and pass Dean's sixer to Tim and Love Machine Bryan, which in retrospect was not nearly as conducive to Dean getting beer as it could've been.
RD : So... on the ride back, the plan is to stop by Tony Luke's in Philly to get cheese steaks. Of course, as we're going up, the jokes start about the fact that the CZW show which is also scheduled that night would be just about starting. So, as the technology is whipped out and people are checking the results of what's been on the card, followed up by phone calls to CZW to work out if we would be able to get in. As it turns out, we were able to work out a deal where we'd get in for 5 bucks for the last few matches. They were also shuffling the card so that Trent Acid against Teddy Hart would go on last. We ended up shuffling in as Ruckus & Saban were finishing up with All Money Is Legal, which the finish was Ruckus giving one of AMIL a falcon arrow while standing on two folding chairs which was all kinds of stupid for the win. The place was kind of empty, though I was used to going to the building during the ECW days when people would be standing behind the bleachers to see the show.
PP: So MKJ gets on the bus mic and announces that we'll be swinging
by Tony Luke's for dinner on the way back. This naturally leads to me and
a bunch of other guys making jokes about "Can we see the second half of
CZW?" since by then it's around 10:30pm. Before long, the jokes are more
serious... sure enough, Mike gets on the phone with the CZW folks and negotiates
a price of $5 for the rest of the show including the IMPROMPTU~! Trent/Teddy
main event. I have my MP3 player on "shuffle" and B-Boy's music comes onto
the playlist, which is when I knew we were desssssssssstined for CZW. Or
something like that. We pull up to the Arena at around 11:15, tear out
of the bus and bury the hapless ticket guy in a blizzard of fivers. Not
nearly as many folks at this show as there were at the Anniversary, which
I'm cool with as I can stretch out some at the Arena for once. Of note
is that they're doing entrance videos on the CZWTron over the entrance
now for the workers, which I don't remember seeing in February. I wonder
if the 14 year old kid created them too.
CHRIS HERO vs. JIMMY
RD : Hero is working heel and is announced as being the "Savior of CZW." He's in a non-title match against Jimmy Rave for the Iron Man title and Hero points out the fact that he knows he's going to win because a booker would never put a champion in a non-title match unless he knows the champion is going to lose. Hero brags about how many ways he knows to apply the cravate (I think he mentioned 89 ways to use the hold). This was fun as Hero played the heel role really well with being smug and all. He also hit this really weird move where he was on the ropes and put on the cravate and jumped off in a corkscrew like diamond cutter or something. It was weird. I believe it was "NUMBER 39!" Hero set up for a shining wizard but ended up landing behind Rave and putting on sleeper hold. This was a fun match overall, I don't remember a lot of what Rave did, but I remember him winning with a running knee to the head as Hero was sitting on the mat. Post match, Hero jumped Rave from behind and put him in the Hangman's Clutch (STF with a cravate instead of the cross face).
PP: This was the first time I've seen Hero live and he was allllllllll sorts of great, from his awesome pre-match promo ("I had 32 MOTYCs in February! I 've learned 117 counters to the cravat plus 43 ways to apply it!") to his bizarro Memphis-cum-Snake Pit chain wrestling with Rave to the aforementioned spots like the Shining Sleeper. Rave gets the win from out of nowhere with a running knee to the head, but Hero jumps him from behind and slaps on the Hangman's Clutch to leave Rave lying. The finish actually ties in well with the Ironman stips, as Hero gets on the mic and says words to the effect that if this were a title match, the postmatch beatdown would still be part of the match. Hero is solid fucking gold in-ring and out and it looks like he's going to get a chance this time around.
ADAM FLASH vs. WIFEBEATER
RD: Wifebeater comes out with a bag of chips and I joke with Pete this is going to be a vinegar and sea salt chip death match. I don't really remember much about this except for the fact that Flash gave Wifebeater a full on atomic wedgie, pulling the waistband up over the head on him. The finish was Wifebeater hitting a Baldo Bomb off the second rope after someone ran in and attacked Flash.
PP: They get full bonus points for using a WEDGIE as a transition spot and I also appreciate the absurd attempt at matwork during the opening couple of minutes. That's it.
TEDDY HART vs. TRENT
RD: The match had been set up earlier in the night with Trent returning, but the stipulation being that if Teddy won, Trent couldn't return to CZW. This had some pretty crazy heat as a lot of the crowd seemed to be behind Teddy and Trent had his usual band of fans too. The heat for this is great and as far as that aspect of wrestling, Teddy seems to have that down pat, as he definitely seems to get people going either for or against him. Zandig came down to ringside during this which resulted in some exchanges between Teddy and Zandig spitting and splashing water at each other. At some point during the mic work, a challenge for a street fight got mentioned and Trent said he was willing to fight Teddy outside, they teased it once with Teddy suckering Trent and beating on him in ring for awhile before they eventually got outside and pretty much the whole arena following them out to the street. I'll let Pete fill in the fun, but one of the wrestlers pulled up their car and they started doing spots on and around it as a circle around the car formed. Meanwhile, I stood on the corner with Buck Woodward as he attempted to hand out 1bobwolfpac stickers. I ask Frank Talent if he can maintain order he had mentions that he heard over the police scanner that someone called the cops about a ROIT going on in the street. Eventually they go back inside, Teddy hits the shooting star elbow and two of his twisting senton moves, but Acid keeps kicking out. Teddy tells him to stay down, but he won't. The finish is Teddy getting a chair and Zandig getting in the ring and stealing it from him. Teddy ducked expecting to get hit, but Zandig handing the chair to him and then Acid kicking it into Teddy's face with a yakuza kick for the win.
PP: SWEET BABY JESUS was the heat for this just off the fucking hook. I honestly can't remember an ECW Arena match ever getting this much heat before, especially from a relatively small crowd. First few minutes of this is nothing but stalling for heat, but it WORKS as this crowd is absolutely solar for all of this before they even do anything. They start to tease a streetfight as Teddy leaves... Trent follows him outside and immediately gets decked by Teddy then hauled back inside. Eventually Teddy grabs Trent and they head outside, leading to a 500-person stampede cramming through the tiny side doorway to follow them. Apparently Lit from Special K happened to be toodling through the neighborhood in his car as they "force him to stop" and start going to town each other atop the ride, capped off by Trent (I think) piledriving Teddy on the hood. They continue to brawl on the street as Trent climbs back onto the car and goes for a moonsault, but he overshoots Teddy and hits the pavement. Amidst the carnage a table materializes as Teddy goes onto the roof of the car with Trent and powerbombs him through the table off the car! Trent sells it like he's dead as Teddy hefts him up like a firefighter and carries him back inside. Another stampede for the side door leads the rest of us to head through the front door, passing Buck who continues to deadpan away while shilling the 1BobWolfpack stickers. Back inside Teddy burns through all of his flippy-dos while Zandig gets on the house mic and tries to get the crowd behind Trent which is a hopeless cause as it's at least a 50-50 split. Trent hits a Yakuza kick from out of nowhere but can't put Teddy away. Eventually Teddy grabs a chair from ringside which Zandig steals from him. He then hands it back to Teddy at which point Trent puts his lights out with a Yakuzinator for the pin to return to CZW until the next time he walks out. More nuclear heat for the finish, which I actually thought was very well done as it allows Teddy to get pinned without losing any heat as Zandig absorbs it all for him.
RD: Post show we head outside as someone was preparing to fight someone because he was flipping off his sister or girlfriend or both as we try to stand clear as the bus is being pulled around. During this some dude broke it up and cut the promo of the night on all the fighting that I guess goes on during every CZW show.
PP: "I'M TIRED OF THIS SHIT HAPPENING AT EVERY SHOW! TIRED!"
RD: With the show over, we ended up heading to Tony Luke's, except, it was closing shortly and the core group was told "We can't go to Tony Luke's because we're late already" with the detour and the fact it was daylight savings, so most of us hit the gas station quick stop as a few people, MKJ, the bus driver and his son and daughter went to Tony Lukes. Apparently, they ran into some problems with some people trying to grope the driver's daughter as we were getting harassed by the Dirty Rotten Scoundrelz who came on the bus to make fun of us before getting run off by one of the guys on the bus who they called "Ruben Studdard", one of the highlights being Blade doing the DRS fist pose while holding his cheese steak in the air. We headed back and I was able to convince them to drop me off on the highway since I was 20 minutes on foot away from my house as opposed to sitting for an hour plus in the city waiting for the 5am bus. I had a good time, I think I probably had a better way to see a CZW show, read : going to see some good wrestling first and then paying 5 bucks to get in. Though it was worth the 5 bucks for Hero's match and the Teddy Hart experience. I don't know if I'd have the desire to go to a CZW show otherwise.
PP: Yeah, Hero and Teddy were easily worth the fiver by themselves. I think I may give them one more chance, prolly the BOTB in July, as what we saw was fun along with the ungodly heat for the main. Also nice of Zandig himself to get on the bus afterwards and thank us for swinging by. We hit the gas station for some grub and wait for the others to come back from Tony's, which is the point where the DRS made their way onto the bus for some impromptu cheap heat which they are true masters of. The crack on "Ruben" was priceless as he stampedes down the bus to chase them back to their car, comes back, grabs the mic and starts crooning "Flying Without Wings" or one of the other Stoddard standards. A true youhaddabethere moment that has everyone falling out of their seats. We finally hit NYC around 4am after dropping Ray off at the Secaucus offramp ("Frogger" jokes ensue as he hits the road), and I mercifully hit the sack at 5. Big big big big big ups to Mike for allowing the bus to get Shanghaied in such a fashion and going along with it. Best bus trip ever.