PR: PHIL RIPPA
- 12oz New York Steak, no Salad Bar. Some GAEA and all the PERMANENT TAPES from Dean
TKG: TOM KARRO-GASSNER
- 10 oz. No salad bar. Something called Kristmas Kaos oz, forgot to bring Rippa TPI
RD: REV RAY DUFFY
- 12oz NY Strip Steak, Medium Well, Salad bar, I got 2 tapes of joshi from Dean and 1 tape of vcw/z1 and TNA from Dean
PP: POGO PETE STEIN
- 10oz Sirloin w/rice and salad bar. One New York-shaped magnet from Dean in lieu of Cheerwine and Petty-Os. He’s still invited to bring the family up this summer since saying “Screw You” wouldn’t be fair to Angie or the kids.
PR: I break camp to pick up Lee Benaka and Tom – who is flying solo since Schneider is in love and poor – at Lee’s swanky new house. Lee gets permission from his adorable kids and we head to BWI to find young Bill Barnwell, who has arrived from Boston via the show that is the American Airlines prop-plane fiasco called American Eagle. I laugh my hideous laugh as Tom and Bill have potentially the funniest and worst phone call ever as the meeting place is established. It takes three trips around the airport and the fear that Tom’s OWN shirt will get us randomly searched before we find Bill waiting at DEPARTING flights. I then get yelled at by Alex Karras as we leave but the rest of trip is without incident. We are the first to arrive so I stop to get gas and Tom and Lee disappear into a bar. I then getting a phone call from someone. It might have been Pete. It might have been Dean. It might have been God. I don’t know. Either way, we head up the street to the Parish to meet Pete and Ray who have just arrived via Bus Tour. Board reader and good Egg, Yoel, finds us in the parking lot and then we wait... and wait... and wait... for the anime mobile. I finally call Dean’s wife to find out when they left and she reports that they left late as expected. Literally a minute before we were ready to ditch them, the crew pulls up and we are off. On the way to the Sizzler, Bill, Lee, Tom and myself realize that we would much rather go to the sports bar than the actual show but we fight the urge. Of course, if we hadn’t gone, I would have missed Ryan ordering the Alaskan Salmon, which was the highlight of the night. My stomach survived another round at the Sizzler.
TKG: Bus it to Lee’s. Get to meet his wife and kids and they have somehow managed to put together a home that is both kid and adult friendly. Impressive feat. I briefly contemplate doing a running bellyflop into the swing set, but think better of it. Rippa picks us up and tells me to get in the car and don’t touch anything. Thankfully he isn’t Camron, and I’m not some gold digging hoochie at Dream. Speaking of which Dean received worse service from the waitress at The Hole in The Wall, but she at least had the common decency to flash us her inner thighs - I guess more than flash…display might be the word. The cop yelling at Rippa at the Airport ruled. I plot revenge on Karras’ brother’s strip club and that damn fat lesbian gym teacher. Rippa goes to get gas across the street from the new “Jesus Christ is Lord Skate Park”, Lee and me go across the street to the tavern with no windows to get some beers. On the door to Tavern is notice saying, “Stop if you were not born before Aug 8, 1964 you can’t purchase alcohol”. Fuck the Sizzler, we all must now meet at the tavern.
RD: I home at around 2am from the never-ending USA Pro show. I figured I had to get up early to get back in the city to get to the bus ride to the show. Unfortunately, I couldn’t fall asleep until 4 in the morning. On the ride down we watch a tape from ECWA including some old stuff (Like the SAT v. AD/Ki v. J-Team in the cage) and some new stuff (like the 5 way with Kruel, Dragon, Red, Ki & Daniels). We also watch some of the Pro-Wrestling Iron, which has some slick looking production values. Modest calls it with Ron somebody, who someone said was from Incredibly Strange or something. Modest is not afraid to make fun of Massaro for his conditioning and Ron is not afraid to do weird pronunciations for “Misawa”. We show up relatively early and leave the bus before the Daniels Q&A. I regret not telling him what a good job he did with the wedding the night before. I have only slightly faster service than Dean at the Sizzler. Could this be the end of the annual Sizzler experience?
PP: I manage to get in from the USA show around 1am and proceed to SWERVE~! the dog by going straight to bed instead of walking her. So I manage to pull about 7 hours of sleep, which is basically par for the course for me. I get an early start on the day so I can get a haircut at Astor Place and run out to Queens, taking the scenic route via the #7 elevated train. Bus to DE is fine as MKJ’s regulars are reasonably normal and unassuming until they get to the rassling show. PWI’s production values are AMAZING… it really looks like Samurai-level graphics and presentation. Modest is really good on color and Ron Hed is good too although he has a fairly esoteric delivery and tries a little too hard at times. He’s nowhere near as annoying as John House in the pantheon of “wrestling commentators who try too hard,” which is a plus. As Ray and I are getting off the bus, a mysterious man walks over and hands me six months of Toryumon TV to give to Dean. I’m tempted to hoof it to the Wilmington Amtrak then and there. I eagerly await the Dirty Dick’s Ale booze review from Dean.
PR: Charlie Haas is the special Super 8 host this year. The usual video package of the participants in the Super 8 is pretty bizarre as the choice of footage was... odd. We have upgrade seats a little bit this year as we are on the middle of the wall instead of the corner. Ray still complains of the lights in his eyes.
TKG: The announcers now refer to the ECWA screen as the “Equatron”. The video package consisted of lots of clips of the contestants blowing spots and exposing the business. Which was not the way to sell your participants.
RD: I think Kettner finds away to put us directly across from the lights every year. Rippa tells me “Oh, what are you complaining about, you know they’ll get knocked out by the 3rd match”. He’s right. Unfortunately, I’m also right in telling him that they’ll knock out the ones that weren’t facing us which also happened.
PP: Haas styles away in the Team Angle jumpsuit, which is way up there with Low-Ki’s suit from last year. I was sort of surprised they didn’t go with clips of Kendrick and London working in the WWE… in fact, most of the footage this year had a real “last known photograph” quality to it. MKJ’s section immediately starts with the slavish London fandom and I predict that this will turn him heel on everyone else in the building by the end of the night. Justin Slotman shows up right at bell-time as the Young Republicans apparently allowed him to leave the meeting early.
PR: Justin’s “casual” suit so is 599 times nicer than any suit I own. I am full of shame.
FRANKIE KAZARIAN vs. CHRIS SABIN
DR: I was digging Sabin and was hoping he would go over. Kazarian was the second most impressive guy on the night but I figured I see him on ever Northeast indie tape but when would I ever see this Sabin guy again. Sabin did that Ace Crusher to the Knee that will be the headlock of 2004 when everybody sees it. The finish was out of nowhere but it was a good little match.
PR: This was Tom’s dream match or at least the one match he hoped Kettner ran. I have never been really blown away with Kazarian but he looked fine in this match. The opening minutes were all on the mat and I was amazingly jazzed for the idea that the entire match would contain no rope running. That so would have made this match of the night. Sabin working over Kazarian’s neck was pretty cool as the Bio tells us the neckbreaker is Sabin’s finisher. Perfectly fine opening match. I will say though, Kazarian stealing Slykk Wagner Brown’s boots was a dick thing to do.
TKG: “The Future” Frankie Kazarian vs. “The Future” Chris Sabin was so not my dream match. I was a New Breed fan and figured while not Dusty, we did get a Texan as President in 2002. So I had a lot of hope for the match up of the FUTURES. But Bush is no Dusty and this was no New Breed. Sabin looked like the brighter future. I wished I was twelve minutes into the future so I could have missed this match. Worst Super 8 match of night, felt 8 hrs long. Shitty.
RD: I actually liked this match and I though more of Sabin’s work in this than Kazarian’s. Sabin had some neat offense with a bunch of different things to his knee (the backbreaker out of the hangman’s neckbreaker that CM Punk uses, the face breaker out of a fireman’s carry and a backbreaker out of a Kanda Bottom set up). Kazarian was the first to test the ropes going for a springboard and in the end, it was a really ugly looking turn around leg drop off them, though I think that’s more to do with the ropes than Kazarian flubbing something. I don’t think they totally killed the finishers in this match, partially because I’ve never seen either guy. I know Sabin’s finisher was listed as the chickenwing piledriver, which he attempted once or twice but didn’t get it off. Kazarian tried for and eventually caught Sabin in some weird inverted facelock into a face driver. At first I thought it was sort of like the Last Rites, but it might have been more of a face buster.
PP: I also thought this was a good opener. Kazarian looks like Latin Lover facially and has the giant lifts (.7 Slykk) but he and Sabin brought the offense. They spend most of the match on the mat leading to MKJ’s geniuses to chant “Let’s Go Armbar,” then “Let’s just end the match.” Ya know, most of these guys were on the JAPW bus trip where Steve Corino complained about how the Internet has led to all of these fans deciding that they’re “smarts” and need to show it off at every opportunity… apparently his message went skyrocketing over their heads. Kazarian goes over via inverted Last Rites.
BRIAN KENDRICK vs. CHRIS CAGE
DR: I was hoping that Kendrick would feign a freak knockout or Charlie Haas drag him out of the ring for a countout or something. Shit, I'm going to see Kendrick on Smackdown every week at least until he pisses of someone, so I wanted to see more Chris Cage. Not that Chris Cage looked that great. I asked Tom if Mike Winner was training in OVW now because he was soooo Power Plant in the pedestrian offense. Worst match of the night.
PR: This so wasn’t close to the worst match of the night or even the tournament. Kendrick was drunk or something though as he kept falling on all his flips and counters. The bizarre hot pink suede tights made up for it though. I do remember wishing that Kendrick wouldn’t win since I was afraid of him looking like this through three matches. This might have been the match that did have the block of the headlock whip. If it was, that was another reason this wasn’t the worst thing we saw. I was distracted for part of this match as Bill and I were amazed by the guy with the Rich Seubert jersey only to realize that the tool didn’t actually get Seubert on it instead he got it because it was “69” Get IT? And then put “Big Al” or something on the back like those fucking annoying frat boys who would get “Anal Rape” on the back of their jerseys in college. I hate people.
TKG: No one asked me about the unappreciated Portland wrestling superstar that was Mike Winner. When I saw the Super 8 bios, I was really hoping that Chris Cage would go all the way because his finisher was listed as “neckbreaker”. Everyone else had some kind of fancy Rube Goldberg finisher listed while Cage had neckbreaker. I so wanted this tournament to be won by a neckbreaker. Cage did work over the neck to set up for the neckbreaker for the entire match so I dug the pedestrian neck psychology. I don’t think anyone else in crowd read the bios so I may have been the only one who dug that. Kendrick throws a hard chop and when Cage can’t respond in kind, Kendrick realizes that he shouldn’t use strikes in this match. The annoying chanting New York Bus Crew start yelling “You’re no Shawn Michaels” at Spanky…which was kind of funny since Spanky actually looked like he was either in no condition to wrestle or mailing it in for the house show. I’m guessing Nate Jones probably accidentally concussed Spanky earlier in the evening.
RD: Not only were they hot pink suede tights… they had a daisy with a smiley face on them. Cage was pretty vanilla. He really didn’t do anything really dynamic, but he did work the neck to set up his finish, which was good. He was just really generic. Part of the match was listening to Rippa try to figure out which Giants lineman it was only to be disappointed it was a custom job. I did get to tell him about the times I would spar with Roman Oben and what it was like trying to put a wristlock on an NFL lineman. I don’t think it was the NY Bus crowd that was on Spanky about not being Shawn Michaels as they seemed to be cheering for the ROH alumni (except for Arion). Spanky seemed to get a mixed reaction from the crowd. Spanky won with the Sliced Bread No2 off the middle of the ropes.
PP: Kendrick gets mad phat props (yo) for coming out to Siouxsie and the Banshees’ “Peekaboo.” This is OK as Kendrick looked decent, if not necessarily going full out to protect his WWE gig. Again, this was so not the worst match of the night. I enjoyed Tom’s dorkdom for Cage’s finisher and was wondering if he would go balls-out and use the old Southern neckbreaker ala Freddie Blassie.
CHANCE BECKETT vs. SEDRICK STRONG
DR: This match fucking ruled. Beckett came out and established himself as a heel ONE SECOND into the match and the psychology of the match was set. Beckett was just fucking intense on offense - like a budding Benoit as he was just relentless. I loved the Butterfly Suplexes where he would spin sideways to make them Locomotion suplexes. I thought that he busted his chin when rolling through one of these and was TORQUED about the hardway performing a suplex, but I read Jess McGrath's report and he's saying that he got it from a kick. Anyway, Strong I dug because he was selling the beating like a good babyface and I'm guessing the rube smart marks trying to get themselves over drown out all the regular wrestling fans trying to get behind Strong or who were freaking out to the grandness of Beckett. Beckett does the GREAT FUCKING GREAT fish-hook, cross-face and nose hole pull while having Strong in the Camel Clutch. It was fucking great and we were losing it. I want these two to wrestle in North Carolina or Virginia in a community center where the match would play stronger in front of a crowd more like the ones ECWA used to have back in the late 90s.
PR: Dean is a little high on young Sedrick. He pretty much was forced to sell due to the beating he was taking and the few moments of offense were all sorts of ugly. Just like that Glad looking superman tights he had going. Beckett was amazing. He slapped Strong instead of doing the indy handshake and that pretty much cemented him as #1 and the best. His selling the entire night was amazing as he was selling the damage he got in this match all the way to the finals. Of course, losing a giant portion of blood probably lead to that being legit.
TKG: One of the things I always enjoy about ECWA is that you don’t normally have the smarky ROH chanting crowd. You come to ECWA to hear the fans cheer for the faces and boo the heels. You come to ECWA to hear little girls scream for Cheetah Master. For some reason this years New York Bus killed that environment as they were all pro-heel. Most of us are also Rudo fans but when the loudest section of audience is heel fans it changes the dynamic of things. This match was worked as badass heel vs. underdog babyface. Beckett refuses to shake Strong’s hand instead slapping him and underestimates Strong at beginning, takes huge bump from Strong’s offense and then gets fired up to beat on Strong. Strong looked fine in this extended competitive squash type setting. Beckett got to show off all kinds of offense. And the heel/face structure when combined with the blood gave this added heat. Chance’s work combined with his pouring blood got him over huge in this match. “MAKE HIM PAY!!!” Oh yeah and Chance doing the drunken Terry Funk sell of the damage while walking to the back shoed a commitment to craft.
RD: Chance comes out and decides “Fuck it, I’m playing the heel.” Kazarian sort of was playing a swarmy “I’m cool” heel in the first round match, Chance decided he was going to be the bastard. But his fire and the fact he was bleeding starting about a minute in sort of made him babyface by default. Chance was really fired up and his stuff looked good and intense. The best fucking spot was Chance wiping his face with his hand, loading up the hand with blood and then chopping Strong. This was fun, Chance’s stuff looked sharp, though his finisher in this one, the Asai moonsault into the reverse DDT wasn’t the coolest thing he did in the match. I have seen Sedrick once before where he and his brother had a fun match with the JAPW rookies Jay Lethal and Rainchild where he looked sharper in the tag setting.
PP: Yeah, Strong seems to be better in tags than singles based on this match compared to the fun fun fun tag match he and Roderick had with the Midcard Express last May, as well as a better heel than face. That said, I’m still stoked to see the Strongs this weekend in Woodbridge. This was really great as Chance took it upon himself to grab the Super 8 Brass Ring of Indy Wrestling Cognizance and make sure that everyone remembered him tonight as he shows as much fire as anyone else I can remember from the 8s.
PAUL LONDON vs. ALEX ARION
DR: Arion looked fine. London looked fine. They blew a bunch of stuff and it killed the match. Plus it followed Chance Beckett bringing the Old School styled face/heel match so this match suffered. Eh. I haven't seen much London but I hear he is usually better than this. Arion looked better here than on the NEWF stuff I saw.
PR: I so wanted Arion to win just for the riot to start. I mean I wishing it about as much as I was wishing a UNCW win. Neither panned out. Of course, as the match went on, I really wasn’t in to either guy. I think part of the problem was that while London was a clear face, Arion didn’t go heel nor did he also try to make it a face/face matchup. He just kinda did his thing. I am going to assume Dean means NECW unless he has tapes he never gave me.
TKG: This match kind of happened. I liked the way London took every slingshot by landing his head on different turnbuckle. Arion's finisher is neat and so waiting for Nova to steal it.
RD: This wasn’t bad at the start and sort of started getting sloppy about half way through. Part of the early story of the match was Arion deciding to go after London’s face with a few moves as London was just coming off nasal surgery. Arion gave him the “Greek Style” drop kick to the ass while Paul was on his knees, driving London face first into the buckles, then following it with a la tapatia where here let him go so London once again fell face first into the buckles. I think this sort of feel apart after London went for an enzugiri, which missed, but Arion sold it anyway. Arion did have a good spit sell on some of London’s strikes. London wins with the Gannosuke clutch.
PP: Why would Nova steal a finisher he’d already invented? (No, that joke will never get old.) I got to see London put on the performance of his lifetime at the Queens ROH show so this was kind of disappointing, although to be fair this was his first night back after the nasal surgery. Still, this was the worst match of the night as Arion was deeply on the unspectacular tip. At one point both guys manage to blow a Giant Swing spot that has all of us baffled.
Non-Tournament: STRYKER/JOSE & JOEL MAXIMO
vs. PRINCE NANA/MEGA/ACE DARLING
DR: We have a time trying to figure out who is tattooed on Mega's arm. That was more interesting than the match itself. Mega's is very large and very green so he isn't very good and he was in the match a whole lot. SATs continue their downward spiral into the land of Julio Dinero Twins '03.
PR: I was all into Mega as he was enormous and he knew where we parked. Yeah, MEGA #1. I was convinced that he had Rog from What’s Happening on his arm. The story of the match was that Darling and Stryker won the tag titles on the last show and then Darling turned heel later on. So everyone wanted to know what would happen since the tag champs were facing each other. It was the classic heel turn setup as Stryker never got tagged in until the end, before making the SHOCKING SWERVE. JJ and JR Ryder then run out and turn face. Ray noted that he thinks this might be the new Super 8 tradition – the Ryder turn.
TKG: Mega had what I think was his mom and dads inside a heart tattooed on one arm and a blind guy on the other. The heart family portrait tattoo ruled. The best part of this match was the opening section where super Italian Ace Darling and ACTOR Stryker argued over whether Ace had turned on the fans and its consequences. Great Pantomime theatre. Marcel Marceau is retiring this year…Fine tribute to a legend. Also dug Stryker’s miming while waiting to be tagged and when he turned heel with the tongue stuck out thumb to nose to the crowd.
RD: I remember them playing up on the ECWAtron about they didn’t know what was going to happen with Striker and Ace since they were on opposing sides. Gee, it’s not like ECWA hasn’t had tag team champions who feuded with each other at the same time…. Mega spends the lion share of time in the ring for his team with the Maximos. There was a bunch of stuff blown including Mega trying to catch one of the Maximos jumping at him. Striker turns heels and I kind of want to go back just to see the skit with him and Ace as honorary members of the Ghana Royal Family. As good as Striker is as a hammy babyface, it’s a total ham and hilarious as a heel.
PP: I think at some point we decided that Mega had Sanford & Son tattooed on his arm… later on I decided it was Blacula. The amount of thought we gave to the tattoo should be an indication of match quality as the Maximos looked as bad as I can ever remember them looking here. Maybe the Dirty Rotten Scoundrels were carrying them in those matches (speaking of which, the DRS’ gimmick is tailor-made for ECWA and I hope they work here before too long). I’m with Ray as I almost want to go back next month for Striker and Darling, honorary Ghanaians.
PR: Intermission arrived here. I get a $1 water and then Bill, Slotman and I shoot the shit about the comical moves the Knicks will make this offseason and about Tom’s quest to find Bill Walton calling LA Clipper games.
TKG: Me, Lee and Ryan walk across the street to buy cans of Yuengling to get geared up for second round. I am awed by the liquor store both having Yuengling in cans and airplane mini bottles of Makers Mark. That’s a lot of work to get out the knife to open that bottle for that little bourbon.
PP: I duck outside for some fresh air only to make a U-turn as the air quality was actually better inside with everyone heading outside for a smoke break. I get my second wind and head back out to key RF’s ride where I almost bump into Mike Kruel’s dad. He’s everywhere, he’s everywhere…
FRANKIE KAZARIAN vs. PAUL LONDON
DR: This was like the Arion match. They kinda hit a bunch of stuff and then they fuck a gigantic area of the match and it never recovers. The finish is also isn't built to very well as it was quite the CZW Night Of A Thousand Unsold Finishes where five finishes before the one that actually kills Kazarian should have been the one to finish the match. I'm already tired of that fruity embellishment moonsaulting dropkick by London.
PR: London did pull off a nice shooting star press, which was amazing considering the usual loose ass ECWA ropes.
TKG: Kazarian is wearing lifts for an indy tournament. He comes out to the theme from Karate Kid. I would have rather seen Mike Tobin or Drake. Kazarian does the world’s shittiest Toyota suplex for near fall in both matches. Its like “I’ll put you on my shoulders and gently lay down and bridge my back”. I’ve really liked London in the past, but I got the impression in this tourney that he is really good at working underdog babyface with a lot of heart, which requires an opponent with offense. He’s not that good at this kind of two indy guys exchanging meaningless moves type match.
RD: This was sort of there. I wonder if Sabin vs. London would have been better. London and Spanky had to be the favorites for this, so it sort if that took away from London being the underdog. I think Kazarian looked a little better in this than his match with Sabin.
PP: Kazarian was the only guy who went with different outfits for each round of the 8. Here he’s wearing a white version of his first-round costume so he looks even more like Latin Lover. I agree with Tom that London functions much better when he’s in the underdog role, as there wasn’t a lot of heat for him in this match (London chokers section excepted). Kazarian tried to play heel but no one bought the idea that he might get the win.
CHANCE BECKETT vs. BRIAN KENDRICK
DR: Kettner is a fucking genius. This match was awesome because Beckett goes over - which NO ONE in the audience saw coming. Brilliant booking. Kendrick does the neato Rolling Cradle Full Nelson that kinda went all over the place. We are appalled that the babyface would superkick a man with a pre-match bleeding chin and boo Kendrick unmercifully. I remember Beckett's cool-assed Scorpion Deathlock/Texas Cloverleaf submission and it ruled when he pulled it out. It was around this point that the crowd completely turned on Kendrick and was behind Beckett. I think the fact that he was bleeding like a stuck pig while fighting like a motherfucker and that will get you over anywhere. They had some great nearfalls and right when I figured it was going to go all 1993 AJW nearfall-mania, but Beckett hits the gory Special Neckbreaker and Beckett goes over. The crowd popped like monkeys because the bleeding underdog beats the WWE wrestler. It was great booking. I'm guessing that American Dragon hipped Kendrick to Beckett while AD was in ECCW. Best match of the night.
PR: Actually, that was the best part of the entire match. There was this entire section of fans who loved Kendrick, then there was a section who liked both guys and the rest were all about bad ass Chance Beckett. So this match at the most heat of the entire night as everyone was chanting at his or her man, yelling at the ref to speed up his count. This was all sorts of fun. All the reversals and flips that Kendrick missed in the first match, he hit in this match and both guys were selling and selling and selling. This was what we had been expecting from most of the matches. Big thumbs up.
TKG: Spanky who worked face first match, realized that Beckett was now super over with crowd and had pressure bandage. So Spanky worked more heelish here. This was super heated. Started with a streetfight section. Brawling on the floor. Beckett needs to work on his chops. Spanky took a great posting that he should have bladed on but I think Kettner doesn’t allow the blade (there was no blood in the cage matches). Spanky dickishly worked on the cut and the chin a lot. Grinding headlocks, clutches, etc. The superkick came across as real heelish move in this context. Spanky came in selling the shoulder. My memory was that Beckett did a bunch of offense with Spanky’s head hitting Beckett's knee. Heated sense that both guys were trying to break the other guy, which you normally don’t get in indy tournaments. Super satisfying match that I dug a lot. The New York Bus crowd was busy chanting at each other during the beginning of this match. Thankfully Brambilla got up in the pitch black arena and told them that there was a fucking match going on, that they might want to watch.
RD: This was fun. It sort of played out like American Dragon going over Reckless Youth. Spanky and London were the favorites. In 2000, American Dragon was for the most part unknown to the East Coast audience and Reckless was the local favorite who everyone figured was going to face Ki in the finals. Spanky has the WWE contract, so odds of him being back aren’t all that great. So rather than do the predictable finish, they threw the curve with Chance getting over in a pretty good match and going over the favorite making him look strong for the finals. I would have liked to have seen London/Spanky, but if they had done that as the semis, I don’t think it would have helped Chance as much going into the finals. This was probably the best match of the night.
PP: GOD… a Spanky/London final would’ve been the most annoying result just for the MKJ tools. As it is they totally did the right thing by having Chance go over. The dynamic here was really great and there was a ton of heat as folks were really getting into Chance working at 150%, bad chin and all. Spanky plays subtle heel here by going after Chance’s chin and I think the fans recognized that and reacted accordingly. At one point near the finish, Chance gets a submission hold on Kendrick and the place goes nuts with about 2/3rds of the fans chanting “TAP!” at Kendrick. I think this was the match where Kendrick unloaded with a beautiful float kick, like Bill Irwin in his prime. Beckett’s cut eventually reopens and we all get giddy at the prospects of Beckett going berserk at the sight of his own blood. “CHANCE SMASH!”
Non-Tournament: ECWA SUMMIT (Royal Rumble Battle
DR: Mr. Oo-La-La was fabulous and it isn't really a Super 8 until he strips for your pleasure. The battle royal was a Battle Royal so it sucked. It wasn't the worst battle royal ever because they took all these big bumps by
the end and the NWA-TNA valet of Quiet Storm and some other lady had a spirited little fight into the light fixtures.
PR: It was Trinity and some women we never caught the name of. One of them took an unprotected shot into the light fixture so that was pretty great. Umm... let me try to remember some of the stories set up in this match. Mega was teased as facing turning because he refused Nana’s orders to beat up Trinity. The Maxx Brothers vs. Darling/Stryker appears to be the title match next month. The Maxx Brothers lead to the biggest disappointment of the night as the garbled ring intro sounded like “JOEY MAGGS!!!!!” and we were ready to lose our shit. Zero and Mega had the worst battle of Nise Mabel’s and didn’t bellybuck and that is when I turned on the match. It wasn’t Low-Ki stiffing the comedy workers.
TKG: The other woman’s name is Venom. Ooh La Las manager gets on the mic and complains about the war creating this anti-French bias in ECWA that kept Ooh La La out of the tourney. I agree. Man Ooh La La would have been so much better than Kazarian. Monsieur Ooh does a nice job of trying to reel in the scrawnier Maxx brother. And Ooh takes a big bump to get thrown out of summit but was ejected too early. Stryker was a ton of fun as heel in this brawling on the floor. His back rake and thumb to throat (after flourishing the thumb and wetting it in front of angrier women in the crowd) need to be seen. All his heel flourishes were cool. This could have really used Nigel Fairservice. Oh and Roughhouse Rivera was never eliminated. He should have gotten the title shot.
RD: The timing on the entrances was all screwy. Roughhouse shows up late in the match to beat up Billy Bax with a wiffleball bat and just leaves, so he never truly entered when he was supposed to and just sort of left. I’m not sure why Striker and Ace spent so much time brawling with the Maxx Brothers (Joey looks like nise min-Trent Acid and Johnny looks like a putting on weight Christian York). The power of the boobies hypnotizes Mega, but Nana slaps him around for not throwing out Trinity and makes him eliminate himself. Nana throws out Trinity, who Mega catches. I guess he does end up turning face as instead of dropping her, he helps her back into the ring and Trinity drop kicks Nana from behind, throwing him out. Somebody who was on crutches ran in at one point and hit someone else with a crutch, but we weren’t up on who it was and why they hit the other guy. I think the final 3 were Kruel, Red and Pool Boy. And I think Rippa goes “You know Pool Boy’s going over.” And what do you know he does.
PP: Not nearly as good as last year’s Summit, but it had its moments good and bad. Mega comes in near the start and we get the “huge wrestler enters the battle royale and goes buck-wild” sequence as he throws a bunch of guys out. Someone else runs into him and “momentum” sends him back over the ropes after about a half-second pause in the most hilariously contrived battle royale elimination ever. At one point Striker and Darling are brawling on the floor with the Maxx Brothers when Nana makes his entrance. Striker sees Nana coming and reaches out to high-five him; Nana ignores him and hits the ring while Striker happily shrugs this off (“That’s all right”) and gives him a thumbs-up. I don’t know if anyone else caught this, but the little things like that are why we all love Striker. Trinity and Venom have a really heated brawl after they both get tossed, although for the second time tonight someone brawls into the wrong light fixtures.
Non-Tournament: JAPANESE POOL BOY vs. CHRISTOPHER
DANIELS – ECWA Title
DR: Daniels made this perfectly fine. Kruel is RIGHT THERE. Red is RIGHT THERE. Still, Poolboy wasn't smoked completely. Daniels is your God.
PR: What was good about this match was that Daniels couldn’t work his usual my turn, your turn match as he was basically doing the glorified squash on Pool Boy. It was the poorest of the poor man’s Stevie Richards vs. Sabu match ever. After the match, Daniels grabs him some of that fine fine man ass. The 6 Degrees of Wrestling was getting out of control.
TKG: Yeah this was the Daniels vs. Tech9 type of match where Daniels plays veteran instead of the Daniels as equal to opponent type of match. Pool Boy really has no offense other than kisses and ass squeezes and should never do a dive again. When Poolboy looses the bandana you realize he’s in an Assassin mask. I’d love to see the angle where Jody Hamilton’s crossdressing son submits Chris Walker in an effort to win back his father’s love. After the match Daniels puts Pool boy over on mic and then SHAKES HIS HAND in front of the ROH bus crowd.
RD: I was hoping Pool Boy would get all serious and rip off the mask at some point in the match like Commando Bolshoi during her big JWP title shot, but I am denied. This was pretty much Daniels controlling with Pool Boy getting in a few near falls on surprise roll ups because Daniels was getting cocky. I was trying to convince Dean during this that Pool Boy was going over because Daniels has commitments in Japan. We were then able to connect Pool Boy to Inoki in 3 matches thanks to this. Got to love that Daniels won’t do the indy handshake except to a comedy wrestler in ECWA.
PP: I feared the alternative to Ray’s conjecture, which would’ve been JPB getting serious by ripping off his pants. This was entirely acceptable, which is the highest of high praise given JPB’s track record going into the match. Daniels gives JPB just enough offense at just the right times to keep this interesting and have us thinking “They wouldn’t really have JPB go over…” until he hits the Last Rites and gets the pin. Daniels puts JPB over on the mic afterwards, shakes his hand… and GOOSES him for good measure. Oh my stars and garters. It’s neat seeing Daniels essentially play a neutral character here, like he’s the touring ECWA champion.
CHANCE BECKETT vs. PAUL LONDON
DR: This was too short but I'm assuming that Beckett wrestling without a few pints of blood had something to do with it. This would have been the match of the night if it went 8 minutes longer because London didn't impress me as a poorman's Ricky Marvin, but he did impress me as a poorman's Ricky Steamboat - selling the hellish beating on his knee by the gleefully bastardlike Beckett. London's comeback was plausible and he sells the leg while bridging into the submission. THAT fucking ruled. I want a rematch already. For 20 minutes.
PR: This was world’s better than last year’s finals as this was about as perfect a match these two were going to have with the booking the way it was. It was only 8 minutes because I have to believe the Beckett was about done thanks to bleeding a couple of pints along the way. So he destroyed London’s leg the entire match and London did one of the finest selling jobs you are going to see on the indy circuit, including getting carried to the back after the post match celebration. I seem to be the only person not bothered by the length of the match. I so prefer this that the spotfest, fuck the finishers, lets run Briscoe vs. Briscoe again.
TKG: This was SO SO much better than last years final. Again it starts like a streetfight. This is the kind of battle of fighting spirit/heart that London thrives in. Both guys looked tops here. The finisher where London can’t support the inverted camel clutch on his leg and so grapevines it and then CRANKS the camel clutch was a really nice finish. I didn’t mind the post match hug as it felt warranted.
RD: Paul came out limping and Chance goes right after his leg. Chance did a good job of working the leg and even set up the reverse cloverleaf which they were teasing as a possible submission which Paul did a good job of selling. I think the fact it went sort of short was ok. I do kind of get annoyed when they’ll do a tournament, guys will go through 3 matches, go longer than any of the prelim matches and kick out of finishers that won previous matches, even after all the damage they took in earlier matches. I was kind of hoping Beckett would be a bastard and either steal the trophy or hit London with it but was denied. I think it would have been great since Paul said they both won the trophy if Chance agreed and took off with it. The general consensus seems to be that Paul had looked better, but Chance really opened a lot of people’s eyes.
PP: Paul’s definitely a great talent and an incredible babyface… that said, this was probably not the right show for him to work three matches and win a tournament as he was nowhere near 100%. The finish didn’t help matters either as to me it came off really flat with Chance “passing out,” although I suppose it may have been better than if Chance tapped out. I actually didn’t have any problems with the length of the match either, as both guys were battling injuries and fatigue and they went full-tilt here from start to finish. As I predicted, Chance got the lion’s share of the support here as I get the impression that the majority of the fans were just sick to death of the bus crew. At one point there was a “NO MORE BUS TRIPS” chant going around.
DR: Not as good the last couple years but Beckett was fucking AWESOME. That's about all you can ask for. It wasn't like the year when Low-Ki, American Dragon and Tony Kozina invaded the East Coast Indie Wrestling fandom consciousness, but I dug Beckett and Kazarian. London redeemed himself by being more than spots and carrying a match with his selling in the last match. The other guys didn't make much of an impact though I think it was because they went out early.
PR: This was my first show I attended in almost a year as I try to ease my way back in from hating wrestling. It was a fun show. It wasn’t 1999 but I don’t think anything ever is going to be. Heck, it did allow me to realized how Kettner must be separated at birth from Robert Blake. Anyway, we head off to take Bill back to the airport and so Tom can try and find the mysterious Toga party. I get mocked because I missed Satan Pro drifting off to sleep during the first match. I suck.
TKG: Good time was had and unlike every other indy promotion, Kettner manages to end his shows on time. Lets you out at 10:30 so you have time to get to a Toga party and find the one idiot bar in town where they springed back instead of forward.
RD: Post match we get back on the bus for another 4-hour ride back to NYC. Mike Johnson asks us for a plug of his bus trip, but then he puts on the XWF PPV when he has Lyger/Kanemoto v. Kikuchi/Kanemaru on the same tape. Yeah, I really wanted to see all the competitive squash matches with appearances by Hogan, Hail, Rena and Tony and Lawler on commentary. I end up crashing at Pete’s as I didn’t realize it was Daylight Savings until we get into the city and I decide not to risk New Jersey Transit stranding me in the city for 2 hours because they don’t normally run buses between 3am and 4am. It was a long, long 2 days of wrestling. All and all, it was fun. It wasn’t the best show I had seen, but at least it wasn’t Inferno making it to the finals. Chance and Sabin were my two breakout guys from this show.
PP: Me: “REEEEEEEEEEWWWIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIINNNNNNNNNNDDDDDDDDDD!!!!!”
as we get the final 5 seconds of the NOAH juniors match only to segue into
the XWF. That’s like Kerry Von Erich hot-tagging George Weingroff.
Again, I can’t recommend MKJ’s bus trips highly enough… what I can recommend
is that you sit as far away from them as possible once you get to the show’s
arena. Before the bus leaves we talk with Dean who bemoans the fact
that Angie wouldn’t give him a yard pass to come up to NYC for the USA
show. He mentions something to the effect that “she’d do it for Lion
King,” which leads me to offer to put up with the Rasmussens should they
come up this summer. EDUCATIONAL PURPOSES~! We finally get
on the road after seemingly half the crew shows up to say high to the bus
and Ray compliments Simon on how fetching he was at the USA show.
(“Thanks pal.” *pat pat*) We hit Queens around 1:30am and get into
the city around 2am, which by that point is actually 3am due to Daylight
Savings. Ray takes me up on my offer to spend the night at my place
and apparently scares the hell out of my sister the following morning when
she wakes up and sees him sleeping on the dining room couch.