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AS I SEE IT 5/22: Reflections on turning 60…the indies, & more

AS I SEE IT
Bob Magee
Pro Wrestling: Between the Sheets
PWBTS.com

First, some thoughts on Chris Cornell, depression, and how
it connects to the Mauro Ranallo story I’ve written about
here in past blogs.

For those few who don’t know who Cornell was, he was the
creative and talented voice behind Soundgarden and
Audioslave. He was on tour with Soundgarden in Detroit last
Wednesday, and was found dead only hours afterward, after
hanging himself in his hotel bathroom.

Much as I said with the Ranallo story, the vast majority of
people dealing with depression are afraid to deal with it
because of the idiotic dichotomy that exists between MENTAL
health and PHYSICAL health.

If someone cuts their head open, they go get stitches. If
they get the flu or walking pneumonia, they go to the
doctor, and gets treated. No one thinks twice about it. But
if someone is depressed, and talks about it, there are STILL
those who call them a p$#@y or worse. This is the kind of
attitude we should have given up when doctors stopped
bleeding people because of “ill humors” (look it up).

Here some numbers: 25 million Americans suffer from
depression each year. In 2015 (latest available data), there
were 44,193 reported suicide deaths; equalling a death by
suicide about every 11.9 minutes in the United States, or
121 Americans daily. 90% of all people who die by suicide
have a diagnosable psychiatric disorder at the time of their
death.

Remember that most recently, Mauro Ranallo went through a
major depressive episode. Thank God he had a support system.
Chris Cornell apparently didn’t, and the news that followed
is what resulted from that sad fact. Notwithstanding what
Cornell’s wife said about him “not being suicidal”, he was
clearly suffering inside.

Chris Cornell said in an Rolling Stone interview “that he
had a tendency to ‘…be pretty closed off and
reclusive…..It’s about trying to step out of being
patterned and closed off and reclusive, which I’ve always
had a problem with…it’s about attempting to be normal and
just go out and be around other people and hang out. I have
a tendency to sometimes be pretty closed off and not see
people for long periods of time and not call anyone.”

Then…there were these words…chilling in retrospect:

“…The problem is, no one really knows what run-of-the-mill
depression is. You’ll think somebody has run-of-the-mill
depression, and then the next thing you know, they’re
hanging from a rope. It’s hard to tell the difference.”

Run-of-the-mill depression can kill. Chris Cornell is proof.

If you are contemplating suicide, please stop for a moment
and call 1-800-273-TALK. If you are depressed, and have been
so on a recurring basis, please call NDMDA Depression
Hotline/Support Group at 800-826-3632.

Mauro Ranallo tweeted this within hours of Cornell’s
suicide:

My email address is mauro@mauroranallo.com. DO NOT SUFFER
IN SILENCE. I am here to help. #MentalHealthMonth
#SickNotWeak #EndTheStigma

If you don’t want to call a hotline or a well-known person,
find someone. Find a friend. Find a bartender, cabdriver,
neighbor, family member. Find SOMEONE.

Please.

————————

Last week was part one of my reflections at turning 60 (this
past Friday) as a wrestling fan. It’s also another
anniversary. Now for the final part…on the great incubator
for indies that was the ECW Arena.

For me, as long as I’ve owned the page. PWBTS.com has always
been about promoting indies, above reporting on WWE/F, WCW,
and Impact. Why? Rip Rogers and Randy Orton tweeted overly
simplistic and sarcastic comments on what they thought a
“typical indy match” was this past week. They’re hardly the
first people who make snarky comments about indies, and
won’t be the last.

Yet, I’ve seen current and former WWE/F and WCW talent on
indies long before they got a national audience. Dozens of
them. Below is a history of what I saw at the ECW Arena.
That’s just ONE venue. There are flea markets, bingo hall,
parking lots, junior high school gyms and converted K-Marts
as well. So before you dismiss indies based on Rogers’ and
Orton’s snark, or your own prejudice about them…consider
what and who you may be missing early in their careers. My
PWBTS website has a list daily of indies running throughout
the US and Canada. Give one of them a try.

2001

Combat Zone Wrestling had been operating in New Jersey since
1999.

Due to their annual Cage Of Death 3 show at the end of 2001,
the company needed a bigger venue and made their debut in
the ECW Arena. The venue was the first sellout in the Arena
since the era of ECW. Hundreds were turned away from the
biggest show in the promotion’s history, far surpassing
promotion expectations. The main event in the Cage of Death
saw Justice Pain defeating Wifebeater.

The show ended with the Arena lights going out. When they
came back on, fans saw former ECW owner Todd Gordon, Blue
Meanie, Pitbull #1, Rockin’ Rebel, Rocco Rock were in the
ring, heeling on CZW and the fans, followed by jumping
Justice Pain and Wifebeater. The CZW locker room came out
for the save, the lights went out yet again to The Sandman
was standing in the ring. Sandman then turned on the ECW
contingent, and ended the evening drinking a beer with
Zandig.

2002

Best of The Best 2 started a series of several years of
incredible lineups for the springtime tournaments, with 2002
including Trent Acid, M-Dogg 20, Super Dragon, B-Boy,
Ruckus, Tony Mamaluke, Jodie Fleisch, Jonny Storm, and
Johnny Kashmere.

September 2002 saw Justice Pain defending C.M. Punk to
retain his CZW Title, and a demented match with “Sick” Nick
Mondo/Wifebeater defeated Mr. Insanity/Necro Butcher.
October 2002 saw Wifebeater announce his retirement.

Late in 2002, XPW, which had been based in California and
funded by pornography magnate and owner of Extreme
Associates Rob Black offered around $60,000 for an exclusive
lease to the ECW Arena. On December 12, 2002, Ring of Honor,
CZW, and 3PW ran what were to be the last events before the
exclusive lease began. During CZW’s event, CZW owner Zandig
stated that they had offered $32,000 to stay in the Arena,
but had been turned down. Zandig stated that with the
$10,000 a month XPW would need to pay for the building “the
lease would not last long”, which proved to be true. Various
deceptive practices by the promotion including numerous
examples of false advertising, as well as a suggestion of
Rob Black saying he’d feed a live puppy to a snake, and the
fact that they would not permit other promotions to run the
Arena, caused a swift end to XPW’s time there.

Cage of Death 4 featured Zandig vs. Lobo “Cage of Death”
match for ownership and control of CZW, Justice Pain vs.
Messiah “Iron Man rules” for the heavyweight title, Ruckus
vs. M-Dogg 20 vs. Sonjay Dutt to determine number one
contender to the CZW Junior Heavyweight title, Backseat Boys
vs. Nick Mondo/Ric Blade TLC match, and Nick Berk vs. Josh
Prohibition submission match.

A sample of the talent in CZW during 2002 included
Wifebeater, Justice Brian XL, Devine Storm, Softcore
Connection, Sick Nick Mondo, Johnny Kashmere, Ian Knoxx, GQ,
Chris Ca$h, Zandig, Glen Osbourne, VD, Nick Gage, Nate
Hatred, MDogg 20, and Josh Prohibition.

2003

Accompanied by the aforementioned incidents, XPW folded in
2003. CZW then returned to the ECW Arena on May 10, 2003,
promoting a show that served as a tribute to the Arena’s
history: “Then & Now: A Decade of Defiance.” In June, Ian
Rotten, Corporal Robinson, and J.C. Bailey of IWA Mid-South
did an interpromotional invasion angle of CZW. The feud led
into CZW’s Tournament of Death 2 with 5 IWA and 3 CZW
wrestlers in TOD, remembered most Zandig “Mother F’N bombing
Nick Mondo” off a 40 foot rooftop. Matches included Homicide
submitting Trent Acid, Sick Nick Mondo defeated Johnny
Kashmere, Ruckus defeating Chris Ca$h, B-Boy defeats Tony
Mamaluke, Ric Blade defeating Sonjay Dutt, and Messiah
defeating Nate Hatred.

April saw Best of The Best 3, the first of several years of
tournaments featuring some of the greatest independent
talent of the time, with 2003’s including AJ Styles, Ruckus,
Sonjay Dutt, Chri$ Ca$h, Ric Blade, Trent Acid, Tony
Mamaluke, B-Boy, Lil Cholo, Deranged, Jimmy Rave, Jay
Briscoe, and Mark Briscoe.

In a controversial incident in September 2003, Zandig’s feud
with heel stable Hi-5 featured an angle where Zandig was
suspended in the middle of the ring by meat hooks from the
roof of the Arena. This led to the main event for Cage of
Death 5. Cage of Death 5 featured what many believe to be
the most unbelievable structure the promotion ever
constructed which involved two rings one of which saw
scaffolding across the top of the cage and tables
surrounding the ring. Add to that a suspended cage/scaffold,
a super scaffold from the stage to the Cage of Death, and
the second ring… filled with “1,000,000 thumb tacks”. The
Cage of Death match featured Team Ultraviolence (John
Zandig, Lobo, Wifebeater, Ian Knoxx, Nick Gage, and a
surprise addition of New Jack) vs. Team HI-V (The Messiah,
Nate Hatred, Trent Acid, Adam Flash, Johnny Kashmere, and B-
Boy), with Team Ultraviolence (CZW) going over.

If that wasn’t enough for COD 5, Jimmy Rave defeated Trent
Acid, Alex Shelley defeating B-Boy and Chris Hero in a #1
contender for the CZW Iron Man Title; and a match still
talked about years later…a ladder match in which Joker
defeated Chris Cash.

2004

March saw a scary Taipei Boards with Nails Death Match with
The Messiah defeating Zandig to win the CZW title after
Teddy Hart did a run-in and hit Zandig with a moonsault to
give The Messiah the pinfall and the CZW World title.
Following the match, Zandig gave Teddy Hart a Mother F’N
Bomb onto the board of nails which turned Hart into a bloody
mess.

April featured Trent Acid brawling with Teddy Hart through
the Arena and into the streets of South Philadelphia.

June’s Trifecta Challenge saw Messiah defeat Wifebeater to
retain in an Ultraviolent Unlucky 13/Panes of Glass Match.

July saw Best of The Best 2004 with Homicide, Jack Evans,
Chri$ Ca$h, B-Boy, Roderick Strong, Jimmy Rave, Alex
Shelley, Bobby Quance, Ruckus, Petey Williams, Sonjay Dutt,
and Nate Webb

In December, Cage of Death 6 had two Cage of Death matches,
with the first as a two ring/War Games Style, with a
scaffold going accross the middle featuring Team Cash (Chri$
Ca$h/JC Bailey/Nate Webb/Sexxy Eddy) defeated Team Blackout
(Ruckus, Sabian, Kingston, and Jack Evans). The second match
saw Wifebeater and Justice Pain defeating Nate Hatred/Nick
Gage in a Fans Bring Weapons match with an array of twisted
weapons coming into play during the match.

2005

During 2005, CZW established a connection with CHIKARA Pro
Wrestling, which established into a joint training school
known as ‘The Wrestle Factory’ at The Arena, with Chris Hero
and Mike Quackenbush as trainers. This relationship lasted
until 2007, when there was a major falling out between the
promotions, and CZW again formed its own school.

February saw a protest against the illegal actions of the
Pennsylvania State Athletic Commission, which allowed a
barbed wire match on WWE’s “No Way Out” PPV , but refused to
allow it on independent shows; a ruling later reversed after
wrestling started contacting the Commission, and the
Pennsylvania Governor’s office. The match was “backstage”
with a barbed wire cage light tubes scaffold match “after
the show was 0over” with J.C. Bailey defeated Necro Butcher.

Tragedy struck the promotion in 2005 as wrestler Christopher
“Chri$ Ca$h” Bauman Jr. was killed as the result of a
motorcycle accident near his home.

Best of the Best led off with a tribute to Chris Candido,
then saw a tournament with Mike Quackenbush, winning Best of
The Best, that also included Super Dragon, Chris Bosh, El
Generico, Excalibur, Chris Hero, Brandon Thomaselli, Kevin
Steen, Kenny the Bastard, Arik Cannon, Claudio Castagnoli,
Derek Frazier, B-Boy, Sabian

Cage of Death saw The H8 Club/Zandig defeating Necro
Butcher/Toby Klein/Joker in a octagon-like Cage of Death was
a big octagon constructed around the ring with a barbed wire
spiderneta spidernet of barbed wire, thumbtack turnbuckles,
barbed wire bats., scaffolds and four tables.

A major change in the promotion came when Mike Burns left as
booker, when Zandig was upset at Burns setting up a deal
with Ring of Honor.

2006

Upset as he might have been with what he thought Burns did,
Zandig embraced the ROH-CZW program, and in one of the rare
cases in indy wrestling (let alone Philadelphia’s indy wars
of the day) did the right thing for business during shows at
the ECW Arena, namely put over ROH talent in key matches
(Gabe Sapolsky returned the favor at ROH shows).

The program started at the January 2006 show with American
Dragon and Nigel McGuinness showing up at the ECW Arena,
with ROH heeling it up at the Arena. Bryan Danielson heeled
it up and said “CZW fans didn’t deserve to see an ROH-
caliber match”. Hero joined in on the fun, followed by Nigel
McGuiness and Roderick Strong, then the CZW locker room then
emptying.

This led to a CZW-ROH match at the March 2006 Arena show:
Austin Aries/Roderick Strong/Matt Sydal defeating
Ruckus/Eddie Kingston/Necro Butcher

BOTB featured Ring of Honor talent including Christopher
Daniels, Matt Sydal, Austin Aries, plus B-Boy, Jigsaw,
Roderick Strong, Claudio Castagnoli, Jay Lethal, Sabian,
Sonjay Dutt, Ruckus, Derek Frazier

The program led to the only Cage of Death not to take place
at a CZW show in July 2006 at Ring of Honor’s Death before
Dishonor IV at the Northeast Armory in Philadelphia, PA with
CZW’s team consisting of Chris Hero, Claudio Castagnoli,
Necro Butcher, Nate Webb and Eddie Kingston putting over
Ring of Honor’s team of Samoa Joe, BJ Whitmer, Adam Pearce,
Ace Steel and Homicide.

Cage of Death 8 saw Nick Gage defeating John Zandig and Lobo
and LuFisto.

2007

April 7, 2007 saw one of the more controversial moment among
CZW fans as Eddie Kingston defeated Chris Hero in a
tremendous Loser Leaves CZW match, only for Zandig to fire
Kingston after a personal blowup, creating a bigtime
backlash among many of the more hardcore fans of the
promotion.

Best of the Best 7 saw Joker winning Best of The Best in a
tournament with Human Tornado, Ruckus, Ricochet, Chuck
Taylor, B-Boy, Cheech, Ricky Reyes, Sal Thomaselli, Jigsaw,
Grim Reefer, Scotty Vortek, Cloudy, Brandon Thomaselli, Vito
Thomaselli, Joker, and Drake Younger

August saw Drake Younger vs. Brain Damage end in a double
pin draw in an UltraViolent “Barbed-Wire Board, Panes of
Glass, Carpet Strips, Falls Count Anywhere” match.

Danny Havoc was the “sole survivor” of Cage of Death in a
match that saw his team of Necro Butcher/Toby Klein/Drake
Younger/Danny Havoc defeat Brain Damage/DJ Hyde/Dustin
Lee/Scotty Vortekz in the Cage of Death.

In December, Cage of Death saw Scott Franklin, Darren
Aronofsky and Mickey Rourke visiting CZW’s Cage of Death IX
in December, liking what they saw, and committed to the
venue for taping of “The Wrestler”

2008

January saw CZW World Heavyweight Title Nick Gage defeated
Danny Havoc, Ruckus, Drake Younger, Devon Moore and the
returning Eddie Kingston in a 6-way Ultraviolent Rules Match
to retain the CZW World Heavyweight Title

The Wrestler, featuring Mickey Rourke got the most positive
attention of any wrestling-themed film in US history, with
the fictional story of wrestler Randy “The Ram” Robinson
(portrayed by Mickey Rourke) set as famous in the 1980s, now
working diferent indies for small payoffs. Filming took
place at the February 2008 Arena house show, including a
scene featuring The Necro Butcher, who wrestled “The Ram” in
a “hardcore match”. The fans didn’t react very well to being
a cast of a movie, but the footage that later appeared in
the movie worked out well.

Sabian won best of The Best 8 over LuFisto, Josh
Prohibition, Scotty Vortekz, Drew Gulak, Pinkie Sanchez,
Spyral BKNY, Sabian, Drake Younger, Bruce Maxwell, T.J.
Cannon, Chuck Taylor, Ricochet, and Stupefied i

Cage of Death 10 saw Devon Moore vs. Sami Callihan vs. Drake
Younger vs. Danny Havoc vs. Zandig vs. Brain Damage in a
Cage of Death. 2008’s edition saw a double cage structure
with a cage inside a cage. Cage one a roof made up of a
barbed wire spider net and a scaffold on top of the Cage of
Death. Surrounding the Cage that surrounded the ring was a
platform surrounding that with tables, chairs, lemon juice,
salt, sheets of auto glass enclosed by the second cage.

2009

February 2009 saw Drake Younger defeat Eddie Kingston in a
No Rope Barbed Wire Death match to retain the CZW World
Heavyweight title.

Best of the Best 9 featured B-Boy, Ryan McBride, Carter
Gray, Scotty Vortekz, Sami Callihan, Greg Excellent, Devon
Moore, Pinkie Sanchez, Shiima Xion, Sabian, Ego Fantastico,
Drew Blood, with Robert “Ego Fantastico” Anthony defeating
Sami Callihan in the Finals to win the Best of the Best 9
Tournament..

Cage of Death 11 with Sami Callihan defeating Danny Havoc,
was demented as ever with two traditional Cage Of Deathcage
walls, and two Caribbean spiderweb barbed wire walls that
are hangin off at a 45 degree angle with panes of glass on
both sides, a scaffold with a hole in the middle with two
panes of glass underneath, then four panes of glass on the
front of the scaffold and barbed wire at the back and
another pane of glass in three corners.

2010

March 2010 saw J.C. Bailey defeat Thumbtack Jack in a
Barefoot Thumbtacks Death match.

June 2010 saw another tragedy as Trent Acid died. July saw a
Trent Acid Memorial show that raised $7500 for the family
and funeral expenses.

August saw D.J. Hyde and Greg Excellent defeat Sami Callihan
and Joe Gacy in a Tangled Web Deathmatch

Cage of Death 12 saw Philly’s Most Wanted (Joker and Sabian)
defeating The Osirian Portal to win the vacant CZW Tag Team
Championships. The Portal goes back up and hit a double team
splash/legdrop onto Joker, but even after the hypnotizing
and the top rope trauma, they only get 2. Joker finally
“comes out of it”, ballshots Amasis, then in a classic lucha
finish, Sabian pulled off Ophidian’s mask off and cradles
him for the pinfall. The CZW Heavyweight Championship Match
saw Jon Moxley retained his CZW Heavyweight Championship
over Homicide.

CZW Ultraviolent Underground Championship Match saw Yuko
Miyamoto defeat Hardcore Nick Gage (with Dewey Donovan) to
win the CZW Ultraviolent Underground title after an
unbelievable Miyamoto moonsault off of a HIGH ladder, that
saw him hanging onto the Arena’s rafters to steady himself.
This included a barbed wire fence set up as a bridge between
the ring and the guardrail. Eventually, Miyamoto goes up to
the top and elbowdrops onto Gage and the barbed wire fence,
with the structure collapsing. Later, Miyamoto and Gage
brawl into the crowd, the men’s room, the merchandise
tables, and finally brawling into the VIP section (the old
ECW Arena stage area) . Gage tossed Miyamoto off the balcony
through a table conveniently below. More toys including a
wffleball bat covered with thumbtacks, then a barbed wire
bat get used by Gage on Miyamoto ead, Crippler Crossface
style, then hangs Miyamoto over the second rope and does it
again. The finish sees Miyamoto nail Gage with a ladder via
a baseball, hit Gage with a plancha followed by a nearfall.
Miyamoto rolls Gage back into the ring for anotehr nearfall,
then plows Gage again runs him over with a clothesline
followed by a sitout Tombstone in the middle of the ring for
one final nearfall. Miyamoto then picks up a giant ladder,
sets it up in the corner and climbs the ladder that reaches
nearly to the top of the arena and moonsaults off of it,
landing with his knees on Gage’s head and chest and takes
the pinfall.

The Cage of Death match saw the Suicide Kings (Danny
Havoc/Devon Moore/ Dysfunction/Scotty Vortekz) defeating
Cult Fiction (Brain Damage/Drake Younger/ MASADA/tHURTeen,
with Halfbreed Billy Gram) in a four-on-four Cage of Death
with Wargames rules, with eliminations when a wrestler hit
the floor.

2011

On what may well be the final Cage of Death in the ECW
Arena, the day started with a Japanese independent show in
the afternoon featuring CZW, Big Japan Pro Wrestling DDT, K-
Dojo, and FREEDOMS presented the International Indie Summit
at the historic ECW Arena.

The afternoon show saw DDT’s Danshuku Dino defeated DJ Hyde
with the Danshuku Driver; Sabian and Joker defeated Devon
Moore and FREEDOM’s KAMUI after Sabian and Joker pinned
KAMUI with the Kings Swing; Sami Callihan retained his CZW
Junior Heavyweight title over Yoshihito Sasaki by submitting
him after Stretch Muffler was turned ito a modified ankle
lock; FREEDOMs’ Takashi Sasaki and K-Dojo’s Kengo Mashimo
defeated Drake Younger and MASADA after Mashimo submitted
Younger tap out to an armbar; Dick Togo takes on DDT’s KUDO
and Takanashi, with KUDO pinning Takanashi with a double
knees on Takanashi who hung off the top rope ala the”the
tree of woe”.

The crowd gave Togo a great ovation, given that tonight
would be his last show in the historic ECW Arena; with many
remembering his Michinoku Pro six-man match at the 1997 ECW
Barely Legal PPV with Great Sasuke, Gran Hamada, and Masato
Yakushiji defeating Taka Michinoku, Terry Boy, and Togo. The
main event was a Shattered Dreams match (panes of glass in
every corner) with Big Japan’s Jaki Numazawa and FREEDOMs’
“Crazy Monkey” Jun Kasai defeating Big Japan’s Ryuji Ito and
CZW’s Danny Havoc by pinfall when Ito frogsplashed Numazawa
for the pin. This was the expected sick, twisted and bloody
match with glass all over the place, and bloodied chests and
backs galore.

Then came Cage of Death 13. Pre-show, Eddie Kingston and Vin
Gerard got in a fight (presumably worked) outside The Arena.
Gerard then got in line for Cage of Death, with what looks
like the beginning of a Brian Pillman-type “not part of the
show” campaign to work Eddie Kingston, including stopping me
during COD and asking me to post that he “would wrestle
Kingston in any promotion, even outside of CHIKARA”.

Matches included Jake Crist successfully defendingthe CZW
Wired TV title against brother Dave in the Cage of Death
opener by pinfall after a super flipping piledriver. In the
two out of three falls tables match: BLK OUT (Ruckus, Alex
Colon and Chrissy Rivera) defeated The Runaways and Kimber
Lee vs First fall, saw The Runaways put Chrissy through a
table with a blockbuster/powerbomb combo. Second fall saw
Colon enzuigiri Joe Gacy off rhe apronl through a table on
the floor. BLK OUT won when Ruckus puts Kimberlee through a
table with a Falcon Arrow off the apron and to the floor.
Kimberlee took some hellacious bumps and actually looked
fairly good in the ring.

In the siz-man scramble match, Drew Gulak defeated Derek
Frazier, Ryan McBride, tHURTeen, Alex Payne and Dustin Rayz
with the winner to gets a CZW title shot “in the future”.
Dustin Rayz was reported to have broken his femur after
landing bad on a twisting moonsault to the floor. Drew Blood
beats up Frazier and suicide dives onto him! Gulak pins
McBride earning a CZW title shot. Post-match, DJ Hyde “fired
Drew Blood”, then scheduled Ryan McBride vs Derek Frazier
for January. Drake Younger, again returning to a loud pop,
beat the living crap out of Rory Mondo finishing with a top
rope copkiller through a chair.

In the eight-man Japanese tag match, Everyone from Indie
Summit except Togo is involved. Big Japan’s Jaki Numazawa,
Yoshihito Sasak, DDT’s Masahiro Takanashi, and FREEDOM’s
KAMUI vs. RYUJI ITO, Takashi Sasaki, K-Dojo’s Kengo Mashimo
and DDT’s Danshoku Dino after FREEDOM’s Takashi Sasakii
pinned KAMUI. Lots more Dino exotico comedy throughout the
match. Philly’s Most Wanted (Sabian/Joker) went to a non
contest against Homicide and Eddie Kingston. Late in the
match Philly’s Most Wanted is about to go over when Maven
Bentley stops the referee from counting a pinfall by Sabian.

Not exactly appreciative, Eddie Kingston backfists Maven
Bentley out of the ring, followed by a Homicide lariat on
referee Bret Lauderdale, which got one of the night’s better
pops. Lauderdale then calls for bell, which the crowd
crapped all over. Meanwhile, post-match, Eddie Kingston sees
Vin Girard jumps the rail and chases him oiut of the
building. Sami Callihan successfully defended the CZW Junior
Heavyweight Title against AR Fox with a Stretch Muffler.
Post- match, DJ Hyde came out post-match, and says he’s
booked Sami Callihan vs Tommy Dreamer for the CZW
Indianapolis show in February on Super Bowl Sunday.

In an ultraviolet pits match (board of spikes and a pit of
thumbtacks) , Matt Tremont defeated Danny Havoc by pinfall
after interference by Gulak and Mr. Tofiga. In a scary
moment, Tremont’s boot got stuck in the nail board. Tremont
challenges Gulak for the January show. Greg Excellent
defeated DJ Hyde in a no DQ match, with the stips being if
Excellent wins, Hyde has to “give him three wishes”, and if
Hyde wins, Excellent leaves CZW. After a while, the run-in
parade begins, as Kylie Pierce takes down DJ, then breaks up
Excellent’s pin, as if to say “Can’t you two just stop?”. DJ
Hyde thanked Pierce for her interest by spearing her.

Then comes Mia Yim, who suplexes Excellent on his head. Kick
out. Excellent proceeds to do his Hulk Hogan impression as
Hogan’s “Real American”. Excellent makes with the big boot
and legdrop, but unlike WWF, Hyde DID kick out of the
legdrop of doom. Then, comes Greg Excellent’s mother (who IS
actually his mother who works with him in running the Ground
Breaking Wrestling promotion in central Pennsylvania), who
was last seen being nailed with a Tiger Driver by Excellent
several months ago. Mom makes as if she’s on DJ Hyde’ side,
then nails Hyde with a charishot and a stunner.. Hyde kicks
out.

Then “Youth Gone WIld” cranks up, and the fans go crazy as
Zandig runs in, nails Hyde with the spinning lariat, and
Excellent finally pins him.

Then, Cage of Death 13 saw a combination of suspended cage
sides, glass panels, and barbed wire…and ladders reaching to
a platform at the top of the Arena, with the CZW World
Heavyweight Title belt hanging off of the top of the Arena.
The Cage of Death main event (with ladder match rules) saw
Devon Moore retaining his CZW Heavyweight Title (in a major
surprise to everyone in the crowd) over MASADA, Scotty
Vortekz and Robert Anthony. Highlights include Scotty
Vortekz being peeled out of the barbed wire on the side of
the ring, while stomped on by fellow Nation of Intoxication
member Devon Moore…Robert Anthony back first into a pane of
glass… ..sickening headbutts by Scotty Vortekz and Devon
Moore …Stereo power bombs through glass panes by MASADA on
Devon Moore and Anthony on Vortekz, onto a leaning supported
side of the cage…Devon Moore spearing Anthony off of the
upper frame of the Cage….Vortekz fighting for position on
the platform on the top of the side of the cage, throwing
MASADA off the side…. Anthony powerbombing Vortek though a
pane of glass on the side of the Cage, falling to the Arena
floor.

The finish saw MASADA and Devon Moore going up opposite
ladders to the platform just below the Title Belt hanging
off of the top of the Arena. Both reach the belt. but the
belt drops, just so Robert Anthony comes back into the ring,
reaches through the cage, but Moore falls through the
ceiling and just barely reaches the belt first to retain the
title.

There were other promotions that ran here both regularly,
and in one shots:

First, the notable ones:

CHIKARA ran monthly and bi-monthly in the ECW Arena from
2005-2011, most notably including the incredible King of
Trios tournaments held in whole at the ECW Arena from 2008-
2011.

2008 saw BLKOUT (Eddie Kingston, Joker and Ruckus), The
Colony (Fire Ant, Soldier Ant and Worker Ant), The F1rst
Family (Arik Cannon, Darin Corbin and Ryan Cruz), The
Fabulous Three (Larry Sweeney, Mitch Ryder and Shayne
Hawke), Las Chivas Rayadas (Chiva II, Chiva III and Chiva
IV), Los Luchadores de Mexico (Incognito, Lince Dorado and
El Pantera), The Naptown Dragons (Dustin Lee, Drake Younger
and Scotty Vortekz), The Order of the Neo–Solar Temple
(Crossbones, Hydra and UltraMantis Black), Da Soul Touchaz
(Acid Jaz, Marshe Rockett and Willie Richardson), Team BSE
(Kobra Kai, La Sombra Canadiense and Super Xtremo), Team DDT
(KUDO, MIYAWAKI and SUSUMU), Team El Dorado (Go, Michael
Nakazawa and Mototsugu Shimizu), Team IPW:UK (Martin Stone,
Sha Samuels and Terry Frazier), Team IWS (El Generico,
Player Uno and Stupefied), Team ROH (Alex Payne, Rhett Titus
and Shane Hagadorn), and Team Stranglehold (Andy Sumner,
Drew Gulak and Tim Donst); with Los Luchadores de Mexico
(Incognito, Lince Dorado and El Pantera) defeating BLKOUT by
submission in the final.

2009 saw trios such as The Cold Front 2.0 (Al Snow, D’Lo
Brown and Glacier), The Death Match Kings (Brain Damage,
Necro Butcher and Toby Klein), The F1rst Family (Arik
Cannon, Darin Corbin and Ryan Cruz), F.I.S.T. (Chuck Taylor,
Gran Akuma and Icarus), The Masters of a Thousand Holds
(Jorge “Skayde” Rivera, Johnny Saint and Mike Quackenbush),
The Osirian Portal (Amasis, Escorpion Egipcio and Ophidian),
The Roughnecks (Brodie Lee, Eddie Kingston and Grizzly
Redwood), Da Soul Touchaz (Marshe Rockett, Trauma and Willie
Richardson), Team CZW (Beef Wellington, Greg Excellent and
Pinkie Sanchez), Team DDT (Kota Ibushi, KUDO and Michael
Nakazawa), Team EPIC WAR (Austin Aries, Ryan Drago and Tony
Kozina), Team PWG (El Generico, Matt Jackson and Nick
Jackson), Team Uppercut (Bryan Danielson, Claudio Castagnoli
and Dave Taylor), and The UnStable (Colin Delaney, STIGMA
and Vin Gerard) with Team Uppercut (Bryan Danielson, Claudio
Castagnoli and Dave Taylor) defeating Team F.I.S.T in the
final

2010 saw trios such as Team Perros Del Mal
(Alebrije/Cuije/El Oriental), Team Osaka Pro (Atsushi
Kotoge/Daisuke Harada/Tadasuke), Team Big Japan (Daisuke
Sekimoto/Kankuro Hoshino/Yuji Okabayashi; with the King of
Trios winner being Bruderschaft des Kreuzes (Claudio
Castagnoli, Ares, and Tursas) who defeated The Colony (Fire
Ant, Soldier Ant, and Green Ant) in the final.

2011 saw the weekend began with an emotional video tribute
to Larry Sweeney. The tournament saw trios such as The
Osirian Portal (Ophidian/Hieracon/ Amasis), Team 3OLE (El
Generico, Scott “Jagged” Parker/Shane Matthews) , F.I.S.T.
(Icarus/Chuck Taylor/Johnny Gargano) , Bruderschaft des
Kreuzes (Tim Donst/Delirious/Jakob Hammermeier), Da Soul
Touchaz (Willie Richardson/Acid Jaz/Marshe Rockett) , Team
Dragon Gate (Super Shisa/Akira Tozawa/ Kagetora), Team Osaka
Pro (Atsushi Kotoge/Daisuke Harada/Ultimate Spider, Jr.),
Team Michinoku Pro (Great Sasuke/Dick Togo/Jinsei Shinzaki),
Team Minnesota (1-2-3 Kid/Arik Cannon/Darin Corbin) The
Colony become the 2011 King of Trios Champions defeated. F.
I. S. T. after a Splashapalooza (top rope Ant Hill) at 21
minutes on Icarus.

The promotion also brought joshi legends into the ECW Arena
including Manami Toyota, Mima Shimoda, Aja Kong at their
JOSHIMania show in December 2011.

Jersey All Pro Wrestling ran several shows between 2000-
2006, with sample of JAPW talent that worked here including:
Elax, Little Dixie, The Christopher Street Connection, NC-
17, Ron Zombie, Rick Silver, Crazy Ivan, Dr Hurtz, Laithon,
Nick Berk, Trent Acid Ric Blade,The Hit Squad, O Dogg, Flash
Wheeler, The Ghetto Blaster in a South Philadelphia Street
Fight, Homicide, Jay Lover, Sabu, Axl Rotten, Ian Rotten,
Pitbull Gary Wolf, Laithon, Rockin Rebel, Chino Martinez,
Judas Young, The Christopher Street Connection, Little
Dixie, Don Montoya, Billy Reil, Louie Ramos, The Sandman,
Ric Blade, Reckless Youth, Nick Berk, The Rockin Rebel, Don
Bon Jovi, Justice Pain, The Moondogs 2000, Johnny Hot Body,
Ric Blade, Reckless Youth, Xavier, J Train, Supreme Lee
Great, The Moondogs 2000, Don Montoya, J Train, Tommy Suede,
Supreme Lee Great, Chino Martinez, Dave Grecco, The S.A.T.
Red , The Insane Dragon, Dixie, Backseat Boyz, Minoru
Fujita, Reckless Youth, Laithon, Prince Nana, Mike
Quackenbush, Kid Kruel, Don Montoya, Dixie, Hit Squad, Hate
Squad, Insane Dragon, Mikey Whipwreck, B-Boy, Low Ki, Danny
Demanto, Rockin Rebel , Greg Matthews, Greg Spitz, Kevin
James, Jay Lethal, The Carnage Crew, Christopher Street
Connection, Azrieal Grim Reefer, Chris Candido, E.C. Negro,
Samoa Joe, Trent Acid, Frankie Kazarian, Nino Capone, Envy,
Matt Donovan, Pinkie Sanchez, Arcadia, Teddy Hart, Jack
Evans,The Dead Presidents, Dan Barry, Plazma, Mercedes
Martinez, Talia, Grim Reefer, Archadia, Azrieal, M-Dogg 20,
The Outkast Killaz, Monte Brown, Danny Demanto, Balls
Mahoney, Sabu, ,Sonjay Dutt, The Briscoe Brothers, Charlie
Haas, Rhino, Jay Lethal and Teddy Hart.

Jersey All Pro Wrestling returned to the ECW Arena in 2010,
with a show as part of a doubleheader with Cage of Death 12,
and the last show in May 2011, a show featuring New Japan
Pro Wrestling with Jado and Gedo, Giant Bernard , Hideo
Saito , Hiroshi Tanahashi, Jado , Karl “Machine Gun”
Anderson , Kazuchika Okada, Kenny Omega, MVP, Prince Devitt
, Ryusuke Taguchi ,Satoshi Kojima , Shinsuke Nakamura, Tama
Tonga, Tetsuya Naito, Tiger Mask IV, Togi Makabe, Toru Yano,
Yujiro Takahashi, and the legendary Jushin LigerDragon Gate
USA ran the Arena from 2009-2011 Dragon Gate USA filmed
their first pay-per-view event, Enter The Dragon at the ECW
Arena in July 2009 which saw YAMATO defeat BxB Hulk, The
Colony (Fire Ant & Soldier Ant), Jigsaw and Mike Quackenbush
defeated F.I.S.T. (Icarus/Gran Akuma), Amasis and
Hallowicked, Dragon Kid defeated Masato Yoshino, The Young
Bucks (Nick and Matt Jackson) defeated Warriors-5 (CIMA and
Susumu Yokosuka), Naruki Doi defeated Shingo.

3PW ran from 2002-2005. Pro Wrestling Unplugged ran from
2006-2008.

CZW also ran in cooperation with other promotions,
Independent Wrestling Association Mid-South (as part of a
doubleheader with CZW) International Wrestling Syndicate (as
part of a doubleheader with CZW), westside Xtreme wrestling
(two shows as part of doubleheaders with CZW). Ring of Honor
held several individual shows, and as part of doubleheaders
with CZW, from 2006-2010 .

Two ECW legends shows took place: Hardcore Homecoming (2005)
and Legends of the Arena (2009). Single shows and short runs
of shows were run by Main Event Championship Wrestling
(2001), Major League Wrestling (2002) Heritage Wrestling
Alliance(2003), Pro Wrestling WORLD-1 (2004), Pro Wrestling
Xplosion (2006), WWE (2006) producing a show using the ECW
name, Wicked Hanuman (2007), Velocity Pro Wrestling (2008-
2009), and Total Nonstop Action Wrestling (2010)

The final show in the original incarnation of the ECW Arena
took place on January 2012, with EVOLVE. In the final match
at the EVOLVE show, Johnny Gargano defeated Ricochet to
retain the Open the Freedom Gate Championship.

A tribute segment to the ECW Arena was done with Bob Artese
ring announcing and Joey Styles hosting the segment with
Pitbull 1, Tod Gordon, followed by a segment featuring
Justin Credible, Balls Mahoney, Sabu, and New Jack.

In an “impromptu” match, Sabu took on Justin Credible with
the traditional ECW style plunder, with tables, chairs,
spikes, canes, and trash cans. An angle was run with Sabu
asked for a mike, Sami Callihan jumping Sabu, carving him
up, followed by Callihan “declared extreme dead”, and turned
out the lights.

Until next time…


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