So, the scarred crew of CZW ventured down south to Lumberton, North Carolina for a show. Unfortunately, nobody got the memo -- it looked like about 18 people showed up to a warehouse that emitted a loud, irritating buzzing sound incessantly throughout the entire show. My friend and blog contributor Geo is the resident CZW fan and said this show temporarily zapped of his will to live it was so awful, bad enough, in fact, to make him even question his tireless hours of devotion to the professional wrestling all these years. After watching it myself, I wonder if it was all a big rib, if he wondered if I'd just blindly agree with him to be polite or something, as truth be told, this was my favorite CZW event of '10 so far. Doing all their events in the old ECW Arena reeks of a tiresome familiarity. This felt, well, fresh isn't quite the word, but even with the odds stacked unevenly against it, it still managed to be an enjoyable show.
1. Rich Swann vs. Drew Gulak - 4
Swann looked actively good in parts of the opener, he's a small, quick guy, mostly ate stuff but did so well, got a big upside if he continues polishing his aerial stuff and making opponents' pedestrian offense look so good. Gulak, on the other hand, is their TV champion, but facially and in terms of build looks like a part-time cashier at Big Lots who dropped out of college but finds excuses to justify it. He ate one of Swann's fancier kicks with pizzazz, doing a face-first pratfall bump but was largely uninteresting.
2. AR Fox vs. Facade - 5
This was really quite good, felt like '06 Shelton Benjamin (Fox) versus '96 Sabu (Facade). Facade is a weird cat, he doesn't look too dissimilar from Thumbtack Jack, a sort of Raven/American Kickboxer hybrid with bad white dude dreads. His entrance was sort of cool, had a random fan hold a blank poster that he tagged with spray paint. Besides two consecutive botches (one by each guy) right near the end this was satisfying. Facade did some Devon Storm-level springboards and stuff including one out on the floor where he leaped off the guardrail, pulling off a "Buff Blockbuster"-like maneuver that ended with a nice splat on the concrete.
3. DJ Hyde & Greg Excellent vs. Team Macktion - 4
I've loathed Excellent's goofiness in the past but didn't mind him so much this time, he's sort of like a less annoying Blue Meanie with bad mall gear. Hyde, bless him, doesn't look the part, with a misshapen head and toady physique, he really should stick to running the company behind camera and not in-front of it. Macktion played good hatable heels, plenty of goofball bumps and theatrics, homoerotic suggestiveness, etc. The finish saw Hyde distracted by the Switchblade Conspiracy allowing the Mack bros. to finish off Excellent.
4. Tyler Veritas vs. Sabian - 2
This was the worst match on the show. Sabian's had that "honor" on several of the CZW events from '10 I've screened. Veritas gave the worst performance of the night. He looks like Michael McGillicutty but has even less charisma. A lot of his stuff came off awkward and unseasoned. The only bit I came away liking was Sabian getting ruthless in the corner and just stomping and pounding the shit out of Tyler.
5. Switchblade Conspiracy vs. Danny Havoc & Scotty Vortekz - 5
Pretty ballsy for such a tiny crowd, all four guys went at it, with Vortekz taking the largest share of gnarly bumps. Scotty would needs lots of Tylenol for the long ride home, as well as an unscratched copy of Slumdog Millionaire for his portable DVD player. Havoc stupidly ate several unprotected chair shots, I'd have cared less, but he didn't even really play up the danger by carelessly not selling them well at all. Sami Callihan is always a treat to watch and was good in this. The match-ending table bump was fucking dope, too.
6. Ryan Slater vs. Adam Cole - 3
This was alright but the middle portion, hell, most of it, just felt listless. Cole's got talent, I've read he recently signed with ROH, so good for him. He's got athleticsm, as displayed here, including a killer suicide dive to the floor. Slater won me over a bit, he's a tiny dude, looking like an amalgam of Thom Yorke and a community college sophomore majoring in political science (wonder if he could teach me about interpretivism or rational choice theory) but despite not looking the part is actually fairly decent in the ring. This just didn't amount to much and my favorite moment was after being attacked by Sabian post-match Cole had the professionalism to sell the neck all the way back to the locker room.
7. Anything Goes: Drake Younger vs. Jon Moxley vs. Nick Gage - 8
This was awesome! I mean, sure, it's wild, bloody, hardcore garbage at its sleaziest but done better than I dare say anywhere else (in the US). Moxley is a personal favorite, one of the guys I most enjoy watching currently in the world, such a dynamic seller and full of personality, he reminds me in part of both Pillman and Piper in the best ways possible. Gage is usually a loud-mouthed asshole, and absolutely has that role down pat, often choosing to just scream "Fuck!" instead of really selling stuff. Drake's real good, too; gained a new respect for him after seeing him live recently at a tiny show, he's full of heart, guts, and the disposition to welcomingly bleed buckets for our pleasure.
All kinds of shit happens here, I won't do a play-by-play, you should really seek it out yourselves. At one point after a dollar bill is unsuccessfully stapled to his cheek you see Gage quickly stuff it into his pocket -- I guess he was thinking McDouble or a bag of Funyuns for the return trip to Philly. My favorite moments happened when this spilled out of the warehouse and outside, you could see in the distance a darkened blood-red skyline above the fields and farmland of North Carolina, a picturesque portrait of poetry amongst the bloodletting and carnage. Younger took a bump on a picnic table and the cameraman zoomed in on the bloodstain he left behind, besides the plasma splattered across the wooden surface, there was what I can only describe as sinewy pieces of flesh meat left on its surface as well in one of the truly most viscerally and visually stimulating images in recent wrestling lore. There's all kinds of fun to be had outdoors, including a particularly irreverent section of roll-ups and chain wrestling on a grassy field. Back indoors, all three men looked like shellshocked, bloodied survivors pulling themselves from the wreckage of a military strike. Gage wins the CZW championship after hitting a nasty piledriver on Moxley, it comes out of the blue, but feels like the perfect ending to one of the wildest matches of the year. Post-match Moxley's bloodstained face tells mountains of depth and story as he silently sobs making his way to the back.