CZW Proving Grounds on March 11, 2017
Watch: CZW Studios
Flyers Skate Zone – Voorhees, New Jersey
Alexander James vs. Sami Callihan
We start the show with Alexander James vs Sami Callihan. Both of these men seem like polar opposites both in the way they fight and the way they carry themselves to the ring. Callihan, sporting a “Space Cat” mask is very spontaneous while James seems very calculated. The match starts off hot when James attacks Callihan from behind during his entrance, immediately giving himself the upper hand on the veteran. The commentary talks about how James recently came back from an excursion to wXw in Germany and how he can now be seen as a legitimate threat to the top stars such as Callihan. Callihan is always a great person to put in the opening match because the fans love him and are guaranteed to get hyped in any of his matches. The fans love to hate Alexander James so anytime he gets his ass kicked the fans are going to eat it up. I remember seeing James back in 2014 and I thought he was good then, after this excursion to wXw he’s even better and I can easily see him being someone that wins the CZW Championship in the future. The match ended when James tapped out to the Stretch Muffler, great opening contest to start the show.
Following the match Jake Crist came out with a megaphone egging Callihan on. I’m liking this new character from Crist as it seems to have allowed him to have fun again and he’s putting out consistently good matches wherever he is. For the second time Crist kissed Callihan on the mouth, and then he kissed him two more times after that! Callihan chased Crist around until he ran away, whenever this match happens its going to be great. It seems like Oi4k has all collectively lost their minds while in CZW and I am loving it.
Dave Crist vs. Tony Deppen
Before the next match JT Davidson comes out to introduce “The Best Wrestler in the World Today” Dave Crist. His opponent is Tony Deppen and before he can even get in the ring Tim Donst Powerbombs him onto the apron. This seems to be a continuation of their rivalry as the last time they fought Donst beat Deppen in a mere two seconds. It looked like Crist was going to recreate that until Deppen kicked out! This match was pretty much all Crist except for a few hope spots from Deppen when he finally got some moves in. I like Deppen’s character of the guy who pretty much always gets his ass kicked, it works for him. There was a moment where Deppen almost won but Crist got his boot on the rope. Deppen seemed to be feeling his ankle for most of the match and that ended up being his undoing, because it caused Crist to hit the “Square and Compass” for the win.
The Private Party (Isiah Kassidy & Marq Quen) vs. The Ugly Ducklings (Lance Lude & Rob Killjoy)
Just something I wanted to mention before getting into the actual match, when Emil Jay was announcing The Ugly Ducklings he announced their weight as “3,215 Rubber Duckies”, which is probably the weirdest scale of measurement I’ve ever heard. The Private Party came out spraying silly string wearing flow sticks so before the match even started I knew it was going to be a hoot. They were also announced as weighting “3,000 Airheads”, a lot of unique measurement scales in this match. There was a lot of good tag team offense in this match, both teams had some really unique moves that you don’t see often in tag team wrestling. This match was really fast paced and allowed both teams to pull off some really impressive stuff. I’m looking forward to seeing both of these teams back in CZW, seeing either of these teams against EYFBO, Scarlet and Graves or The Dub Boys would be great. The match ended when The Private Party hit an impressive combination of moves for the win. Both of these teams looked great and I hope the CZW office brings them back in for some more great matches.
Shane Strickland vs. Ace Romero vs. Greg Excellent vs. Ace Austin vs. Tim Donst vs. Alex Daniels
When I heard that Alex Daniels and Ace Romero were getting shots in CZW I got really excited, both of these guys have wowed me and I was happy to see them getting some bigger chances. Jake Crist was also supposed to be in this match, but he said the fans don’t deserve an “Encore Performance”, incidentally Crist’s replacement ended up being Ace Romero. Alex Daniels was also announced as “The Real Life Ben Affleck” and weighted “Whatever Ben Affleck currently weights”, he also wore about four Ben Affleck shirts to the ring, which was pretty funny. Right when Greg Excellent came out he stared down with Ace Romero, that’s a match that I would not mind seeing and I hope CZW put it on a show very soon! Ace Romero took control of the early match, taking out anyone and everyone and pulling out some great power moves. This match gave everyone a chance to do some impressive stuff and all 6 guys took that chance and capitalized on it. Shane Strickland hit a big moonsault using Greg Excellent as a base and that popped me big, Strickland is a crazy talent and never ceases to amaze me. Ace Romero also hit a big dive that made the crowd go nuts; he got an opportunity and is making the absolute best of it. The match ended when Shane Strickland landed a particularly nasty looking “Swerve Stomp” on Ace Austin.
Following the match The Storm of Entrails came out to once again try and murder Ace Austin. They did a double Chokeslam on the apron that looked like it broke his back in two. I can’t help but feel sorry because it looks like he’s getting murdered every month and it probably won’t stop any time soon. If this ended up with Ace Austin going into the TOD and somehow beating SHLAK that would be pretty amazing and unexpected. The Storm of Entrails finished the segment by hitting a Death Valley Driver through a door on Ace Austin, and then slamming him a couple more times, for good measure.
Jeff Cannonball & Joey Janela vs. Father Matthew Tremont & Stockade
This match started off with a bang, with Joey Janela hitting a suicide dive on Tremont and Stockade. I don’t exactly know how to describe this match without using the words “nasty”, “violent” and “disgusting” a bunch, so I’m going to try my best. During Cage of Death Matt Tremont turned on both CZW and Joey Janela, choosing to become “Father” Matthew Tremont, and co-opting Stockade to join him. The past two events have featured both Tremont and Stockade not only destroying Janela, but also his girlfriend Penelope Ford, going as far as to put her through a casket at one point. Janela sandwiched Stockade’s head into a chair and hit a nasty double stomp, I winced because it looked like something that could take a few braincells. When they pulled out a bed of nails I knew it wasn’t going to end well and I was right, Cannonball leaned it against Stockade and then proceeded to run straight into it. All of a sudden, the lights when out and when they came back on G-Raver appeared and landed a meteoera on Janela before Tremont hit a Death Valley Driver on him for the win. It seems like Tremont’s…cult? Is getting bigger and they’re going to become unstoppable pretty soon.
Maxwell Jacob Feinstein vs. Rickey Shane Page
Maxwell Jacob Feinstein came out and instantly started getting booed. He’s campaigning to “Make Combat Zone Better” and his first order of business was banning streamers. This obviously didn’t make him very popular and he’s been soaking in the hate. His opponent tonight was Rickey Shane Page, the most infectiously happy man in CZW history! Whenever he’s on my screen I can’t help but smile and be in a good mood. Feinstein went on to call Page a choker, and the match got underway. This match featured a lot of Feinstein stalling because whenever he was in the ring he was always getting bested by Page. Page then initiated a Seated Brawl, placing two chairs in the ring and telling him to sit down and go punch for punch. That didn’t last long because Feinstein was out after only one punch, that’s likely a first. Following a Twist of Fate Feinstein faked a shoulder injury and eventually rolled Page up for the win. Page then announced that he will be in the Tournament of Death and chose his opponents, which were John Wayne Murdoch and Jimmy Havoc.
CZW Tag Team Championship: Scarlet & Graves (Dezmond Xavier & Zachary Wentz) (c) vs. EYFBO (Angel Ortiz & Mike Draztik) vs. The Dub Boys (Dave McCall & Nate Carter)
This next match was for the CZW Tag Team Championships and has been building for multiple months. I have to give Emil props for the introduction of The Dub Boys, which was a parody of The Fresh Prince of Bel Air, I never knew Emil could spit like that. As soon as the bell rang this was pure chaos, while everyone wanted to go after Scarlet & Graves they were going to hit anyone with a pulse. Nate Carter and Angel Ortiz started trading blows and it looked brutal, I haven’t seen much of The Dub Boys but I was very impressed with what I saw of them in this match. Wentz and Xavier are easily the smallest guys in this match, and provided that fast paced action that only added to this match. I was impressed by everyone in this match and they all did some really nice looking stuff. With EYFBO going to TNA I don’t know if this is going to be the end of them in CZW, but I hope it isn’t. They have plenty of great matches left in them. Dave McCall seems to be more based in Martial Arts and dishes out some really impressive kicks throughout the match, while Carter is much more of a powerhouse and can take your lights out with a headbutt. This match never had a lull, it was fast action from beginning to end, and I enjoyed it a lot. Sometimes a match needs to be a sprint and it’s going to be at its best when never takes a break. It looked like EYFBO were going to win until JT Davidson came in and gave the advantage to Scarlet & Graves, he also tried to take out The Dub Boys but was at the top of a Tower of Doom for his troubles. It looked like Angel Ortiz was gonna get the win on Nate Carter before Dezmond Xavier pulled the tights and stole the win from EYFBO. This was a good match and was fast paced and hard hitting from beginning to end, I can’t wait for EYFBO to get their hands on Scarlet & Graves again. Maven Bentley came out after EYFBO started to trash the ring, he announced a four team TLC match that is going to feature, EYFBO, Da Hit Squad, The Dub Boys and the champions, Scarlet & Graves.
Conor Claxton vs. Devon Moore
This match was noticeably slower than the last one, as it seemed to be more technical than the rest of the show. It was a needed because pretty much all of the show was never ending high flying and fast action. Both Claxton and Moore are really great hybrid athletes, being able to smash light tubes over your head, do a suicide dive or make you tap. Devon Moore has been ducking Claxton for multiple months and Claxton is happy to finally have his hands on him, this wasn’t going to be pretty. This match very quickly left the ring and they eventually ended up in the penalty box of the venue, this is probably the first time two wrestlers have fought in a penalty box in recent memory. As they were fighting on top of the penalty box Claxton took a nasty spill and landed on the hard wood of the Flyers Skate Zone. Conor Claxton had Devon Moore in a chokehold when Drew Blood came out to cause the distraction and save Devon, Danny Havoc quickly came and neutralized blood. The match ended when Claxton hat a Michinoku Driver through a table. This match was fine, and provided for some great brawling all around the Combat Zone.
CZW World Championship: Joe Gacy (c) vs. Chris Dickinson
Joe Gacy has been a great champion so far since defeating Jonathan Gresham for it at Cage of Death 18. He’s beaten the likes of Rickey Shane Page and Shigehiro Irie, but I think I can safely say that Chris Dickinson is his most threatening competitor yet. The match started with Dickinson immediately taking it to Gacy barely giving him any time to breath in the opening seconds of the match. This match was all Dickinson at the start, Gacy just having to take his offense and not get knocked out cold. The fans were not that big of a fan of Joe Gacy during this match, which was very different than Cage of Death when he originally won the championship. Editor’s note: Goes to show how ridiculous the CZW crowd is. Dickinson was great in this match and the fans were eating it up the entire time, he got a handful of near falls where I thought he was going to become the CZW Champion. There was a point in this match where I though Dickinson was walking out of the match, to my surprise he came back with a sheet of ply wood and it didn’t look like it was going to end will for Gacy. The match ended when Gacy finally got control and threw Dickinson through the ply wood with a powerbomb, retaining his title.
CZW PROVING GROUNDS ON MARCH 11, 2017
Strong Effort - 7/10
I really enjoyed this show. A lot of times with wrestling there is going to be something on the show that is hard to get through or that will be less than enjoyable and that wasn't the case with CZW Proving Grounds. The show was great from beginning to end and I had no complaints. I am excited to see what happens at Best of the Best because that show just seems crazy from top to bottom. If I had to choose a MOTN it would probably have to be The Ugly Ducklings vs The Private Party, it was a great tag team match and it was constant action from bell to bell. If you can find a way to watch this show, do it, its available at CZWStudios.com and will probably be coming to The Highspots Network pretty soon.