ECCW returned home to the Russian Community Centre (RCC) on Saturday night, promising a night of no holds barred action for its aptly named No Holds Barred show. Despite what the 1980’s movie of the same name would have you believe, no cinder blocks needed to be punched to death in order for it to be considered truly “No Holds Barred”. So while the show may have lacked cinder block based mayhem, it sure didn’t stop ECCW from putting on a hell of a show.
Seriously, though, take a moment to watch a trailer for No Holds Barred and try and figure out if they meant it as a serious movie or not.
So what went down tonight, you ask? Well let me tell you!
…And you better read it, otherwise Zeus is going to find out where you live and he will punch cinder blocks and break them all over your bed. ALL OVER YOUR BED.
Alex Plexis (w/ Christopher Cassidy) vs Scotty Mac
Alex Plexis is currently my favorite heel in all of the ECCW. As I’ve noted several times in the past, he is just very good at his job. The dude just has a natural talent at getting people to hate him (in a good way, not an X-Pac way), and he does it without resorting to trying to be a cool bad guy, a la Triple H. He just shows up, acts like a whiny, sniveling kind of jerk, with his lawyer of a manager at his back, and people naturally can’t stand him.
The best part, though? He is really good in the ring. He can put on great matches, and he had a solid one with the returning Scotty Mac. Plexis pulling off a slick tornado DDT makes the crowd hate him even more.
Scotty Mac is currently still in his Mad Max Valhalla stage (his hair is chrome silver), so I assume at one point he’s going to drive a big rig into the ring, but until that day arrives, he will just have to stick to being the guy with the most defined muscles on the ECCW roster. Scotty Mac looks like one of those guys who hangs out at Kits beach all day tossing a football in a sleeveless shirt, and point flexing their arms any time someone asks for directions.
Also, kudos to Alex Plexis for selling his haircut like it was the worst thing in the world. For those not aware, Plexis lost a “Hair vs Hair” match at Ballroom Brawl 4, and as a result he got his hair shaved off. Unlike when Kurt Angle got shaved bald, Plexis just has a solid buzz cut now, but Plexis still wore a towel in shame to start the match until the ref forced him to take it off.
Scotty Mac ended up picking up the win when he held the tights of Plexis, leading many to wonder just who the bad guy here was supposed to be. For shame Scotty, for shame. What would the Paraguayans think of actions like that??
Highlight of the Match:
Watch Plexis deliver two chops. One, the meaty, deep, heavy chop that sounds like it caved in Mac’s ribs, then the delightful, loud, slappy sounding chop that brings about Ric Flair “wooooo”‘s when heard.
Bishop vs Big Jack Cunningham
Two big men means a lot of physicality and the possibility of the ring breaking after any slam.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I am a huge Big Jack fan:
He is a mobile big man who reminds me a lot of Bam Bam Bigelow in that he’s very agile for his size, and can pull off moves you normally don’t see guys that size do. Also, look at that ring gear! It’s a god damn brick wall, with matching hair and wrist band. Your first thought when you see that is “How the hell am I going to get through that?” He’s mentally screwing with your mind before the match even starts, which is god damn brilliant.
The problem is he was facing Bishop. Bishop is like the Jack Bauer of ECCW. He’s done and seen it all. His face carries the weary expression of a warrior who wishes he could do something else, but he’s so good at what he does that he knows he will be doing this forever. All he can hope for is somebody to challenge him and make him feel alive once in a while.
Well, Big Jack did his best to not only challenge Bishop, but beat him as well. However, Bishop is Bishop and all he does is win. Give Jack credit, he gave him everything he had, including walking away from a slam without looking back (like it was an explosion), like a bad ass.
Bishop, perhaps realizing he needed to take care of this problem sooner rather than later, took out Big Jack’s knee not because he is a cold unfeeling monster, but because it was simply the right thing to do to ensure a win. Again, Jack Bauer.
Fearing that Jack may in fact be a brick wall, Bishop looked out at the crowd and exclaimed “Geezus Christ” before landing not one, but two cannonball sentons in the corner on Jack.
1, 2, 3 and it was all over. Bishop then hiked his trunks firmly up into his ass and told the crowd what he thought of them. I’m not so sure Jack Bauer ever did this, but hey, you never know.
Highlight of the Match:
When you get a resounding “Holy Shit!” chant at a wrestling event, you know you’ve done something right (or fallen through the top of a cage by accident).
Monster Match Lak Siddartha w/ Rigor Von Slasher vs “Ravenous” Randy Myers
I won’t lie, I still don’t know all the guys in ECCW who are in the House of Hell stable. They have like fifty guys in there, and all I know if is somebody comes out wearing a mask, holding a weapon, or has blood on them somewhere, odds are they are in the House of Hell.
This match up involved what is best described as a screamier, more out of shape cousin of WWE’s Rusev (Lak) vs Randy who had clown face paint on which ended up making him look kind of psychotic, which really worked for me. Lak screaming after every move did not work for me but hey maybe that’s how he pumps himself up. He’s like that guy in pick up basketball who pretends they’re Kobe after nailing a wide open shot. “KOBE!”
Now, I’m not a huge fan of comedy matches, it kinds of takes away the fourth wall a little too much for me. For example, Randy walking from corner to corner as if going through the pre-determined motions of the match will always make me sigh a little inside.
That being said, comedy matches play really well on the indie circuit, and this match went over quite well with the crowd. And if you’re going to have somebody be in a comedy match, Randy is the perfect guy for it because his character is kind of crazy. When you look like the Joker in the ring, doing the weird moves that break the fourth wall works almost compliments the character in a way.
Also, full credit to Randy for breaking out, well not poison mist, but Smurf mist:
That will always get a standing ovation from me.
The match ended when Mini-Kane interfered and prevented Lak from making the pin after hitting an F-5. He did this in order to do the “Wasssup” move the Dudley Boyz made famous, only to have Randy reverse the move on them and grab the pin fall.
It’s a comedy match, so no need to nit pick this one too much, but a) why was the “wassup” move the next tactical move they felt they should go to and b) why after screwing up the move do you sit in the corner holding your hands to your face like you just walked in on your parents naked??
Anyways, if that leads to dissension in House of Hell, then good. If not, it was a weird ending to the match. However, that is merely minor nit-picking on my part, but I wouldn’t be an internet fan if I didn’t poke and prod things for no reason. The match itself was hot the entire time and everyone in attendance was jacked throughout it.
Highlight of the Match:
OK, if you’ve brought in a model city in order to showcase what a real suplex city looks like, then you are bringing things up to a whole new level. I cannot give enough applause to Randy for using this awesome prop, then selling it like he fell on some landmines when he crashed into the “city”. Full marks for having the wherewithal to toss several of the buildings into the air after he landed on them.
Also, a gold star to Lak for cackling like he just discovered porn for the first time after having reversed the suplex on Randy and walking around with him in the air for a bit.
Bollywood Boyz (Tag Champions) vs Amerikan Gunz (Ethan HD & Mike Santiago) w/ Christopher Cassidy
ECCW has this weird thing going where half the roster likes to rotate using “k” instead of “c”. “Amerikan”, “Karl”, “Kristopher”…anyways, I digress.
This was a tag title match between the beloved Bollywood Boyz (tip of that hat to the gentleman with the “Bollywood Boyz second to naan” sign) and the evil Amerikan Gunz, who heavily rely upon the power of finger guns.
However, before the match even started, Santiago went and did this:
A chair shot to the leg of Gurv took him out of the match which meant Harv had to take on the Gunz all by himself. This might be a problem for most people, but when you’re fueled by butter chicken, you can do the impossible:
Second. To. Naan.
Despite the heroics shown by Harv, the numbers game caught up to him and the Amerikan Gunz looked to be on the brink of becoming the new tag team champions.
Look at that clothesline, that’s a clothesline Tim Tebow would be proud of. Sorry, “klothesline”.
Highlight of the Match:
Just when it looked like it was all over, though, Gurv made a heroic return with a chair, and got a small measure of revenge with a shot to the back of Ethan HD, who is the Dolph Ziggler of selling moves in ECCW. Look at him pop over after that shot to the back! Beautiful.
Also, it was a great visual to see the Amerikan Gunz scrambling away in the corner like a pack of rats. Thumbs down to them for somehow thinking they would become tag champs on a DQ finish. Come on guys, get your heads in the game.
Cat Power (w/ Christopher Cassidy) vs Nicole Matthews
It was at this point I began wondering if Cassidy managed 75% of the roster, but nonetheless, this match up was heavily anticipated as Cat Power has been trying to prove her dominance over Nicole Matthews for quite a while now.
On one hand you have Nicole Matthews, who had a great run as ECCW Champion, is a multiple ECCW woman’s champion, and is viewed by many as the top female in the company.
On the other hand you have Cat Power, whose lone run as ECCW Woman’s Champ ended in disgrace when she lost the title in a match in Japan. Cat Power has a big chip on her shoulder as she attempts to battle the resume of Nicole Matthews, and on Saturday night the match descended into chaos.
At one point it looked like Nicole had the match won (with the good version of the Lion Tamer), only to have Cassidy’s…Krew? run out and make the save. This in turn brought out Nicole’s friends to make the rescue, which in turn led to Cat and Nicole fighting through the crowd, taking the fight right onto fourth avenue.
Imagine walking home after picking up milk, only to see two ladies brawling on the sidewalk? Well, that sounds like Saturday night on Granville street, but this involves more spandex. Wait, maybe not. OK regardless, it was a good scene.
Now, most of the match happened in the crowd and outside the ring, so I didn’t see a ton of it. It wasn’t a wrestling clinic by any stretch of the imagination but it told a good story. Two women who have egos trying to prove who is the best makes for a simple, but compelling story.
Highlight of the Match:
— Dustin McAvoy (@Dmcavoyhk) August 16, 2015
Tyler Terrance, the best ref in ECCW IMO (he is super committed to his role, which I appreciate. Dude never breaks character.), comes running back into the arena and just starts telling random fans “She’s gone! Cat got into a car and she’s gone!”
I know it’s hard to translate why I found this so funny, but just the sight of Tyler looking super shocked and telling random people that Cat just got into a car and got the hell out of there made me laugh.
I also found the idea that a car was waiting for her super funny. Did Cat tell somebody before the match “Hey, keep the engine running, I might need a quick getaway if things go south here”? Did Cassidy frantically text a buddy “need ur car, meet me at 4th, need u to pick up Cat ASAP”??
I initially thought maybe she just got on the number 4 bus and was on her way to UBC (which would have been a pretty slick getaway), but nope, as Dustin’s footage shows she indeed got into a car.
Cassidy Appreciation Night
The Natural had a segment where he called Cassidy out to the ring (you couldn’t get away from this guy!) so he could announce that at the next ECCW event (Tables, Ladders and Chairs), a tag team of his choosing would be entered into the match with the Bollywood Boyz vs the Cunninghams.
The biggest takeaway from this was that Mike Santiago was told he would NOT be in that match, but that the tag team of Ethan HD and Alex Plexis would be entered instead, which led to the picture of the night:
Confusion. Sadness. A bit of anger. Santiago has never delivered a move as well as his emotions in this moment.
Cassidy alluded to the fact Santiago would have a “very special match” at TLC, but we shall have to wait to find out what it is. Are the Amerikan Gunz finger shooting days over?? Think of the fans in Tacoma, damn it!
A tip of the hat to Cassidy who is the best guy in ECCW on the mic. Lots of indie guys are terrible on the mic (not a ton of time to practice), but Cassidy delivers the goods.
El Phantasmo vs Nelson Creed
El P, the franchise, vs Nelson “Streamers in my junk” Creed.
El P is basically that cool guy in high school that looked five years older than everybody else, who only showed up to class like once a week, and spent most of his time smoking in the parking lot. He just has a natural “cool” factor about him that draws people in. He makes everything look effortless. At one point he slid across the stage on one knee and it looked like he was hovering. You don’t know why he did but you found yourself wanting to try it out. The guy is just magic, ok?
He’s got a light up jacket, glowing rings, and a glowing mouth guard. Best in ring gear by a country mile. He also times his entrance to his music. The guy should be in WWE god damn it.
Anyhoo, I know the first question you all have is, did Nelson Creed throw streamers from his junk?
The answer is a resounding yes. My fear at every ECCW event is being hit by that streamer and finding out it’s slightly damp.
The match was the best on the night, with El P hitting his high flying offense, as well as having a great ground sequence of pin attempts with Nelson Creed. The fact it had a nice balance between high spots vs mat wrestling is always a good thing in my books, as it shows El P can do more than just jump off ropes.
El P picked up the win after Nelson Creed got caught using the ropes to elevate his pin attempt. While the ref was yelling at Creed, El P rolled him up and used his own feet on the ropes to get the pin. Nelson Creed essentially bills himself as the “smartest man in ECCW”, so out-thinking him for the win is a good story line.
Highlight of the Match:
— Dustin McAvoy (@Dmcavoyhk) August 16, 2015
Artemis Spencer (Canadian and ECCW Champ) vs Pete Powers
Artemis Spencer and El P are usually neck in neck for who will put on the best show on the night, and Spencer had himself a very good match tonight. Pete Powers is a powerful guy in the ring who has the look of a wrestler, with giant muscles and a slick Wonder Woman tattoo (with the added bonus of wearing a cape during his entrance) and it was a good match up.
Now, not to take away from the match (Artemis won), but it was what happened after the match that turned the night on its head. First up, you had Pete Powers beating up Arty after the match, angry that he lost. This brought Artemis’ good friend and one half of The Stallions (their tag team name) Tony Baroni to make the save.
The problem is, any time someone raises your hand and points to you, there is a 50/50 chance they’re gonna turn on you. And on Saturday night, the ECCW Red Wedding went into full effect.
Right through the proverbial barbershop window. Why would Tony do this?? They built a fort together once, damn it!
Highlight of the Match:
The Red Wedding continued as Scotty Mac made his way to the ring and got on the mic. He berated Tony Baroni for being a jerk who stabbed his best friend in the back, but then asks Arty to a match after he had just been beaten up. Now, Scotty Mac’s logic was that he had had a match that night as well so this was a fair proposal, but that match was like hours ago, and it didn’t include the mental baggage of betrayal.
Arty agreed to the match because he’s a fighting champ (and kind of stupid as all good guys are prone to be) and Scotty Mac was able to super kick a tired Arty to claim the ECCW Championship, a belt he hasn’t held since 2008. I knew Arty wasn’t going to hold two belts for very long, but I was surprised he dropped the ECCW title, and looks to be out of the title picture for a while as he has a feud with Baroni to take care of.
I only hope Scotty Mac goes heel after this, otherwise it doesn’t make a ton of sense to me to have him win the title in the fashion he did (that would veer too close to the annoying “grey area” the WWE loves to play in nowadays). Beating up a tired champ is a jerk move, ya jerk!
Hey, maybe El P can step up into the main event feud, eh? Yeah? Yeah!
Anyways, why was ECCW’s show so good on Saturday night? Because they walked the fine line between pleasing the hardcore ECCW fans, and the casual fans who go to a show only occasionally.
Booking an indie wrestling fed with no TV deal is usually a hard task, as you constantly have to figure out ways to please the people who go to your show all the time (so they don’t stop showing up) as well as make sure the show is approachable (and enjoyable) enough that casual viewers coming in off the streets will have a good time as well, and will want to come back.
Tonight, they found the perfect balance, by pushing fast paced matches that told a story. Sometimes the big boys at WWE forget the simple mechanics of story telling (such as, picking a designated bad guy and good guy in a feud), but ECCW showed them how its done at No Holds Barred. They also threw in some twists to keep the fans on their feet, and there was no noticeable “drag” moment during the show, where when you look around you can see half the audience checked out and yawning.
I left wanting to see what was going to happen next, something that doesn’t always happen, so kudos to ECCW for the show.
If you want to take in a show, check out ECCW.com for upcoming events! Support local wrestling!