ECCW: Rivals review

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ECCW held its Rivals show this past Saturday at the RCC, and it promised a night of rivalries, butter chicken chants, and a lot of silver body paint. But mostly the rival stuff.

Did it deliver? Were mean words exchanged? Did someone jump off a top rope? Yes, yes, and yes. Read on to find out what went down!

(Please note I didn’t record the first three matches, so I will not have kick ass gifs for them. I apologize to the fans, and wrestlers, who might be reading).

Bishop (winner) vs Carl Cunningham

There was no Big Jack tonight, so Carl had to strike out on his own. This match up was good in that Big Jack faced Bishop one on one at a recent show, and narrowly lost, so why not let his tag partner Carl have a try? Carl was also fresh off of the North by Northwest tag tournament where I felt he was the MVP of the show. This had the potential to be a great “Big guy”  vs “agile guy” match.

bish

So how did it go?

Not great. Right from the get go the two guys never really seemed to gel. They never found a rhythm to their offense, and instead of feeling like watching a fight, it felt more like watching two guys trying to remember their lines in a play. Carl ended up botching a hurricanrana and a bulldog, which hurt the idea he could win the match, because he’s the agile guy. His only chance in the match was to use his speed to beat up big Bishop and once he screwed up those two moves, it just didn’t feel like he could win it.

Photo: Bob Hanham

Photo: Bob Hanham

And I don’t say that in a mean way. I am a huge Bishop fan (Jack Bauer of ECCW) and I have been a Cunningham (Cunningfan as they tell me I am to be called) fan ever since I saw Jack carrying Carl on his shoulders while walking down the middle of Granville street. It’s just tonight was not their night.

The match itself also didn’t really lead to any story line development, either, so you couldn’t even walk away from it going “Oh well at least it means so and so will happen now.” Unless Bishop stealing Carl’s head band becomes a huge storyline. Which as I am typing this, I could actually really get behind…

That being said, one of the best moments occurred before the match where a child was giving the thumbs down to Bish, and he went over to him to try and force his hands to do a thumbs up, and couldn’t quite do it. It was a small thing, but what a great story that kid has to tell his friends at school next week.

Pete Powers vs Ravenous Randy (winner)

This was billed as a “Last Hero Standing” match, due to the comic book references coming in from both sides.

On one hand, you have Pete Powers, who has comic book tattoos, owns a cape, and has Magneto in his entrance video.

On the other hand you have Ravenous Randy, aka the Weirdo Hero, who owns Ninja Turtle kneepads.

On top of that, Pete Powers injured Randy during a match recently, and made references to it as being like when “Bane broke Batman’s back.”

So that part of it? I totally get it. In fact, I kind of love it.

Photo: Archie Henderson

Photo: Archie Henderson

But this match? I did not care for. And here is why.

1 – It was called a “Last Hero Standing” match but it was simply a no DQ match. I honestly thought it was going to be a “Last man standing” match and was kind of stoked for that, but it ended up not being the case. Then to make it more confusing, at one point Randy was in a submission and he reached the ropes, and the ref made Powers give up the move. It was no DQ you jerks! NO DQ!

2 – Comedy! Again, some people love comedy in matches, and I totally understand how putting comedy in a match can help deliver a different style of wrestling to a crowd that is going to be sitting through 3 hours of normal wrestling. It’s like bringing out hamburger sliders to someone whose been eating soup all night.

However, during this match Randy kept going to his bag of toys to attack Powers with different comic book things. Hulk fists, capes, etc…. At one point a guy dressed in a black onesie suit came out holding up “BIFF” “ZAMM” and “POW” signs whenever Randy hit Pete, and it was just more confusing than anything.

randy

Photo: Archie Henderson

At their last match, Pete Powers viciously attacked Randy and injured him. Like, they did it so well I actually thought Randy was broken in half. I went into Jim Ross mode and began begging in my head for Pete to stop. “BY GAWD THAT MAN HAS A FAMILY. SOMEBODY STOP THE DAMN MATCH!”

So for them to kind of brush off their feud with a comedy match, I just felt it hurt Pete Powers character more than anything. I honestly feel Pete Powers future is as a dominant heel ECCW Champion, so anything that gets in the way of that, is always going to fall a bit flat with me. Pete is one of the best guys on the roster at delivering power moves and making them look painful. I can easily see him becoming a monster heel champion.

3 – Timing of the match. Again, I know comedy was the end game during some spots, but when Randy is putting a cape on, and Pete has to wander around in circles “dazed” until he gets cross bodied off the top rope, I just find it very jarring. At one point Pete had trouble opening up the briefcase of stuff that Randy had brought to the ring with him, and it was like 20 seconds of watching Randy being “dizzy” in the corner while we watched Pete lose a battle with a bag. I completely appreciate all the effort they put into this match, it just wasn’t for me. Others enjoyed it greatly, though, as the crowd was very much into it.

Photo: Bob Hanham

Photo: Bob Hanham

That being said, if you remove the comedy from the match, there was a lot I liked about it. I liked the back and forth submissions from both men, and again, I love watching Pete wrestle. He slams people with authority. Randy also had a good spot where he put on a Hulk novelty hand and delivered a big punch to Pete. Had it been anyone but Pete, I probably would have had that as the highlight of the match (it was a fun moment) but Pete is a big guy, and he sold that punch like it was indeed thrown by the Hulk. I get the idea behind it, but man, you just sold me Pete as this bad ass, and how he’s getting Hulk punched and losing to a top rope suplex?

Bollywood Boyz and Nicole Matthews (winners) vs Cat Power, Alex Plexis, and Supernatural Creed

So quick back story, Nicole and Cat had a massive feud that ended with a “Loser leaves town match”. Cat lost the match, and thus left town, taking one of the best ring gears with her (her face paint is on point, what can I say).

ECCW released a video last week explaining how Cat got back into ECCW, and the gist of it was that her manager, Cassidy, explained that since the match was in the Russian Community Centre, a RUSSIAN piece of land, that when Cat left the RCC, she technically did leave town. So she followed her end of the bargain, and should be allowed to wrestle again.

Kudos to Cassidy for that one. I dig it. You have to bring Cat back somehow, and a slimy lawyer loophole is perfect. Makes Cassidy seem useful, and plays up how they’re both generally awful people who go back on their word.

The thing I didn’t like was that the video ended with them pleading their case to Matthews for reinstatement, to which she essentially said “Sure, I don’t care”.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6k1T4tgV_1c

A – Why are they pleading their case to Matthews? Is she a commissioner now?

B – That aside, why does Matthews not care if Cat comes back? They just had a blood feud that at one point had Cat being put into a car on 4th avenue and taken to safety to protect her from the beating Matthews was trying to put on her. It waters down the impact of their “vicious feud” if a few months later Matthews is just shrugging it off.

Please bear in mind, that I am probably over analyzing this. It’s just storyline is huge to me, I always want to know why you’re telling me to go from point A to point B. So when things like this happen, yes, I probably overthink it, but I can’t help it. I just like things to make sense.

As for the match itself, it was a great way to have the Bollywood Boyz fight against the guys that took their titles, Plexis and Creed, while at the same time letting Cat and Nicole renew acquaintances. AKA the Teddy Long special.

Photo: Bob Hanham

Photo: Bob Hanham

It was a solid tag match, complete with a good build up to a hot tag. Nicole Matthews hit a great move off the ropes that the crowd really popped for. The ending of the match was also a visual success, as it ended up with the Bollywood Boyz and Matthews getting all three members of the other team in submissions, tapping at the same time in the middle of the ring.

boyz

Photo: Archie Henderson

Creed also gets bonus points for throwing his junk streamers over the rafters in the roof, and having the streamer hang over top of the ring.

I kind of want to see what team Creed and Plexis turn into (Cunninghams, American Gunz, and Bollywood Boyz are all so very good at tag team wrestling and looking like a tag team) and see if they can keep up with the other top teams. I am a huge fan of tag teams looking like they function as an elite unit, not just “two single dudes fighting in turns”, so I am intrigued to see how their tag title reign turns out.

Also, the Bollywood Boyz spoiled the Canucks game I had PVR’d, so now I kind of feel like they’re the true heel tag team in ECCW. I live in fear of them just shouting out sports scores during their matches now.

“BUTTER CHICKEN, ASS KICKIN’, IT’S 4-0 BRUINS!”

El P (winner) vs Adonis

Photo: Archie Henderson

Photo: Archie Henderson

Ah. El P. My top guy in ECCW vs one of the guys on my “top potential” guys on my list.

I think Air Adonis is awesome. The guy is jacked (he hits the gym to the point where you feel really bad about yourself when you look at him), and the guy is naturally athletic in the ring. His match against Scotty Mac is still one of my top matches of the year. Magnum PI theme song, drink holding pilot, who fights during his off time? So good.

El P, as I have said a million times, is simply the best. Dude could have a nap and it would be more entertaining than a Big Show match.

So naturally I was super excited to see what Adonis and El P could do in a match together. Both men are big fans of standing moonsaults, and you know what, THEY HAD A GOD DAMN STANDING MOONSAULT COMPETITION DURING THE MATCH.

It was amazing. It was comedy, in the sense that it was watching two dudes try and outdo one another with a move, but it worked, because it’s competitive. Two dudes trying to outdo one another is something that happens all the time. So during the match, they kept one upping each other and moonsaulting each other and oh man, it was so good.

The match was so much fun to watch that when Scotty Mac and his buddy came out to interrupt the match, I just wanted them to **** off. I know it needed to happen to progress the feud with El P, but I didn’t want them ruining anything about this match. Luckily El P and Adonis threw them out of the ring, and they didn’t do a DQ finish, and we got to see more of the match.

ElPDive

Now I know El P jumps out of the ring a lot, but tonight it felt right. What I mean is, sometimes El P will jump to the outside just for the sake of putting on a good match. It doesn’t feel like it flows with the match, but he’ll do it, because he’s El P, he can’t help but be a bad ass who flies through the air. The kind of bad ass who busts his nose open and wipes it off on his chest, leaving a bloody hand print across it. Primal? Yes. Awesome?? YES.

Tonight, though, his leaping out of the ring matched the energy of the crowd and the pacing of the match. They built up to it the right way. They had done such a good job of raising the bar with each other that it just seemed like the next natural step was to dive to the outside of the ring. It didn’t feel forced, or put in the match to try and garner a cheap pop.

Full credit to Adonis for matching El P step for step tonight by the way. Not many can keep up with El P, but Adonis came through like gangbusters tonight. The crowd was chanting his name throughout the match, and the crowd was actually split on who they wanted to win.

AdonisFinish

The finish of the match came when Adonis went for a top rope move and El P got his knees up and then rolled Adonis up for the flash victory. It was a great way to tell a story of how high risk moves can backfire. I couldn’t have loved this match more if I tried.

At one point during the match, Adonis and El P shook hands, and a guy in the audience exclaimed “Respect! Awesome!”.

This was the match of the night, and easy contender for match of the year for me from ECCW. This is the kind of match you want to see at the Commodore, where it would just blow the roof off the place. The kind of match you bring someone who has never seen ECCW before and you just watch as their eyes widen and they grab your shirt and scream at you “WHERE HAS THIS BEEN ALL MY LIFE!?”

Now that being said, imagine a match like this with a story to back it up? A match like this with emotions on the line? That’s the ultimate dream.

Naturally Spoken – Billy Suede and Tony Baroni

I realize this recap is going long, so I am going to try and shorten it up a bit so you don’t pass out while reading it. It’s like Friends where Rachael wrote her letter to Ross, FRONT AND BACK.

So the segment was put on to have Billy Suede explain why he turned on Air Adonis during the tag tourney and joined up with Baroni. I wasn’t able to hear very well what was said, but I believe Suede deflected things by saying the important issue at hand was how Baroni and Suede got screwed over when they got kicked out of the tag tourney. They then named their stable “The Wise Men” and hugged a lot.

A couple of things to point out:

1 – Someone called Suede “Ill Bill” tonight and I can’t think of a better name for him than that. Ill Bill it is in my recaps.

2 – I said all along that when Baroni went heel, he did so by putting on a bath robe and putting his hair in a pony tail. Lo and behold, the first thing Billy did tonight was come out with a pony tail. Sadly he came out in a nice suit instead of a bath robe, but there is still time.

3 – I love the fact they named their stable. I want to know the alliances and I want to know the alliances are serious about each other. When you name your stable, that’s like getting engaged. I can start taking it seriously now.

4 – Tony Baroni reached out to me a couple of weeks ago to explain to “an obviously slow, dim witted idiot” that he doesn’t wear bath robes, he in fact wears “custom ring jackets”.

“Heartbreaker” Antonio Thomas vs. Andy “The Dreadful” Bird (winner)

Antonio Thomas was the star of this match purely for his entrance. He came out in nice glasses and was very polite to everyone. He shook hands with the refs. He neatly folded his towel in the corner. He gently handed off his shirt to the ring crew.

Then when the match started he went beserk and attempted to in ring murder Andy. At one point he tried to choke Andy with his own hair. HIS OWN HAIR.

Choke

It was awesome. His gimmick was so much fun to watch and I am saddened this was just a quick stop for him in ECCW. It was like American Psycho, but in wrestling.

The match heavily favored Thomas offensively, and when Bird came back to win it, it didn’t feel like Bird deserved to win it. What I mean is, it didn’t feel like he did enough damage or pulled off a big enough move to put Thomas away, but that’s the way you book heels vs faces sometimes.

birdreverse

That being said, this was an exhibition match of sorts, and it wasn’t meant to advance any storylines, so it was simply a match to sit back and let Andy and Thomas do their thing, to which I heartily enjoyed.

Memphis vs Scotty Mac

ScottyCameraMan

Before the match even started, Scotty Mac power bombed the shit out of a camera man. I don’t know why he did it, but I loved it. He’s been yelling at this camera guy for three shows now, so it was a really nice pay off to the people watching where that feud was going to go.

Scotty Mac then picked up the camera and started filming people randomly. Again, no idea why, but I am 100% on board with Scotty Mac as this unhinged a-hole who goes around hurting people, believes people don’t respect him enough, and is slowly turning into a spoon.

I also want to take a moment and point out how important it is for wrestlers to change up their looks during different phases of their career. Chris Jericho was famous for changing things up and keeping it fresh. It helps define a wrestler’s character and timeline when doing so and prevents them from going stale.

Case in point, Scotty Mac. Something as simple as painting himself silver has become a huge iconic thing for his current heel run. Not only does it make him stand out, it becomes an easy talking point for rivals to bash him over. It allows him to come across as vain and more heel like. It allows the crowd to hate him for wearing eye make up, and lets them chant “Zoolander” at him. It separates him from his good guy role he was in previous to this.

This one small thing ends up becoming a huge part of his character. It underlines the importance for wrestlers to always be looking for new angles to hook the crowd into their character. Don’t be afraid to try things!

Anyways, a returning Memphis came out to make the save for the cameraman, and was all set to go for a title shot, when Scotty Mac grabbed the mic and said that wasn’t the case. Long story short, Scotty Mac calls the shots, so he says no title match. Memphis then questioned his manhood, more words were exchanged, and the title was back on the line.

The promos to start this match were great. Scotty is one of the best in ECCW on the mic (especially in his current Silver Surfer heel mode), and Memphis, who I know nothing about, held his own on the mic. He even had a great line about S-Mac covering himself in silver because he knows he doesn’t deserve the gold. The crowd ate that line up. Scotty Mac at one point tried to get the crowd to chant “THANK YOU SCOTTY” at him, which the crowd did not eat up, they spat it out. It was very well done.

spear

Photo: Archie Henderson

The match started off great. Memphis did not look rusty at all, and he actually looked like a viable threat to Scotty Mac. There was one spot (pictured above) where Memphis did a god damn spear through the ropes. It was FANTASTIC.

Mac, who is great at being a heel who might cheat to win, but can also win purely on talent alone, had the best spot of the night where he went off the top rope to the outside. It looked like it was going to fail at one point, but Mac nailed it.

scottydive2

Also in that clip you can see one of the refs in ECCW who I wish would be more forceful in the ring, and less dramatic. He does the worlds softest three counts, and over reacts to moves by putting his hands on his head all the time. Chop in the corner? Hands on the head. Rest hold? Hands on the head. Someone doing something illegal? He softly whispers from across the ring to stop. The refs play an integral part to telling a story, so you want them to be just as sharp as the wrestlers.

Again, I am probably nit picking, but with a ref you want strong, consistent three counts, and have them act like refs, not like a timid observer. Scooter and Tyler are some of the best in ECCW, I want more of them please.

Anyhow, at one point during the match, Memphis springboarded into the ring right into a DDT, and appeared to get hurt. You never know with injuries in wrestling, but Memphis was down, and refs were checking on him, and he looked hurt. Scotty Mac hit a leg drop a moment later and the match was over. Storyline or not, Memphis was most likely not going to win the match, but it would have been nice to see them go on longer, so it’s unfortunate if a real injury derailed that.

memphisddt

Hopefully Memphis is fine, as it does add another level to Scotty Mac’s heel run. Memphis said ECCW was “Extreme” when he left and simply “Elite” now, so Scotty Mac can play up the injury angle and what “Elite” truly means, etc etc.

After the match, El P came out and announced that he was the number one contender and would be fighting Scotty Mac in a steel cage at the Ballroom Brawl 5 at the Commodore for the title. It was a great promo from El P (crowd got very jacked), which I was excited to see, because he can do some truly awful promos when they’re not live. Seriously, instead of being the Michael Jordan of wrestling he becomes Shaq doing free throws when he cuts back stage promos. I think he just really needs to feed off of the crowd in order to get his powers.

Tony Baroni (winner) vs Artemis Spencer

This was a great, great wrestling match. Spencer and Baroni are very complimentary to each other, and they work very well together. it was the longest match of the night, but the biggest compliment you can give them is that you didn’t notice how long it went.

While Spencer can fly with the best of them, these two put on a technical sound, well paced match that felt like a really good grueling match between rivals. Of all the matches on “Rivals” night, this one truly felt the closest to two rivals duking it out. It felt like a brawl, but a well wrestled brawl. They didn’t overdo the high spots to take away from the fact these two hate each other, either, which I really thought was a smart move.

ArtyBomb2

Instead, they focused on the match, and punching each other repeatedly, while throwing in some drop kicks and suplexes for good measure. They brawled on the outside for a while too. They did a great job of making it a dirty, gritty, feud like match.

BaroniArtyPunchExchange

Of course, with Ill Bill lurking on commentary, and the Goddess Mandy on the outside, you knew the deck was stacked against Arty, and that is how the match ended. With the ref distracted by Ill Bill, Mandy tossed her purse over to Tony, who used it to knock out Artemis Spencer for the 1,2,3.

illbill

“But Wyatt, how could a purse knock out Arty??”

Because it had a wrench in it. A WRENCH.

The Wise Men get the victory, and Arty had to leave without a title. You used to have two titles, Arty. Remember those days??

In closing, Ill Bill is the best name in wrestling right now.

Sign of the Night:

Photo: Archie Henderson

Photo: Archie Henderson

Final Thoughts:

It was a solid show, with a couple of spectacular matches (El P vs Adonis, Artemis vs Tony), and a great promo spot (Scotty vs Memphis). Ballroom Brawl 5 is coming up in January, so I am interested to see how things will line up for the big show.

We know El P vs Scotty Mac is coming our way (IN A STEEL CAGE). I assume Artemis isn’t done with Tony yet. What about the tag team division? (Side note, apparently the Amerikan Gunz fired their manager Cassidy? It was revealed in a YouTube video. That’s the sort of thing they had been hinting at for several shows. It would have been nice to have seen that happen in person. Big storyline reveals should happen at the shows in my humblest of opinions). Will Cat Powers and Nicole go for another round? What about Shayna? Is Nicole done with her?

There are many questions and I can’t wait to see how this one is going to shape up.

If you want to see an ECCW show, go to ECCW.com ! The next show at the RCC is January 2nd, and the granddaddy of them all, Ballroom Brawl 5 at the Commodore, is January 16th. I always say, if you’re going to see one ECCW show, make it one at the Commodore. You won’t be disappointed!

 

 

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Wyatt Arndt Wyatt Arndt is a freelance writer who currently writes for The Province, Canucks Army, Canucks.com and Vancity Buzz. He's probably written in bathroom stalls near you as well. You can find him on Twitter where he is most likely making fun of Eddie Lack's goalie mask.
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