ECCW: Pacific Cup 16 Review

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ECCW’s version of the King of the Ring returned last Saturday, as the 16th annual Pac Cup was contested for by 11 spandex clad participants. Last year, if you remember, was won by Alex Plexis, who stompa’d his way all the way to the Pac Cup. Back when him and Cat Power used to be friends. Things were different then. We were so naive and young but full of hope…

But alas, time changes everything, and now Plexis is best friends with Nelson Creed (current ECCW tag team champs). Would Plexis pull off the unthinkable and win two Pac Cups in a row? Would a veteran stake their claim on the Cup? Would an underdog shock the world? Read on to find out! (the main picture gives it away, but shhh, play along)

First Round

creed

Photo: Bob Hanham

Nelson Creed vs Artemis Spencer

Now, I have only been watching ECCW every month for about a year, so I have never seen Nelson Creed in his “Bomber” days. I only know him as the guy who throws streamers from his junk. He has never had a match that blew me away, and a lot of that is because he’s a smart guy. He’s a grizzled veteran who knows there’s little point in trying to destroy his body just to impress one blogger to let him know he can in fact wrestle. Also, as a heel, you don’t often want to wow the crowd with moves.

So it wasn’t until this match that I realized “holy ****, this guy can GO!”

It started off almost like a Greco-Roman wrestling match. Back and forth’s were exchanged, counters traded, cartwheels a plenty. It was such a different tone than any other match on the card. It was like Creed decided “You know what, let’s dance” and put on his trusty wrestling boots, the ones he only uses for special occasions now, like big matches or dinner at The Keg.

And so the match was a back and forth affair with both men trying to one up each other, both getting countered, both hitting moves, until eventually Spencer eeked out a victory. The biggest takeaway I took from this match is that Creed is just a natural athlete. The fact he can move so well in that ring for a guy of his size is very impressive.

Creed and El Phantasmo had a feud last year that extended over three matches and not one of those matches came close to this one.

It was by far the best match on the night, and one that I would show to anybody whose never seen ECCW before to show them what talent the organization has.

It was also a smart match because it was so different from any other match on the card. On a night when you’re going to see certain guys multiple times, viewer fatigue is going to set in, so anything you can do to differentiate the matches is a good thing.

Best part of the match? Creed forgetting his streamer before the match started, so he ran to the back to get it. His junk streamer streak continues!

Photo: Bob Hanham

Photo: Bob Hanham

“Beautiful” Billy Suede vs Andy “The Dreadful” Bird

In the battle for control of the quotation marks, Billy Suede took on Andy Bird, who was replacing the suspended Pete Powers. Pete Powers, as Ross Renaud well knows, is a walking bad ass, so his presence was missed.

OR WAS IT?

Powers came racing out before the match even started and started beating the life out of Andy Bird. He then picked him up and slammed him into the ring post, using the same move that took out Ravenous Randy months earlier. It was yet another Powers meltdown.

At this point I assumed Suede would simply roll Bird in the ring and pin him. I mean, there was some nice symmetry of Powers taking out both Ravenous and Bird with the same move.

Except Bird just kind of shook it off. And then went on to have a pretty long match with Suede. Showing no ill effects whatsoever. Suede would eventually win the match, but it was a very close affair.

So on one hand, I get how Bird wants to go out and wrestle. You don’t just want to show up and get crippled on the night, and go about your day. And to be fair to both men, it was a highly entertaining match. It was probably the most complete match I have seen from Bird.

From a storyline point of view, I just really wish Pete hadn’t shown up at all, or Bird sold that injury. It’s weird that Bird can shake off a move that Ravenous made look like it broke him in half (the best sell job of the year). It undercuts Pete and Randy by doing that.

And that’s not me going “PETE POWERS IS AWESOME HES GOTTA KILL EM ALL!!” it’s purely from a continuity point of view.

I also agree with my devil’s advocate Ross Renaud that Powers needs a focused storyline going forward. Hey, I love beat downs as much as the next guy, but if all he’s doing is throwing tantrums, it’s going to water down their impact. He needs some sort of focus, whether it’s gunning for a title or learning how to garden. He can still have tantrums that leave bodies in his path, but let us know where he’s trying to go.

Photo: Bob Hanham

Photo: Bob Hanham

Nicole Matthews vs Tony Baroni

T-Rex Baroni took on old friend and foe Nicole Matthews in their first round match up, and it was a solid match up between two people who have good chemistry in the ring.

Baroni’s facial expressions are some of the best in the game, as he smirked, screamed, and cried his way through the match, with Nicole occasionally using a swear word to express herself.

They did a great job of getting the Goddess Mandy involved, having Baroni use her as a shield, only to have Matthews deck her. Later in the match Mandy snuck in when the ref wasn’t looking and started choking Matthews on the ropes in an act of high heeled revenge.

It was a fun way to again, differentiate the match on the night, and to get Mandy involved, thus giving her more of a presence on the show.

Nicole eventually beat Baroni, sending her into the second round, and Baroni crying into his bathrobe.

Photo: Bob Hanham

Photo: Bob Hanham

Ethan H.D vs Air Adonis

Air Adonis, a guy with one of the best looks on the roster, was a guy I thought was going to excel in this tournament.

Alas, he ran into Ethan HD, who was on a mission on the night. During the match Adonis played up a knee injury, which would keep going out on him during big moments, which eventually led to his downfall.

Ethan HD, normally an America loving villain, was actually courteous in victory, as he shook the hand of Adonis after the match. Hints of a face turn?

As for Adonis, the knee injury angle is a good way to protect him in a loss. I’m still waiting for Adonis to put it all together, and have himself an iconic moment (one that doesn’t involve demanding hand shakes), but that shall have to wait for another day.

Photo: Bob Hanham

Photo: Bob Hanham

Bishop vs El Phantasmo

Garbage Bishop with his garbage music beat El Phantasmo, the shining beacon of light in ECCW. He did this because his garbage friend The Natch distracted the ref so garbage Bishop could low blow El P right in his ‘tasmos, leading to the win.

The match was actually really good. Bishop and El P did an extended series of trying to one up each other, but not in the same way Spencer and Creed did. Spencer and Creed tried out wrestling each other. El P and Bishop were trying to out-man each other.

They took turns landing chops, punches, and shoulder blocks as they tried to prove who the better man was. The entire time this was going down, I kept thinking “When is El P going to grab his nipples” because if there is one thing El P loves, its nipple twisting. All day he thinks about milking things.

Lo and behold, it would happen mere moments later. Now, I sometimes get on El P for his comedy in matches, but this comedy didn’t feel forced or contrived, it happened properly in the flow of the match, so I thought it worked really well.

Bishop, when paired with a Spencer or El P, trading offense back and forth, is my favorite Bishop. Again, he is very sure of himself as a wrestler, and he’s very good at giving off a vibe of an “epic” fight. At one point he screamed “I HATE YOU” at El P after he couldn’t put him away, and it got a huge laugh from the crowd.

I assume El P and Bishop are going to continue feuding, and I am all for that. It gives me a chance to see El P get his revenge and it makes sense for a rivalry.

I will give credit to Bish for choosing really good entrance music as well. He updated it to a new song and it’s very catchy.

But he’s still a garbage jerk person.

Highlight of the match? Bishop raking El P’s face across the ropes and El P giving out a high pitched scream while this happened. It was surprising and made me laugh quite heartily.

Second Round

Photo: Bob Hanham

Photo: Bob Hanham

Artemis Spencer vs Alex Plexis

I thought Plexis was going to have a stronger showing, but alas Angry Arty was too much for Plexis to handle on the night.

Coming out to ol’ Stompa, Plexis looked like he had everything under control, but Angry Arty is a vicious beast, and he would not be stopped. You know Angry Arty has arrived when he runs really fast at people sitting in chairs.

The match had your usual high flying Spencer moves, coupled with your weasel like Plexis counters, and was a solid match. Alas, Spencer took out both members of the West Coast Express, thus once again reminding them that maybe naming themselves after a Canucks line that always choked in the playoffs was possibly a poor idea.

Artemis Spencer, who claimed he wouldn’t miss shaking my hand, did indeed miss shaking my hand after this match, thus shattering my trust, and sending me into months of therapy.

I trusted you Arty. I trusted you.

Highlight of the match? For some reason there were a bunch of orange peels on the ground, and as Cassidy was running away from Spencer (he did this often) he just randomly screamed out “There are orange peels everywhere!” which again, struck me as super super funny.

Photo: Bob Hanham

Photo: Bob Hanham

Billy Suede vs Nicole Matthews

Looking to complete the sweep of the Wise Men, Nicole Matthews brought her A game to this match up. Not her sweater A game, which was non existent, but she brought her wrestling A game, emasculating a cocky Billy Suede at every corner.

There was a nice throwback to the earlier Baroni/Matthews match, when Suede tried to use Mandy as cover, but Mandy said “eff that” got out of the way…only to once again get clocked by Matthews.

The two were good at verbalizing in the ring, with Matthews taunting Suede, and Suede doing his growl/scream which at first I didn’t like, but now I kind of love? It’s very distinctive, and it’s super weird to hear Suede cut promos in it, but you know what? He owns it, and it makes him unique, so good on him. I kind of want to hear him in TV commercials now.

“LET ME TELL YOU SOMETHING, I’VE GOT MY ALPACA FUR COAT ON, AND THIS SUBWAY SANDWICH WITH TOP OF THE LINE OLIVES ON IT IS DEEEE LICIOUS.”

Matthews would eventually fall prey to Suede using the ropes for leverage, ending her night, and sending Suede to the finals.

bish

Photo: Bob Hanham

Ethan HD vs Bishop

This match was basically 90% watching Bishop beat the crap out of Ethan HD, then watching Ethan pull out an upset victory, with a pretty sick curb stomp. That’s right folks, ECCW doesn’t ban curb stomps, it encourages them! That’s why you have to start watching ECCW.

The match itself was my least favorite kind of Bishop match. Some matches he’s aces, in other matches he gets stuck in a long, drawn out beat down of his opponent where it a) goes on really long and b) makes him look kinda weak because he can’t put the other guy away.

For a guy his size, you for sure want him having dominating spots. But when all he’s doing is destroying a smaller guy and that dude keeps kicking out, it kind of lessens the impact of Bish in my eyes. I just think sometimes Bishop should have some more quicker victories to help keep him built up as a powerhouse.

I understand the story line was Ethan having no chance, and pulling off the upset victory. And having him get beaten up raises the sympathy level, which makes the fans cheer him on. I just wish the initial beat down hadn’t gone on so long?

Anyhow, this was the match that firmly put Ethan over as a face, as garbage Natch got involved and tried being a cheating jerk, but luckily HD was able to overcome it all and pull out the victory. It did a great job cementing HD as someone you can cheer for. Ethan began using more and more high flying moves, something he doesn’t do when he’s running amok with the Gunz.

Photo: Bob Hanham

Photo: Bob Hanham

#1 Contenders Match Cunninghams vs Good Brothers vs House of Santiago

Santiago came out before the match and cut a promo, but I was in the washroom, so I missed it. The end result was I believe him bragging how he could win the tag titles with any partner? Anyhow, Lak Saddartha, a guy who screams a lot and is covered in what looks like oil, came out to be his partner for the match.

As for the match itself, it was a chaotic three way tag team match. I am sure they weren’t given a ton of time, and the match didn’t stand out in any way, but it did give the obvious conclusion of the Good Brothers winning. They had recently “beat” the West Coast Express for the titles only to have that overturned, so it makes sense for that story line to continue.

The Cunninghams, as always, continue to be my favorite tag team to watch, as they are always pulling off great interactive tag team moves. Carl jumping off the top of Jack’s shoulders always makes for a great spectacle, and kudos to Carl for landing a really hard looking corner splash. Jack also had awesome ring gear I had not seen before.

I just wish Carl would start using submissions, because he has god damn “The Catch” on his shorts, so let him start wrecking dudes limbs! Carl does the high spots, but he doesn’t embrace those moments like El P does. You can see in his eyes he’d rather be listening to a podcast on knitting, or maybe preparing his taxes. He’s a methodical, safety oriented kind of guy. Let him showcase some submissions and be a guy on the team who uses his brains to take people apart, while Jack is the guy who is fueled on passion and red bull.

Highlight of the night? Carl getting clotheslined out of the ring, but not having enough momentum to quite get over the rope. He teetered and tottered and used every muscles in his body to try and turn himself over the rope before finally falling to the floor. It was perhaps the biggest battle of the night.

Finals

Photo: Bob Hanham

Photo: Bob Hanham

Ethan H.D. vs Artemis Spencer vs Billy Suede

The match started off slowly, but built up to the perfect crescendo. It was a great way to end the night. All three guys played their roles very well.

Suede: Greasy heel. Asked Ethan HD to team up with him to start the match, was always looking to get ahead in the numbers game. At one point Spencer teamed up with him for a moment and Suede yells out “FINALLY!”, which was awesome. Suede had the strongest night of anyone of showcasing his personality in the ring on the night. Also came to the ring wearing a fur coat on top of a fur coat on top of a fur coat. It was a fur coat inception. Love that sort of attention to detail in buying into his own gimmick. Fully appreciated the effort.

Ethan HD: Rising new hero, pretended to agree to help Suede double team Arty, only to turn around and attack Suede, thus cementing him as a baby face. Also pulled out a shit ton of high spots in the match, stuff he normally keeps under wraps as a bad guy. He hit some crazy moves, and got over with the crowd. Which is impressive, because his Amerikan Gunz gimmick is a pretty good heel gimmick, I wondered if the crowd would let that go that easily.

Spencer: Angry Arty played the role of Canadian Champ perfectly. Looked great and was bringing the offense to every person he fought. Did not hold back the entire night and really felt like he was going to win it all.

Until he failed. Not just himself. But Canada. Arty Spencer failed all of Canada, and allowed the first American ever to win the Pac Cup.

After the match Spencer and Ethan had a bit of a stare down, and it looks like they will be facing off April 9th for the Canadian title. Will Arty let Canada down once again, and lose the Canadian tile next?? You’ll have to buy tickets to the show to find out!

But yes, the Finals was a lot of fun and was a great way to end the night. It’s tough to pull off multiple matches in one night, but I think they did a commendable job. The first round of matches were still my favorite, and I ended up enjoying this years Pac Cup more than last years.

Stuff like this?

Pretty damn cool. Ethan HD is more than a worthy champion of the Pac Cup, and I cannot wait to see how his singles run plays out.

Also of note, after the celebration, Ethan’s partner Santiago came out for a stare down that led to…. a hug? Yes, for now Santiago is very supportive. Will that continue, though? Should be interesting to find out.

Looking to get out to a show? Check out ECCW.com for a show near you!

 

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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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