ECCW: High Definition Review (2016)

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ECCW just announced its next Ballroom Brawl show (Ballroom Brawl 6, July 16th, a the Commodore) which means the story-line journey to the big show is slowly starting to come together.

At ECCW: High Definition, you could start to see pieces begin to line up, and the guessing game of who will face who at the big show has begun.

So what went down at the show on Saturday? Did El P grab some nipples? Did Carl lose a headband? Did Artemis Spencer redeem himself? Read on to find out!

Pete Powers vs Andy Bird

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Photo: Mary Diaz

Quick back story of this match is that Pete Powers was suspended from the Pac Cup tourney this year, due to multiple attacks and maimings of ECCW officials because Pete is a God and how dare mere mortals tell him what to do.

Andy took his place in the Pac Cup and it was like if some human wandered into Zeus’ home and decided to crack a beer and use his toilet and then didn’t even bother to flush. Andy Bird dropped a deuce in Pete Powers toilet is what I’m saying. Guaranteed to piss the big guy off. So Pete took exception, and attempted to break the Bird in half at the Pac Cup.

So this match, Andy should be pretty angry. He had his chances at becoming a star at the Pac Cup stolen from him. Normally he’s one of the happiest guys on the roster. He comes out, flaps his arms, smiles at the crowd, and exudes a “I’m just happy to be here” vibe. This is why it was great to see him angry in this match, as he didn’t even wait for the bell to ring before he was laying in punches on Powers. He didn’t even take his arm flair off, which is how you know he was serious. It paid respect to the story-line, which I am always about.

I thought the match was excellent. Andy looked strong, and he got in some offense, and it wasn’t offense that Pete had to oversell. It just looked like a really angry dude trying to get revenge.

Powers, who fell to a knee on the initial burst of Andy offense, waited it out, and when he did land offense, it was decisive. Pete is a powerful looking dude, I liked how Andy would try a flurry of offense and then it would just take one move from Pete to slow things down again. I loved it. Pete was also very vocal this match, which I also really dug. He can do the silent monster thing really well, but I like the fact he’s showing frustration right now. He is someone who still can’t understand why he hasn’t taken over the world yet, and is almost angry he has to fight people he finds beneath him. Him overly taunting his opponents plays into this and makes his current story-line more dynamic for me.

And while Andy tried his best, not many can survive a BaneBreaker, much less Kris Kassidy running interference on the outside. Powers got the win, and as is tradition, spat on his opponent. Then Bird spat back at Powers as he walked away and started doing crotch chops on the ground, which Powers did not see. I feel Andy is lucky this wasn’t seen, because god knows what Powers would have done. Swung him by his hair into the rafters?

And as is now becoming a horrifying new Powers tradition, he left the ring and stared me down. I avoided eye contact and prayed he would walk away, ready to drop into the fetal position at a moments notice. I want to show him I am 100% on Team Powers but he’s a malevolent creature so I don’t know how to do this without angering him further.

The Cunninghams vs Galaxy Khash…King X…Shoes and Glasses?

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Photo: Mary Diaz

CHams took on Shoes and Glasses, and when I first heard about this match, my first thought was “Why would Galaxy and Khash team up?” Do they play Settlers of Catan together? I need to know more.

So when Galaxy took the mic and dropped a promo before the match to address it, I was pleased. Give me something to connect a plot point, make any effort, and it goes a long way. Long story short, Galaxy explained that Khash is good wrestling, and he wanted to team up with that. Good enough for me, makes sense that vain Galaxy who isn’t strong in the ring would want to find some muscle to back him up.

The Cunninghams response? Dead silence. They don’t get to talk, they just have to make threatening stares at people. Well, Carl does. Jack just screams at them.

Also, the CHams came out and Carl didn’t hop on Jack’s back. It was a weird night, folks.

The match itself was a bit of a squash. It was a tight match, executed in a timely manner by the Cunninghams. Did Khash make noises like a snake? You bet he did. Galaxy at one yelled something along the lines of “Here comes the Milky Way!” before running and delivering a bronco buster on Carl which, I won’t lie, I laughed pretty hard at. Galaxy is really good at getting his character over and picking his spots well with his lines in the matches I have seen.

The move of the match for me was a head-scissors takedown by Carl, executed on the King of Snakes, where he literally just stopped in the air and looked like he was posing for Playgirl, before wiggling his hips and finishing the move. Glorious.

The CHams got the easy win, which they should being the established tag team, and away they went. Jack, shaking the hands of people who came out to see him, and Carl, glaring at his opponents and refusing to shake the hands of anyone.

Also, Carl’s headband survived the entire match, which is a rare sight.

Alex Plexis vs Nicole Matthews

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Photo: Mary Diaz

The most hated man in ECCW, Alex Plexis, took on Nicole Matthews, as former Riot BFF’s continue to throw down.

It was your traditional “heel vs face” match, with Plexis using the ropes to his advantage to get a break. At one point Plexis demanded Sweatervest tell the crowd that he is in fact not an asshole. There were many claims of hair pulls.

Matthews, who has been swimming in a void of no storylines since her Cat Powers feud, took the loss on the night. I was surprised because Plexis really really struggled to unzip his vest before his match, which usually means he is taking the loss.

I don’t have a ton more to say on the match purely because, yeah, I have zero idea what the implications of the match are. Plexis is tag team based right now, so his storylines lay in that direction, so I was kind of hoping to see more WCE. They’re the tag champs and we’ve barely seen them wrestle together. The vibe of Plexis and Creed being stronger apart than together continues to be there for me.

I honestly don’t know where Matthews is headed for the Brawl, I think more shows will be needed to clear that up. I assume Bayszler vs Matthews 3 isn’t happening yet, so I am interested to see what road Nicole takes to end up at Brawl. If we don’t see her smirking in the ring at Brawl then someone hasn’t done their job properly.

Four Way Frenzy – Suede vs Adonis vs Creed vs Everest

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Photo: Mary Diaz

This match was a fun chaotic mess. Not a wrestling classic by any means, but a four way frenzy was a good choice as a bit of a palette cleanser on the show. Big spots, dives to the outside, chaotic action…I enjoyed it.

A match like this is also a great match for Adonis to shine in. Guy not only has a great look, but he’s super good at hitting splashy spots in the match. I thought at one point he was going to do a standing moonsault but instead he busted out a bunch of spins and shit, and I lost my mind and started fist pumping like an idiot, looking around me to make sure other people saw what I saw. Sign of a good move.

Everyone except Adonis (forever alone) had a friend on the outside for the match.

Everest had Max Pesky Payne:

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Suede had Baroni for hug support.

Creed had Plexis, Kassidy and his briefcase.

This just added to the chaos and helped cement the alliances. I was surprised the Good Brothers didn’t have more interactions with WCE, as they are facing off for the titles soon. It was in fact kind of weird they didn’t really get too involved with each other, aside from a bit of jawing here and there.

The worst part of the match was when Creed threw his junk streamers. Yes, he looped it through the rafters, and his aim was true. But he threw red streamers, not purple ones. The purple junk streamer streak is over. I swear to god my face looked like shocked Undertaker fans after his streak was snapped.

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Suede picked up the win (I thought either Adonis or Suede would get it), and after the match Baroni demanded a title shot at whomever the champs are after WCE and Good Brothers face off, based on how hot Suede has been lately. This is another case of this odd dynamic of single wrestlers being stronger apart from their tag team, and not seeing a whole lot from the tag team in question.

Right away your instinct tells you Good Brothers will win the titles, because WCE vs Wise Men would be tough to sell with two hated heel teams facing off, and neither really looks primed for a face turn. But we shall see.

El Phantasmo Open Challenge – Gurv Sihra

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Photo: Mary Diaz

El P has been hosting “Open Challenges” (which Natch called “Open Contracts” later in the night much to my chagrin), and it’s been a lot like John Cena’s open challenges. El P isn’t going out there squashing people, he’s been having long matches and helping his opponents look good against a top tier talent.

El P’s match against Xavier Galaxy in New West is a good example. Galaxy got to go a long time in the ring with El P, and even though it had a lot of comedy in it, was still good for Galaxy to get that exposure and not just lose in a few minutes.

Tonight, the challenge was answered by none other than Bollywood Boy Gurv Sihra, which was interesting. B Boyz are so over with the crowd that it was interesting to see which side the fans would choose. For the most part it was split, though I will say Gurv had a ton of support from the fans.

Despite El P not doing his moonsault from the top rope to turn on the lights, despite El P’s jacket having the tubing on the shoulder sticking out like a hot mess, it was still a great match. Not only with the in ring action, but the ring gear as well. El P with his neon green vs Gurv with his neon pink? That’s the height of wrestling color porn right there.

It was a long match, and it started off slow. They built up to the end nicely. I like the fact El P didn’t use big spots a lot in this match, it was fun to see him grind it out a bit. As for Gurv, I liked the fact he didn’t show any respect to El P, and when the match had to get vicious, he was right there with El P, going toe to toe with him. He even listened to crowd suggestions and attacked El P’s back when a fan loudly, and continuously, demanded someone break someones back.

At one point El P did his slow motion matrix chops, where yes, I died inside and openly hated him. Gurv got into the act and did a slow motion dance. The crowd slowly chanted Butter Chicken. I can appreciate how it all came together, but I’d rather that not happen in these open challenges. God damn comedy bits.

At one point the match got to an area where you thought to yourself “Is this going too long?” before both men ramped it up and hit that spot where the fans were chanting “This is awesome!”

Match ended with El P busting out his combo top rope finishers (swanton and moonsault from opposite corners). Both men shook hands after the match. Hugs were shared. Tears shed.

I really liked the match. I was surprised Gurv came out, but I really liked it. It felt special seeing Gurv step out of the tag team ranks to gun for the ECCW title, and helped show how important that title is, that people will do anything to win it.

Bishop vs Chris Voros

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Photo: Mary Diaz

Scotty Mac (w/ Dropkick Murphy) came out before the match and explained he’s still on the shelf, but when he is medically cleared, he is going to kick some ass again. Then he introduced the “Club Bish” section of Chill Town, Bishop, a man with music that isn’t quite number one in ECCW yet.

In the time it took you to read that paragraph, Bishop beat Chris Voros.

Well, not really. Jordana Pratt, my official time keeper, tells me it took him only five minutes to beat Chris. When Bishop faced Patrick recently, it took 12 minutes, so at least now we know who the better Twin is. Chris is Matt Hardy.

Bishop has also been stuck in that “no storyline” vortex before the El P stuff started happening. He had matches that were long, drawn out beat downs that I didn’t really like because it makes Bishop look weak to take that long to beat somebody up. And the other guy doesn’t look that great either because he’s just in there getting trucked by Bishop (RIP Carl).

This Bishop I saw tonight? That is the Bishop I love. This was “Rookie Killer” Bishop. This was Bishop toying with his food a bit before putting him away. Also, his interactions with Scotty, Natch, and Dropkick were amazing. At one point Bishop nailed Voros and then asked his corner if he had done good, eyes pleading with them to reassure him. His ability to show vulnerability like that is peak Bishop for me. He’s a bully, but deep down, his bullying is driven by insecurities, you know?

Anyways, Bishop put away Voros with a Bishop Bomb, and that was that.

Until Scotty Mac got in the ring and hit Voros with a Bishop Bomb of his own. He then asked Bishop if his Bishop Bomb was better than Bish’s. He demanded Bishop tell him this several times.

Right away my ears perked up and I started loving this segment. Two heels, two bullies, going at each other a bit? Who will win this alpha male showdown? It was actually one of the most intriguing moments on the night for me, seeing some cracks in the foundation of the Scotty/Bishop alliance.

Bish backed down a bit, and claimed he didn’t see the Bishop Bomb so he couldn’t rate it properly. Sneaky move, but smart.

Scotty Mac went to deliver another Bishop Bomb but Voros struggled out of it, so Smaccy hit him with a Super Kick instead. “BALLGAME MAGGLE” if you’re JBL.

Afterwards, Natch said that Bishop was taking El P up on the open challenge on May 14th ECCW: Redemption. Scotty Mac looked a bit upset upon hearing that.

And that was that. Both groups went to the back to the sweet, top three possibly, but not quite number one music of “Who gon stop me”.

Ravenous Randy (With Kevin Banner, local comedian) vs The Ladies Choice

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Photo: Mary Diaz

Background of this is basically a cross promotion given a quick story-line. Kevin Banner does an event called Ring a Ding Dong Dandy where he partakes in riffing on classic wrestling clips with other comedians, and the story is Ladies Choice does not appreciate wrestling being made fun of.

So instead of having LC beat up Banner, Ravenous Randy, the assigned ECCW Celebrity Protector, fought on his behalf.

I won’t lie, I completely checked out during this match. I had zero interest in it, and even though I applaud the cross promoting being done (Banner advertises ECCW at his show, and vice versa) i just…yeah. Didn’t like the match. Didn’t like the placement of the match. I think this match killed the energy leading into the main event. Much rather have seen this match way earlier on the card.

Match ended when Banner hit a low blow on Ladies Choice when the ref wasn’t looking (or was knocked out? I don’t know, I blanked out during this one), giving Randy the 1,2,3.

Artemis Spencer vs Ethan HD – Canadian Championship Match

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Photo: Mary Diaz

Fallen Canadian Hero Artemis Spencer was last seen against Ethan HD losing the Pac Cup. He rebounded with some nice wins over Bishop and Pete Powers, but there has still been a sadness looming over Arty. A sadness of knowing he had let his nation down.

Still, he had a big chance to redeem himself by taking on Ethan HD and proving that in a one on one match up, Arty is still the Canadian champ we need. He even used his orange gatorade gear, which gives him +5 to his jumping ability.

Ethan HD, who we are used to seeing as an Amerikan Gun, is now a baby face. He had an inspirational video played during the night, he came out to new inspirational music. He ran around the rings high fiving people (totally left me hanging, though, so he’s still an Amerikan Gun to me)…it’s a bit jarring to be honest? It’s a small quibble, but it’s a bit of a quick transition to have this Canada hating, gun toting villain win a Pac Cup and then all of a sudden he loves us.

And I understand, in wrestling, alliance changes are par for the course. I just wish they had slow played it a bit and let it happen more organically. Especially when Ethan’s first big match is up against babyface supreme Artemis Spencer. Things got weird when some of the crowd was chanting “USA!” to Ethan. I think he has the potential to be a monster baby face, it just could have been drawn out longer.

Anyways, the match itself had a bit of trouble because it was a long night of wrestling, and in many ways it resembled the El P vs Gurv match. It had a slow build that eventually hit that “This is awesome!” moment, but it suffered from a tired crowd, and a weak lead in.

The match itself was good. Again, for some reason, I can’t stop thinking about how much I loved Spencer’s match against Bishop in New West, so I always put things up against that bar. So while I didn’t love it as much as that match, I did enjoy this one. It’s hard not to enjoy an Arty match to be honest. Ethan, who has some sick offense, is getting a chance to showcase it more and more now, which I love.

Despite the slow start, they built up to a great finish, and at one point Arty locked in a kind of arm triangle on Ethan, and I was convinced we were about to see the Stone Cold passes out finish. Arty gets his win, Ethan looks like a champ for not tapping, that sort of deal.

Except Ethan fought out of it. And then Ethan started mounting his offense. Then Ethan curb stomped Arty. He curb stomped him much like Arty curb stomped Canada’s hearts when he promptly lost 1,2,3 to Ethan HD. In the middle of the ring.

Ethan HD. New ECCW Canadian Champ.

Artemis Spencer has now lost the Pac Cup and the Canadian title to an American. Artemis Spencer, born and raised in Vancouver. A man who understands how little Vancouver wins much of anything. A man who understands the importance of pride in this city.  A man who knows the desire to win that is almost overwhelming at times in this city. All of that was riding on his shoulders and he couldn’t take it. He folded under pressure. He lost.

There are so few reliable things in this city. High gas prices. An over abundance of yoga mats. And Arty Spencer. Those were the things we could always rely on. And now? Now our hearts are as empty as the souls of the local Starbucks baristas.

You either die a hero or live long enough to become the villain.

As for Ethan HD, I am really looking forward to him moving on and feuding with a natural heel. Really cement home the fact Ethan is someone you want to cheer on, and put that Gunz past behind him. Someone like, say….Pete Powers?

Think about it. Pete needs a direction. Ethan’s offense against a monster like Pete would be delightful. And Ethan is one of the best sellers in ECCW. He doesn’t Dolph Ziggler it and shoot himself out of a cannon, he instead has this great ability to ragdoll himself at a moments notice. Honestly, over the last year I’ve watched Ethan, he has made so many people around him look so much better by selling their offense and ragdolling the shit out of himself. I am super excited to see Ethan go toe to toe with someone, and I think Pete would be a great choice. Also, there is history between Kassidy and Ethan as well (and Santiago is still in the mix, it makes for a bunch of ways they could go with it).

As for Artemis?

I don’t even know what to say. Where does he go from here? Can he even go anywhere from here? I’m sorry, I’m still not over it.

Awards of the Night

Match of the Night:

Pete Powers vs Andy Bird

I’m going to go with what a friend told me and agree that this was the best match of the night. Not only for the fact it didn’t drag on, but because it showed a different side of Andy Bird, and both guys came out of the match looking strong. Arty vs Ethan and El P vs Gurv were both great matches, but for their spot on the card, Andy vs Pete deserve some love.

 

Personality of the Night:

Bishop

Bishop was on a bit of cold streak for a while to me, but tonight was Ultimate Bishop. Loved all of his work tonight, he couldn’t have done things better in my eyes. Nothing was too drawn out, it was just Bishop reacting to things, and showing some vulnerability and I loved it. His need for approval coupled with not knowing how to react to Scotty Mac getting in his face was great.

Also, watching him sing his theme song as he walks out always amuses me.

 

Story-line of the Night:

Artemis Spencer losing the Canadian Championship.

Ethan HD is in the midst of a mega push, so the pressure is squarely on his shoulders to take it and run with it. It was a shocking title change, but one that will hopefully elevate Ethan HD. You win the Pac Cup and the Canadian Championship, that means big things are expected of you, but I think Ethan can meet those expectations and even rise above them.

I also have no idea what direction Arty is going to head in, and what path he will take to the Ballroom Brawl, so I am interested in how that plays out as well. Maybe he realizes that at one point he held both major titles in ECCW and that Scotty Mac was the guy who ruined his life and started this downfall and cost him both titles. I think there is some unfinished business between those two. Angry Arty is the best Arty.

 

Move of the Night:

Kris Kassidy – Slide into ring

OK, so Nelson Creed comes out for his entrance, and he is hastily putting his cloak of invisibility on, and starts walking to the ring. Then a look of panic and fear hits his eyes and he calls over Kassidy and whispers urgently in his ear. Kassidy takes off to the back, running as fast as he can, and Creed starts walking slowly to the ring.

I watch Creed, forgetting about Kassidy, when all of a sudden I literally see Kassidy flying through the air beside me. He flies through the air, slides into the ring like a god damn boss, and hands Creed’s tag team belt over to Nelson.

You have to understand, I was sitting on the far end of the row, with one leg sticking out. The ring post wasn’t very far from my leg. The amount of room to actually dive between my leg and said ring post was tiny. Yet there was Kassidy, flying faster than any human should fly, perfectly into the ring, and sliding perfectly to Creed’s feet. It was like a bomb was about to go off, but Kassidy got there just in time. I have never seen something so heroic in ECCW in my life.

It. Was. Amazing.

If ever there was any doubt who the best manager in ECCW is (and there shouldn’t be) that move alone just cemented it for me.

 

Entrance of the Night:

Alex Plexis

Kassidy coming out with a cane and doing synchronized “Stompa Stomps” (I have no idea what to call it) with Plexis along the stage was hilarious.

 

Wrestler of the Night:

 

Air Adonis

Look, I actively spazzed out and demanded “DID YOU SEE THAT??” from three people after he hit a move. If that doesn’t deserve wrestler of the night, I don’t know what does.

This award will usually go to the guy who wrestled the best, but sometimes it will be handed out to the person, who for whatever random reason, captured my imagination.

Sometimes it’s about those moments where a wrestler makes you mark out like you’re five that get you wrestler of the night, you know?

 

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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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