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ECWA Super 8 LOOK-BACK Review: 2005!

by on April 29, 2011

PRE-SHOW STUFF:
-The show opens with Christopher Daniels cutting a promo on the ECWATron about the importance of the Super 8 Tournament. The audio/video sync is WAY off, so it looks kind of funny. If he isn’t blatantly reading off of a script with his delivery, he’s an AWFUL improv actor and cheesy dialogue writer (After listing off the achievements of past winners, he slings the TNA X belt over his shoulder and goes, “As for me…I’ve won a match or two since then. *cheesy smile*”.
-We go to a recap of last month’s storyline events, including their champion Scotty Charisma winning a legit bodybuilding contest somewhere in Delaware.
-Wait, there’s more! They showed video of their new tag champs, the Valevictorians, celebrating the win by going to TGIFriday’s in full costume with their belts and high-fiving each other like madmen. This is beautiful stuff.
-Oooh, the Summit this year is a tag team battle royal (which I’m a huge mark for, going back to the Wrestlemania 14 tag team battle royal).
-This year’s competitors, as shown in the pre-match video (including TNA footage taped off of the Sunshine network and footage blatantly downloaded from the internet):
Alex Shelley
Rory Fox
Tyson Dux (looking half the size he does now)
Andrew Ryker (a local who got a HUGE pop when his name was shown, showing how much this crowd cared about internet stuff)
JJ Perez (an APW guy from California who I LOVED for a long time)
Puma (who oddly enough got as big of a pop as Ryker)
Eric Matlock (who wrestles for OVW now as Rudy Switchblade and REALLY needs more exposure than he’s getting)
Petey Williams (who they just used bootlegged IWA Mid-South footage for, despite them having a ton of TNA footage for Shelley)
-The pimply-faced teenage ring announcer calls out ECWA commissioner Jim Kettner and Ace Darling for the traditional photo-op before the tournament.
-The sound guy keeps restarting “Sirius” by the Alan Parsons Project each time a new guy comes out, even though it’s the across-the-board song for the photo-op segment.
-Some heckler in the crowd either LOVES Ace Darling or hates him so much that he feels the need to sarcastically shout his love constantly for the guy.
-I miss the days of Alex Shelley looking like an ugly teenager girl.
-Keeping up with the theme from 1997, Ace Darling leans on the ropes during our country’s anthem. I wonder how awkward Petey Williams felt during this part. More indie groups need to play the national anthem before their shows.

First Round:
ERIC “Misfit” MATLOCK vs PUMA
-WOW. They have name graphics this year that don’t look like they were typed on a typewriter.
-When Matlock climbed into the ring, the ECWATron read, “KIDS! Please don’t do drugs!”.
-Matlock jumps Puma at the bell and hits a gorgeous Malenko-style gutbuster.
-CRUD! Matlock tried the TAKA Michinoku-style Spaceman dive, but slipped off the ropes and could’ve snapped his ankle on the landing (the benefit of watching this six years later is knowing that guys don’t die).
-Puma busted out the sweet Sayama-style bellbottom tights for the occasion.
-Has TJ Perkins ever not been silky-smooth? He’s looking like a world-beater so far.
-I’m digging this match since they’re doing the modern-style junior heavyweight stuff, but they’re structuring it within a defined face/heel match so that the kid-based crowd can get behind it. Smart thinking.
-Puma Perkins busts out the Jody Fleisch Springboard 720 Tornado DDT!
-After some really quick roll-ups back and forth, Puma busts out a gorgeous La Magistral for the win! Really good showcase for Puma in the opener!

First Round:
J.J. PEREZ vs TYSON DUX
-Seriously, I can’t believe this is the same Tyson Dux who was in ROH last year. I understand people change in six years, but this looks like a COMPLETELY different human being, from the hair to the body to even the face kinda-sorta.
-More guys need to cut up tube socks and use them as femme-looking kickpads as Dux did on this show.
-Perez busts out a nifty move, where after failing to keep Dux down doing that spot where you’re sitting and the opponent’s laying in front of you, with you pulling his arms out and your feet buried in his shoulders, he changes it to a reverse headscissors before turning it over into a camel clutch. Say that five times fast.
-Guys who throw punches to the forehead are a HUGE pet peeve of mine (which I was reminded of since Dux just threw ten of them). If I punch you in the forehead, I’m hitting you in the HARDEST PART OF YOUR HEAD. If this were a real fight, I’d hurt my hand and only really bruise your face a little.
-Perez busted out a really cool double-underhook surfboard move that I’m surprised no one stole.
-These guys are doing the more “two indie dudes in tights going out and competiting”-style match than Matlock and Puma and you can tell by the crowd reaction. There’s ooh’s and ahh’s, but the crowd’s not with the ebbs and flows.
-Dux just DESTROYED Perez with a nasty superplex-style DDT off of the top rope.
-I got a chuckle out of Perez selling a Polish Hammer as much as he did the top rope DDT.
-These guys are moving so fast and not really stopping to sell anything, so some of the stuff’s going by like a real blur.
-Perez wins with a Kurt Angle-style run up the ropes into an Ace Crusher. I was disappointed to an extent. The execution of the moves was perfectly fine, but no substance to speak of (and they did nothing so cool that it overshadowed it).
They’re now playing the annual Super 8 history video on the big screen. You’d think they’d play this at the beginning of the show. As behind the times as the ECWA was conceived as being after the super-indies broke out, they really were more ahead of their time, both for sticking with the family-friendly thing at a time where more people are going with it AND their use of the big screen to play promos and edited music videos. It was SO weird that Psicosis was in the 2004 version of the tournament.

First Round:
ALEX SHELLEY vs ANDREW RYKER
-Andrew Ryker and Archibald Peck/Robert Evans MUST be the same person. No two people can be built like that and have that haircut.
-Shelley isn’t really dumbing down his stuff, but they’re pacing it right to where Ryker doesn’t look lost doing the British chain stuff. They’re trying to pace the match for the local fans who love Ryker, but this is the first match where an “internet guy” (Shelley) is getting far bigger reactions than you’d think for a guy who’s never worked there before (especially considering I thought the bus trips to the Super 8 had died out by this point).
-Ryker just BLASTED Shelley in the head with a knee to the nose on a corkscrew pescado.
-A cool spot goes down that blows my mind that no one’s ever stolen, where Shelley threw Ryker in under the bottom rope, but Ryker swung his legs around and kicked Shelley in the face.
-Shelley works over Ryker’s arm with various wacky holds that Alex Shelley was using on the regular in 2005.
-Ryker busts out an oddly heelish move during his comeback where he does the jumping knee in the corner, then holds his knee up against Shelley’s face and cranks his jaw.
-The most heat on this show so far is for the nearfalls and every time Ryker comes close to beating Shelley, the crowd gets more supportive for Shelley (which, I’m guessing, is the exact opposite reaction they were hoping for).
-OH CRAP! Ryker slipped trying a 450 and narrowly avoided breaking his neck. Shelley dives right in to get the Border City Stretch for the win.
-Best match on the show because of Shelley, but Ryker looked so awkward and green at points. His gawkiness didn’t help matters.

First Round:
RORY FOX vs PETEY WILLIAMS
-I mentioned how there was a referee in Insanity Pro Wrestling that looked like Timothy Stack from Son of the Beach. Rory is so jacked to the gills that he looked like Roland Kickinger (the Arnold Schwartenegger look-a-like from the same show).
-With Petey being so small and Fox looking like he’s 250 pounds of muscle, they look so awkward working even with each other.
-Oddly enough, Fox just stood up straight and he’s not THAT much taller than Petey, but his arms are so long and he’s so thick that he looks ridiculously bigger.
-Fox busted out one of my favorite spots in wrestling: the reverse neck snap over the top rope, so the person taking it takes a big front bump.
-EEEP. Fox just slipped trying a double-jump moonsault out of the corner. Baby oil plus huge muscles do not make for agility.
-Fox is notably blown up at this point and is just doing enough to keep the match moving.
-I forgot Petey Williams’ old rope-pulling technique before he’d try for the Canadian Destroyer.  Judging by how dead it died in front of this crowd, I can see why he dropped it.
-They had a cute false finish that probably should’ve been the finish, where Petey faked having a broken ankle and rolled to ringside, then Fox turned his back during the count since he assumed he won. Petey rolled back into the ring and asked the referee to keep counting, then went for the Destroyer when Fox turned around…only to be rolled up.
-They did a couple of more unnecessary nearfalls before Williams hit the Canadian Destroyer for the win.
-My least favorite match on the show so far. Fox was TERRIBLE and maybe in my bottom three worst Super 8 competitors ever. They didn’t click and Fox was SUCH a generic musclehead who bulked up so much that he couldn’t move.

Semi-Final:
J.J. PEREZ vs PUMA
-NorCal vs SoCal, man. These two worked together a ton at APW (and I think a match between these two got Perez booked on this show).
-Puma/Perkins working a Greco-Roman knucklelock is better than ninety percent of the rest of this show so far.
-Best chemistry of the tournament so far is between these two easily. They look so smooth together, it’s ridiculous.
-Perez just took a tope suicida to nowhere-type bump being thrown out of the ring.
-They’re working that super-serious, athletic style, but they’re working at a level above everyone else so far, which seems to be bringing even the little kids who probably normally wouldn’t be into this, along for the ride.
-Much like his first round match, they seem to be building this around how dynamic Puma’s offense is.
-The ECWA is apparently governed by Mexico’s wrestling commission, since the referee keeps threatening to disqualify Perez for going to Puma’s mask.
-There’s a REALLY young-sounding contingent of the crowd that’s super into Puma and chanting “Please Don’t Tap!” as Perez has him in a Texas Cloverleaf.
-Puma’s first cruddy-looking move of the whole night came on a top rope dropkick that barely looked like it connected.
-Perez tried for the step-up Ace Crusher from his prior match, but got shoved off of the ropes. Puma hit a 450 for the win. A solid match, but they seemed to have twelve minutes of stuff for a fifteen minute match, so it dragged at the end.

Semi-Final Match:
ALEX SHELLEY vs PETEY WILLIAMS
-Shelley came out wearing a lovely poop-colored gatorskin trenchcoat. I want three.
-Eff that previous noise: Shelley & Williams blatantly have the best chemistry on this show (for obvious reasons). The only possible issue I have is occasionally, they do things just to have a transition for their next hold (lots of wristlocks that are barely cranked).
-They get a standing ovation for a mirror sequence.
-Petey Williams really dislikes cranking on holds. He has Shelley in maybe the single loosest stranglehold choke I’ve ever seen.
-They’re clearly going with the flow of the crowd, as they’ve reversed roles from the previous round (Petey’s working subtle heel and while Shelley’s doing little things to rile up the crowd, he’s blatantly doing spots to garner fan support). Either that or I’m giving them too much credit.
-Shelley hits kind of a cool move where he reverses Petey blocking his headscissors attempt out of the corner by pushing himself off and landing in a reverse DDT on Williams. He follows up by yelling “RECKLESS YOUTH!” and busting out the top rope frog splash.
-It feels like they’ve been doing nearfalls for fifteen minutes. I’m sure it hasn’t been that long, but I’m just not feeling this match. Physically, they have great chemistry, but I really expected a neat little chain-wrestling exchange (like they did at IWA around this time in the Indiana State Title Tournament), but instead I’m getting TNA Finisher Fest ’05 where moves are just happening…and happening…and happening.
-Williams goes over with a sunset flip cradle out of nowhere, which disappointed me since I forgot who was in the finals and absolutely wanted to see Alex Shelley and Puma tie each other into knots in the finals. Petey’s honestly had the worst run of matches heading into a final match that I’ve seen in the tournament’s history.

The Valevictorians are hanging out behind some counter…and they HAVE A RANDOM CRYING BABY WITH THEM. They legitimately don’t have an excuse for the baby being there, but they’re trying to do this serious promo with their manager while their manager explains how he manages another team in the upcoming tag team battle royal. This all leads to a gag where they use their manager’s robe to change the baby’s diaper. So ridiculously random, I enjoyed it.

TAG TEAM GAUNTLET
-The first team are called the Chick Magnets and I think have the dude without the beard from the Boogie Knights of USA Pro fame. Either way, there’s three guys, which I think is cheating or something.
-Team 2 is Mega of ROH bouncer fame and the JAPANESE POOL BOY dressed as Robin! AWESOME. Pool Boy’s offense is so bad that it’s perfect for the gimmick.
-TEAM THREE IS THE BEST TEAM EVER! Mr. Ooh La La (who bumped tripping out of the entrance) and a 400-pound old dude in a lumberjack costume named the Kodiak Bear. Kodiak Bear has an awesome gimmick: he’s so fat that if you hit him in the stomach, it hurts your fist.
-Team Four are two generic white dudes in matching red tights. Forget them, I’m focusing on Ooh La La and Japanese Pool Boy in the corner being awesome.
-Team Five are the Canadian Superstars, one of whom looks like his favorite wrestlers were AJ Styles and Scotty 2 Hotty. Ooh La La just got accidentally squashed by his own partner, then squashed by Mega, leading to his elimination.
-I think Team Six were announced as “The OC Club”, but absolutely came out to “Livin’ on a Prayer”. There’s SO much going on. This is getting bloated quickly.
-Team Seven are Prince Nana and some dude obscured in the shadows of the entranceway, taking their sweet time coming to the ring. Nana’s mega-over with the internet contingency.
-The Logan Brothers (who I think ended up being long-time staples of the ECWA) were out next and dumped the Canadians immediately. Now the Canadians are fighting the red-tights dudes at ringside. Actually, I think it’s just both red-tights guys and they’ve turned on each other.
-Team Nine are Mike Kruel & Xavier (who were not nearly as over with the hardcore fans as you’d think).
-Matt Striker and it looks like Cheetah Master or someone that looks JUST like him are number ten. BOOOO! Japanese Pool Boy got tossed. 😦 😦 😦
-Thomas Penmanship (who I think ended up being Tommaso Ciampa) and someone else are #11. Xavier trying to do moves but not having the room to pull them off is entertaining as heck.
-The twelth team consists of Chase del Monte and someone whose name sounded like “Sally Murtagough”. Prince Nana’s team, Penmanship’s team and Mike Kruel/Xavier all got tossed at the same time.
-The countdown played again, even though #12 was the final team. Some dude in blue tights just took a WICKED bump over the top rope for his elimination. Some huge black dude I’d never seen enter the match just flew over the top rope, as did Matt Striker.
-The Logan Brothers win the match (with Ace Darling randomly jumping in the ring after the final elimination) after eliminating the Chick Magnets. I’m SO upset I missed Mozart Fontaine in this match, as they cut to him walking backstage.

-They go back to the locker room, where the manager scolds the Valevictorians (of whom one of them is Robbie E. of TNA fame, I just figured out). The big gag is them putting the robe (of which they had to cut up to make the baby’s diaper) back on the manager.

ECWA Tag Team Titles:
THE LOGAN BROTHERS vs THE VALEVICTORIANS (Rob Eckos & Billy Bax)
-It should be an arrestable offense to splice up “Pomp & Circumstance” to use as an intro for an AWFUL 311 song for a wrestling entrance.
-This is literally every FCW tag match you’ll ever see with lots of chinlocks and knees to the stomach during the heat.
-Ace Darling chasing the little heel manager around ringside is hilarious since (at this point) Ace could barely walk, let alone run.
-They did a false finish where the heel manager distracting the Logans, but when the Valevictorians wanted to come from behind to hit them with their belts, Ace Darling jumps in and hits one with an implant DDT. The other clotheslines Ace over the top, causing Ace to completely miss the apron and thud on the floor disgustingly. The Logans then hit their LowDown bomb-style move for two before the Valevictorian that wasn’t involved in that move came in and got the out-of-nowhere pin.

Finals:
PUMA vs PETEY WILLIAMS
-Puma came out with his ribs taped, so one would think that would be the focus of Petey’s attack.
-I never got why Team Canada wore baseball jerseys to the ring (other than they were really cheap, judging by how I once bought one professionally-made from Highspots for $10).
-The kids are VERY into Puma and the men are into Petey. This is 2005, guess what they did to show their support?
-These two are doing far more of the awesome chain wrestling than I was expecting, considering Petey had the chance to look great doing it with Shelley and neglected it.
-Puma’s getting the heat on Williams, which is weird considering you’d think they’d want to play to the little kids (who would give them more reaction).
-I was mistaken. After a missed dive, now Puma’s ribs are being worked over by Williams.
-Puma’s busted out an awesome Hamrick-style bump into a hurricanrana on Petey outside of the ring, but other than that, this match has done nothing that’s caught my interest. The match seems solid, but nothing’s grabbing me.
-Weird false finish where Petey put on the Sharpshooter, they teased the rope break…then PETEY himself grabbed the rope. Bizarre.
-Petey wins the tournament with the Canadian Destroyer after a series of near-falls. Again, they did some neat stuff, but this tournament was the least “interesting” to me. There were tournaments with worse matches where I was able to keep my attention glued to the screen, but with this one, for whatever reason, half of the stuff lost me.

************

Even though this tournament didn’t live up to my expectations, don’t let that stop you from ordering this Saturday night’s ECWA Super 8, live on GoFightLive! Austin Aries, Rich Swann, Adam Cole, Sami Callihan and more vie to become the 2011 Super 8 Winner! For more ordering info, click on the link in the first sentence.

-TOM 

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