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By Mike Johnson on 2004-12-09 12:00:00

Mike Johnson Reporting

Combat Zone Wrestling presented their "Best of the Best 3" Junior Heavyweight Tournament at the ECW Arena in Philadelphia, PA on Saturday 4/12.

The show opened with CZW announcer Eric Gargiulo bringing out CZW owner John Zandig, who announced that CZW Junior Heavyweight champion Ruckus would be defending his championship throughout the tourney and that whether the fans liked or disliked who was competing, they were in the tournament because Zandig saw something in them.

First Round:

*Sonjay Dutt and CZW Junior Heavyweight champion Ruckus defeated Chris Cash after Ruckus pinned Cash on the lower stage of the ECW Arena with a slam off the upper stage onto a table. Cash stomped Ruckus' leg with a chair after the match. Cash brought out a ladder and declared he wanted a Falls Count Anywhere match before they started. Very good opener.

*Ric Blade and Trent Acid defeated Tony Mamaluke. Very good match.

*B Boy and Lil Chulo defeated Deranged. Another good bout.

*Jimmy Rave and Jay Briscoe defeated AJ Styles and Jason Cross. Styles was first out and ripped on CZW, saying that everyone expected the last man in the tournament to be Briscoe. Styles bragged that he just defeated Briscoe (at the ROH show earlier in the day). Briscoe hit the ring and attacked Styles, leading to a pull apart. Zandig referred to Ring of Honor as Briscoe working "down the street at that basketball court." Cross was eliminated first. Styles tapped out to a double submission from Briscoe and Rave. The crowd was upset heavily and loudly over Styles' elimination. This was the first appearance by Briscoe in the company in about a year, which got a "welcome back" chant. Very good.

*Nate Hatred won a 27 Man Royal Rumble to win the CZW title shot of his choice in the future. This ran over 30 minutes and was way too long. They booked some surprise competitors to pop the crowd including heel commentator John House and ringside photographer Whacks which the crowd loved. The big story of the match was Hatred eliminating his tag team partner in the H8 Club, Nick Gage, who had a title shot against CZW champion Messiah later in the night. Gage and Hatred argued in a backstage promo later in the night. Too many workers and way too long. Tank from NWA Wildside worked the battle royal.

Tournament Quarter-Finals:

*Sonjay Dutt defeated Mark Briscoe. CZW Junior Heavyweight champion Ruckus came out to work but was limping. Frank Talent of the PA State Athletic Commission refused to let him work. Briscoe came out to substitute. Shockingly, no big reaction for Mark's appearance. Talent stopped the match after 5 minutes and got into the ring claiming it was a draw. John Zandig came out and demanded the bout restarted, and Dutt got the pin. Very weird segment with Talent. If this was something booked in advance, it certainly wasn't needed. I was later told there was a mistake made on Talent's part that messed up the segments and caused them to rebook on the fly. To me, that would be reason enough never to use him again in any angle, but politically, they pretty much have to. In any event, after the Styles elimination, and the Rumble, the lack of explanation for Briscoe's appearance coupled with the Frank Talent silliness seemed to turn off the crowd.

*Trent Acid defeated Ric Blade.

*B Boy pinned Lil Chulo.

*Jay Briscoe defeated Jimmy Rave. Good match.

After an intermission, Tournament Semi-Finals:

*Sonjay Dutt pinned Trent Acid after Homicide (who worked ROH earlier in the day) hit the ring and nailed Acid with a Copkiller. Johnny Kashmere chased Homicide out of the building's front door with a baseball bat. Shocklingly small reaction for Homicide at first, but then the New York fans realized who it was and chanted "NYC" and "ROH".

*B Boy pinned Jay Briscoe.

*CZW champion The Messiah defeated Nick Gage after Nate Hatred accidentally powerbombed him. Gage powerbombed H8 Club manager Dewey Donovan after the match.

*B Boy defeated Sonjay Dutt to win the Best of the Best 3 Tournament. They both worked really hard here.

In trophy presentations after the main event, the fans voted for Sonjay Dutt vs. B Boy as the top singles match of the night and the Four Way bout in the opening round as the best "Three Way." AJ Styles declined his trophy since there were only three, but Jay Briscoe asked him to take it as Briscoe won the same award in the first tournament.

Past Best of the Best Winners
2001: W*inger (defeating Trent Acid)
2002: Trent Acid (defeating Jodie Fleisch)

Notes: A really, really long show. The early elimination of AJ Styles coupled with the 30 minute plus Royal Rumble took the wind out of the sails of most of the building. There was also a heavy burnout factor from fans who were at the Ring of Honor show earlier in the day as well....John Zandig announced at the show that they had secured the ECW Arena for a show every second Saturday of the month until April 2004. The next show is 5/10 with a "10 Year Anniversary" theme for the building....They announced the second annual "Tournament of Death" event would be taking place this summer, most likely in Delaware. The show is a series of Death Match stipulation bouts....Since the last time I'd attended an event for the promotion, they have added a live feed of the hard camera shot of the ring onto a "Titantron" style screen above the entranceway, which is a great touch. They had the usual excellent music video montage and great graphics on the screen as well....This was a show that will likely come off better on video than it appeared to be live due to the burnout and late running of the event. I'm looking forward to seeing the video by more on CZW, visit

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