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

by Mike Johnson

After attending Ring of Honor earlier in the day on Saturday 11/9, I made the five block journey to see my first CZW show in about a year, “The Night of Infamy.” CZW, wisely waited for the ROH event to end to start their event and benefitted by having a crossover of fans who normally might not have attended in the ECW Arena. There was also a group of CZW fans who attended ROH earlier in the day for the same reasons, so it's nice to see promotions working where the fans benefit in the end.

Combat Zone Wrestling is quite a unique entity in pro wrestling. With main events built on insane, over the top violence, the promotion proudly wears Ultraviolence on their sleeve and gives what they advertise. They go farther in the building than ECW ever dared, with light tube bulbs being broken over the heads of the workers, with fans just inches away. Underneath, the workers try hard with lots of insane high spots and stunts.

A new generation of wrestling fans attend CZW. It's the young fans who listen to Limp Biskit and bands of that nature, who enjoy MTV's Jackass and want to see the insanity and the sheer craziness of the violence. These aren't fans who want to see a 30 minute wrestling classic, but they want to see something out of this world. Just as CZW uses a new generation of young workers, they have an entirely different fan base than any other wrestling promotion that runs Philadelphia, and that base showed up en masse to see violence, as there were 900-1000 fans in the building.

The show opened with a long video feature on a screen showing Zandig taking out CZW owner Lobo so nothing could stop him from facing Wifebeater in the main event (there was an angle at the previous show ruining their last bout). The video screen work on the show was actually done live. I couldn't really make out the audio of the angle and after ROH, I really wanted to see the show get underway, so I was already wondering what in the world was going on at this point.

In the opener Ian Knoxx (who came out with a keg and fed the fans beer) beat Hurricane Kid (accompanied by Rick Feinberg, an effeminate manager) and Derek Frazier when Kid tapped to a double team butt crab (his face was shoved in Fineburg's butt as he was locked in a Boston Crab). Knoxx and Frazier did rock, paper, scissors to determine who would win and Knoxx pulled out the victory. This was a complete comedy match and for those who went to ROH, we weren't in Kansas anymore.

John Dahmer pinned G.Q. This was another bout that was there.

Josh Prohibition beat Nick Berk. Berk has really upgraded his look since the last time I saw him. Prohibition is a good example of that next generation of talent CZW uses as he's come out of nowhere to look very good as of late. This was about that started to click, but never really got over the bump but it was fine for what it was.

The Backseat Boys beat Nick Mondo and M Dogg 20 by DQ after Ric Blade ran in and attacked the Backseat Boys. The Boyz got heat with the Philly fans by putting over crew of New Yorkers who were in the building. M Dogg 20 is an amazing athlete and totally impressed me. At one point, he climbed the pole of the Arena all the way to the ceiling and teased diving down on Johnny Kashmere, who was on a table. Insane. He also did a sideways handstand off the ringpost to set up a spot. They did an angle after the DQ where Zandig asked the fans if they wanted Blade back (he walked out of the promotion after he was injured working here and issues stemming from that about a year ago) and they went nuts for it. Blade and Mondo, who don't like each other in storyline, agreed to team against the Backseats to set up the promotion's next show.

After intermission, Ruckus beat Sonjay and Chris Cash in a Three-Way Ladder match. There was tons of insane spots here and way too much to go into. All of them went above and beyond the call of duty here. Ruckus did a 450 splash off the ladder to pin Sonjay. At one point, Ruckus was tossed off the stage of the building onto chairs that had ladders and light tubes stacked atop them. Insane!

CZW Iron Man champion The Messiah and CZW champion Justice Pain beat the H* Club (Nate Hatred/Nick Gage). Before the show began Zandig said that he saw the Mystery Team that was advertised to face the H8 Club (by Lobo) and threw them out of the building, giving the bout to Messiah and Pain. The end of the bout saw some laughter play over the sound system, sending Nick Gage and Pain to the stage in anger. The laughter was of a mystery man who stole the CZW championship belt from Pain the previous month. CZW announcer Eric Gargiulo ended up being tossed off the stage by a frustrated Pain. Messiah then produced the belt in the ring, challenging Pain for the next show. A little contrived but it set up the next event.

After a second intermission, we got to see our Ultraviolent spectacle as Wifebeater forced Zandig to Quit in a no ropes, barbed wire match that saw light tubes placed within the barbed wire, weapons that fans brought placed around and inside the ring, and the mat removed in place of wood paneling that had barbed wire on it. Quite a recipe for destruction. Zandig explained that he would be facing Lobo in the Cage of Death main event next week and said the fans would know why in a moment. The building went dark and we heard audio, which wasn't great but the video screen never came alive. Oops. This seemed to last forever. When the lights returned, Zandig said someone screwed up and called out Wifebeater. Beater got a huge ovation coming out for what was advertised as his retirement bout. He's been out most of the last year with a shoulder problem and is going to have a surgery shortly. This was plain out of this world insane, numbing, and although this is frightening to admit, really entertaining. They beat the pulp out of each other with the light tubes until they were bleeding from the head and back. Both guys took bumps into the barbed wire. I was rather worried for fans at ringside with all the dust from the glass in the air and for it flying towards them but thankfully nothing negative happened. They went to the stage, where Pain hit a tiger driver off of it thru a table laced with barbed wire and light tubes. As much as I hate seeing guys destroy themselves for my entertainment, there is a part of me that remains amazed every time I see a sight like that. Beater got his trusty weedwhacker and used it twice on Zandig's back. Sick! Beater's manager Mac Smack then poured salt over his back. Sicker! Frank Talent from the Athletic Commission (who is in on the joke and works with the promotions in Philly) announced they were stopping the match and Zandig kept screaming "No." He crawled to Beater and announced he quit, I guess so the fans got a finish and to show respect to Beater in his last match.

Most of the CZW crew entered the ring to congratulate and see of Wifebeater, who left the ring on his own and walked to the locker room alone. As he got to the end of the aisle, Zandig was waiting and embraced him. Brothers in destroying the other, they went in the back, ending one of the most unique and sick matches I have ever seen live.

As fans were leaving the building, they got to see the aftermath of the angle that didn't play on the video screen, as Lobo was hanging off of the side of the ECW Arena. CZW had planted a trash can full of water balloons, allowing the fans to launch a few at him before his lackies were able to escape being locked in a U-Haul truck and rescued him with a ladder. Quite the spectacle and I'll give them tons of credit for originality.

Notes:A really entertaining show that got going once the first few matches were done...The promotion felt the crowd might be burnt out after the ROH show so they booked the show accordingly....A lot of the show was set up to bring the fans back for the Cage of Death 4 show on 12/14, which is one of the group's two big shows. Most of the angles worked, although Pain-Messiah seemed contrived....The show was entertaining enough that I am going to return on 12/14 for the Cage of Death bout and perhaps CZW has hooked me, as I'm curious as to how they can top themselves on this show....The show ran from 9:30-1:40. Amazing, just amazing.

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