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By Adam Cardoza on 2019-04-20 09:33:00

CZW “Best of the Best 18”


It’s one of CZW’s trademark traditions. I’m a mark for single-night tournaments and this one’s backstory has gotten wild over the last week. Tag Champ and House of Glory member Amazing Red had to bow out of the tournament due to a sudden retirement. As a result, CZW put their heavyweight champion, Mance Warner, into the tournament which makes every match he’s in a Championship bout. At the end of the night, CZW will have a unified tournament winner and heavyweight champion.

CZW owner DJ Hyde is in the ring to introduce all the tournament participants.

David Starr, John Silver, Jordan Oliver, Jimmy Rave, Mance Warner, Gary Jay, Darius Lockhart, Retrosexual Anthony Greene, Fred Yehi, Myron Reed, Kris Statlander, Sammy Guevara, Joey Lynch & B-Boy are introduced.

Hyde says he invited House of Glory to join the tournament but they refused to share a locker room with his roster due to the events over Wrestlemania weekend. Anthony Gangone and Matt Travis from HOG join the tournament and flip off DJ during the opening photo session.

Match 1: Retrosexual Anthony Greene vs Mance Warner(c) vs B-Boy vs Anthony Gangone (CZW Heavyweight Championship Match)

As a enemy of the promotion. Gangone is getting NO LOVE from CZW’s commentary team or announcer. B-Boy is a CZW legend. Greene is undefeated in CZW so far. Warner went through a WAR with Danny Maff only a week early in Rahway. Gangone powders immediately. B-Boy and Warner are face to face and refuse to acknowledge Greene. They grab boards immediately and are trading shots until they start taking shots at Greene and Gangone’s bandaged up arm. Warner tossed to the barricade and Greene fires up on B-boy. Gangone picks the bones but no one is wanting that. Spin out TKO on Greene for a near fall. Warner with a ripcord headbutt to Gangone and a double ddt to B-Boy/Greene for a near fall. Everyone is hitting heavy artillery until the Platinum Hunnies hit the ring to lay out Gangone, giving Greene a close two on a sliced bread style unprettier (the Be Kind Rewind). B-Boy and Warner trading knees until they DVD through the boards. Warner has his head wrapped in a chair, Gangone blasts it with another chair and punt kicks the Hunnies. Gangone blasts Warner with a knee to the face and looks like he’s got it but Greene dodges a kick from B-Boy and rolls him up for the three just as Gangone makes the cover. Gangone thinks he’s won but it’s Greene! CZW has a new Heavyweight Champion! B-boy shows respect but Gangone ambushes him with a chair, leaving the new champ, the Hunnies and security staff laying.

Winner: Retrosexual Anthony Greene

The match itself was a good opener, combo of light violence and a lot of action. I had a hard time seeing Warner as the champ here as he never really felt in control of the match. Gangone May have stole his thunder as THE THREAT of the match but I like giving Greene this moment here. Great timing on the finish. Greene’s gonna be in trouble later.

Match 2: David Starr vs Joey Lynch vs Darius Lockhart vs Jimmy Rave

Because the CZW title isn’t on the line, the rules are more in play here and this match is being contested scramble-style. Last year’s BotB winner David Starr is taking on all comers as they tag in against him. It’s not the BEST strategy as he starts getting beat down by his opponents in succession. Lynch with a near fall on Rave after he uranages Starr onto him. Lynch and Lockhart throwing chops and forearms until Starr catches them in a double ddt. Rave with an apron STO and has Lockhart trapped in a deeeeep cross face. Lynch with a moonsault to dangerously break it up. I think we’ve stopped caring about tags at this point, as all four men are decking each other in the center. Lockhart has everyone down but Starr hits a super kick on him and a inside out lariat in Lynch to get the pin and advances!

Winner: David Starr

As last year’s winner, I would have been REALLY surprised if Starr didn’t make it out of the first round victorious but the pacing of the match let the other guys shine a bit before the Product took the win. Starr’s booking here is sort of how I wish Warner had been presented earlier, standing up as THE man to beat (even if he would still lose).

Match 3: John Silver vs Fred Yehi vs Gary Jay vs Kris Statlander 

Wow, I’m into this lineup. Silver and Statlander (the current WSU Spirit Champion) had an absolute banger of a match a couple months back in Beyond so I’m excited for another opportunity to see these two lock up. The CZW version of Statlander is an absolute beast at the start, keeping everyone down for several minutes until she’s blindsided by Yehi. Fred obliterates Silver and Jay with high angle German suplexes. Giant swing to Statlander and she’s laid out with an exploder by Silver. The meat man lawn darts Jay into Yehi and nearly gets the pin here. Silver and Kris trading hard shots in the center until Solver starts laying in a bunch of kicks. Statlander back with an electric chair facebuster and scissor kick for a near fall on the Meat Man. Jay fires up and starts diving. Near fall on Yehi, who returns the attempt with a powerbomb. Statlander breaks it up and hits a piledriver, immediately superkicked out by Silver, who locks in an arm choke on Jay for the tap out. Jay and Yehi are standing off post-match and need to be broken up.

Winner: John Silver

This was pretty damn good. I really like this more aggressive side of Kris Statlander. Gary Jay ate so many finishers, I’m shocked he was standing at the end. Hype to see him and Yehi go at it.

Match 4: Jordan Oliver vs Myron Reed vs Sammy Guevara vs Matt Travis

Oliver is the current CZW Wired Champion. Myron Reed is returning to CZW. Guevara is a “YouTube sensation”. Matt Travis, as part of HOG, is the enemy and getting similar treatment from the commentary team and crowd. Travis is the threat here and everyone wants a piece. Reed and Oliver have an exciting high spots exchange. Guevara is flipping the bird to all his opponents in creative fashion. Man, apart from Reed, everyone in this match is a huge jerk. There’s a lot of smacktalking between the participants. Oliver with a springboard stunner for a near fall on Travis. Lot of moves and dives happening, Reed punctuated it with an Ace crusher off the apron on Guevara to the others. Lot of action to close it out until Oliver hits a cutter from the top on Guevara for the pin. Hot damn. House of Glory is out of the tournament entirely!

Winner: Jordan Oliver

I had Travis picked for this one as I figured HOG would go further. That said, good showing from everyone and Oliver is the only current champion to win a tournament match so far! It’s worth mentioning that despite having four 4-way matches in a row, I’m not burnt on them yet as each felt unique enough in how they were laid out and the mix of characters involved.

Match 5: Retrosexual Anthony Greene(c) vs David Starr (CZW Heavyweight Championship Match)

Greene is nursing his neck from Anthony Gangone’s post match attack earlier. The Platinum Hunnies are noticeably not at ringside either. Starr swarms with punches and kicks and wipes out Greene with a tope suicida. Starr is hungry as he’s never won the CZW title before and is pursuing being the first 2-time winner of BotB. Starr bodyslams Greene to the apron and the count is going. Greene barely makes the 10 count. Starr is kicking at Greene’s head and neck almost exclusively. Greene tries to slip an inside cradle rollup and that just pisses Starr off more. Greene dodges a lariat and hits a super kick and suplex for a pair of close two counts. Greene hits the Be Kind Rewind (okay. I kinda love this move) for another near fall. Starr back with a bicycle kick, powerbomb onto his knee and sinks in a deathlock for a quick tap from Greene. Finally, David Starr can call himself CZW Champ!

Winner: David Starr

This was a fantastic ass beating. Starr WANTED this and was all emotion. Greene was the gutsy champ, working at a serious disadvantage and felt like he might have stolen the win there in the end. Give me a rematch of this on even terms sometime.

Match 6: Jordan Oliver (w/ Young Dumb & Broke) vs John Silver

Oliver is nursing his ribs but has his YDnB crew at ringside to help him on. It’s not helpful at first, as Silver looks to cave Oliver’s chest in with kicks and bust him up with suplexes. Griffin McCoy runs interference and Oliver gets some shots in. Silver’s already had enough and takes out all of YDnB, hitting a frog splash on Oliver for a two count. More interference but Silver is throwing super kicks and European uppercuts. Spanish fly out of nowhere from Oliver for a near fall. Oliver goes for it again but Silver hits a big boot and a Spin Doctor powerbomb for the pin.

Winner: John Silver

Semifinal tournament matches can feel quicker than they should. I felt YDnB should have been more of an ever-present threat in this match rather than flies Silver just needed to swat away.

Match 7: Shazza McKenzie vs Leyla Hirsh

Hirsh failed in her WSU Spirit championship attempt against Kris Statlander last week in Rahway. They scramble for position for a lot of this contest, trading holds and pin attempts. Hirsh gets a few near arm submissions. Shazza with kicks and a facebuster. Layla with a springboard moonsault and a near fall off a German suplex. Shazza battles back with some saito suplexes but Layla finally locks in a deep arm bar for the tap out.

Winner: Leyla Hirsh

There were a couple of awkward slams during this but it was quick and didn’t overstay it’s welcome. Layla looked good here as the technician but I wish Shazza’s strikes had a little more oomph behind them.

Officer O’Hare is out on the mic. He calls out Session Moth Martina in the upcoming Tournament of Death for a first round alcoholic ultra-violence match. That gonna be....wild.

Match 8: Young Dumb & Broke (Ellis Taylor & Charlie Tiger w/ Griffin McCoy & Valentina Vasquez) vs IFHY (Jonathan Wolf & Shawn Kemp) 

This is IFHY’s debut in CZW and it’s a battle of two young newer wrestling factions who are struggling for exposure. YDnB double teams the hell out of Kemp with a ton of old Hart Foundation moves. Tiger with an abdominal stretch and accenting it with headbutts. Taylor with a pop up elbowdrop but Kemp finally gets the tag. Wolf and Kemp blast Tiger with a springboard lariat German combo for a near fall. Ref distraction and Valentina is in to deliver a stunner to Wolf, setting up a final sequence where Wolf is dropped from a kick/powerslam combo for the pin.

Winners: YDnB

This was rough. The commentators described YDnB at one point as “D-Bags who aren’t necessarily ready and are jumping their place in line” and while they did a lot to put over IFHY as a rising Midwest faction on par with YDnB, they never really felt that way in the overall action of the match. YDnB did some good tandem high spots work but lacked visceral impact in some critical spots where it was definitely warranted.

Main Event: David Starr(c) vs John Silver (CZW Championship Match & Tournament Final)

Both guys are looking healthy walking into this. Nice feeling out period early on, silver taking advantage with a huge shoulderblock. Starr fights back but Silver speeds up with a supersonic running uppercut and some grounded kicks. Starr catches Silver with a back body drop and the meat man recoils off the turnbuckle and lands on his damn head. Owww. Starr swarming with strikes and headbutts to try and close this out. Silver eats some more chops but reversed into a corkscrew DDT and both guys are down. Big German, super kick and cobra clutch back cracker for a near fall on Starr. Both back in it and trading loud chops. Silver dumped to the outside and Starr follows with a tope. Starr doesn’t want to win on a count out and faceplants him to the apron. Silver tosses Starr into the ring steps. Silver has a pair of chairs setup and backdrops Starr through them. Starr DDT’s Silver to the apron but gets kicked out of the air going for lariat finish. Silver with some thudding kicks and Starr is rocked...brainbuster to the knee from Starr out of the blue! Kick out! Starr trying to keep Silver down with a series of lariats. Silver is fired up and throwing heavy strikes but Starr bombs him on the knees and hits the big lariat....Silver kicks out! They’re on the top! Silver with a headbutt, avalanche brain buster, running kick and a spin doctor powerbomb and Starr somehow kicks out. Starr goes for the same deathlock that tapped out Greene earlier but he can’t lock it in fully and Silver gets the rope. Starr goes for the lariat again, Silver locks in the head in arm choke that beat Oliver but Starr gets the rope. Undeterred, Silver hops up, bounces off the rope and blasts Starr with a punt kick to get the three count. Well done! That was a good well told wrestling match with plenty of story calling back to the matches earlier in the night. We have another new CZW Heavyweight Champion and now, a tournament winner!

Winner: John Silver

DJ Hyde is out with the Best of the Best trophy to present to John Silver. As he celebrates, Anthony Gangone and Matt Travis hit the ring to beat him down. Other members of the HOG show up to destroy the trophy before the CZW locker room runs them off for the second consecutive show. Gangone on the mic. He runs down DJ Hyde and says he’s going to give the internet what they want. He’s gonna be the one to kill CZW. DJ is back on the mic, looking at the broken remnants of trophy. He tells them if they come back in the ring like that, CZW will break them in half. He’s more upset they stole Silver’s moment so gets Meat Man’s music going again so he can shine for the crowd.

Overall, this was a good show. As I said before, each of the 4-way matches had their own flavor with kept the format fresh. The tournament singles matches were all pretty good work as well. Curious to see how the HOG angle continues as Gangone still holds the CZW tag team championship hostage. On one hand, it felt weird to change the title every round of the tournament like that but it gave Greene a nice resume piece, Starr a moment of validation and put John Silver in a believable place as the company ass kicker.

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