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Tape Review: CZW, "Cage of Death 7," Dec. 10, 2005, with violent main event, plus Hero, Super Dragon, Ruckus, Sabin

Jan 31, 2006 - 10:49:00 AM
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By Chris Vetter, Torch Contributor

Combat Zone Wrestling drew a whopping crowd of more than 1,000 on Saturday, Dec. 10, 2005, for "Cage of Death 7." CZW still runs in the former ECW Arena in south Philadelphia, and their wrestling has a hardcore, mature, raw edge to it unlike any other wrestling I'm watching right now. I admittedly am not a big CZW fan -- I don't like hardcore 'death matches' -- and this is only my second CZW show of 2005, so I am not familiar with the storylines, like I am for PWG, ROH, FIP, Chikara and IWA-MS.

Smart Mark Video taped the event with multiple cameras and lighting is good. On commentary, Eric Garigulo calls the action solo tonight, and he's solid; sometimes he'll say something off the wall that makes me roll my eyes, but he's knowledgeable, and for the most part, entertaining. One thing I like about Garigulo & CZW is they place importance on wins and losses; Garigulo frequently says “this guy is 2-1 at Cage of Death” and he talks about guys’ overall wins & losses in CZW. It’s nice that wins actually mean something!

No backstage segments on this tape, and we immediately start the tape in the ring! The former ECW Arena has a cool graphics screen by the wrestlers' entrance, and they've done a good job making this building look good. There are two platforms, hung from the ceiling, hanging above two turnbuckles. These platforms are about 10 feet above the ring, and can be used as launching pads.

(1) Cheech defeats Cloudy at 11:29. Good match. Both of these guys are small, and were recently kicked out of "Lacey's Angels" in ROH. Clody hit a headscissors takedown. They traded some creative armdrags. Cheech hit a springboard dropkick, then a springboard dive to the floor on Cloudy. Cloudy got in the ring, and he dove through the ropes, catching Cheech and hitting an armdrag. Nice. Cloudy hit a 619 rope kick. Cheech came back with a release German Suplex at 3:00.

Cheech stayed on top with an STO uranage, a modified sharpshooter, then the Three Amigos/Guerrero rolling suplexes, and the crowd chanted, "Eddie!" Cloudy came back with a knee shot to the chest and a Tornado DDT. They brawled on the floor at 6:30, and Cloudy was tied upside down in the corner, hanging outside the ring; Cheech jumped off the top turnbuckle onto Cloudy for a doublestomp, and Cloudy crashed to the cement. WOW. The crowd chanted "CZW."

They brawled on the ring apron, where Cloudy hit a Canadian Destroyer, and both were down on the floor.In the ring, Cloudy hit an enziguri. Cheech won it with the Last Rites/Undertaker-style powerbomb off the second rope for the pin. Garigulo praised the wrestlers for a strong CZW debut match, and the fans chanted, "Please Come Back!"

(2) Mike Quackenbush & Jigsaw & Shane Storm defeat Icarus & Hallowicked & Gran Akuma at 10:01. This is Chikara rules, with lots of lucha, and a wrestler can roll to the floor to exit the match, without having to tag out. Akuma no longer wears a mask, and he's bald; it's nice to see this Chikara storyline has carried over to CZW. Akuma and Storm started the match with some quick armdrags. Storm hit a tope con helo dive to the floor. Quackenbush faced off against Icarus, and Quack wound up hitting a forward roll dive to the floor on the three heels at 2:30.

Jigsaw and Hallowicked entered the ring, and they traded some quick offense. Akuma hit a faceplant on Jigsaw. Icarus hit a dropkick on Jigsaw. Akuma hit some Kawada Kicks on Storm. Akuma hit a senton on Quackenbush, and the heels began to work him over. Hallowicked hit a spinebuster for a nearfall on Quack at 7:00. Jigsaw made the hot tag, and he hit a hurricanrana and a spin kick on Icarus, then he hit a flip dive to the floor on the heels.

Akuma hit a frogsplash on Storm for a believable nearfall at 8:30. Jigsaw hit a nice modified Cradleshock powerbomb for a nearfall. Hallowicked hit a cool Reverse Rana on Jigsaw. Quackenbush nailed a sitdown piledriver on Icarus and pinned him. Wow, that was good lucha-style action with lots of quick moves, and the crowd stayed hot throughout.

The heel team of Chris Hero & Claudio Castognoli came out to Queen's "We are the Champions." They are sporting their tag titles. Hero got on the mic, but the crowd wouldn't let him speak as they booed him. Hero said the tag titles wouldn't be defended, because Eddie Kingston isn't here. Suddenly, Kingston came in through the crowd to a huge pop. They argued (Hero and Kingston each had a mic), until Kingston chased off the heels. Good segment.

(3) DJ Hyde defeats Jon Dahmer at 6:41. Blah. Hyde is announced as 300 pounds, and he has a buzzcut. Dahmer has brown hair and blue pants. They both wore shirts to hide their lack of physique. They traded chops and they brawled on the floor, where Dahmer hit some more chops. Hyde hit a headbutt. Dahmer hit a basement dropkick. Hyde hit a sidewalk slam at 3:00. Dahmer hit a spinebuster for a nearfall.

Hyde hit a hard clothesline for a nearfall. Dahmer hit a second-rope superplex, and both men were down. Hyde put Dahmer across his shoulder and he hit a sitdown piledriver for the pin. Both men looked winded in the final minute.

(4) Larry Sweeney & Frankie The Mobster defeat Beef Wellington & Excalibur at 8:15. I didn't like this match at all. Frankie has a good physique and he wore white pants; he looks a lot like Gregory Helms. Sweeney has new tights that show he's the Tex Arkana TV Title. Beef Wellington now has short purple hair. All four of these guys are considered above average on the mic, but there is just wayyyy too much talking on the mic here, and the crowd lost interest. The gist is that Wellington & Excalibur are "Team Masturbation," so they simulate these acts during the match.

The match finally got underway, and the heels jumped the faces. Excalibur dove onto Frankie. Sweeney hit a gutwrench suplex on Excalibur. The action is just a bit slow, and a few fans started to chant, "End this match!" The heels worked over Excalibur, with Sweeney hitting a butterfly suplex and some Dibiase fist drops at 4:30. Lots of lewd spots, simulating masturbation.

Beef tagged in and he hit a double bulldog. The faces hit double ass punches on the heels. Frankie was tossed to the floor. Beef climbed to a launching pad platform, suspended from the ceiling, above the ring, but he was too scared to jump down! Sweeney won it with a second rope powerbomb on Excalibur. Blah.

(5) Joey Ryan defeats El Generico at 14:18 to retain the PWG title. Ryan had won the PWG title one week earlier, so this was his first title defense. Ryan has grown some sideburns... I said this in a recent PWG review... he looks like Ben Stiller in "Dodgeball." The bell rang, and Ryan stalled on the floor. They wound up brawling on the floor. In the ring, Generico hit a standing moonsault for a nearfall, then he hit a spin kick and a basement dropkick to the back. The crowd loudly sang his "Ole" song. Ryan crotched Generico in the ropes at 3:30.

Ryan took over with a nice standing dropkick for a nearfall and a Northern Lights Suplex, and an enziguri, sending Generico to the floor. Ryan dove through the ropes on Generico. In the ring, he hit Generico with some punches. Generico came back with a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker. This action is solid, certainly not bad, but the crowd has somehow become restless. Generico hit a backflip dive over the top rope on Ryan. Cool. In the ring, Generico hit a Michinoku Driver for a nearfall.

Ryan hit a Superkick at 10:00. Generico fired back with a Tornado DDT, then a hard Yakuza Kick to the face in the corner, and a schoolboy rollup for a nearfall. Ryan hit a powerbomb for a nearfall and a sloppy swinging neckbreaker off the ropes, and the crowd is displeased. Ryan got his title, and he hit Generico with it for a nearfall. Ryan then won it with a rollup while grabbing the ropes for leverage, and the crowd booed. This match was average, but the crowd really disliked it.

(6) Adam Flash & (mystery partner) Sonjay Dutt (w/Pandora) defeat Nate Webb & Sexxxy Eddy at 14:47. Good tag match. Flash brought out his mystery partner, to B-Boy's theme music. However, when the mystery man removed his mask, it was Sonjay Dutt, who got a huge pop! (Dutt really got his start in CZW). The crowd chanted, "Welcome back!" However, Dutt grabbed the mic and cut an awesome heel promo, saying he was upset that no one from CZW called him when he got back from a Japanese tour, and the CZW fans forgot about him. Garigulo on commentary absolutely ripped apart Dutt for his 'new attitude.' Pandora is a redhead in a black outfit with fishnet stockings.

The face team ran into the ring, and all four brawled immediately. The heels began to beat up Webb. Webb dove over the top rope on the heels. Eddy hit a top-rope moonsault on Flash. Flash hit a hard clothesline on Eddy on the apron at 3:00. Webb got in and he hit some punches and a sideslam on Dutt, then he hit a tumbleweed in the corner on Flash. Dutt hit a powerbomb on Webb, and the heels began to work over Webb.

Webb missed a Phoenix Splash. Dutt punched Webb repeatedly in the face. Sexxxy Eddy finally made the hot tag at 9:00 and he cleared the ring. Webb hit a Reverse Rana on Flash, sending him to the floor. Dutt hit a backflip driver on Eddy. Webb hit a spinning Arachnid Kick on Flash for a nearfall. This action is good, but the crowd is quiet. Pandora shook the top rope, crotching Webb. She then hit a DDT to the floor!

Sexxxy Eddy and Dutt brawled outside the ring, and Eddy hit a suplex on the entrance ramp. Flash hit a guillotine legdrop on a chair on Webb. In the ring, Eddy hit an overhead Wheelbarrow Suplex on Flash for a nearfall at 13:00. Dutt hit the Indian Summer/modified Musclebuster on Sexxxy Eddy. Dutt then nailed a moonsault doublestomp to the chest on Eddy for the pin. Good match.

After the match, Dutt cut another heel promo, reminding the fans to watch him on “Slammin' Saturday Night!” The fans responded with a loud "F--- TNA!" chant.

Maven Bentley (think Theodore Long!) entered the ring with seven wrestlers. They started with a 10-bell salute for Eddie Guerrero. Halfway through, a fan loudly shouted, "f-- that!" As soon as the 10-bell salute was over, the fan was immediately ejected! The crowd wildly jeered him. The wrestlers regained their composure and brought in the parents of the last Chri$ Ca$h, who died in a motorcycle accident in 2005. The wrestlers presented his parents with a check and a framed U.S. flag, which was flown in a combat zone in Iraq. This was a neat classy segment, and the crowd chanted "CZW" as Ca$h's mom cried.

(7) Derek Frazier defeats Niles Young at 17:07 in the best of three falls to retain his CZW junior heavyweight title. Above average match; they worked hard, but it looked a bit too choreographed at times. Young has long black hair, and he's skinny. Frazier has short black hair, and he wore blue & yellow pants. Niles jumped Frazier from behind, and they brawled on the floor. Niles tossed Frazier into chairs at ringside. Frazier hit an Ace Crusher off the ring apron onto a stack of open chairs at 3:30.

Young hit a powerbomb onto the chairs, but it was a bit sloppy. Frazier hit a Yakuza Kick. Suddenly, Frazier pinned Young with an inverted Shooting Star Press legdrop. The match continued immediately, and Young hit a spin kick to the head. He slammed Frazier headfirst onto a chair for a nearfall. In an odd spot, Frazier hit a piledriver on an upside down table balanced in the ropes in the corner. (Having the table break this way seemed awfully risky & dangerous.) Young hit an Air Raid Crash on Ladder on a floor. Young hit a jumping con-chair-to on Frazier's head at 10:30, but he didn't go for a cover. Young then put Frazier through a table in the ring for a pin at 12:17.

Young hit a Blue Thunder bomb for a nearfall. Frazier hit a piledriver for a nearfall. Young accidentally hit a Yakuza Kick on the ref. Frazier hit a nice inverted DDT, dropping Young almost on the top of his head, but there was no ref to make the count. Young came back with a Tombstone Piledriver for a nearfall at 14:30. Young climbed up onto the platform, perhaps 15 feet above the ring, and he went for a con-chair-to doublestomp, but he missed. Frazier hit Young with some chairshots to the head and back. Frazier tied Young up in the ladder, with Young's arms on some open chairs. Frazier then went onto the platform and he hit a Curbstomp off the platform onto Young to score the pin. WOW. Cool move, but it looked unnecessarily dangerous.

Ruckus came out with two black strippers. Several fans put dollar bills in the strippers' tiny outfits.

(8) Chris Hero & Claudio Castognoli defeat Eddie Kingston & Sabian at 16:16 to retain the CZW tag titles. All four brawled on the floor. Kingston chopped Claudio along the ringpost. Sabian hit a moonsault press on Hero in the ring. Claudio nailed Sabian with a European Uppercut. Hero hit a senton on Sabian for a nearfall, and the heels began to work Sabian over. Hero hit a dropkick on Sabian’s face as Hero held Sabian’s arms. Claudio hit a nice delayed vertical suplex, then a Giant Swing into a slam.

Hero applied a cravate. The crowd began alternating chants of “Let’s go Blackout,” “Let’s go Hero” at 8:00. Sabian came back with a wheelbarrow bulldog and he made the hot tag to Kingston. Kingston entered and he hit some punches and chops on Claudio, then a Northern Lights Suplex for a nearfall. Sabian hit a nice satellite headscissors takedown, then a summersault dive to the floor on Claudio. Kingston hit a Yakuza Kick on Hero at 10:30, and they brawled to the floor, with Kingston hitting some chops and headbutts.

In the ring, Kingston hit a German Suplex on Claudio. Sabian hit some kicks to Hero’s thighs, then a Tornado DDT for a nearfall. Claudio nailed a Burning Hammer/inverted DVD on Sabian, but Kingston made the save. Kingston hit another Yakuza Kick, this one on Claudio, then Kingston gave Hero a German Suplex off the ropes. Sabian climbed to the platform, 10 feet above the ring, and he hit a doublestomp on Claudio’s chest at 15:30! Sabian went for the cover, but Hero pulled ref Bryce Remsburg from the ring to stop the count! Hero then nailed the Hero’s Welcome/spinning faceplant, to pin Kingston. Good match.

Hero got on the mic and announced the next CZW show on Jan. 14 would be in the afternoon. He was upset that ROH “waltzes into every territory twice a year and expects promotions to bend to their schedule.” This anti-ROH speech led to a loud “CZW!” chant. Hero noted he has beaten all the top ROH names, including Bryan Danielson. He challenged Danielson to come to CZW. The crowd chanted “Hero!” as the segment finished. Great way to start the CZW-ROH feud.

(9) Kevin Steen defeats Chris Sabin at 11:31 to retain the Ironman Title. Good match. They opened with some standing switches and quick armdrag reversals. They each missed headscissor moves early. Sabin hit a hurricanrana. Steen hit his summersault guillotine legdrop, and he stood on Sabin’s hair while pulling Sabin’s arms. Steen stayed in control with a second-rope missile dropkick for a nearfall at 4:30, then a neat backbreaker over his knee and a neckbreaker.

Sabin fired back with an enziguri to the face at 7:30, and both men were down, and the crowd came to life. Sabin hit a hard clothesline, then a running Ligerbomb for a nearfall. Steen was tied in the Tree of Woe, and Sabin nailed his basement dropkick to the face. Steen hit a neckbreaker over his knee. Ouch. Sabin hit a Tornado DDT. Steen ultimately won it with his Package Piledriver for the pin. Good, but below my expectations.

(10) Super Dragon defeats Ruckus (w/Robby Mireno) at 16:42 to win the CZW Heavyweight Title. Good match. I can’t believe what great shape Ruckus is in now! He is a slender black man, having shed at least 40 pounds in the past two years, if not more. Garigulo said that Ruckus is 0-4 at Cage of Death. The crowd threw yellow & black streamers for Ruckus, and a loud alternating chant of “Let’s go Ruckus, Super Dragon” began. This was LOUD. The match got underway with some quick mat reversals, and Ruckus hit an impressive headscissors takedown.

Super Dragon hit some chops. Ruckus hit a flip dive over the top rope onto Dragon at 5:30. Ruckus went for a moonsault outside the ring, but Super Dragon got his knees up to block it. Super Dragon grabbed Mireno and nailed a Curbstomp on the metal ramp!! Super Dragon stayed in charged with some chops and stiff forearms on Ruckus outside the ring, then a chairshot to Ruckus’ back. In the ring, Super Dragon hit a back suplex for a nearfall at 10:00, then a Curbstomp for a nearfall.

Ruckus fired back with a handspring-back-heel kick, then a Razzle Dazzle/cartwheel back elbow at 13:00. “Ruckus is in the best shape of his career,” Garigulo proclaimed. Ruckus went to the corner, but he ‘accidentally’ hit his head on the platform above the turnbuckle. (I’m not convinced, based on what happened next, it was an accident.) Ruckus looked a bit ‘off’ in his offense after striking his head, and Garigulo noted this on commentary. Super Dragon hit a doublestomp on Ruckus’ head, then he nailed the Pyscho Driver/modified Michinoku Driver to score the pin and win the title.

Chris Hero & Claudio Castognoli hit the ring to celebrate with Super Dragon. Ruckus got some medical attention, as they brought a stretcher to the ring, but Ruckus ultimately refused to get on the stretcher, and he was carried to the back.

(11) Nick Gage & Zandig & Justice Pain defeat Toby Klein & Necro Butcher & Joker at 26:51 in the Cage of Death. The CoD looks a bit like a ‘Hell in the cell,’ in that the cage extends to the floor around the ring. There is a huge plane of glass laying outside the ring. There also is a huge spiderweb of barbed wire outside another side of the ring. There are barbed-wire bats and staple guns littered around for wrestlers to use.

Gage and Necro Butcher started the match, and they traded punches, and Butcher hit a headbutt. Necro got a barbed-wire bat and he hit Gage with it, and Gage bled. Although wrestlers are supposed to enter in five-minute intervals, Zandig entered at 3:48, and he immediately traded punches with Necro. The crowd was hot! Zandig used the bat on Necro’s forehead. Gage pushed Necro’s head into a turnbuckle which was covered in thumbtacks! Joker entered the ring at 6:48, and he hit an Exploder Suplex on Gage. More brawling for a few minutes, until Justice Pain entered at 9:16. Pain looks a bit like TNA’s Eric Young.

Zandig tossed Necro Butcher onto the spiderweb of barbed wire! Zanding then tossed Joker on it. Klein entered at 11:34, and the match is now ‘officially underway,’ as all six competitors are in, and pinfalls/submissions can occur. Gage tossed Klein into the cage. Klein flipped Gage up on a backbody drop at 13:30, and Gage crashed through the large plane of glass. Zandig got a staple gun and he used it on Necro Butcher. Joker hit a piledriver on a table on Pain. All six men are bleeding heavily now.

Gage hit a facewash on Joker, as Joker was tied in barbed wire. Zandig tossed Klein through a table. Zandig and Joker brawled up a ladder and onto one of the platforms, 10 feet above the ring! Down below, someone poured gasoline on a table in the ring! The table was lit on fire! Zandig grabbed Joker, and he slammed them both off the platform through the burning table to score the pin.

Zandig’s face was completely red from blood. He spoke on the mic, promising that CZW is going back toward its hardcore bloody roots. The tape finishes with several minutes of clips from the main event.

Final thoughts: Tape runs 4 hours, 30 minutes. I don’t like death matches; I think they are dangerous and too violent. This match just isn’t my style of wrestling, so I won’t say more about it. This is a good show, though. With 11 matches, there definitely is something for everyone on this tape. Hero/Claudio vs. Kingston/Sabian gets my match of the night, just ahead of Super Dragon-Ruckus. The Chikara six-man tag is third-best.

I can’t say enough about how impressed I am with Ruckus’ weight loss and overall improvement in the ring. He looks better than the last CZW show I saw, Best of the Best, in May. Hero & Claudio are great heels and they carried this show. Another highlight here was the surprise return of Dutt, and how quickly he got the crowd to turn on him. A strong heel performance for him.

My recommendation to CZW would be to cut two or three matches, so the crowd stays hot throughout the whole show. At 4 ½ hours on tape, this show must have been at least 5 ½ hours live, factoring in putting up the cage and some breaks. The Sweeney/Frankie-Excalibur/Beef match was terrible, and Hyde/Dahmer was forgettable. If those had been cut, the show would have been better as a whole.

I expected a lot more out of Generico-Ryan and Sabin-Steen; both have to be considered disappointments here. Generico & Ryan had a much better match in PWG in October.

This tape gets a thumbs up, just because there is so much to choose from, and if you like death matches, you’ll like this main event. Purchase this tape at www.smartmarkvideo.com for $15.


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