Diary: Week of 4/4-4/07/01

The following is a republished diary/commentary from ProWrestlingRadio.com.

Wednesday 4/4/01: I was very excited to return to Froggy’s bar and Grill in Dover, DE. this evening. I do not know how to explain it, but I get butterflies on the day of a CZW show. Partly, it is the fan in me. I know I am in for a great night of wrestling. Watching the sport for 20 years, it is hard to get excited about anything wrestling related anymore. I have pretty much seen it all, good and bad. ECW excited me 6 years ago, and CZW does the same thing now. I also get excited to see the boys and talent of CZW. They are like a family to me. They are the most fun bunch of people I have ever been around and the atmosphere is almost like a party on show days. The other reason is just that I love to work. If I could call wrestling 7 days a week, I would. I consider it and honor to be paid for anything involving wrestling, more or less doing commentary. The more work I get, the better I will get and I enjoy it. This day was no different and since it had been a few weeks since my last CZW show, I was psyched.

I rode up to Dover with the RF Video crew, specifically Doug and Rob. You want to talk about family, I don’t think you can find three non-WWF/ECW/WCW workers that have spent a combined bigger total of hours and miles on the road. The rides are sometimes the best parts of the trips. It is just like hanging with your friends at a bar. We talk about wrestling, business, girls, and our personal lives. I have an exam on Friday and intended to study on most of this 3 hour trip. I spent more time reading the latest Observer than my class notes.

We arrived to the building around 6:30 PM. I love arriving that late to a show. Rob hates it, as I could understand as he has to find tables, set up his merchandise, etc. I love it because it is just enough time to catch up with everyone, but not too much time.

The first people I ran into were Z. Barr, my partner John House, and of all people ECW’s Lou E. Dangerously. It was great to see Lou, as we go back way before the days of the signs. Z. Barr and I have had personal heat the week going into this, but to break the ice he gave me a huge hug. He is a great kid and I love him like a brother. Which I guess is why he can piss me off like one sometimes.

I walked into the bar and the next person I saw was Nick Berk. I had just hung out with Berk the Friday night before so he was no stranger. A running gag is when he sees me or Rob we always go “Hey, Nick Berk is here.” So we exchanged pleasantries and the gag lived on.

The next person I saw was Jeff Rocker. Jeff offered me ten bucks to put him over on the commentary, but I told him to add two more zeros. I then saw the Backseats, Trent and Johnny. They, like Berk are friends of mine outside of the business. I always love talking to those guys and as me and Johnny would say, “exchange the gossip.”

I walked back into the tiny, and I do mean tiny dressing room. There are two dressing rooms in this place, and this one is the smallest. The Briscoes were already going over their match with Rukus and Ric Blade when I walked in. Justice Pain, Wifebeater, and Nick Gage were also in the room. An owner came in the room asking for identification of age. I joked that this was our excuse for getting rid of the Barr. Blade countered with “we can’t be that lucky.” Rob on the other hand did CZW no favors by offering to show his penis to the owner. I think the room was more stunned, than anything. They aint seen nothing yet with Rob around, and I love every minute of it.

Justice Pain than announced to the room that he had a copy of one of my few, yet infamous wrestling matches where I teamed with Rob against Doug and Chris The Bounty Hunter. A clinic the match was definitely not. I looked quite different, as I did not have the physique I have now and God only knows why I went shirtless. I also had long hair, etc. He ribbed me big time over my appearance and the match itself. I announced to the room that I am a proud graduate of Wrestletech (sarcasm, but truth). He threatened to throw it on the wall at Champs, and I just laughed along. You have to have some real thick skin in this business. If you get offended every time you are ribbed, you won’t last long. I actually take being ribbed as a sign of pride and acceptance. My philosophy is that if you cannot laugh at yourself, than you have no right to laugh at anyone else.

I had received word that Jun Kasai from BJW was there tonight. I got a real thorough run down of facts by Doug from RF Video. He is a true Japanese expert. When I said to the boys that I was shocked that Kasai was there, they agreed. I than said I have some notes on him so I hope what I have is good. Wifebeater than asked me what I had. I told him what I had and he was real impressed. He gave me a few more facts and told me about Kasai’s famous Banana Death Matches. I swore up and down he was ribbing me. He told me he was not, but was laughing. He was right and I was wrong.

I then ran into Natasha and John Dahmer. Both were very complimentary on my GLOOW work. They both hated the show, but loved my work. John especially loved my Bronko Lubich line (as has everyone else from all feedback within the business). Lou E chimed in and also put over the Bronko line. I joked with Natasha that GLOOW should bring her in for the big inter-promotional angle.

John House than pulled me aside and showed me notes that he had prepared for the night. I was real impressed as he is really taking his position seriously. You can judge his performance, but I won’t judge his effort for the night. We discussed certain stories and I complimented him on his CZW interviews for their website.

Tommy Dreamer and Francine than arrived. Francine is my friend, but she looked damn hot that night. She has gained some good weight, and the look she had going worked for her big time. Tommy looked great and seemed to be in good spirits. I really love seeing him and consider it an honor anytime I get to work a show with him on it.

I then went over the line up with John Zandig and Z. Barr. John went through all of the matches and than came to Johnny Kashmere’s match. He said Kashmere vs. Z. Barr and looked right at me and smiled. Barr asked over and over if he was serious. Barr assumed he was doing the favor, and was shocked when John told him otherwise. He looked over at me again and smiled. He said “trust me, this is gonna work.”

I went into the back with the line up and was preparing. The boys asked for the card and when they saw Kashmere-Barr with Barr over, you could hear a pin drop. Johnny asked and than assumed I was ribbing him. Justice said that it was not right and someone should talk to John. Johnny had a very professional attitude and said if that is what John wants, that it is fine with him. That is very professional, and he was obviously being tested here by the boss. A few other of the boys agreed with Justice Pain, but Johnny remained silent and ready.

I went to my announce table to prepare for the show. Hitman House and myself did two intros for the show. They seemed to come off well, but not what I expected. That is speaking of my own performance in that regard. John Zandig than came over to go over particulars and what he wanted put over on commentary. Zandig gave me the particulars that he wanted said about Kasai. I don’t think you can never have enough input on what the booker wants told. It is there show and I am there to help them get their stories over, not me. He also explained the philosophy behind the Kashmere-Barr match. It made a lot of sense, and I popped for the theory. He also gave me a few finishes and I gave him an idea for an angle that night. Not only did he say it was a great idea, he used it.

The show started an hour late, so the crowd was rowdy. The opener was pretty hot for Rocker-Valentine. I gave Rocker some shots on the commentary about his former association at Wrestletech. They have a decent angle, these two so it makes my job super easy.

Next up was Kashmere-Barr. Barr has not wrestled in ages and this was his first match. He looked great considering this, and did not seem hesitant in his movements. His dropped weight did him a lot of good and it paid off. The match was damn good, and Johnny was his usual great self. He is real good and I think he is overlooked sometimes because of how good his partner is. I am a huge JK fan, and I put him over to anyone that will listen. I really think I did a great job of commentary on this match. I cursed for the first time ever on CZW after this match. I think cursing is good, if used once a year at that. It brings more realism to the match and the emotions of yourself and what you want the people to feel sitting at home watching the tape. You will not hear me curse anytime soon, as more than once a year is too much in my eyes.

The rest of the show was awesome. The pace was the best ever for a CZW show. No long winded promos or bullcrap angles, just a real solid pace. These kids are the best around and once television starts, CZW can become a contender. People discount the product and assume it is all blood. Just as it was this night, it is usually all wrestling and one blood match.

Watching Tommy Dreamer is very emotional and calling his match is a privilege. To see a guy that put so much of himself physically and mentally into the business is very inspiring. He is a true inspiration and just being around him makes you want to work that much harder. After his match, he grabbed the mic and said “this is more extreme than ECW ever was.” That is the biggest sign of respect you will ever get. He does not have to say it and would not in a forced situation. That is just pure respect from a respectable guy.

The first person I saw when I walked into the locker after the show was Dreamer. He was sitting closest to the door and was with Francine. His arm was bloody and he was smiling from ear to ear. When I opened the door, he looked at me with a big smile and said sarcastically “hey Eric.” What else could you say to someone? I could have read it wrong, but he looked like he was having fun again. For a minute I started looking around for Taz, RVD, Sandman, and Shane. I saw Blade, Pain, Gage, Beater, Kashmere, Acid, Berk, the Briscoes, Zandig, Barr, Reckless, Dahmer, Hatred, and Lobo. These are the stars of tomorrow and they just put on one hell of a show.

Saturday 4/07/01: Today I had a live show from a place called USA Karate. I really did not expect much of a turn out, as I was not given ample time to promote the show. However, my show has been hot the last two weeks with the biggest stories of all time, so I thought maybe that could pay off.

I showed up and a whole two people came to see me. That is real disheartening sometimes, and I don’t understand why. When Joel Goodhart used to have his shows, I would always go to just hang out. I guess you have to give a reason for people to come out. Whenever I have a star as a guest live I always draw decent numbers, so the people are out there. It was a long hour to say the least. Another thing which I never understood, is that when I am out live I only get a few calls. I don’t know if the people just don’t think I am taking calls when I am on the road or what? That can also make for a long show. I had some great calls as usual, but it was not the same. Thank God for Vince from Croydon showing up at USA Karate. He was insightful as usual and took advantage of the hot mic. This was also the first show in which my original producer, Jack Urban ran things. He is the best and I have never had a problem with him. I always request him for my shows, but I have not had him in about a year and a half. Merrill Reese, and Eagle’s Barry Gardner were on right after me. I always get a thrill out of seeing Merrill. He treats me great and shows me a ton a respect as a long time station employee. I have listened to his calls for years so I always get a charge out of saying hello. Barry looked in top shape and was a gentleman.

I snuck over to the gym to get a quick work out in before the CZW show. I did an hour of arms so I was feeling pretty jazzed. I have been into fitness and working out for about thirteen years. I was a chubby kid, and I picked up my first set of weights at fifteen. I really did not get into things until high school. I remember going to the weight room and skipping study hall everyday and working out. All of the sudden my babyfat disappeared and I now had the body I always wanted. I still have a tiny bit of that babyfat still around and it will probably never go away. I watch what I eat as often as I can. I try to keep a count of my carbs and keep them as low as possible. One of these days I will go through my whole routine and dieting. Not that I am Lance Storm or anything, but this is my diary.

As usual I rode over to the CZW show with Rob Feinstein and Doug Gentry of RF Video. We talked about the shows that Rob and I did commentary on his RF Video fan cams. Doug pointed out what he liked and did not like and had some valid points. As usual, Rob did not pay much attention to anything Doug said. The best part of the trips is watching Rob just ignore Doug every time he would speak. Classic stuff and very entertaining.

We arrived at the building around 6:15 PM. The first person we saw outside was H.C. Loc. Rob and Doug know him a lot better than I do, so I just said hello. He put Doug over for looking jacked. Rob and I joked that we were sure we would hear about that from Doug the whole rest of the night. To our shock, he did not mention it once.

I than entered the locker room to put my bag down. I placed my bag in the corner near Zandig and the Hate Club’s. I try and stick as close to John as possible before a show to get all of the angles down. I saw Z Barr strapping his boots on. We exchanged hellos. Wifebeater, Smack, and Justice Pain were all huddled around and talking. I went over to say hello to the club. Thank God, Justice dropped the ribbing on the tape from Wed. Smack than informed that he was trying to message me online two nights ago. I tried to explain that I was on AIM and away from my computer, but it seemed to fall on deaf ears.

I then saw John talking to Gudio a few feet away from me. I said hello to Guido and he responded as if he just saw me last week. I had not seen him in two years for God’s sake. I ran into Justin Kase, who informed me that the Hate Club were all back together tonight. I jokingly asked if Ed O would be back as well. He and the rest of the Club all laughed. I exchanged hellos with the rest of the crew.

I ran into John House, my color guy. He started going over all of the notes that he had taken for tonight’s show. He told me he could not sleep the night before he was so excited. Screw the excitement, I was starving. I had not eaten since before my workout. So I grabbed two hot-dogs and a diet coke. I took the rolls off the dogs and with that meal I had about 1 gram of carbs. Rob Feinstein joined me at the concession stand as well for the pre-event meal.

I started talking to Rob, but we had a fence separating us. Somebody walked over and said the two of us should have a cage match. We both got a good laugh out of that one. I find it amazing how many people know about what went down a couple years ago with Rob and I. I really did not think anyone would care, but someone asks me something about it every show. It is funny when someone sees me they will say “that jerk Rob is here, etc etc.” Then I will say something like “Yeah, we came together, we are great friends again.” Than they will say they were only kidding. I am sure the same people go up to him and say the same thing about me. You got to love this business!

John House than prerecorded our opening for tonight’s show. I forgot to mention a few things and really did not care for it. He liked it and the Smart Mark guy did also. Rob Feinstein watched the whole thing a few feet away and started making faces to distract me. Well, it almost worked but I held in my laughter. After we finished in true Paul Heyman fashion he said “perfect.”

I than went back to the locker room to get with Zandig about storylines, etc. He explained to me a really cool angle they were doing tonight with Z Barr. I even popped for it. He then ran down the rest of the show, about points he wanted me to stress, etc. He explained the stips for the main event, but I was still sort of confused. As we were talking, in walks Nick Berk. Nick is wearing glasses and is laughing and going off on a tangent about something. John was smiling, but looked equally as confused as to Berk as I did. He was probably thinking to himself “I made this guy a world champion?”

I than got with John Dahmer and talked for a little bit about his match, etc. He then went around with me to all of the guys in the back to get their finishers, and any new moves they may do. HC Loc was trying to explain his finisher. He was telling me as if I had seen him do it a million times in ECW. He is a nice guy, but I never watched his matches in ECW. Trent just gives me too much credit. He was explaining his moves as if I would know them. I really did not understand them and I just eventually agreed with him. The SAT’s told me about their finisher and I popped for it. That really helps, especially when you have to call a show live. I have made a more conscious effort over the last few months to get the moves over. I watch a lot of announcers and JR rarely even calls the moves. However, I do think it is important. Now, it was show time.

The show opened with a really cool angle. They brought out Z Barr with an apple in his mouth, hog tied through a pole. Like a pig. The H8 Club went through their demands, and Trent, John, and Kasai came through the door. They chased out the Club and laid down the stips for the match later that night. Personally, I was confused by the stips. If I was confused, imagine how the fans felt? The crowd seemed kind of dead, as they did all night. It was a weird crowd that night.

The first match was Guido-Nick Berk. I am a big fan of Guido and think he is one of the most underrated talents in the biz. I remember sitting ringside for a ton of Taz-Guido matches and they were great. Any of the younger boys can learn a ton from watching Gudio. Guido looked a little rusty, which could be expected. Nick is awesome, and he is one of the most underrated indie talents out there. His attitude does not do him any good, but he is really good. The match saw a lot of near falls and ended in a time limit draw. A lot of people did not like that kind of a finish. I disagreed and it was done for storyline purposes. Nicky went to a time limit draw against Trent two shows back and this was a piece of a big puzzle. The same people that did not like it, will tell you that the storylines are inconsistent. Guido slapped Nick after the match very hard. That was uncalled for, and really not right. It is all part of passing the torch to the younger guys, so they expect it.

Next up were the Briscoes against Rocker and new comer Danny Rose and Dahmer and Valentine. I love seeing the Briscoes and Dahmer/Valentine work each other. Dahmer is awesome and has made a real physical commitment as of late and looks phenomenal. Rose did a lot of mic work before the match. Since he was taking Rebel’s spot, that was done purposely. The match itself was pretty good. The Briscoes were on their game as usual. Danny Rose was very impressive in his debut. I would have to think he won himself a spot if he desires one. Dahmer is very over with the crowd and it shows. He and Valentine make a great team. The match was awesome and Dahmer and Valentine are the winners. As winners, they will get a match with Hatred and Gage and I cannot wait to see it.

Next was the return of the Spanish Announce Team. This was a match for the fans as it was a 3 Way Dance. Zandig and I were trying all night to figure out what this kind of a match was called, but could not. These kids are unreal. They are the only guys I have ever seen get a standing ovation in their debut here a few months back. As soon as they came out, the crowd immediately remembered who they were and went nuts. The match was off the charts. They did everything and I said during the match on commentary “how are the boys gonna follow this one?” That was the key question, because they really did EVERYTHING! These kids are going to be stars someday and they really enjoy working for CZW. After the match was over. they received a standing ovation once again. Once they really get into it with the Briscoes, I think CZW will have their Hardyz-Edge/Christian series. I would really like to see these two teams feuding over the belts in a ladder match down the line.

Trent vs. Rukus was next. I was really excited about this one. Rukus is the most agile guy I have ever seen at his size. He is truly an enigma. Trent is one of the best out there, and I know he was looking forward to this one. The match was really good and had great psychology in my opinion. It was not just a bunch of fancy moves, as they really told a story. I think the placement of this match on the card sucked for these guys. I would have put the Tag Team Three Way in this spot, because Dahmer and Valentine would have slowed things down a little with a more methodical style. Anything short of bringing back the weed wacker were in for a long night following those SAT’s. Rukus did a diving senton, which was kind of weird since that is Blade’s patented finisher. Z Barr added a lot of cool spots, picking his place for interference. He is getting really good at getting heat and is very active at ringside. The match ended with Rukus missing a 450. Z Barr was a tad early with his spot, which kind of screwed up the finish. Trent won, and this was the second best match of the night and if the SAT’s were not there, it would have blown away anything else. I definitely want to see a rematch here between these two guys.

Next up was Intermission. I went to the back for intermission. Sometimes I just hang out at the RF Video table and talk to Rob. I grabbed a chair and talked a little to Brian Logan, as he was stuffing hot dogs in his mouth. I asked Eric Tuttle a few things about his match. He seemed really cocky to me, for a guy that was in on his first night. I talked a little with some of the other boys and headed over to the tape table for the remainder of intermission.

Next was Jimmy Washington’s segment. A lot of people really hate this part of the show. They say it kills the momentum, and it does. But it is necessary right now without television. CZW tries to bring you a show and not just a card. They use this segment to get angles, promos, etc over. They did a deal where they set up Johnny Kashmere’s match later that night. They did a deal with he and Zandig where Zandig started shooting all over him. I really thought he was gonna pop him, which just gives props to John’s performance. Lobo than came out to set up a match with he and Pondo for Saturday. Lobo cut a shoot promo on the boss which was fun to watch. I added in some shoot comments of my own for the commentary. All in good fun of course.

Ric Blade vs H.C. Loc was next. Loc came in highly regarded and a lot of people thought this match would steal the show. These were just two guys who’s styles did not work together. Loc would work better with a guy like Dahmer or Kashmere. It just seemed that no matter what they did, it was not working. The table did not break twice for their finish. The crowd booed and both men went to the back. Ric was really upset after the match. This is his place and tonight any flaws he had were exposed. So if I were him, I would be upset too. Ric did win the match however, if that counts for anything?

Next was a really cool angle they set up and was Kashmere vs Eric Tuttle, who was the towel boy that night and in ECW. They really built this throughout the night and swerved everyone who thought they were getting Trent vs Johnny. Tuttle was a little sloppy at times, but he was supposed to be. For storyline purposes, he was just a towel boy. Johnny was a little concerned about it after the match, but I explained that if the match was five stars, it would have ruined the character of his opponent just being a towel boy. This will lead to Trent vs Johnny very soon. The boss said to me before the show on Trent vs Johnny “I am putting a lot of build into it, I hope it is good?” I responded and said “They are two of the best you have here, it will be great.” For storylines, Johnny has to go over Trent in their first match. I hope it happens that way. Anyway, Johnny lost and was screwed by Trent and Z Barr at ringside.

The main event was next. It was Justice Pain and Wifebeater vs Nick Gage and Nate Hatred for the belts. However, after 5 minutes it would be 4 on 2 as Zandig and Jun Kasai would get involved. Justice worked his best match ever I think this night. He did not miss anything and was on time with all of the spots. The match was damn good and after 5 minutes, all hell broke loose. It was very crazy with Wifebeater getting powerbombed on about 15 chairs at ringside. The match ended where Wifebeater laid on a few tables and Jun Kasai dove on him off the balcony, about 20-25 feet in the air. One of the sickest and craziest things I had ever seen. I was told to put over on commentary how they killed the beater, and they did. They threw him back in the ring and beat the hell out of Pain as well. Eventually, EMTs ran down to help the Club. Zandig cut a promo on the Club setting up next weekend’s main event. At that time, the locker room emptied Gary Wolfe-Shane Douglasish and cleared the area. I think at that time, Zandig should have left and the Club should have been carried or stretchered back. Zandig continued on the mic however and the Club eventually made it to their feet. I think that is the problem at times with the younger and less experienced. They just really do not get into the whole aspect of selling. They are too concerned with getting back on the mic, etc. I think that kind of ruined the whole angle for me and the fans. All in all, I will put this night and any other CZW night against any indie show you would pay ten dollars to see. There is nothing like it anywhere in the country. The boys work harder and now are more polished than ever. Once we get television, if things are done right we will explode!

Once the show was over I made my way to the locker room. I walked around to all of the boys and told them what a great job I thought they had done. They can inspire even the most uninspired person. Rob and I talked after the show about how good it was. We noted that between the two of us we had seen it all, yet we still are entertained every time out by this company. In saying my goodbyes, as always the boss asked what I thought of the show. I told him I really liked it a lot, but I was kind of confused at why the fans were so unenthused tonight. He agreed with me. We got to talking about the UK tour he will be on this weekend. He told me that he fears a shoot or double cross over there. He said that some of the workers over there, really have a hatred for CZW. I told him I did not think he had anything to worry about.

I tried to find any available talent I could to say goodbye. The funniest thing I ever saw was my boy, Z Barr trying to pick up a ring rat. Even funnier was her telling him she had a boyfriend. I started saying goodbye to Rukus, when Barr said to Rukus “I thought you told me she doesn’t have a boyfriend?” He responded laughing “she doesn’t.” I laughed right in his face. Rukus asked me how his stuff looked tonight. I put him over and he may be one of the most humble kids you will ever meet. I told him that I just hoped I did his match justice with the commentary. He paid me the ultimate compliment by saying ” you always do, you are awesome.” Getting compliments are always good, but receiving props from your peers is extra special. I will never forget the first night in for the company. How I got over with the boys was simple. On commentary I made a remark about Abdullah The Butcher the whole locker room popped for. Ever since, they have accepted me into their family.

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