Pro Wrestling Radio Diary: Week of December 11, 2001

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

The Cage of Death is less than a week away. I can tell you that there is nothing else on my mind except this show right now. I completely bombed a test in school already this week, because my priorities lie with this show. I am sure I feel the same as the rest of my co workers.

What makes me real mad is when people try and label CZW as a blood and violence company. Anyone that makes those claims has not watched the shows over the last year. I say this because people doubt that we can make it because as they say, “we are a garbage wrestling company.” I get that a lot from fans and listeners of my radio show, who really have not watched a lot of CZW. I was on a radio show the other night when the host brought this up. It really sparked something when I heard that. I got mad and almost offended as an employee of the company. Everyone is entitled to their own opinions, but as someone that truly believes in what are trying to accomplish, I think it is a misrepresented label.

As a wrestling company, CZW has been based out of New Jersey. The home base and most regular venue that we run is in Sewell, NJ. The laws in New Jersey allow no hardcore wrestling. CZW has only run Delaware a handful of times this year. Of those shows, we had one bloody, hardcore main event. That would total about 4-6 real hardcore matches this year total for our company. CZW has ran 23 shows this year, with an average of about 7 matches per show. That would equal an average of 161 matches this year. Again, some shows like Best of the Best we have had more than 7 matches a show, but I will keep 7 in the average. So take those 161 matches, subtract 6, and that will give you a ratio of 6 hardcore matches to 156 wrestling matches. Now, I could be missing something but I do believe that ratio does not make us a hardcore or garbage wrestling company? As a matter of fact, if I was truly a hardcore/garbage wrestling only fan I would probably not be all that interested in CZW.

To me a hardcore company is a company like IWA Mid-South. I am not putting them over, nor am I putting them down. Everything that I have read about them says that the majority of their shows are hardcore matches. If that is what you like, that is cool. I would label them a hardcore company in a minute, and I bet they would too. Same goes with a lot of Big Japan tapes I have watched.

Even if you go back through the CZW video library before the laws of New Jersey, they would only have one hardcore match or angle per show. They never went crazy with it, and always presented it as the icing on top of the cake.

I think with such talented wrestlers like: the Briscoes, Ruckus, Justice Pain, Nick Gage, the Backseat Boyz, SATs, Storm, Divine, and XL, Nick Berk, Nick Mondo, the Rachies, VD, Glen Osbourne, Z Barr, Ty Street, and so on that we have a damn good roster of wrestlers. If I left someone out it is not because I think different, it is just making a point here. Sure, guys like Zandig, Wifebeater, Nate Hatred, Mad Man Pondo, and others are more valuable as hardcore wrestlers. However, if they are talented enough they can be utilized in a variety of roles. For example, Nate Hatred’s team with Nick Gage is one of the most underrated teams in the business.

I think CZW has had some of the best wrestling matches in the United States this year. Jay Briscoe vs. Justice Pain, Trent Acid vs. Ruckus, Super Crazy vs. Ric Blade, Minoru Fujita vs. Reckless Youth, Trent Acid vs. Johnny Kashmere, Winger vs. Trent Acid, SAT’s vs. Divine, Storm, and XL, Pain and Kashmere vs. the Briscoes, Briscoes vs. H8 Club, Adam Flash vs. Justice Pain, Ric Blade vs. Nick Mondo, Mark Briscoe vs. Jay Briscoe, VD vs. the Backseats, Tajiri vs. Pain, Ric Blade vs. Trent Acid vs. Reckless Youth, The SAT’s vs. The Briscoes, Nick Berk vs. Minoru Fujita, Quiet Storm vs. Ruckus, Red vs. Winger, Trent Acid vs. Nick Berk are just some of the great matches I have had the pleasure of calling this year. As an announcer, you cannot ask for anything better than that. There are some companies over the last year that have had some great matches on their shows as well. I think the advantage CZW has is it’s depth. From top to bottom we have the best talent on the indies. While on some shows, you have to sit through a few yawners to get to the good stuff.

So, what can you expect at the Cage of Death 3? You can expect some damn good wrestling. The guys are still young and some may still even be a little wet behind the ears. I have noticed that even the greenest of guys improve every time they get to get inside of the ring. Everyone from Shawn Michaels, to Bret Hart came from somewhere. I think in five years you will be seeing a lot of the same talent you see Saturday night on nationwide television.

I think anyone that has followed our product closely finds the consistency a sign of relief. The last few months have provided some real intriguing angles and storylines. To think that the Ruckus-Acid, Briscoes-H8 Club, Wifebeater-Pain feuds have been going for almost 6 months, and some for longer is refreshing in this day and age of wrestling. It makes it easier for me as an announcer and I am sure for you as a fan to follow along.

Everyone has to start somewhere. The growth of this company is right on track. Last year at this time I was very depressed and un-enthused with our product. I felt that the storylines were terrible and lacking. I did not understand some of the matches on the shows. We were running less than shows than ever about a year ago. We actually had a 3 month gap from November until the end of January without shows. Personally, I was getting frustrated as a lot of the videos had audio problems and you could either barley hear us or not hear us at all. After working for 3 hours, that gets frustrating. I missed the last show of the year because honestly, I was just not very much into our company anymore. The light at the end of the tunnel was further and further away.

Something happened in January. The debut on that night of Tajiri and Super Crazy had a ton to do with it. I think it brought the morale up, it gave our guys a great rub, and it brought some interest from fans that would have never checked out CZW. Justice Pain evolved into a true representation of what a world champion of a company should be. The new storylines seemed to have a flow and a chemistry to them that was lacking back in November. All of the sudden we were running shows every other weekend. It was truly a different company. The additions of the Briscoes, Ruckus, and Eddie Valentine were huge on that first show of the year. After that show, I felt something different about our company. I could see that gleam again in the diamond.

It was an amazing year for CZW in my eyes, and it is not over yet. By mid year, we had acquired the best roster in the United States. The Best of the Best was the best indie show I had ever saw. It was a very momentous show for a lot of reasons. The main being, it showed everyone that we were not the garbage company that we had been labeled. Maybe in the past, but this was a brand new CZW. I just watched the video again over the weekend. It was truly magical. It was the greatest experience I have ever had in this business.

It was no surprise that the jump was made to television a month later. It was time to make the move. The area was starving for a good wrestling product on television. The loss of ECW was huge and it just killed any interest in wrestling for a lot of fans. A lot of those fans still had the hunger for a good product, but the loss hit hard. Once we got on the air and the word got out, we were confident that the show and CZW would catch on. We were right. The ratings seemed to boost every week to amazing levels. Once we lowered the ticket prices, we had our biggest crowds in a while. Since we announced the COD, we have more reservations than we could have expected for tickets. The show looks already to be a huge success.

So, why should you come out to the ECW Arena on Saturday? You will get your money’s worth from top to bottom. All of these matches have some underlying storyline and mean something. It is almost like a Wrestlemania for CZW. A lot of these guys grew up on ECW and attended the arena as fans. It was always a dream of theirs to compete in the arena. Some already have. I think it is fair to say that it will mean a lot more on a CZW show with more than 200 people in the crowd. These guys are going to go out there and have the match of their lives on Saturday. It will also be a big happening and almost like a big party. When is the last time wrestling fans in this area had something to get excited about? It is going to be a lot of fun and the atmosphere should just be electric. You can also be a part of something special. We are not going away and will be in that building again. A lot of the fans in that building have grown with us from the old CZW Arena. It should be a very exciting show from start to finish. There will be a ton of great wrestling on the show. The Cage of Death should just be an awesome match. Will it be hardcore? Yes. Will it be garbage style? I do not think so. Nobody is going in there to kill anyone. However, the first COD saw Pain electrocuted. The second saw Pain and Lobo take an amazing fall off of the top. So, this one should just truly be a special match.

Chris Jericho as unified champion is not a great choice in my eyes. Do not get me wrong, I love his character and think he is extremely talented. However, the way they built this guy up was terrible. His promo last night on Raw may have been his best promo since the one he cut when he debuted. They had this guy losing for weeks up to the title win. I think they should have just had this guy go on a tear and have him reach his, “destiny.” I don’t think anyone will take him seriously as a world champion. I think it is a smart move on another level. Rock and Steve Austin are going to draw the same with or without belts. Why not give the belt to someone who could use it? In that case, Jericho is a great choice. I would really like to see the WWF put him with some of the younger guys as challengers on the next pay per views. How about Jericho vs. Edge for the WWF Title, or Jeff Hardy? They could really repair a lot of these guys in doing that over the next few months.

In closing, I just want to say this about our Philadelphia Eagles. I think the team will get smoked the first time they play someone of value. Their offense is horrendous and if not for playing worst teams, they would have a losing record. McNabb is no where close to the player he was last year. He is off target on his throws and seems a lot more nervous this year. The games are just not fun to watch anymore. I sit there and groan the whole time. I don’t know what you do, but I question the future of Donovan McNabb. That record may be the most misleading in the NFL.

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