Week of 8/20/01

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

Week of 8/20/01:

There is a ton to talk about this week in the commentary. I usually wait until midweek to post the thoughts, but there is so much I figured I would put it up early.

I want to take a look at my day this past Saturday and the CZW show that went down.

A month ago we had the task at hand to write a CZW show that would be entertaining, meaningful, and worth every dollar and second of time spent by the fans with 7 of our top guys in Japan. During that time I had presented the idea of doing a tag team tournament. I am very high on our tag team division and think that more emphasis should be placed on it. We have a lot of teams that are very good, yet do not get the opportunity to carry the ball so to speak. The tournament was a win-win situation I had thought. It would make up for the lack of CZW workers available for the show by getting multi matches of the evening. It would be able to promote the tag team division. I also thought most importantly that it would give us the chance to elevate a lot of talent and stories that were kind of bouncing around the last few months.

The real key to the show was the coming together of storylines that have been kind of floundering the last few months. Everything that was intended would have made sense of the last few shows. It was intended to be a very dramatic evening with a lot of twists and turns for the fans live. Unfortunately, just when you think you are about to hit one out of the park you just keep getting foul balls.

I have been reading a lot the last two days about the whole situation between CZW and the SAT. What astounds me is that the information reported and conclusions made are as close to being 100% wrong as you can get. I know that the SAT’s were on the road this weekend, so I highly doubt that they had talked to any fans or reporters. I know that I have not talked to any reporters or fans up until last night. I know that John Zandig, the owner of the company has been on a plane as of this writing. Keeping that in mind, I do not know where these people are getting their information.

I am even more stunned that so many people even care. I never think of CZW as a company that would generate any press of this magnitude with this kind of a story. To me, we are a small company out of New Jersey with the only thing in mind right now is to grow and expand in to a profitable company. That does not mean a national deal, a pay per view, an international tour or anything like that. It means exactly what it says and to do that we need to give the fans the best possible product. I am assuming with the amount of press and talk we are getting that the company is a lot bigger than I had thought.

The conclusions that fans and reporters are making just really shock me. I read these posts and reports and I get so mad about them, because they are just so totally false and ridiculous. On the one hand they will condemn CZW for being a terrible company, but on the other hand they will applaud the SAT for taking another booking and walking out, forgetting a lot of facts. The position of CZW is very easy. The addition of television brings CZW a brand new task at hand. We have the talent in the locker room, now it is CZW’s responsibility to put it all together in to stories. Now, CZW will build something whether it is for one show or a few months for a big pay off at the end. Every single piece of talent in our locker room are aware of the commitment now that we are a television company. If CZW is going to give you the ball and put you in a major storyline and build it up on television, you have to be there for us when we need you. I do not see what is so difficult about that. Trent Acid and Johnny Kashmere are without a doubt the most requested tag team on the indie scene today. These two guys get calls for booking all of the time. Trent and Johnny understand what CZW is doing right now and have made CZW the commitment of making CZW a top priority. Trent and Johnny I am sure have had the opportunity to make a lot more money and get a lot more exposure for one night, if they would cancel their CZW date and take the other. Do they? No! Where are Trent and Johnny right now? They are in Japan right now on tour for a month. They have also been an important part of our television and storylines for the last 8 months. At this time last year, they were on the middle of the show with the teams. Now, they are headliners here and are wrestling the top talent in CZW on a nightly basis. They understand that commitment as two workers in the wrestling business. They are both incredible talents and with their commitment, they can be put in these situations.

Reckless Youth is another guy in a similar situation. Reckless had been floundering around mid card level since his return to CZW. Reckless was working double shots and would on occasion miss a booking. CZW finally made the commitment to Reckless to put him in a main storyline. Reckless, made the commitment back and promised not to do any more doubles. Reckless is like the Backseats and could probably take a million bookings a night if he wanted. Reckless, unfortunately hurt himself at an NWA Florida show. Reckless cancelled all of his other bookings, yet still came to the CZW shows. Reckless presented CZW with a variety of different options to work around his injury. Some may say that Reckless was just coming in for a payday, but he could have showed up other places and worked around it for the same or more. It was the commitment. Last week Reckless worked a short match against Ruckus doing way more than he probably should of. Nobody asked him to do what he did; yet he offered to do the match. This past Saturday, Reckless could not make the show, as his injury has gotten worse. CZW will have a place for Reckless when he returns as we all know that if he could have made it, he would of.

This brings us to the situation with the SAT. I will be very honest here in my commentary on the situation. I was quiet about the situation until I read a report on Dave Meltzer’s site. I know Dave a little for a few years and when I read it I knew something had to be said. Someone gave Dave bad information in which made CZW look real bad. In printing the story, it would give a reader that the story was fact. Dave was informed about the true facts of the situation. In his defense, he printed a clarification. Here are the facts of the situation.

SAT were being advertised for JAP on the same night as our 8/18 show. I asked them on 7/28 what was going on and they said they were never booked for JAP and were not working for them again and were working for us. Whether that is true or not, this is what I was told from their mouths to my ear. They did tell me that they would be missing our show on 9/15 for UCW. I told them that John said that they should not burn any bridges and he was more than fine with them missing the show. I passed to them that they were encouraged to show loyalty to the company that gave them a break. I told them that with 7 of our guys in Japan on the 18th, that we were going to build a big show around them with all of the matches and angles they have been doing with Divine, Storm, and XL coming to a head. I informed that we had planned a tag team tournament with a match between them and the Briscoes with a big angle finishing the match which would have made sense of their matches with Divine, Storm, and Xl. The reason they have been kept apart from the Briscoes since May was to save it for a big match. This was to be that night. I told them that if they can’t make it to let me know now, because if not they are a huge part of the show and with 7 guys in Japan would be part of the draw that night. They said they would be there and were all happy and smiling about the deal. They even started going over stuff with the Briscoes that night and thanked me a million times over for it.

Than, I had heard through the grapevine last weekend that they were going to work for Dusty on the 18th. I confronted Joe L at last weekends show and asked him. He told me they were considering it and that they did not know yet. I told them how important that it was to be at the show next week and that we were really counting on them. He said he would let me know and by the end of the night said he will most likely be with us. They were never threatened not to do the show, but were told it would be in their best interests to be here. I explained about the loyalty we needed from them to build them up and feature them on our shows. I also explained that if they were not let go from CZW, that most likely they would not be put in anything big, as they would be seen as undependable.

I talked to Red Monday afternoon, and he said that they did not really know what they were going to do yet. I again explained that any other show would be fine to miss, but this one was one that they had to be at. Monday night I got a message on my machine from Joe L that night saying they were not coming with any number to return the call or anything. He apologized for missing the show but left a message that he was assuming that their jobs would be in jeopardy.

I talked to Chris Divine at the show last night and told me that they really don’t want to fuck anything up and want to come back and love it here and even if they got full time jobs down there that they would not travel there every month anyway. I don’t know if that was bs, but that is what I was told. He also told me that they were put in a bad bind because someone had booked them without asking them and they were stuck. I explained the bind they put us in. I compared it to the Sabu 3 Way Dance with the whole New Japan situation years ago. The only difference being is that Paul had a deep roster and could fix it. I explained how hard it was for us with 7 in Japan. I told him to tell them that they will most likely be back, but they really screwed the company and all of the guys in the back, most importantly them and the Briscoes. They were fired that night, but it was all part of an angle. They were fired by a heel, which leaves the door open for a return. The fact is that I was not informed of their cancellation until 5 days before the show. Anything you hear different is a lie. I still have the message on my voice mail with the time and date. Not more than a week, 5 days before the show. I talk to the boss frequently from overseas and was asked to handle the matter. I wrote the majority of the show for that night, which is why I took a vested interest in this deal.

That is the situation in black and white. People can draw their own conclusions from the situation. I read one report that said that a CZW employee told the SAT in Pottstown that they were fired. There was no employee at the show that night with that kind of authority, nor was a decision made. I hope that the situation can be resolved with the SAT because I think they are very talented. However, if they do not return CZW will move on. A spot is now open for a young team and there are a million out there. I read a lot about how the SAT are everywhere. I think it would be in their best interest to stay in one place, get exposure on television, and learn at this stage. They are still very young and if they go anywhere they will not be used to their full potential. No company that has six figure contracts is going to push a young team making less over the money. Again, I hope this can be resolved but if it can’t I am sure I will run in to the SAT again as will a lot of our guys. The locker room is very disappointed, but I know that I wish them the best of luck no matter what happens.

As of Tuesday we had to come up with a whole new game plan. A new show was written and on paper it looked like a real winner. Two teams got the opportunity to step up in to higher positions on the show. VD went from having one match, to having the pressure of two. Z Barr and Nick Berk went from not even in the tournament, to now a part of the tournament and a key match. I truly believed in the talent to take the ball and run with it. The tournament was almost scrapped when the SAT cancelled, but I really pushed hard for it and sold the show as either sink or swim. I had a ton of confidence in the talent involved and knew that they would make this work. The idea was to give the fans a great wrestling show, with a lot of drama involved. I looked at it as an old style ECW arena show, when you left feeling as if you just watched a pay per view.

The show itself was better than anyone could have expected. The teams not only stepped up, but also went beyond the call of duty. It was truly a night of selfless acts and everyone putting their egos aside and making this a company night. A senior gave a speech to the locker room before the show explaining that with 7 guys in Japan it was their opportunity to shine. It was their chance to take the ball and score with it. If they were ever going to make an impact, tonight was the night.

One of our guys pulled what may be one of the most courageous acts I have ever witnessed for a company. A man worked the show with a terrible injury and went far beyond the call of duty. It was a gutsy and heroic move and should be applauded. With the risk of compromising things, I cannot mention his name. However, he will always be appreciated for his commitment. Valentine, Dahmer, Ruckus, and Jay Briscoe scored a very convincing touchdown in my opinion. Whatever they had planned earlier went out the window and they stepped it up. How about Ruckus, who showed up at Best of the Best and last Saturday unscheduled in both tournaments and wound up wrestling both? VD are a very underrated team in my eyes and I wanted to give them the opportunity to show the fans what everyone in our locker room knows about them. We all knew what we wanted and that this match could either make or break the tournament. In the middle of the match when the fans were clapping and stomping along, I knew we had a winner. Another guy I was real proud of was Nick Berk. Nick is just so good sometimes that he is taken for granted. Nick is the kind of guy you know can go out there and has a good match with anyone, so sometimes the planning for him is overlooked. Reckless was too hurt to participate in the 3 Way main event. Reckless was a key part of the match and we really wanted a third in there. He stepped up and volunteered to wrestle again in the main event. Not only it is a high-pressure situation to be in, the kind of match planned was a brutal one. Nick went in there and tore the house down in my eyes. It was one of his best matches I have ever seen him have. All three of them were tremendous with the lack of preparation. Gage and Mondo solidified themselves as main eventers. Berk also proved that he could hang with the main eventers, not that he ever had to. For anyone that ever doubted this guy’s abilities there was no doubt about him at the end of the match. I was truly proud of him. Here is a guy that went from being originally scheduled in a single’s match, than part of the tournament, and now the main event also.

All of the guys were just working at almost an unconscious level that night. A few fans did not come to the show because we were 7 guys short. I think they made a huge mistake, as this night proved how deep and valuable our roster was. At night’s end I think a curtain call was almost in order for what everyone pulled off in an atmosphere of adversity.

We did a lot of promos that night for television as well. Let me say that what you will see over the next few weeks from the Rachies will take them to a new level here in CZW. I have a world of confidence in those guys and think that they will excel with their new role in CZW. I would definitely keep your eye out for that. I think all of the guys are really settling in to their characters now. The advent of more promos is helping everyone all the way around. All of the guys are just tremendous to deal with and are very creative in their own right. CZW vets like Berk, Lobo, Dahmer, and Gage are great leaders in our locker room and vets like Adam Flash, Glen Osbourne, and Danny Rose are always willing to help out where needed. It goes for Reckless when he is here as well. I think anyone that buys the tape of this show will really enjoy the show from start to finish. It had a great flow to it. Look for Divine, Storm, and XL to pick up now and move in to another level. Ruckus is without question a huge asset to our company and comes through whenever called upon. Ty Street was great in his return and is a pleasure to work with. Z Barr has really stepped it up as of late as well and is becoming more of a serious wrestler. Robby Mireno continues to improve by leaps and bounds on promos. I think he understands now how it is working and he is using his natural talents to help out as well. Some people are just better at just being themselves, rather than being someone else. Robby is at his best when he is himself with his quick wit and satire.

The after show was interesting. We had some black clouds on this evening, but it is not worth taking the time out here and discussing them. CZW is growing and everyone needs to understand certain things on a bigger level. I come from the school that nobody should disrespect a member of our family, especially if you are not part of it. There was an incident after the show in which someone was taking a good friend of mine to task on something. That person had no right to do that and I stepped in there and told them so. I think what some people need to understand that is without the talent in the locker room, they would not have a job doing whatever they are doing. Ruckus also had a birthday cake in the back as well. We all ate that huge sheet cake up quicker than anything I had ever seen. I was just so proud of the night and I don’t know with all of the hurdles we had to leap and the shortened roster how we could have had a better show? If there was ever a show that came off perfect from start to finish it was this one.

I think the next CZW show on 9/8 is going to be a not miss. This is a huge show as the entire roster is back from Japan. It will be very exciting to see where the Lobo’s deal will go now that Zandig is back. Also, Justice Pain and the Backseats are back with a much different tag team division. The tickets are lowered to ten dollars for general admission. The low price is a great opportunity for fans teetering on seeing the product to check it out. The shows are just getting better and better, with more drama to them. I understand that everyone who works for an indie company thinks that their company is the best. There are some other good ones out there, but I have never seen anything better and with more potential.

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