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Break It Down: CZW Best of the Best X

April 29, 2011 | Posted by Ryan Rozanski
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Break It Down: CZW Best of the Best X  

Best of the Best X on April 9th, 2011

Larry Legend introduces DJ Hyde to start the show. He runs down the non-tournament matches for tonight and brings out the twelve competitors in Best of the Best. Sami Callihan and A.R. Fox garner the loudest reaction from the crowd. Everyone takes a group picture and heads to the back. Greg Excellent comes through the crowd and hits a tiger driver on Hyde. Staff members come out to check on him.

Opening Match: First Round: Elimination: Akuma vs. Jonathan Gresham vs. Zack Sabre, Jr.
They begin with a three-way test of strength and transition into some submissions. Gresham runs off the back of Akuma into a kick from Sabre. Akuma and Sabre work over Gresham. He fights back with a double dragon screw leg whip. Akuma attempts a springboard maneuver but Sabre absolutely murders him with a kick. Gresham sends Sabre to the floor with an enzuigiri and follows out with a moonsault onto both of his opponents. In the ring, Gresham hits a swinging neckbreaker on Sabre and a stunner on Akuma. Sabre connects with a corner dropkick on Akuma and punts Gresham from the apron. Sabre tries to follow with a springboard maneuver but slips and takes a nasty spill. He trades kicks with Akuma and falls victim to a german suplex. Akuma hits a 2k1 bomb on Sabre but gets planted by a DDT from Gresham. Gresham hits his version of the lightning spiral on Akuma to eliminate him. Sabre and Gresham trade forearms and pin attempts. Gresham connects with a shotgun dropkick. Sabre avoids a top rope hurricanrana and connects with a flying double stomp. He adds a few more kicks and applies a cross armbreaker. Gresham rolls through into a kneebar but Sabre turns it into a small package for a nearfall. Gresham tries a wheelbarrow facebuster but Sabre catches him in another cross armbreaker for the win at 9:40. The match started with a few nicely executed three-way spots and ended with a great exchange between Gresham and Sabre. However, the middle portion suffered from sloppiness and miscommunication. Gresham seemed to be receiving a lot of support from the crowd and he put in an impressive performance. The action picked up once Akuma was eliminated and made this a decent opener. **½

Match #2: First Round: Elimination: Johnny Gargano vs. Adam Cole vs. Kyle O’Reilly
Everyone blocks each other’s superkicks and slowly put their feet down. Gargano enzuigiris O’Reilly off the apron and connects with a double stomp on Cole. He hits a leaping neckbreaker on Cole and pulls off a unique double pin attempt. Gargano hits a double slingshot spear but gets caught by stereo knockout kicks. Cole and O’Reilly begin working together, not forgetting that they are a team in other promotions. They take turns body slamming Gargano. Cole accidentally superkicks O’Reilly and Gargano adds a superkick of his own. Gargano and Cole exchange superkicks and all three men are down. Gargano applies a koji clutch in the ropes on Cole but O’Reilly breaks it up with a dropkick. He puts Cole on O’Reilly’s shoulders and hits a double Hurts Donut. Gargano lands a dive to the floor onto Cole and then catches him with a senton from the apron. In the ring, Gargano lawn darts O’Reilly into the corner, connects with a superkick, and hits Diced Bread for a nearfall. O’Reilly applies an ankle lock on Gargano but he fights out. O’Reilly hits a tornado DDT followed by a brainbuster. O’Reilly locks in a dragon sleeper to eliminate Gargano. Cole and O’Reilly trade strikes. O’Reilly hits a regalplex but falls victim to a backcracker. He recovers by applying a crossface but Cole turns it into a pin attempt for a two count. Cole connects with a superkick and hits the Corona Crash for the victory at 10:55. Gargano was on fire before his elimination, finding innovative ways to have his offense affect both of his opponents. I’m glad that they acknowledged the partnership between Cole and O’Reilly. The match remained very structured and easy to get into as a result. It was novel to see Cole and O’Reilly battle to end the match and the action was thoroughly enjoyable for the entire duration. This was an excellent showcase for three wrestlers that are quickly seeing their stock rise. ***¼

Match #3: First Round: Elimination: Brandon Gatson vs. Daisuke Sekimoto vs. Chuck Taylor
Larry Dallas introduces Taylor, which is fitting because they are allied in EVOLVE and Taylor is representing EVOLVE in this tournament. Sekimoto asserts his power advantage early on. Gatson plants him with a DDT but walks into a powerslam from Taylor. Sekimoto suplexes Taylor and applies a sharpshooter. Gatson breaks it up with a kick and Taylor connects with a missile dropkick on Sekimoto. Sekimoto hits a double suplex. Gatson catches Taylor with a slingshot ace crusher and takes out Sekimoto with a space flying tiger drop. Back in, Gatson hits two neckbreakers on Taylor followed by a modified gourdbuster. Sekimoto turns Gatson inside-out with a clothesline on the apron. Sekimoto german suplexes both of his opponents and covers Gatson to eliminate him. Taylor flips out of a clothesline and tries a quick rollup for a two count. He connects with a series of kicks and hits a uranagi. Taylor lands a lionsault but Sekimoto answers with a flying crossbody. Sekimoto connects with a lariat and hits a dead-lift german suplex for the win at 7:53. While a little on the short side, everyone received a chance to showcase their offense and stand out. If anyone watching didn’t know what Sekimoto is capable of, they quickly learned after this match. **¾

Sekimoto dead-lift german suplexes Larry Dallas after the match because he can.

Match #4: First Round: Elimination: Sami Callihan vs. Jake Crist vs. A.R. Fox
Callihan charges at Fox but eats a superkick from Jake. Fox lands a moonsault to the floor onto Callihan. He tries a springboard maneuver in the ring but Jake catches him with a leg lariat. Jake overhead suplexes Fox into Callihan. He fights to avoid a stretch muffler and hits a powerslam on Callihan. Fox lands a top rope leg drop onto Jake and adds a guillotine leg drop. Callihan takes out Fox with a dive to the outside. Jake follows out with a shooting star press. Fox reenters the ring and lands a 450 splash to the floor. In the ring, Jake moonsaults to avoid a sunset bomb and connects with a series of kicks on Callihan. Fox hits a michinoku driver on Jake, who responds with a top rope tiger driver. Unreal. Callihan applies a stretch muffler on Jake. While Jake is in the hold, he crawls over and covers Fox for a two count. Callihan grapevines the hold to eliminate Jake. Fox connects with a corner yakuza kick and hits a springboard ace crusher. Callihan rolls to the floor and Fox takes him out with a dive. Back in, Fox finds knees on a 450 splash. Callihan connects with a sliding forearm and locks in the stretch muffler for the victory at 8:15. They packed in enough action to fill fifteen minutes. I was curious to see how Fox would be handled in the tournament and despite not advancing, he definitely stood out the most in this match. However, I wish that Fox and Callihan would have been given more time to show what they could do together once Jake was eliminated. That seemed like a confrontation that the crowd would have gotten behind. Still, this was an incredibly fun sprint and an impressive showing from all three participants. ***

Drew Gulak makes his way to the ring with Dewance. He tries to talk but the crowd drowns him out with air horns. Devon Moore and the Briscoes come to ringside. Moore superkicks Gulak and the Briscoes follow with the doomsday device. Jay wants the six-man tag team match to happen now…

Match #5: CZW World Heavyweight Title and CZW World Tag Team Titles: Devon Moore, Jay Briscoe ©, and Mark Briscoe © vs. Robert Anthony ©, Sabian, and Joker
One team is guaranteed to walk away with all of the titles. So I’m assuming that if Anthony would pin Jay, then Sabian and Joker would win the tag team titles. Jon Moxley is in the heels’ corner. Mark hits a finlay roll on Anthony and lands a rolling senton. Sabian snaps off a hurricanrana on Moore, who responds with an STO. The Briscoes take down Sabian with stereo shoulder tackles and Jay follows with a dropkick. Moxley trips Jay from ringside and the referee ejects him. Jay hits a spinebuster on Joker and tags in Moore. Joker catches Moore with a clothesline and Anthony adds a delayed vertical suplex. The heels isolate him until he shrugs off a regalplex, boots Joker, and makes the tag. Mark hits an overhead suplex on Sabian and connects with a spin kick on Joker. He hits an iconoclasm on Joker but finds himself in a cross armbreaker. Mark quickly reaches the bottom rope. Jay hits a falcon arrow on Joker. Mark and Anthony exchange slaps and Anthony accidentally dropkicks the referee. Mark hits the Cutthroat Driver on Anthony but gets caught by a flying double stomp from Sabian. Sabian escapes a splash mountain from Jay and kicks him low. He plants Moore with a DDT and Anthony adds a moonsault. Moxley runs out in a referee shirt but Moore kicks out at two. The Briscoes brawl with Joker and Sabian on the floor. Moore superkicks Anthony and goes up top. Moxley kicks the ropes and crotches Moore on the top rope. The Briscoes hit the doomsday device on Moxley and take out Philly’s Most Wanted with planchas. Moore lands a shooting star press onto Anthony. Drew Blood comes out in a referee shirt and counts to three, allowing the Briscoes to retain their titles and making Moore the new CZW World Heavyweight Champion at 19:43. So far in 2011, CZW hasn’t been producing the highest quality shows. Part of the problem were the finishes to some of the title matches. Storyline advancement was being sacrificed for match quality. However, this match came off without a hitch and effectively played off of the underwhelming finishes that have occurred over the past few months. While some may scoff at the overbooking down the stretch, everything that happened had been built to for awhile. The crowd hung with them and Moore’s title win genuinely felt like a big deal. This could have been a disaster but they more than made the best of it. ***½

The Briscoes and Philly’s Most Wanted almost come to blows as Moore celebrates his title win. Moxley refuses to leave the ring so a staff member lays him out with a stunner.

Match #6: Semifinal Round: Zack Sabre, Jr. vs. Adam Cole
Sabre tries an early cross armbreaker but Cole quickly reaches the bottom rope. He trips Cole and applies a bow and arrow. Sabre transitions into a muta lock but Cole escapes. Cole takes some time on the floor to regroup. Sabre follows out and connects with strikes around ringside. He misses a kick and collides with the ringpost. In the ring, Cole begins targeting the left leg and takes control. He even hits a shinbreaker on the apron at one point. Sabre fights back with a knockout kick and a flying knee strike. He hits a dragon suplex and connects with a double stomp on the apron. Sabre locks in a cross armbreaker but Cole gets his foot on the bottom rope. Cole rolls through a dragon suplex and hits a powerbomb. He transitions into a half crab but finds himself in another cross armbreaker. Cole escapes and reapplies a half crab. Sabre turns the hold into a small package for a nearfall. Cole connects with an enzuigiri and hits Coleateral…Sabre kicks out at one! Cole follows with the Corona Crash for the win at 11:20. Cole wrestled a smart match by working over the leg that Sabre may have injured in his first round match after slipping on a springboard attempt. They did an excellent job with the submission exchanges down the stretch and I truly felt as though they were desperately trying to advance to the finals. While I preferred their previous match at Live In Germany, I think they delivered a quality match while leaving Cole with enough energy for the finals. ***

Match #7: Semifinal Round: Daisuke Sekimoto vs. Sami Callihan
Sekimoto wins a strike exchange with a huge clothesline. He repeatedly stomps Callihan in the corner and hits a suplex. Sekimoto applies a sharpshooter but Callihan reaches the bottom rope. Callihan withstands multiple chops in the corner and gets stomped again. Sekimoto misses a charge and Callihan clotheslines him off the apron. Callihan lands a dive to the floor and connects with a few chops at ringside. Sekimoto quickly returns the favor and hits a powerbomb in the ring. He locks in a nasty boston crab and transitions into an STF. Sekimoto lands a top rope splash and hits a dead-lift german suplex for a nearfall. Dueling chants from the crowd. Callihan somehow hits a saito suplex and connects with a lariat. Callihan follows with a sliding forearm and applies the stretch muffler for the victory at 11:17. I liked how Sekimoto dominated the first half of the match. The crowd started to really get behind Callihan and it was almost a spectacle to see how unrelenting Sekimoto was with his offense. Callihan made his comeback, the crowd was vocal for their exchanges, and then Callihan suddenly won. For the amount of time that Sekimoto was in control, I did not believe for a second that Callihan did enough to put him away. The abrupt finish completely took me out of this match because it simply wasn’t believable. I know the idea was for everyone to support Callihan in the finals after toppling the monstrous Sekimoto, but I can’t buy into that idea after this match. **½

Backstage, Robert Anthony confronts Devon Moore and demands an opportunity to regain his title. They will have a match for the CZW World Heavyweight Title tomorrow night at International Incident.

Match #8: CZW Ultraviolent Underground Title: Jun Kasai © vs. Danny Havoc
They fight to avoid the panes of glass in the ring and Havoc connects with a dropkick. Kasai whips him through a pane of glass and then uses pieces of glass to carve his forehead. Kasai hits a DDT followed by a scoop slam onto some chairs. Havoc hits a suplex but it has no effect on Kasai. Havoc powerbombs Kasai through a pane of glass and lands a springboard senton. On the outside, there is a plane of glass laid across two chairs. Havoc puts Kasai under the glass and then breaks it with a slingshot senton. In the ring, Havoc hits a northern lights suplex along with an implant DDT. He brings a pane of glass into the ring that has nailed boards attached to it. Kasai goes low and hits two german suplexes but Havoc shrugs them off. Kasai follows with a german suplex through the pane of glass for a nearfall. He plants Havoc with a sit-out gourdbuster and lands a top rope splash. Kasai sets up a pane of glass across two chairs and goes up top. Havoc knocks him off and sends him through the pane of glass with a rolling senton. They exchange forearms and Kasai hits another sit-out gourdbuster. The last pane of glass is brought into the ring, this time covered in barbed wire. They battle up top and Havoc hits a death valley driver through the pane of glass. Kasai kicks out at one! Havoc hits a saito suplex followed by another death valley driver to become the new CZW Ultraviolent Underground Champion at 18:08. I’ve seen a few worthwhile deathmatches from CZW and I’ve seen some pretty bad ones as well. However, Kasai and Havoc went out there, gave it all they had, and delivered big time. The story of Havoc trying to defeat his idol came through and I truly felt as though the violence was escalating as the match progressed. They definitely used a lot of panes of glass but they managed to find innovative ways to break them. I know a lot of people loathe deathmatches while some love them and I try to be impartial when I rate these type of matches. I’ll just say that if you enjoy deathmatch wrestling, you’ll absolutely love this contest. ***¼

Match #9: Best of the Best X Final Round: Adam Cole vs. Sami Callihan
Callihan charges at the bell but Cole connects with the Corona Kick. Cole hits Coleateral for a nearfall. The action goes to the outside where Callihan hits an exploder on the floor. He chops Cole into the front row at one point. In the ring, Callihan misses a top rope splash. Cole hits a delayed vertical suplex and takes control until Callihan catches him with a saito suplex. Mia Yim trips Callihan to prevent a sliding forearm, allowing Cole to regain control. Callihan clotheslines Cole off the apron. He attempts a dive but Cole blocks the attempt with a kick. They battle on the apron where Cole hits Coleateral. He throws Callihan into the crowd, taking out a fan in the process. Back in, Cole hits two tombstones. Callihan blocks a piledriver and alabama slams Cole into the corner. He follows with two facewash kicks and applies the stretch muffler. Yim gets on the apron to distract the referee. Cole taps and Callihan breaks the hold thinking that he’s won. Callihan lays out Yim with a gamenguiri and connects with a facewash kick for good measure. He puts her in the stretch muffler. Cole breaks the hold with a Corona Kick and hits a flipping piledriver for a nearfall. He superkicks Callihan and hits a german suplex. Cole hits Coleateral for a two count. He connects with another Corona Kick but Callihan won’t stay down. Cole adds yet another Corona Kick but Callihan kicks out of the pin attempt at one. Cole connects with two superkicks and hits the Corona Crash for a nearfall. Cole applies the stretch muffler to win Best of the Best X at 14:37. As expected, these two wasted no time throwing bombs at each other and the action never slowed down. They worked well together and were able to generate suspense down the stretch. My only complaint would be that Callihan unbelievably kicked out of too many of Cole’s finishers towards the end. He really only needed to kick out of the Corona Crash to pop the crowd, as Cole used that move to win his previous two matches and it would have been a big deal. Still, both men put in a great performance and this was a fine way to end the tournament. ***

DJ Hyde reluctantly brings the Best of the Best trophy into the ring for Cole. Callihan gets on the microphone and says that the best man won. Hyde awards the trophy to Cole, making sure to remind him that he tapped out. Callihan tells Cole that the trophy means nothing and everyone knows that he is Best of the Best. I guess he changed his mind. Hyde reminds Cole that he makes the matches and that next time, Callihan is going to kill him. The rest of the participants in the tournament come out to see who will win the People’s Choice award. Cole tries to interject but Callihan demands that he head to the back. Callihan wins the award but he gives it to A.R. Fox. Hyde books a title match between Cole and Fox for a show in May. He promises that we will see the outside talent back in CZW.

The 411: After a series of underwhelming shows, CZW delivered with Best of the Best X. While the wealth of outside talent helped matters, CZW kept the focus on its future and things came together nicely. The tournament matches were consistently entertaining and the booking was pretty much spot on. I’m definitely looking forward to the rematch between Adam Cole and Sami Callihan. The two title changes were also handled well. Devon Moore winning the CZW World Heavyweight Title brought the previous months’ booking full circle while Danny Havoc defeating his idol came off as a special moment. This show has rejuvenated my faith in CZW and earns a solid recommendation.
Final Score:  8.0   [ Very Good ]  legend

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Ryan Rozanski

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