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Break It Down: CZW Proving Grounds

June 15, 2011 | Posted by Ryan Rozanski
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Break It Down: CZW Proving Grounds  

Proving Grounds on May 14th, 2011

Opening Match: Alex Colon vs. Rich Swann
Swann brings KFC chicken with him but Colon kicks the bucket into the crowd. Swann wrestles the opening exchange with chicken in-hand. Colon connects with a running forearm but runs into a dropkick. Swann springboards into a kick and they trade pin attempts to no avail. They have a sickening strike exchange and both men fall to the canvas. They battle on the apron where Colon hits a half nelson suplex. Poor Rich Swann. He recovers with a spin kick and hits a modified package piledriver. Swann lands his standing 450 but Colon catches him in a crucifix for a nearfall. Colon hits the Done Deal for the win at 5:54. Something doesn’t sit right with me about busting out a half nelson suplex onto the apron in a six-minute opener. I really don’t know what to make of this match. The one thing I can promise you is that the action never became boring. **½

After the match, Robbie Mireno makes his return to CZW alongside Ruckus and Chrissy Rivera. Mireno says that BLK OUT defined CZW and it’s time for the rebirth of that faction. He offers Colon and Swann spots in the new BLK OUT and they both accept.

Match #2: Ryan Eagles vs. Ty Hagen
Eagles tries a few rollups to no avail. They trade forearms and Eagles finds success with an elbow drop. He follows with a spinebuster and takes control. Hagen avoids a sliding lariat and locks in the Veri-Tap. Eagles rolls through but gets planted by a tornado DDT. Hagen hits a powerslam but Eagles responds with a belly to belly suplex. Hagen connects with a running knee strike. Eagles hits a saito suplex and stomps Hagen’s head into the canvas. Hagen connects with a missile dropkick and a flying knee strike for the victory at 8:35. This match started out awkwardly but the action picked up down the stretch. Eagles definitely brings something different to the table but he needs to become more fluid in the ring. Hagen was much more interesting when he was feuding with Adam Cole so hopefully CZW has a plan in store for him. **

Match #3: AKUMA vs. Jonathan Gresham
Kimber Lee informs AKUMA in a backstage promo that he won’t like the consequences if he loses tonight. Maybe the caps lock treatment will help. Gresham snaps off an armdrag and connects with a basement dropkick. AKUMA answers with an enzuigiri and lands a flying crossbody. He adds the Cheetah Swipe. Gresham comes off the middle rope with a missile dropkick and hits two german suplexes. AKUMA responds with a german suplex of his own and hits a 2k1 bomb. He lands a moonsault for a two count as Kimber Lee becomes frustrated at ringside. Gresham catches him with a rollup for the win at 6:10. Unfortunately, these two couldn’t even top their previous match from January. Granted they only received six minutes here, but AKUMA continued to look awkward and off his game. Gresham tried his best and hopefully he can transition away from this feud. *½

Match #4: Ryan McBride vs. Jake Crist
They trade control early on and Jake connects with a leg lariat. McBride retreats to the floor and Jake follows out with a dive. Back in, Jake comes off the top rope with a neckbreaker. He lands a moonsault off the middle rope and connects with a high knee strike. McBride hits a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker and lands a handspring moonsault. He connects with a dropkick and takes control until Jake catches him in a triangle choke. McBride powers out and hits a bucklebomb. Jake lands a flying crossbody but runs into a flipping death valley driver. He recovers with a superkick and a knockout kick. McBride applies a cloverleaf but Jake quickly reaches the bottom rope. Jake hits a tiger suplex but finds himself in another cloverleaf. He turns the hold into a triangle choke but McBride counters back into the cloverleaf. Jake reverses into another triangle choke but McBride finds success with a rollup for the victory at 9:17. This was a solid showcase for both men and they displayed good chemistry together. They had some nice exchanges early on and the submission exchange to end the match was effective. Jake has been putting in great performances since Best of the Best and deserves to be brought back whenever possible. **¾

Match #5: Dog Collar Match: Drake Younger vs. Scotty Vortekz
Vortekz charges at the opening bell. He lays in punches and snaps off a japanese armdrag. Younger clotheslines him on the apron. The action goes to the floor where Younger uses the collar to drag Vortekz into the ringpost. Younger celebrates on the apron but Vortekz pulls him off and into the guardrail. Younger is busted open as Vortekz connects with stiff kicks on the outside. In the ring, Vortekz dumps shattered glass onto the canvas. Younger powerbombs him into the glass and then just drags him back-first across the glass. Younger applies a figure four in the glass and takes control. He plants Vortekz with a death valley driver onto a chair. Younger goes up top but Vortekz pulls him down onto the side of two propped chairs. They sit down on the chairs and have a collar-assisted punch exchange. Vortekz hits a powerslam and comes off the top with double knees. They battle on the apron where Vortekz hits a sick brainbuster. Younger is a bloody mess at this point. He crotches Vortekz on the top rope and brings a table into the ring. Younger hits a steiner screwdriver through the table but Vortekz kicks out at one! Younger hits a tiger driver for a nearfall. Vortekz connects with kawada kicks but runs into Drake’s Landing. He kicks out at one again. They battle on the top rope and Vortekz hits the Blue Moon Dragon through a propped chair for a one count. Absolutely ridiculous in a bad way. Vortekz hits the Swisher Sweep for a nearfall. Younger delivers a low blow and hits Drake’s Landing through a propped chair for the win at 21:31. People often criticize CZW for having deathmatches without any real justification. However, Younger and Vortekz have been feuding for quite awhile and I was going into this match with an optimistic attitude. As the action progressed, I was really happy with how things were going. Not only were they utilizing the stipulation perfectly, but they were building to the weapon spots and throwing in a few solid wrestling exchanges. Then all of the action was instantly devalued with THREE one-counts down the stretch after sickening spots. I understand that there is a wealth of hatred involved, but no one should be kicking out of a spanish fly through a propped chair at one. The worst part is that this wasn’t even the end of their feud. I have no earthly idea as to how they are going to escalate this feud. I don’t doubt that Younger and Vortekz put their bodies on the line for the fans’ entertainment. However, I think they hurt their cause more than they helped it. **½

In the back, Younger challenges Vortekz to a Tournament of Death qualifying match at the next show. Vortekz says the same thing in a promo elsewhere, so I’ll assume that he accepts the challenge.

Little Mondo makes his way to the ring. He feels that something is missing from his career and wants to be included in Tournament of Death. DJ Hyde interrupts and tells Mondo that he has nothing to prove. Greg Excellent now comes to the ring and demands that Mondo be given a shot. Hyde tells Mondo that he can qualify for Tournament of Death if he beats him next month. Hyde then surprisingly apologizes to Excellent, who reluctantly accepts the apology. Tonight, Hyde will be in A.R. Fox’s corner to make sure things go smoothly in the main event.

Match #6: MASADA vs. Sami Callihan
MASADA charges at the opening bell with a yakuza kick. Callihan responds with a bicycle kick and they trade strikes. Callihan begins kicking away at MASADA’s injured left leg. MASADA hits a powerslam and connects with a vicious lariat. Callihan lands a dive to the floor but misses a chop and connects with a steel structure. MASADA boots him into the front row and drops him back-first across the apron. He then dumps Callihan onto the ring steps and swings him into the guardrail. In the ring, MASADA hits a powerbomb and takes control. Callihan fights back by kicking away at the bad leg and connects with a bicycle kick. He goes for the stretch muffler but MASADA fights it off. Callihan hits a saito suplex and adds a sliding forearm. MASADA answers with a superplex and both men are down. They trade chops and MASADA connects with a stiff backfist. He hits another powerbomb for a nearfall. Callihan finds success with a chop block and just stomps away at the bad leg. Callihan applies the stretch muffler for the victory at 18:30. These two have great chemistry and MASADA continues to prove that he can deliver in a non-deathmatch setting. The action was incredibly stiff but the styles of both men made it work. Callihan came out of this match looking strong, as he smartly focused his offense on MASADA’s injured leg and it legitimately felt like he survived a war. Both men put in a great effort and they were able to match their worthwhile encounter from Germany last year. ***½

Match #7: CZW Ultraviolent Underground Title: Danny Havoc © vs. Ryan Slater
The story here is that Slater demanded a title shot from Maven Bentley. Instead of granting the Runaways a shot at the tag team titles, Bentley put Slater in this match. Havoc shrugs off a few strikes and knocks Slater to the canvas with a forearm. He follows with repeated headbutts and rocks Slater with a corner elbow. Havoc hits a modified chinbreaker and connects with a lariat. Havoc grabs a thumbtack baseball bat but Joe Gacy runs out and takes it. Gacy hits Havoc with the thumbtack bat and the match is thrown out at 4:11. Havoc and Slater were actually putting together a decent wrestling match before the finish. While the no contest makes sense in context, it definitely doesn’t add any value to this match, which was purely used for storyline advancement. ¾*

Gacy overhead suplexes Havoc into carpet strips. He takes out the referee (Drew Blood) with a saito suplex. The Runaways lay out Havoc with a powerbomb-blockbuster combination. tHURTeen comes out to make the save. An impromptu tag team match begins…

Match #8: Joe Gacy and Ryan Slater vs. Danny Havoc and tHURTeen
Havoc and tHURTeen connect with stereo water jug shots. tHURTeen busts Gacy open with a thumbtack bat. Gacy responds by slamming tHURTeen onto the bat. Slater hits a corner neckbreaker on Havoc and slams a chair into his head using a water jug. Gacy overhead suplexes tHURTeen onto the concrete floor. Havoc hits a DDT on Slater but Gacy attacks him with a thumbtack bat. Slater breaks a water jug stick over Havoc’s back and lands a lionsault. tHURTeen connects with a leg lariat on Slater and follows with a spin kick. He connects with a missile dropkick. Gacy suplexes Havoc into the guardrail. Slater german suplexes tHURTeen and hits a tiger suplex. Havoc finlay rolls Gacy off the apron and through a few chairs. tHURTeen slams Slater onto a water jug and lands a senton off the top rope. tHURTeen slams Slater with a water jug shot and Havoc hits a death valley driver onto some weapons for the win at 9:33. The action was pretty directionless for the most part. I think sticking with the singles match between Havoc and Slater would have provided a better dynamic. *½

Match #9: CZW World Heavyweight Title: Devon Moore © vs. Robert Anthony
Moore connects with a dropkick and lands a dive to the floor. He mocks Egotistico Fantastico by trying to dive onto Anthony in the front row, but Anthony is able to move out of the way. In the ring, Anthony hits a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker and takes control. Moore avoids a moonsault and connects with a superkick. Anthony hurricanranas him off the middle rope and hits a powerbomb. Moore finds himself in a boston crab but he’s able to reach the bottom rope. Anthony hits Taco Pizza. He attempts the Hook and Ladder but Moore rolls through for a close two count. Moore connects with a yakuza kick. Joker appears on the apron, distracting the referee. Sabian lays out Moore with a flatliner and Anthony covers for a nearfall. Moore escapes a vertebreaker and sneaks in a small package to retain his title at 10:35. They planted the seeds for an interesting story, with Moore using Egotistico Fantastico’s moves as a dig at Anthony while Anthony wanted to utilize his former persona’s moves to win the title. Their previous encounter at International Incident wasn’t given nearly enough time and I feel like this match ended too quickly as well. If anything, Anthony impressed with his mannerisms throughout the contest and hopefully these two are given an opportunity to put on the match that they are capable of producing. **¼

Anthony, Sabian, and Joker attack Moore after the match. The Briscoes run out to make the save. Jay says that they are fighting champions and dare any team except Philly’s Most Wanted to accept their open challenge. Anthony introduces their opponents, the Nigerian Nightmares…

Match #10: CZW World Tag Team Titles: Jay and Mark Briscoe © vs. Maifu and Saifu
Saifu assets his power advantage early on as the Briscoes aren’t able to take him off his feet. Maifu hits a belly to belly suplex on Jay, who responds with a yakuza kick on Saifu. Mark comes off the middle rope but Saifu catches him with a fallaway slam. Maifu follows with a big senton and the Nigerian Nightmares isolate Mark. “How do you wrestle a waterbed?” Rob Naylor on commentary. Maifu almost decapitates Mark with a slingshot leg drop. It wasn’t pretty but it was definitely effective. Mark is able to roll through a clothesline and make the tag. Jay yakuza kicks Maifu and lands a flying crossbody onto Saifu. The Briscoes connect with stereo superkicks on Saifu. Maifu goes up top but awkwardly falls to the canvas. The Briscoes hit the doomsday device on Saifu to retain their titles at 12:40. The Nigerian Nightmares are absolutely awful. I’m sure they have a following because they are somewhat agile considering their weight, but they bordered on unsafe at times. I’m crossing my fingers that this is the last time that I have to watch them wrestle. The Briscoes tried their best. *

Jay appears to have injured his neck trying to lift Saifu for the doomsday device. Robert Anthony and Philly’s Most Wanted return to ringside. Joker tells the referee to ring the bell, as the Briscoes’ open challenge is still going. Okay?

Match #11: CZW World Tag Team Titles: Jay and Mark Briscoe © vs. Sabian and Joker
Sabian knocks Mark out with brass knuckles and Philly’s Most Wanted become the new CZW World Tag Team Champions in 21 seconds. This promotion is so frustrating sometimes. Just an awfully executed title change.

Match #12: CZW World Junior Heavyweight Title: Adam Cole © vs. A.R. Fox
DJ Hyde is in Fox’s corner. Fox connects with a dropkick and snaps off a hurricanrana. He takes out Cole with a dive to the floor. Cole crotches Fox on the top rope and superkicks him to the outside. Cole rams Fox back-first into the ringpost and then does some commentary. In the ring, Fox attempts a slingshot but Cole catches him with a backbreaker. Cole takes over until Fox comes off the top rope with a lungblower. Fox hits a stunner and connects with a corner bicycle kick. He adds a michinoku driver and finds success with a springboard dropkick. Cole blocks an ace crusher with a backcracker and connects with a Corona Kick. Fox responds with a successful ace crusher and hits the Lo Mein Pain for a nearfall. Cole gets his knees up on a swantan attempt and hits a wheelbarrow lungblower. He locks in a boston crab but Fox is able to reach the bottom rope. Cole blocks a dive from Fox with an enzuigiri. He sets up a table on the floor. They battle on the apron and Cole falls onto the table. Fox moonsaults onto him, but the table doesn’t break. Fox places Cole on the table and puts him through it with a springboard frog splash. Back in, Fox lands a springboard 450 for a two count. Cole hits the Panama Sunrise after shoving the referee. Hyde gets on the apron and Cole pushes him. The referee argues with Cole while HYDE CLOTHESLINES FOX!! Cole makes the cover and retains his title at 16:48. Cole and Fox are two of the fastest rising stars on the independent scene today and they were able to put together a worthwhile main event. However, the screwy finish undoubtedly put a damper on things. While the finish itself was executed well, there had already been questionable finishes in the other three title matches on this show. I was really hoping for something decisive at this point. Cole and Fox might have stolen the show with five more minutes and a clean finish but it just wasn’t meant to be. ***

Hyde hands Cole his title and they hug. Greg Excellent runs out and starts brawling with Hyde. Cole lays out Excellent with a Corona Kick. Hyde claims that he is better than John Zandig and says that Cole is the future of wrestling. The lights go out and Sami Callihan appears in the ring. He connects with a gamenguiri on Hyde followed by a facewash kick. Callihan stands tall to end the show.

The 411: Proving Grounds had real potential but some unfortunate booking mishaps held the show back. The title matches weren’t able to reach their full potential because they lacked clean finishes due to interference. In the case of the CZW World Tag Team Titles, the Nigerian Nightmares proved to be a chore to watch and Philly’s Most Wanted dethroned the Briscoes in the most underwhelming way possible. Additionally, the dog collar match between Drake Younger and Scotty Vortekz ended up being a letdown despite a promising start. On the bright side, Sami Callihan and MASADA come through in a very good midcard outing while Adam Cole and A.R. Fox were able to make the main event still worthwhile despite the finish. While not unwatchable by any means, this show is a three-hour time investment with not enough quality action to make it worth a purchase.
Final Score:  6.0   [ Average ]  legend

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