wrestling / Columns

The Best Of The Rest 7.11.07: Volume 4

July 11, 2007 | Posted by Alex Mattis

It’s that time of the year for Combat Zone Wrestling. The time of the year where they put on one of their biggest shows, and it one of the few good things they have left. It’s time for Best of the Best. The one night tournament of junior heavyweights. Each year has produced great matches, fun spotfests, and it often produces future stars for CZW and the independent circuit. Today’s column will take a retrospective look at BOTB 1-6 and my preview of number 7, which will take place this Saturday live from Philly. Let’s start from the beginning:

Best Of The Best I:

Date: May 19, 2001

Location: Sewell, NJ

Wrestlers In The Tournament: Amazing Red, Winger, Ric Blade, Jay Briscoe, Mark Briscoe, “Sick” Nick Mondo, Minoru Fujita, Nick Berk, Jose Maximo, Joel Maximo, Trent Acid, Ruckus, Juventud Guerrera

Tournament Winner: Winger

Best Match Of The Tournament: Mark Briscoe Vs. Jay Briscoe

Tournament Synopsis: This show was somewhat of a big step for CZW. Up until this point they were known for their extremely violent shows. They would have some wrestling and high flying here and there, but not a whole show of it. Many of CZW’s big stars from their earlier years (Red, Blade, SAT’s) were highlighted in this one, as well as some of the their future stars (Mondo, Ruckus, Acid). While this tournament may not have stood the test of time, in terms of quality, it was very good at the time and helped get some young faces on the map. Ruckus was a replacement in the 1st round for Juvi, and he took the ball and ran with it, he put on an impressive display and showed what to expect from Ruckus in the future. Most of all what this tourney did was put the names of Jay & Mark Briscoe out there. They were very young at this point, 18 & 17 I think, and were very new to the Indy circuit and for them the best possible thing that could happen, happened. These two went out and faced each other in a great one-on-one match. It stole the show and was easily the best match of the night. After this fans of CZW, and the Indy’s in general, anticipated what was to come from The Briscoe’s in the future. Nine months later Ring Of Honor was born, Jay debuted at “The Era Of Honor Begins,” Mark later debuted and the rest is history. It could argued that BOTB helped get the Briscoe’s their start.
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Best Of The Best II:

Date: June 8, 2002

Location: Philadelphia, PA

Wrestlers In The Tournament: Trent Acid, Matt “M-Dogg” Cross, Gabriel, Super Dragon, B-Boy, Nick Berk, Ruckus, Tony Mamaluke, Maxx Fuery, Johnny Kashmere, Jodie Fleisch, Jonny Storm

Tournament Winner: Trent Acid

Best Match Of The Tournament: Jodie Fleisch Vs. Jonny Storm

Tournament Synopsis: This show possibly had the most pressure on it, as does this year’s, CZW aimed to deliver and did. Fleisch and Storm came over the pond to perform and ended up putting on the best match CZW had in the year of 2002, it is an absolute must see. The Backseat Boyz, Trent Acid and Johnny Kashmere, looked to get a achieve a major singles accolade from the company that they helped build as a team, and in Acid’s case did. Super Dragon and B-Boy made their CZW debuts and torn the house down and rivaled Fleisch and Storm for singles match of the night. B-Boy later went on to be a major player in the promotion and Super Dragon would later become the CZW World Heavyweight Champion. CZW set the bar really high for BOTB 3 with this event.
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Best Of The Best III:

Date: April 12, 2003

Location: Philadelphia, PA

Wrestlers In The Tournament: Chris Cash, Ruckus, Sonjay Dutt, Ric Blade, Trent Acid, Tony Mamaluke, B-Boy, Deranged, Lil’ Cholo, Mark Briscoe, Jay Briscoe, Jason Cross, Jimmy Rave, AJ Styles

Tournament Winner: B-Boy

Best Match Of The Tournament: Jimmy Rave Vs. AJ Styles Vs. Jason Cross Vs. Jay Briscoe

Tournament Synopsis: Was the third time the charm? At the time it sure as shit seemed so. The BOTB series just seemed to get better and better. The Briscoe’s made a return to the Best Of The Best tourney and as expected put on a great show. The Phenomenal One came to CZW to prove that he was the best, up until this point no bigger name than AJ Styles had competed in the BOTB so this was, to quote Ron Burgundy, “kind of a big deal.” The promo that AJ cuts before his match is hilarious and is a must see. After tearing the roof off of the ECW Arena one year earlier, B-Boy won the tourney and put his mark on CZW and from that point on became a main player in the Combat Zone.
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Best Of The Best IV:

Date: July 10, 2004

Location: Philadelphia, PA

Wrestlers In The Tournament: Jack Evans, Chris Cash, Homicide, B-Boy, Jimmy Rave, Roderick Strong, Alex Shelley, Bobby Quance, Ruckus, Petey Williams, “Spyder” Nate Webb, Sonjay Dutt

Tournament Winner: Sonjay Dutt

Best Match Of The Tournament: *Tie for me* Alex Shelley Vs. Bobby Quance – OR – Jimmy Rave Vs. B-Boy Vs. Roderick Strong

Tournament Synopsis: To me, without a doubt, the BEST of the Best. Just look at the wrestlers involved. This came a very opportune time for the 12 wrestlers in it. So many in this BOTB were on the cusp of greatness. Shelley, Evans, and Strong were on the verge of greatness with Generation Next in ROH. Jimmy Rave was also on the edge of a push in Ring Of Honor. Sonjay Dutt and Petey Williams were on the verge of tons of exposure and opportunity in TNA. Quance and Webb were attempting to establish themselves to a new fan base in CZW. Ruckus, Cash, and B-Boy were attempting to keep their streaks and hype alive in the Combat Zone faithful. And Homicide was the savvy veteran that served as the glue that helps the tournament together. What resulted were 12 hungry guys trying to make an impression on the independent circuit putting on, to me, the greatest event in CZW history.
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Best Of The Best V:

Date: May 14, 2005

Location: Philadelphia, PA

Wrestlers In The Tournament: Super Dragon, Chris Bosh, Excalibur, El Generico, Chris Hero, Brandon Thomaselli, Kevin Steen, Kenny The Bastard, Arik Cannon, Mike Quackenbush, Claudio Castagnoli, Derek Frazier, B-Boy, Sabian, Ebessan, “Spyder” Nate Webb

Tournament Winner: “Lightning” Mike Quackenbush

Best Match Of The Tournament: *Once again I came to a tie* Super Dragon Vs. El Generico – OR – Mike Quackenbush Vs. Claudio Castagnoli

Tournament Synopsis: Much like 4, this BOTB had a very stacked card that featured many big names of the Indy circuit. A little international flavor was thrown in here in the form of Ebessan. Matching him up with Nate Webb was definitely the best way to book him in this tourney. The ’05 Best Of The Best was like a great gumbo of the independents. There was the CZW loyal: Hero, Claudio, Frazier, Sabian. The West Coast talent: Bosh, Dragon, B-Boy, Excalibur. The Canuncks: Generico, Steen, Kenny The Bastard. And sprinkled with some of the best from elsewhere: Quack, Cannon, Webb, Thomaselli. It had all the ingredients to be a great recipe, and it was. It was the first year to go away from the three-way 1st round matches, and I think it worked out really well. Highly regarded as not only the top BOTB but one of the best CZW events… EVER.
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Best Of The Best VI:

Date: May 13, 2006

Location: Philadelphia, PA

Wrestlers In The Tournament: Austin Aries, B-Boy, Jigsaw, Roderick Strong, Claudio Castagnoli, Jay Lethal, Sabian, Matt Sydal, Sonjay Dutt, Christopher Daniels, Ruckus, Derek Frazier

Tournament Winner: Ruckus

Best Match Of The Tournament: Austin Aries Vs. Ruckus Vs. Claudio Castagnoli Vs. Sabian

Tournament Synopsis: This was in the midst of the CZW-ROH war, so the fact that it was “Best Of The Best” seemed secondary. It was a good night of wrestling, but not as amazing I thought it was going to be given that was involved. It was finally Ruckus’ night, after competing in 5 of the 6 BOTB’s, six years after being a replacement in the 1st BOTB he finally wins the tourney and has one of the biggest victory’s of his career… only to have it taken away. Right after he won Chris Hero hit the ring and beat Ruckus for the CZW title. I loved the fact that Hero was the champ but I felt that it hurt this huge achievement that Ruckus had, and it took away from the importance of The Best Of The Best tournament. It was a good show, but suffered from some bad booking.
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And Now…

Best Of The Best VII:

Date: July 14, 2007

Location: Philadelphia, PA

Wrestlers In The Tournament: Ricochet, Chuck Taylor, Cloudy, Scotty Vortekz, B-Boy, Cheech, Sal Thomaselli, Vito Thomaselli, Brandon Thomaselli, Jigsaw, Grim Reefer, Ruckus, Human Tornado, Drake Younger, and two mystery wrestlers.

My Prediction For Tournament Winner: Chuck Taylor – OR – Drake Younger

My Prediction Best Match Of The Tournament: No first round match sticks out other than Ruckus-Tornado, but the potential for second round matches such as Ruckus Vs. Scotty Vortekz and Drake Younger Vs. Jigsaw promise to be interesting.

Tournament Synopsis: This could be a very important event of CZW if all goes well. CZW is in a rut right now, and considered by some to be a sinking ship, so an amazing show would help them greatly. This tourney looks very weak put against the previous ones but the 16 men involved are extremely hungry and looking to make an impression. Taylor and the Thomaselli’s have made their impressions elsewhere but will be looking to make their mark in CZW and in the BOTB legacy. Younger and Vortekz will look to represent the RAAGE Dojo with pride and prove that while that they are good in “death matches” they can go in the ring. All the others I’m sure wouldn’t mind having “Winner Of Best Of The Best VII” on their resume. Many question have been raised going into this tournament. How will Jigsaw perform after his falling out with CZW? Can Ruckus be the first man to win BOTB twice? How will B-Boy return to CZW go? Can Drake Younger be the first man to win the Tournament Of Death and the Best Of The Best (I sure hope so)? Whatever the case I expect those involved to work their asses of and deliver a good show.
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The Stoppage:
UFC 73 is in the books, and it was more than a “Stacked” event. Just going to close this weeks “Best Of The Rest” with my thoughts on the event:

-Heath Herring had that fight won, but then back off for no apparent reason. Nogueira was out. I was surprised with the fact that there wasn’t a stoppage however, it was a BRUTAL kick, which should have won the fight, but Herring made a mistake and Antonio showed the heart of a warrior.

-Sean Sherk looked to be in trouble very early in the first round of his title defense, Hermes had a guillotine sunk deep it appeared. But aside from that and the sick knee Franca hit in the 2nd round, Sherk dominated and proved why he is the lightweight champion, and put the rest of the division on notice.

-After the fight I received and e-mail from a friend of mine, it didn’t have a topic, and when I opened it all it said was “Fuck Tito.” And I think that is how many people felt after the fight last Saturday. I believe I heard a “Tito Sucks” chant early on in the fight, which made me happy. At the end of the fight I felt the Rashad had won. Tito pushed the pace only for the first round and by round three he was exhausted. He did score the takedown, but so did Rashad, and if Tito hadn’t cheated Rashad would have scored two takedowns.

-The main event unfolded just as I thought it would. The only difference was it took longer than I thought it would. Now we have Silva Vs. Franklin II on our hands, this fight will be highly anticipated and one I cannot wait to see. PS: No celebration dance from Anderson? What the hell?

-With the stage set for UFC 75 headlined by Randy Couture Vs. Gabriel Gonzaga, I found this and thought it was good to finish with…

*This Week’s YouTube Sendoff*


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