Tales from the Eastside Directory -CZW TV report for 7/20/02

-In Memoriam: Christopher Robin Zimmerman. CRZ has apparently decided to hang it up in regards to writing about wrestling. It's a loss for the whole 'scene', but it's also understandable as WWE has gotten thoroughly unwatchable. I'm surprised he kept up his writing as long as he did. I'm sure many of you will notice a similarity between my writing style and CRZ's; that's certainly intentional.

-Having seen the recent CZW Arena show results, I can't say that CZW isn't exactly enthralling me right now, with its scattershot booking and idiotic choices of outside talent (Derrick Frazier? Come on, guys). So unless things pick up soon, starting in September, I will be replacing my weekly CZW TV review with an ROH TV review. If CZW reverses its sharp decline in quality, I still may review ROH TV when it starts. That's not set in stone, though; doing three TV reviews a week will be time consuming, especially with school and all. Golly, this paragraph made no sense, didn't it? Ignore it and let's start the report!

Previously on CZW Fake You TV: Highlights of the Trent Acid vs. M-Dogg 20 vs. Gabriel Best of the Best qualifying match. Gabriel has the match sealed up with a corkscrew senton on Acid, but Johnny Kashmere makes his presence felt with an attack on Gabriel to break up the pin. Acid ends up advancing. Now have some highlights of the Kashmere vs. Jonny Storm vs. Jody Fleisch BotB qualifier; Kashmere dominates the match but Gabriel runs in to get some revanche. Kashmere gets the better of him but is sufficiently distracted enough to fall victim to a victory roll from Storm. Got all that? No? Well the gist of it is that we're setting up a Lost Boys/Backseat Boys match.

-C!Z!W! intro.

-Eric Gargiulo and I Hate John House are your party hosts this evening. Tonight: Ruckus vs. Tony Mamaluke in a Best of the Best Quarterfinal match, and the Backseat Boys take on the Lost Boys in the main event.

-Advertisement for the 8/10 CZW Arena show. Justice Pain has made an open challenge. Hmm, I feel as if I've seen that angle before...

-Tony Mamaluke vs. Ruckus in a Best of the Best quarterfinal match. The technician vs. the high-flyer. Gargiulo heavily puts over Mamaluke's scientific skills. Ruckus slaps some hands on the outside. Ruckus and Mamaluke quickly go nose to nose, with Tony shoving Ruckus and giving him an Italian salute. Ruckus leads the crowd in some rhythmic clapping. Knucklelock to start, and Mamaluke gets a double-leg trip. Amateur-style floatover into a front chancery by Mamaluke, but Ruckus counters with a floatover of his own. Mamaluke, not to be outdone on the mat, gets a single-leg trip, then a ground waistlock. Mamaluke quickly to an armbar, but Ruckus just as quickly is able to hook the ropes. Mamaluke pulls Ruckus back and goes to an armbar variant, which he breaks cleanly so he can taunt the crowd. The story is clear, as Mamaluke has proven his superiority on the mat very early in this match.

Collar-and-elbow tieup, and Ruckus grabs a side headlock. Mamaluke sends Ruckus into the ropes and is caught with a shoulderblock. Mamaluke gets an irish whip and tries a chop, but Ruckus ducks and comes back the other way with a backflip headscissor takeover. Ruckus keeps up the fast offense with a Mexican armdrag and dropkick that sends Mamaluke out to the floor. Ruckus teases a dive, then goes outside to continue beating on Mamaluke. Mamaluke is whipped into the guardrail, but Ruckus' attempted charge is countered with a backdrop and Ruckus crashes into the crowd- into Chad Shaft in particular. Mamaluke gives Ruckus a Tornado DDT onto the concrete! Ruckus gets dumped back over the rail and is rolled into the ring at about a four count. Mamaluke hooks both legs in a cover- only two. Whip by Mamaluke, trying a hiptoss but Ruckus blocks and tries to counter into one of his own...and gets that countered smoothly into a reverse anklelock! Ruckus makes the ropes but Mamaluke isn't going to let him off easy, slamming him leg first to the mat. Remember, Ruckus screwed up his ankle in a match with Chris Hero last month.

Mamaluke with another ankle slam to the mat. He tries a third, but Ruckus is able to counter with a good leg enzuigiri. Mamaluke staggers outside, right into the path of a Ruckus Spaceman Plancha! Looks like that did just as much damage to Ruckus as it did to Mamaluke, though. Nonetheless, Ruckus is able to roll Mamaluke back in the ring and hook a leg- one, two, foot on the rope. Mamaluke surprises Ruckus with a victory roll, but that also only gets two, and Ruckus is quickly back on his feet and flooring Mamaluke with a lariat. Ruckus with a thumb across the throat (ala Benoit) and lifting Mamaluke up for a half-hour suplex (!) that gets another two count. Ruckus follows up with a standing moonsault, but while that also gets two, Mamaluke is visably hurting. Ruckus signaling that he's going to finish things with a Phoenix Splash, but Mamaluke shoves referee Rob Hartog into the ropes, crotching Ruckus. Mamaluke goes to join Ruckus on the top floor and the two jockey for position. They exchange right hands, with Ruckus winning and shoving Mamaluke off the top and into the guardrail. Sick.

Mamaluke is slow to get back into the ring, but he swiftly changes the momentum of the match with a Complete Shot! Mamaluke, seeing that he has the advantage, refocuses his work on the arm and latches on a Cross Armbreaker. Ruckus struggles and thrashes, turning onto his side, but he's unable to break the hold. Eventually he is able to get the bottom rope with his leg, forcing a break. Mamaluke kicks Ruckus in the bad arm twice, then does a jumping arm snap. Another arm snap. Mamaluke kicks the hell out of Ruckus' arm along the ropes, then cranks it on the mat, pinning the other shoulder down for two. Mamaluke works the arm crank for another two count. Mamaluke tries a corner whip, Ruckus reverses, Mamaluke nips up out of the corner to avoid a charge, then catches Ruckus from behind with a side Russian legsweep...holding on to place Ruckus in an Octagon Special with arm vice! If Mamaluke is going to use that as a regular part of his moveset, he needs to give it a name. Gargiulo suggests 'Spaghetti Bender' which doesn't work for me. Anyway, Ruckus struggles but he's able to get the ropes yet again, albeit slower this time. Corner whip by Mamaluke is reversed (notably, with Ruckus' good arm), and Ruckus hits a one-armed handspring elbow!

My TV cuts out for a minute here. When the feed comes back, Mamaluke gives Ruckus a drop toehold into the bottom turnbuckle. Ruckus gets his head driven to the mat and Mamaluke hooks a cradle- one, two, Ruckus shifts his weight, one, two, Mamaluke shifts it back the other way, one, two, both guys shoot up. Ooh. Double lariat, and both guys are back down. Hartog gets to a six count before both men back it back to their feet. Mamaluke tries a kick, but Ruckus ducks. Armwringer by Ruckus into a legsweep, then a quick Red Star Press which is enough for the pin and for Ruckus to advance to face Jody Fleisch in the semifinals. Ruckus sells the arm injury after the match and to the back, very nice touch. Mamaluke breaks his heel persona to give some respect to the fans. CZW dusts off the old 'Ultraviolent Replay' for the finish of the match.

Good stuff here. This is why Ruckus pisses me off so much: He proves he can put on an exciting, technically sound match one minute, but at the next show he's probably back to doing cartwheel Phoenix Splashes and inNOVAting new moves. This was a carryjob by Mamaluke, sure, but Ruckus did hold up his end of the match by selling the arm work well. This match did have some flaws, though: The legwork seemed to be filler as Ruckus quickly forgot about it and hit a Spaceman Plancha, and the match only got nine minutes, which was barely sufficient to tell a story. Nonetheless, progress is progress and I'd love to see more Ruckus matches like this.

-The Lost Boys vs. The Backseat Boys. Wow, Gargiulo actually mentioned the verboten name 'NWA Wildside' in discussion the Lost Boys. The Backseats spend an inordinate amount of time slapping hands and Kashmere takes time to kiss all the girls at ringside. I guess they're playing face tonight? The Backseats do a double turnbuckle pose, leading to them jumping right into a double superkick. The Lost Boys continue the beating, with Azrael whipping Kashmere face-first into a turnbuckle while Gabriel gives Acid a rolling neckbreaker. Nifty double team by the Lost Boys as Azrael gets Gabriel up in a Tornado DDT position, but Gabriel converts it mid-move into a roundhouse kick to Kashmere. Azrael tries a whip to Acid, Acid reverses but gets caught with the Time Warp. The Backseats rally back with stereo dropkicks that send the Lost Boys slumped back first against each other, following that up with stereo missile dropkicks that lay them out.

Backseats try a double whip to the Lost Boys, but it's reversed. Lost Boys try a double backdrop, Backseats counter with a double leapfrog and stereo tornado DDTs. The Lost Boys get dumped from the ring and the Backseats catch a breather. Meanwhile, the Lost Boys grab their Wildside Tag Team title belts and have words with ring announcer Dennis Shock. Shock takes the mic and says that the Lost Boys say they didn't come all the way from Atlanta to be humiliated by the Backseat Boys, so they're leaving. Kashmere takes exception to this and chases the Lost Boys up the rampway and drags them back to ringside, right into the path of an Orihara Moonsault by Acid! Gabriel weakly whips Kashmere into the rail, but Kashmere springboards off with a forearm to counter. Kashmere ascending the turnbuckle now- diving senton to the outside! He managed to hit Acid with that too. Kashmere checks his partner to make sure he's okay, then the two pose in the ring. Gabriel wanders back into the ring and gets laid out with the Backseat Driver (double hiptoss into double powerbomb). Both Backseat Boys cover (must be lucha rules) and get two, with Azrael making the save.

Azrael flies off the top rope with a spinning heel kick to Acid, but as he makes it to his feet he's sent right back outside by a nasty Yakuza Kick from Kashmere. Kashmere tries to follow up with a baseball slide dropkick, but he's caught in a wheelbarrow suplex position by Azrael, then driven from there to the concrete by an apron legdrop from Gabriel! That looked awesome; give it an Ultraviolent Replay. Kashmere sells like death and he's out on the floor for several minutes. Gabriel and Acid are in the ring; are we going to finally get some order in this match? Acid is whipped into the ropes, and then he's tripped up by Azrael and landing face first on the apron. Gabriel takes advantage and flies outside with an Arabian Moonsault to the floor. Acid is rolled back in the ring and Gabriel covers, getting a close two. Gabriel works the cover for another two count.

Right hand by Gabriel and Azrael is tagged back in. Azrael and Acid exchange punches, with Azrael winning. Whip into the ropes, Acid ducks a right hand but is caught with a VICIOUS backdrop driver (dubbed 'The Sacrifice' by Gargiulo). That gets another two count. Gabriel is tagged in and he springboards off the second rope with a plancha, right into a cover for two. Tag right back to Azrael and the Lost Boys give Acid a double death suplex. Lost Boys ascending opposite turnbuckles and going for stereo legdrops to the prone Acid, but Acid is able to roll to the apron and the Lost Boys crash into the ropes. All three guys are down in the ring, while Kashmere is finally stirring on the floor. Acid slowly makes his way to his corner, but Gabriel stops him with a double sledge. Gabriel with a nice snap suplex to Acid and a cover for two. Acid is pulled up by his hair and thrown into the corner, and Azrael is tagged in. Arrogant slap by Azrael.

Azrael tries a back suplex, but Acid flips out and lands on his feet. Acid trying a bulldog...and getting vaulted crotch-first into the post as a result. Azrael gets Acid in a side suplex position and runs him crotch-first into the opposite post for good measure. Azrael hangs Acid in the Tree of Woe and hits him with a somersault legdrop. Tag to Gabriel, who slingshots in with an Arabian Moonsault into a cover for a very close cover. Tag back to Azrael, and the Lost Boys drill Acid with the ExCommunicator! Double cover- Acid shoots up the shoulder at the very last moment. Double whip by the Lost Boys, but Acid comes back the other way with a cartwheel kick that hits both men. Rolling elbow for Azrael- Blue Thunder Bomb for Gabriel- hot tag to Kashmere! Kashmere folds Azrael up with a lariat, and knocks Gabriel off the top rope with a dropkick. Gabriel whipped into the opposite corner and given a running shoulderblock by Kashmere, then brought out with a double facebuster from the Backseats. Dancing elbowdrop by Acid to Gabriel. Gabriel is set up for a double side Russian legsweep; Azrael charges in to break it up, but he's given a double backdrop and then the Backseats finish the double side Russian legsweep. Here it comes: Dream Sequence '02 to Gabriel! Cover by Kashmere is broken up at two when Azrael drives the Backseats down with a double bulldog. Azrael going up for a Frog Splash to both of the Backseats, but nobody's home. Azrael is lifted on both of the Backseat Boys' shoulders- T-Gimmick! Kashmere covers and that's enough for the pin.

However, we're far from done here...Tony Stradlin is out, with a mic. He rants about how he's sick of the Backseat Boys being hyped so heavily. As he talks, Rainman charges from out of the crowd and pounds Kashmere with his bat! The Lost Boys regroup and mug Acid in the corner, while Stradlin rants on the mic. NWA Wildside has invaded CZW and I'm marking out like crazy! Ty Street and Nick Berk are out for the save. There's a double superkick from Street & Berk to Rainmain, then a quadruple superkick (!) for Stradlin. Team Wildside back off and head up the ramp. Gargiulo notes that the four men in the ring were the original members of the Softcore Connection back in mid-2000. Street and Acid hug, while Berk and Kashmere share a handshake. The Backseats, Berk and Street each hit a turnbuckle and pose. Kashmere to the camera: "Try and stop us now...try and stop us now!" Acid: "NWA Wildside, here it is: We're the best in the world, right here baby!"

I'll discuss the match and leave the extracurriculars for later. This was certainly a spotfest, but none of the spots were blown and it was ten minutes of high-energy action. There were definitely annoying parts: The lack of legal tagging in and out and Acid making his miracle comeback right after being hit with the ExCommunicator stand out, but there were probably others. At the very least, it was a refreshing change from the normal Lost Boys formula, as they played surprisingly effective heels here (also a nice change for the normally heel Backseat Boys). So, taken for what it was- a high energy spotfest- this was a fine match. Just don't look for any real substance or lasting value.

-Nick Berk and Ty Street are hanging out in the parking lot, talking about how they're sick of not being taken seriously. Street says there's strength in numbers, as the Backseat Boys enter. Acid thanks Berk & Street for their help earlier. Berk says that their assistance wasn't a one time thing. Acid says that it's a different time, a time for a change, and maybe the four of them should go and talk about things over a Diet Coke. The four agree and walk off.

-Eric Gargiulo and I Hate John House finish things off. Gargiulo announces that for the 8/10 show there will be a big eight man tag match: The Softcore Connection vs. The Lost Boys, Tony Stradlin and Rainman. Next week: Jody Fleisch vs. Trent Acid in the BotB finals, and ::sigh:: Lobo vs. Wifebeater in a No Rope Barbed Wire deathmatch. I can assure you that match will get no PBP from me.

An invasion angle is a hard thing to pull off. I can only think of two really successful 'invasions' in wrestling history: The UWFi invasion of New Japan, and the nWo invasion of WCW. One of those was pulled off by people who were within the company (nWo). The NJPW/UWFi invasion had great heat, but aside from Takada beating Mutoh for the IWGP World Heavyweight title, served mainly to bury UWFi and kill their drawing power.

Tonight, CZW managed to successfully launch an invasion angle. The Wildside team came off as a serious threat, and Nick Berk and Ty Street were instantly elevated up to the upper midcard by the reformation of the Softcore Connection. The real question is, can CZW keep up the momentum? Tonight was a great start, but it'll all be moot if the next couple months are a total heatless burial of Wildside.

I don't think that will happen. Sure, Zandig is a crackhead booker, but Gargiulo isn't, and Bill Behrens obviously won't let his company look impotent. The seeds are already there for the roof to totally be blown off at the next CZW Arena show, with Justice Pain issuing an open challenge and the Wildside invasion. Pain/David Young for twenty-plus minutes could be incredible, or they could totally shoot their wad and throw out Wildside Heavyweight champion Adam Jacobs to answer the challenge. So many possibilities; CZW has a great chance to turn around months of retarded booking and to regain the spark they had at the beginning of the year.

-It helps to come into a show with low expectations. I was expecting nothing, and came out with lots of hope for CZW's future. Ruckus and Mamaluke put on a solid match, and the Lost Boys and the Backseat Boys had a decent spotfest, but it wasn't the wrestling that stole the show: It was the angle at the end. CZW, I'm begging you, please don't screw this up.

I may be submitting a puro review (Either some MPro 96 stuff or Toryumon's 7/01 PPV) sometime this week, if I have time. If not, I'll still see you all Thursday for Wildside.