I know I’m skipping ahead a bit, but I wanted to post the review of this show as soon as possible because it’s one that I think a lot of people will be interested in and it was an iPPV. I’ll be back next week with the Super Saturday review.
Larry Legend introduces DJ Hyde to start the show. He brings out the Best of the Best trophy with him. Hyde talks about the prestige of the tournament. The thirteen participants in Best of the Best make their way to the ring, with Drake Younger, AR Fox, and Sami Callihan receiving the loudest reactions. Younger and Callihan immediately start shoving each other. They stay far away from each other during the group picture.
Opening Match: First Round: Elimination: Drake Younger vs. MK McKinnan vs. Trent 7 vs. Sami Callihan
Callihan starts brawling with Younger, while McKinnan and Trent do the same. Callihan hits a saito suplex on Younger, who immediately responds with a tiger suplex. McKinnan connects with a missile dropkick on Younger. Trent takes out McKinnan with a lariat. Callihan spits into Trent’s face and they exchange chops. Callihan catches him with a bicycle kick, hits a death valley driver, and follows with his rope-assisted splash. Younger lands a moonsault to the floor onto Callihan and Trent from the top rope. In the ring, they do a tower of doom spot in the corner. Callihan connects with enzuigiris on Younger and Trent. Younger overhead suplexes Callihan into Trent. Younger Drake n’ Bakes McKinnan into them. He hits a neckbreaker on Trent, causing him to inadvertently DDT Callihan. Trent hits a dragon suplex on Younger along with a piledriver. McKinnan connects with a basement superkick on Trent and plants him with a tornado DDT for a nearfall. Callihan superkicks McKinnan’s leg and applies the stretch muffler. He turns the hold into a rollup for a two count. Callihan hits a butterfly shoulderbreaker on McKinnan and reapplies the stretch muffler. Younger rolls up Callihan out of nowhere for a nearfall. He hits a tiger driver on Callihan and a piledriver on Trent. McKinnan lands a dive to the floor onto all three of his opponents. Callihan and Younger battle on the apron, where Callihan hits a suplex. Through all of this carnage, McKinnan and Younger get counted out and both men are eliminated. The crowd does not like that one bit. Callihan and Trent trade strikes. Trent connects with a lariat and hits a spinning piledriver for a nearfall. He follows with a frog splash and another piledriver. Callihan catches him with a surprise saito suplex and connects with a sliding forearm for a nearfall. Callihan locks in the stretch muffler for the win at 17:13. This was quite the opener for a one-night tournament. They did a lot of moves and while the match progressed nicely, I hope it didn’t do too much to burn out the crowd. McKinnan and Trent were solid, but I enjoyed this match the most when the focus was on Younger and Callihan. Younger looks to be in great shape and 2012 could be a standout year for him. While the countout eliminations hurt the match, the Younger/Callihan feud definitely has some steam behind it. Unfortunately, when the match came down to Callihan and Trent, everyone knew the result was inevitable. Overall, this was a solid opener that had its high points; I just hope for the sake of the show that it wasn’t overkill. ***
Younger tries to attack Callihan after the match but staff members restrain him.
Match #2: First Round: Elimination: Greg Excellent vs. Willie Mack vs. Alex Colon
Excellent tries to lighten the mood with some dancing, but Mack and Colon dropkick him to the floor. Colon connects with a leg lariat on Mack followed by an axe kick. He does a spin-a-roonie afterwards. Mack pounces Colon and stares down Excellent. They work together to hit an ace crusher on Colon. Mack charges at both of his opponents and connects with a double clothesline. Excellent hits a samoan drop on Mack. He follows with a double corner cannonball. Excellent blocks a top rope hurricanrana from Colon and powerbombs him onto Mack. All three men are down. Everyone takes a drink of their favorite beverage and spits it into each other’s faces. They chase each other around the ring. The referee takes their drinks away, so they spit them into his face. Colon connects with the Inquisition on Mack. Excellent hits a tiger driver on Colon onto the apron! Mack takes out Excellent with a dive to the floor. In the ring, Mack hits an exploder on Excellent and lands a frog splash to eliminate him. Mack hits a samoan drop on Colon and lands a standing moonsault. Colon flips out of a chokeslam and connects with a basement superkick for a nearfall. Colon elevates Mack into a michinoku driver for the victory at 12:02. Everyone worked well together and Excellent held his own. However, this match was played for comedy at points and it ran into the same problem as the opener in that there were a bunch of moves and exchanges to the point of numbness. This is a nice win for Colon and I don’t disagree with the result, but I was hoping for a Callihan/Mack semifinal match. **½
Match #3: First Round: Elimination: Samuray Del Sol vs. Chuck Taylor vs. Johnny Gargano
Interestingly enough, these three wrestled each other the night before at an EVOLVE show because of some card changes that had to be made. Taylor and Gargano actually try working together early on. Del Sol fights them off. Gargano connects with a flying double stomp on Del Sol and hits a neckbreaker. Taylor hits an overhead suplex on Gargano but Del Sol takes him down with a headscissors. Gargano blocks a dive from Del Sol with a slingshot spear. He lands a dive to the floor onto Taylor and hits a slingshot DDT on Del Sol. Taylor connects with a missile dropkick on Gargano and lands a lionsault. He catches Del Sol with Sole Food but falls victim to standing sliced bread. Taylor bucklebombs Del Sol into Gargano. He lands a dive to the floor onto Gargano. Del Sol follows with a corkscrew plancha onto both of his opponents. Back in, Taylor and Gargano work together to hit a DDT-Hurts Donut combination on Del Sol. Gargano connects with a discus lariat on Taylor. They tease finishers and Taylor reverses the Gargano Escape into a rollup to eliminate Gargano. Del Sol surprises Taylor with a quick rollup for the win at 6:30. I thought this match was moving along nicely and serving its purpose before the quick eliminations to end the contest. Del Sol has been receiving more opportunities this year and rightfully so, as he is incredibly clean with his offense. The moments of teamwork between Gargano and Taylor were a nice touch as well. This match did not run into the problem of overkill that I had with the first two matches, but a few more minutes of action between Del Sol and Taylor would have helped distinguish the eliminations. **¾
Match #4: First Round: Elimination: Lince Dorado vs. ACH vs. AR Fox
Dorado snaps off a springboard hurricanrana on Fox. ACH takes down Dorado with a headscissors. Fox connects with a double springboard dropkick and a double baseball slide. He follows with Lo Mein Rain to the floor (an inverted 450 splash). Fox misses a guillotine leg drop from the top rope. Dorado lands an asai moonsault onto him. ACH adds a split-legged moonsault onto both of his opponents. In the ring, Dorado lands a double-jump moonsault onto Fox. ACH avoids Fox’s kick-flip moonsault but they both get caught by a fosbury flop from Dorado. In the ring, Dorado impressively hurricanranas Fox from the top rope. ACH misses a top rope splash and all three men are down. Fox connects with a slingshot dropkick on Dorado and hits a shooting star senton in the corner. Dorado fights back with a sick blockbuster. He connects with a shooting star lariat on Fox. ACH hits a rope-assisted neckbreaker on Dorado to eliminate him. Fox is bleeding from the ear. He trades strikes with ACH. Fox hits a stunner. ACH fights off another one and responds with a stunner of his own. ACH connects with a basement lariat and a shining wizard for a nearfall. He hits a powerbomb but misses a 450 from the middle rope. Fox connects with a bicycle kick and hits Lo Mein Pain for the victory at 12:47. These are three extremely capable high-flyers and they delivered a fun match to cap off the first round. A few moments of sloppiness from Dorado temporarily took the crowd out of the action, but he recovered with some impressive offense before his elimination. The ending sequence between ACH and Fox was strong and while Fox garnered more of a reaction, ACH received a positive ovation after the match and I hope CZW brings him back. The action appropriately slowed down in between big spots and everyone received a chance to stand out in what was the best first round match in my opinion. ***¼
Match #6: Semifinal Round: Sami Callihan vs. Alex Colon
Callihan’s forehead is bandaged and he is not happy, throwing chairs around ringside. They start brawling from the opening bell. Callihan slams Colon’s left leg into a propped chair. They battle on the apron where Colon hits a death valley driver. Callihan saito suplexes Colon into a staff member at ringside. He hits another one into a propped chair. In the ring, Colon avoids a charge and connects with the Inquisition. He follows with a flying knee strike and a basement superkick. Callihan responds with a gamengiri, an enzuigiri, and four facewash kicks. Colon hits a michinoku driver out of nowhere and applies the stretch muffler. Callihan reverses the hold into a rollup for the win at 6:14. This was appropriately intense, as these two had a few battles last year for a spot in Best of the Best X. In fact, they played off of their previous matches together, with Colon attempting to defeat Callihan in the same way as he did in January of last year. I also loved the finish, as Adam Cole won Best of the Best X by using Callihan’s stretch muffler against him but Callihan was ready for it this year. This wasn’t the longest match on the show, but there was a lot of substance here. Colon looked great on this show and I hope CZW follows through by elevating him in the coming months. ***
After the match, Callihan calls Colon his toughest opponent in Best of the Best thus far. He says that Colon is the future of CZW.
Match #7: Semifinal Round: Samuray Del Sol vs. AR Fox
These two had a very good match back at Super Saturday in February. Del Sol attempts to ground Fox early on. They wrestle to stalemate. Fox hits a springboard ace crusher and connects with a slingshot dropkick. He follows with a corner cannonball. Del Sol snaps off a springboard hurricanrana. They battle on the apron where Del Sol hits a finlay roll! He jumps off the apron and armdrags Fox into the guardrail. Fox creates an opening by landing his kick-flip moonsault. Back in, Del Sol applies a cross armbreaker. Fox rolls through but Del Sol transitions into a fujiwara armbar. Fox is able to reach the bottom rope. Fox enzuigiris Del Sol off the apron and lands a dive to the floor over the ringpost. Fox hits his shooting star senton, driving Del Sol into the guardrail. In the ring, Fox lands a springboard 450 for a nearfall. Del Sol springboards into position to hit a reverse hurricanrana. Fox stuns Del Sol on the middle rope with an enzuigiri and follows with Lo Mein Pain for the victory at 10:05. These two were able to match their contest from February quality-wise by showcasing some new moves and exchanges that I’ve never seen before. I talked about Del Sol’s improvement earlier and he was just as impressive as Fox here. They received the best crowd response of the night thus far and they tackled some pretty intricate sequences without any problems. This was a great showcase for both men. ***¼
Drew Gulak and company make their way to the ring. Gulak says that Danny Havoc has ruined his life for the past couple of months. He has a contract for them to have a “gentlemen’s match” at next month’s show. Havoc appears behind Gulak and hits him with a barbed wire bat. Mr. Tofiga chases Havoc away as Gulak is bleeding from the forehead. Gulak becomes very serious and wants to face Havoc man-to-man in the ring. They sign the contract for a no-rope barbed wire match next month. This was an interesting turn in their feud. I like the idea of blood giving Gulak a new focus and this segment added some intrigue to their upcoming match at Proving Grounds.
Match #8: Ultraviolent Rules: Matt Tremont vs. Clint Margera
DJ Hyde chose Margera to be Tremont’s opponent tonight. Margera attacks from behind with a kendo stick. Tremont grinds away at his forehead with a board of nails and connects with a stiff headbutt. He hits Margera with a trash can lid and connects with a discus lariat. Tremont hits a brainbuster and utilizes a chair. Margera returns the favor with a chair shot of his own. Tremont answers with a water jug shot, breaking the water jug in the process. He hits a michinoku driver. They duel with thumbtack bats and Tremont gets about twenty thumbtacks stuck in his arm. Margera uses the bat to bust open Tremont’s forehead. Margera hits a russian leg sweep and a senton. He adds a chair-assisted slingshot leg drop. Tremont dumps some thumbtacks across the ring. He slams Margera into them. Tremont misses a top rope splash and Margera hits him with the thumbtack bat. Tremont hits a bulldog into the thumbtacks and sets up a chair contraption. Margera catches him up top with a bicycle kick. Tremont recovers by powerbombing Margera through the chairs for the win at 11:14. Tremont continues to look strong heading into Tournament of Death. Margera brought some wrestling to this match but this was pretty much your standard deathmatch with the crowd getting behind Tremont at times. **¼
Hyde tells Tremont that the only way to earn a match against him is by winning Tournament of Death. Hyde also announces that Tremont will battle Abdullah Kobayashi in the first round.
Match #9: Best of the Best 11 Final Round: Sami Callihan vs. AR Fox
Fox takes out Callihan with a dive during his entrance. Fox misses another dive and splats on the concrete floor in the front row. Staff members run over to check on him. Callihan hits a russian leg sweep into the guardrail and takes control in the ring. He even goes after Fox’s injured ear. They battle on the middle rope and Callihan gets knocked down to the canvas. Fox hits a corner cannonball and comes off the middle rope with a clothesline. He connects with a springboard dropkick and lands a springboard 450 to the floor. Fox misses a guillotine leg drop from the top rope. Callihan lariats him off the apron and lands a forceful dive to the outside. They trade strikes in the ring as the rest of the tournament’s participants come to ringside to watch. Fox hits a flipping death valley driver and lands a swantan. Callihan blocks a 450 and connects with two facewash kicks. Fox avoids a third and sneaks in a rollup for a nearfall. Fox connects with a superkick and a bicycle kick. He hits Lo Mein Pain for a two count. Callihan avoids Lo Mein Rain and connects with three lariats. Neither man will stay down. Callihan applies the stretch muffler. Fox tries to break free but Callihan transitions into a half crab to win Best of the Best 11 at 14:47. In the same vein as the Callihan/Cole finals from last year, these two threw everything that they had at each other and delivered a quality match to cap off the tournament. I was also glad to see these two in the finals, as they have been two of the most consistent performers in CZW for the past couple of years. I think the crowd was becoming tired after a long night of wrestling but they were able to garner a reaction for some of the nearfalls down the stretch. This was a fine way to end the tournament, with two crowd-favorites doing battle ending in a fitting victory for Callihan. ***¼
Callihan stares at Drake Younger at ringside as he celebrates. DJ Hyde enters the ring, gives Callihan the trophy, and then spits at him. Callihan insults Fox and says that no one is better than him. Younger steals the microphone and tells Callihan that their issue is far from over. Callihan low blows Younger and walks away with his trophy. Hyde books a 2 out of 3 falls match between Callihan and Younger on May 5th in Indianapolis. Hyde invites everyone else at ringside into the ring to determine who will receive the People’s Choice award. Fox wins the award and Hyde gives him any title shot that he wants at any point this year.
Overall: CZW brought in a wide variety of great talent for Best of the Best 11 and it paid off. Every tournament match was enjoyable and five out of the seven of them cracked three stars. Everyone received a chance to shine and this show is a good sampler of the top independent wrestling talent going today. Sami Callihan and AR Fox in particular deserve a lot of credit for each having three solid matches in one night. The non-tournament action wasn’t anything special (unlike last year) but it served its purpose. While there’s nothing “must-see” on this show, that’s often the case with one-night tournaments. With that said, this was a well-booked tournament with worthwhile matches from top to bottom. Best of the Best 11 earns a recommendation.
To check out this show as well as a wide selection of CZW’s other events, visit HybridEnt.TV. If you order a show on DVD, you will immediately get the stream to watch the show online while you wait for the DVD to arrive. I think this is a tremendous idea, so check them out.
Ryan Rozanskii has been a professional wrestling fan since he was six years old. His first memory of it comes from witnessing Scott Hall win a sixty-man battle royal at WCW World War 3. Of course, that was before alcohol became a problem for Scott. Speaking of alcohol, Ryan is a youngster…not even old enough to consume alcoholic beverages. However, Ryan has used swear words to describe how much he loves Pro Wrestling Ponderings. That is something he’ll never try again, due to the risk of possibly being grounded by his parents. Some people compare Ryan to Butters from South Park. Currently, that comparison has yet to have any legitimacy.
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