On The Road: ECWA SUPER 8 2001

LOW-KI! and AMERICAN DRAGON! blow the roof off the mutha! RECKLESS YOUTH! has the best match of his career! JOSH HOLMES! marks out for MR. OO-LA-LA AGAIN! RATS! rip Schneider’s flesh! TRAVIS FURY! brings Cheerwine! BILL BARNWELL! is not very old looking! MIKE PARKHURST! orders the biggest eclair on the Eastern Seaboard! and other shit from the glorious 5th annual ECWA SUPER 8~!

Phil Rippa (PR): 12oz NY with Mashed Potatoes – Galaxia C3 mask

Phil Schneider (PS): 12 oz N.Y. Fries and Salad Bar- Blue Panther mask

Anthony Gancarski (AG): 8 oz w/ fries – White on white Wagner Mask

Marcel Hillie (MH): 10 oz w/fries and Salad Bar – Dr. Cerebro mask

Rev Ray Duffy (RD): 12oz NY (medium Well) w/ Baked Potato – Super Uchu Power mask

Pogo Pete Stein (PP): 8 oz sirloin/hibcahi chicken combo w/rice and salad bar (coming to my senses after last year’s bacon-wrapped sirloin, a hideous choice even by my then-pathetically low dining standards) – Dr. Wagner Jr. two-tone mask

Dean Rasmussen (DR): Steak and Shrimp combo platter w/ All You Care To Eat Salad Bar- Mr Aguila Giant Hair Mask.

PR: After checking to make sure that Schneider and Tony were still alive, I head out to BWI to pick up Mike Parkhurst. Two counts of mistaken identity later and Mike and I head over to baggage claim to collect that suitcase that Mike needed to carry the 500 tapes he was getting home. The wait takes for what seems like four hours as everything from human heads, skis and Hello Kitty Dolls gum up the baggage claim thingy.

PS: I actually had to hold the receiver six inches from my head as Rippa popped an eardrum with his greeting.

AG: I think I heard Rippa from across the apartment.

MH: I regret not going out on Friday night to sleaze it up with Tony, Tom K and Schneider. You just don’t get that opportunity everyday.

RR: Originally Pete and I were going to head down to Philly on Friday Night to meet up with our Los Lurkers Locos cohorts Steve Pillmeier and Jeff Crawford, but we ended up heading down on Saturday as our original plans fell through. We end up heading down to Philly as I make Pete weep as he beholds the majesty that is the Super Uchu Power mask.

PP: Friday would’ve been bad for me in any case since the magazine was closing. Re the Uchu mask, Ray apparently wanted to bring it last year but never got around to ordering it. And here I was so convinced that my Wagner hood would win the day… bah.

DR: I wept love’s easy tears upon seeing said mask. I left the Capital of the Confederacy after leaving my youngsters with my Mother-in-law and my wife at the Carytown McDonalds. It was really early and I was torqued to get the hell out of town.

PS: Dean wakes me up at 11:30 and we all watch some of that professional wrestling we all enjoy, focusing on the BattlArts and the Rip Rogers along with an asstomping Nobohiko Takada v. Naoki Sano match. Travis is the last to arrive and we all head out.

AG: You leave out Sean Formato, the legend of the Green Saturn, my inability to unlock the door to let Dean in, as I slept in my Banana Republic togs (brown stretch shirt; slate-grey pants), with my hair as askew as a Sean Shannon match p-b-p.

DR: The GANC looks fabulous even without sleep as we watch the BattlARTS that would strangely foreshadow the stiffness level of the evening- a development I would not have believed beforehand.

MH: I roll up separately from the rest of the Playaz to run assorted errands and collect my buddy Geoff in Baltimore. Before making for Delaware, we play the longest game of Giant Gram 2000 ever. My team of Hansen & Brody jobbed like men at 1:39:50 to Kawada and Kobashi. And you get pissed about Kobashi kicking out of all these finishers in a 30-minute match? Yeesh.

RD: Our trip down features us sitting next to someone who resembled a bag lady who’s twitching a bunch on the train before we move at the second stop. We hang out at Jeff’s house for awhile and play “You Don’t Know Jack” which Jeff is pretty bad at, which is sad since he owns the game. We head down to Wilmington and beat everyone there.

PP: What’s really sad is that Jeff had played it the night before and a lot of the same questions were coming up for him, yet he still got smoked by $20K. I frighten everyone in the room with my lightning- quick ability to distinguish between Steven Seagal and Jean Claude Van Damme movies.

PR: Mike and I hit the Parish parking lot at about 4:30 to the site of a very homely crowd. I immediately hand out hams which allows me to ID Bill Barnwell. Ray whines about the choice of meat and the exchange of tapes begins. I collect a few tapes from Mike, Marcel and Liev…. err… Scott Mailman. My biggest haul comes from Dean has he brought his entire tape collection for me to index.

DR: I didn’t recognize Phil Rippa when he arrived being that the married has porked like a… other married… people… I know….

RD: I did not complain about the choice of meat. I won that ham and had to wait 2 long years for it! The best part of this is when Dean meets Jeff from my group and hands him a tape because he thinks he’s one of the 8 other Jeff’s that’s shown up for this.

PP: Tony with the line of the night: “Hi. Chris Bane.” =) Much much love to Travis for bringing up the *3* cases of Cheerwine from North Cakalaky for us, especially since I may now order a case of it off their website.

PS: We think we are early for some reason and stop off at a hot dog place with the ominous slogan “It’s the sauce”, it is indeed the sauce.

DR: It was indeed the sauce. A haunting sauce. A sauce that haunted all who followed me into the Fredericksburg rest stop at 6:30 the next morning.

AG: You were by yourselves vis a vis the sauce. I got healthy and vegan and shit, and ate alleged french fries with seafood seasoning salt. Then I had a flashback to a childhood state fair, and an unfortunate incident (www.diversityincorporated.com) behind the Ferris Wheel.

MH: I hit the Parish and everyone’s huddled in their individual cars like little babies. Nice to get some more faces to connect to people, including Mike Parkhurst, Scott Mailman, and Bill Barnwell. Props to Travis for bringing Cheerwine for all. I give out a bunch of tapes and get a bunch in return. We all flaunt our masks and I win the pageant on the strength of the Dr. Cerebro mask (Ray gets second place for the Super Uchu Power mask). I’ll win next year too when I get the Black Warrior half-Wagner/half-Panther

RD: I actually forfeit my title this year because Marcel told me where to get the Uchu mask, so he should win by default.

PR: Since Josh Holmes was a no show, Schneider elects me to get us to the Sizzler. I manage to get us there with only one slight detour through a shopping mall. Dinner goes along swimmingly and the girl behind the counter flirts with Travis and I but then suddenly loses interest when Ray places his order.

AG: Someone gave Holmes four flat tires. No way he could get to the studio to team with Austin Idol.

PS: I enjoy Sizzler, and really dug hanging out at our table as I got a chance to talk to Scott Mailman, Bill Barnwell and Mike Parkhurst who are quality gentleman and astute students of the sport of kings.

AG: Sizzler was the bomb and the diggy. Parkhurst is like the little brother my mother never bore. Barnwell is so ready to be a supporting guy on the next Saved By the Bell update show. Mailman is a quality guy as well, and all parties know their wrestling, as is known. We were loud and obnoxious, and everytime a kid at an adjacent table looked in our direction, I started claiming we were cancer survivors.

MH: Man, Barnwell is young. I think Mailman tried to get him some milk & cookies for dessert. I sit with Tony, Tom, and Bill and we all can hear Rippa and Schneider arguing at the next table.

RD: The Sizzler once again is our host for dinner. We were too big this year to have one gigantic table, which results in us spreading out into 2 or 3. As I return from the bath room I hear the waitress complain ot the manager as Scheinder and company creat a fire hazard by blocking small couples into the booths. Meanwhile at our table (Phil, Travis, Dean, Jeff, Steve, Sean and someone else) have discussions about nuclear physics and great feuds of WCW Saturday Night.

PP: The someone else would be SWEET MEEEEEEEEEE. Rippa came through big- time in a pinch for us, even in the way we all took the wrong turn. We were the next-to-last car in the conga line of sedans, and I got my money’s worth the second I saw everyone in the cars ahead of us laughing their fool heads off at Rippa for the wrong turn, Rippa included. Sizzler is Sizzler, although I think we might have to take
Holmes’ advice and hit the Lone Star in 2002 following the excessive surliness of our waitress this year. I know the kids need the tips, but enough is enough. Travis refuses to take my desperate hints and
orders the infernal bacon-wrapped sirloin. It’ll be his kidney troubles, I guess.

PR: We find our seats which manage to be in the EXACT location of last year but this year we also have the back wall which allows for Dean and I to stand without the catcalls of those who would normally be blocked by our height and girth. We also realize that the Hit Squad (Monster and Mafia Mack) is
sitting right in front of Schneider and Tony.

PS: Mafia Mack is a real nice guy, and actually laughed at some of our jokes instead of justifiable kicking our asses.

AG: Indeed.

PP: Oh yeah, DHS are a riot. It was funny right at the start when I gave them a shout-out and Mafia’s like “Oh shit! We’ve been outed!” Having seen them work the gangsta gimmick on a fairly regular basis up north, it’s really hilarious to see how polite and well-dressed they are when they’re not working a show. After everyone gets settled I head upstairs to use the facilities, where Reckless, Spanky and Sullivan are waiting in line in their gear. Somehow I doubt I’ll ever walk into an MSG bathroom and find Rock, Austin and HHH waiting to use the can at the same time.

MH: I’m in the corner with Pete as he busts out the Weekly Gongs, including the two greatest pictures ever 1) Pimp Daddy Abdullah getting ready for a wild night on the mean streets of Tokyo and 2) Akira Hokuto breaking Shinobu Kandori’s nose at DS1. We’re short on seats, so we get some more and they squeeze on in, leading to Dean snuggling up to me. So cold, so very, very cold…

RD: Bah, you forgot perhaps the greatest knockoff shirt of all time at this point, Alexander Otsuka’s Sex Pistols take off shirt “Forget about the Battlarts, here’s the “Alex is Poor!”

PR: As per usual, the participants of the Tournament come out to get their medals and chat it up with Dawn Marie. We comment on the various looks of the wrestlers and I begin the ritual of slapping Josh Holmes in the back of the head when he makes a smartish comment.

MH: The original intended host of the show, Simon Diamond, had “personal issues” and could not appear. We begin taking bets on which match he was going to work. Not to fear, as Dawn Marie hosts the tourney instead. More than one of the guys takes a bit too long looking at Dawn’s chest as they accept their medals. Well yeah, I would have, too, but I just raising the point.

PP: It had to be said, Cel. Perfectly understandable.

RD: I think Spanky was going to try to drop his keys between her cleavage and try to retrieve them. Before the first round, they interview a bunch of the previous winners, Ace Darling amazes us all with his use of his hands as he describes the thrill of winning hte first tournament. Of course, I make Monty Python References to winning the tournament like having “Huge tracts of land”.

PR: We support both guys equally though I think Billy Fives was ready to kill us with our “FIVE” chants. I still regret not bringing the BILLY FIVESMANIACS sign. Fives looks kinda like Scotty Riggs and ironically, he busted out the Five Arm, which I marked for. (I am a big Five Arm mark). Very good opener as Low-Ki has continued to improve in leaps and bounds bringing the stiffest – especially in his kicks – , the highspots and the bizarro hurty moves. Fives is a pleasant surprise as he more than holds his own in the ring, including being a competent puncher. Low-Ki goes over thus ruining my prediction of a Billy Fives vs. Mike Sullivan final.

PS: I enjoyed the hell out of this match, as it was the third best match of the night. Fives gets beaten into our heart as he takes some offputting chops and gets kicked square in his sculpted face multiple times, Ki also hit a diving kneedrop right to the back of his next. He broke out some very nice heel stuff including a back foul after a powerbomb reversal, he also had a very good standing vertical suplex. Ki was great in this, he totally got the crowd into the match with his stiffness and everyone was super into it by the end.

AG: I’d seen about ten minutes of Low-Ki before this, but it only took me about one to understand how good he is.

MH: I’m with Tony, as I hadn’t really seen too much Low-Ki before this, but now I’m fully on the bandwagon. Another Ki highspot that bears mentioning is the Handspring Kammen-Giri that popped the crowd. Fives wasn’t afraid to take a beating and a nasty little Ki-Krusher at the end.

RD: I’ve found that every time I’ve seen Low Ki, he’s come up with something new. Tonight he busts out the TAKA no hands springboard dive to the floor. Fives got the crap beat out of him, but he did do some neat stuff. He had the punching style gloves on too, but he was eating a lot of Low-Ki kicks. This was fun.

PP: Low-Ki continues to tighten his game up every time I see him as he’s gone from Shane-o Insane-o highspot machine to almost a Muay Thai striker with some spots thrown in. About the only beef I have with him at this point is he takes way too much time delivering the kicks when Fives (for example) is on his knees, but that’s a minor quibble in light of what happens during the final. Fives looks good here with his heel spots like the UN FOUL! after Loki flips out of a back suplex attempt.

PR: The argument ensues over what the back of Reign’s tights say – something along the lines of I Eat Farts but my memories are a little foggy. Kozina is two feet tall and Reign has the “I have the tiny pants, the frosted blonde hair and am unsure about my own sexuality” look. Reign does do the insane no hands tope to nothing so I had no problems with this match.

PS: This was pretty good, but Reign does a kicker gimmick and his strikes were a pale shadow of Ki’s in the previous match. I think this would have been better as an opener, because it had some great highspots, but after the face kicking, highspots aren’t really that impressive. Kozina’s diving rana from the interior of the ring down to the floor was gorgeous, and Kozina defintly carried the match, although he did kick out of the LSD which I didn’t care for, that move really should have been the finish, although Reign’s last rights variation was pretty sweet.

AG: Kozina lived up to the hype, but I was still recovering from Lo-Ki laying it into Fives in the last match.

MH: Kozina kicked out of a couple of moves that he shouldn’t have, but still carried Reign and should have gone over IMO, but I didn’t have that much of a problem with his jobbing. Nice little match, but a bit underwhelming after Ki-Fives.

RD: This was perfectly fine wrestling, they didn’t blow anything that I can remember. I don’t think the crowd was totally into this as both guys were sort of unfamiliar. Kozina, who sort of looks like Johnny Swinger, goes for the fiery death move of the night candidate with if flying rana that sends both guys over the top rope and to the floor. You can see Daniels influence on a bunch of Reign’s offense, I think he’s good and hopefully he’ll get better. This was pretty fun, Reign’s finisher was pulled off quick and suitably out of nowhere to add to it’s effect.

PP: I agree with everyone else that Kozina looked better than Reign here and probably should’ve gone over, though Kozina kicking out of the LSD and the Perfect Driver didn’t bug me nearly as much as it did the others since no one in the building was supposed to know whether or not it was his finisher. OTOH, the second he hit the Last Rites variation everyone knew that was a finisher since they remembered Daniels doing it.

PR: As I blathered on to anyone who listened, I knew they had to have these two work a match since they have already wrestled each other a million times. Spanky learns that ECWA doesn’t have the world’s greatest ropes as he blows a couple of slingshot moves but thankfully no one busts out the “You Fucked
Up” chant. Dragon looks absolutely looks great as he does a variety of things that we mark out for. Personally, I was all over the freaky submissions. Dragon’s performance leads to a night of ribbing as we all make fun of Schneider for once saying that American Dragon wasn’t very good.

PS: This was all bizarre, Shawn Michaels wasn’t really known for his tight work, but these two guys were wrestling like they were trained by Finlay or something. Did I miss all of Micheals super stiff SWS matches or something? These guys Fuchied their chest with chops and American Dragon worked over the arm to set up his Dragon Suplex into bridged chicken wing submission. I really didn’t care for American Dragon in his TWA stuff, but good lord has he gotten good. This match was solid as shit and the psychology was basically unheard of for a US Indy match.

AG: Both these guys have worked with Regal, and damned if it didn’t show. As opposed to many wrestlers who work with Regal and bitch about it, these two learned what they should’ve learned and incorporated blistering stiffness, crisp execution, and sound psychology with the requisite spots that folks have learned to expect from cruisers in the last 6 or 7 years. I think I preferred this to the first match, as this was tighter and had marginally better pacing. But that’s no diss of the first match.

MH: This was the best First-Round match and man, was I not expecting to say that. You’d never know that Michaels was involved in the training of these two, except for Spanky’s great selling. I too laud the psychology of the working of the arm, especially considering what would happen later on in the night. Nice recovery from Spanky’s blown slingshot, as Dragon just starts kicking him. Extra points for Spanky bringing the cool theme music – Jurassic 5’s “Quality Control.” Now that the TWA has folded, where are
these two working these days?

RD: Apparently Marcel doesn’t read the Power Pro TV reports. This was a whole lot of fun, this was the best first round match and the second best match of the night in my opinion. These two were not afraid to beat each other up. Dragon’s work was solid, though he needs to upgrade his gear as the red sweat pants look just isnt’ doing it. Spanky looked pretty good in this as well as he made Dragon look awesome, he recovered from his initial blown spot to come back with a quebrada later. I think he does have potential as a lead light heavyweight cocky heel as Steve and I agreed he had the look of someone who needed a beating. I was told by someone after the show that Dragon apparently cracked 2 ribs in this match, he certainly didn’t show it later in the night.

PP: I saw Michaels’ influence in the selling, not in the stiff as all hell chops. Sweet Lord, Spanky’s chest and arms were just beet red and I think he even took a chop to the FACE at one point. Dragon can take all the FMW tours he wants if it means he continues to improve like he has.

PR: This was the worst match of the whole Super 8 as Reckless continues to rest on his rep and mail things in. I have a big problem when you are hitting the Abdominal Stretch 30 seconds into the match. Sullivan is right there in the middle of all workers but he at least allows us to yell “SSSSUUUULLLLIVVVVAAAAANNNNN!!!!!!!” about a million times because that joke will never get old. I prattled about how the Frog Splash has been killed because we have already seen it twice tonight so what the hell is Youth going to do for his finisher.

PS: I liked this match a lot better then Rippa, Sullivan had some nice old school work, including a neat Gory Espcial and a nice Harley Race style diving headbut, no double stomp despite the Ganc calling for it. The punches really stunk though, as Youth somehow worked in a promotion with Steve Regal, Bill Dundee and Jerry Lawler and still never learned how to throw a punch. Youth wins with a Burning Oklahoma Driver ’01 nearly breaking Sullivan’s neck.

AG: Yeah, Youth-pac VS Sullivan on the Worldwide Exclusive match. Full point, but X-Reckless shows here and in the next match that the game has passed him by along with every other second-rate white-boy proponent of the Nitro cruiser style circa 1996.

MH: I was down on Reckless after this, as he didn’t have the working boots on at all. His punches were ass and whose fault was that Oklahoma Roll? Reckless for blowing it or Sullivan for not tucking his head? Not a bad match, but the worst of the Super 8, to be sure. Sullivan wasn’t too bad, before breaking his neck. The rest of the crowd starts aping our “SULLIVAN!” chants.

RD: Pretty much summed this up, of the tournament matches, this was probably the worst. Nothing was blown except for the fireman’s carry pin, but the blown spot seemed to make it even more evil. Sullivan also did a neat slingshot gordbuster in the match.

PP: Reck was obviously not afraid to dog it since he knew he wasn’t going over in the tourney. I hesitate to use the term “masturbatory” in describing his work here, but really that’s the only word I can use for it. Somehow, after we do the “SULLIVAN!” bit for half the match, someone else in the stands does it and HE gets all the pops for it. Nova Invented Smarkisms.

PR: The Haas brothers come out and challenge anyone to a tag title match. Ty Street comes out and accepts with his mystery partner – Simon Diamond. Insert your own “Ty Street resembles….” joke here. Mine was “Ty Street is Scott Steinercito.” I ramble on about the 400 plot holes in the fact that Diamond just happened to be at the McDonald’s with his gear and that Ty Street just happened to know that he needed a partner and that Diamond just happened to want to turn on Street. Bad match that still was the best non-tournament match that has taken place in the 4 years of the Playaz going to the Super 8.

PS: Mike Parkhurst gets line of the night, as he points out that Ty Street looks like a white Grady from Sanford and Son. Monster Mack gets off the second line of the night with a disgusted “Ty Street Sucks” The Haas brothers also apparently can work in Memphis with out learning to punch, Bobby Eaton needs
to sit these boys down. This was very not good, especially the ending which was really awkward looking.

AG: You can sort of tell who cares about the art of wrestling, a beautiful thing that emerged from the primordial carny ooze into the legacy proferred by Funk/Brisco, Flair/Steamboat, and even Hart/Austin. You can also tell who is motivated more primarily by blowjobs, dressing room drugs, and becoming
famous. Mid-level indie heavyweights are exposed when preceded by two acceptable matches and two matches I’d show to people on tape with very little prompting. Stupid booking, and I spent hella lot of the match wondering how much of the PWI 500 Dawn Marie has hit her finisher on as I read about Convertible Blondes matches on Mailman’s Friedlander list.

MH: My Ty Street joke was “Little Poppa Pump.” Hoo boy, this wasn’t good. I’ve never understood the heel turn after a match where you beat up the guys you’re going to join. I killed time by chatting with Pete and Dean. You really don’t need to see this match.

RD: This actually started as an interview as they declared an intermission and as people filed out, the Haas’ hit the ring for a promo, the winners are the people who got in line for pretzels. I think the minute Simon came out, we started out count down to how long it would take for him to turn on Street. I was hoping this would have been Simon and Swinger rather than Street v. the Haas’. When the Haas were calling out teams someone yells “HIT SQUAD” which results in Monsta looking over our way and asking “Who said that?”. I think of and refrain from trying to start a few bars of “Our Haas in the middle of the ring”. After the real intermission, they show some more videos of the wrestlers, it’s funny as the girls shreik when the Hardys appear on the video and flashbulbs go off at the video screen.

PP: I’m going to steal my own description of Scorpio Jr. and say that Ty looks like Dr. Benton Quest as a blonde. After Rippa ran down all of the plot holes in the Diamond/Street team I was afraid he was going
to start in on the faulty booking of the Summit next.

PR: Another good match. I was disappointed in the lack of crowd response but it was understood since it was the first match back from the intermission and everyone was settling back into their seats. Kind of on the short side – I think it might have been the shortest match of the tournament. I still enjoyed it and was happy about Low-Ki in the finals.

PS: This was pretty neat, less violent and more highflying then the other two Lo-Ki matches. They did a neat thing of each hitting their finishers, but being to exhausted to cover. The roll up finish was a little out of nowhere, and it was kind of short, but it would have been a highlight of previous Super 8’s and would have been the best match in 1998.

MH: I dug this one as well – it pales when compared to some of the gems in this show, but still a good match that bears watching. I sat back and enjoyed the ride, as I pretty much figured beforehand that Low-Ki would be making the Finals. Reign’s kicks were the poor sister to Low-Ki’s – I wonder if Reckless would have been a better match for Reign. I’m glad they didn’t get matched up though, as we would been denied the next match.

RD: It was a quick match, but it was pretty action packed, both guys had their finishes kicked out of early, but it was a result of them getting hit early. Ki did a few nice reversals to the Reign variations of the Last Rights including an overhead kick out of it. Fun little match. Low-ki busts out the 450 into a body press dive to the floor from the post which took a little long to set up but was insane.

PP: Normally I’d have problems with the rollup for the pin here but really, Ki’s bridge on the move was too sweet to complain about. Good match, if not sort of dead because folks were still settling in
after intermission.

PR: I am going to have to watch the Tim Noel tape to determine which match was better – this match or the final. Knee-jerk reaction while at the show was the final but not that time has passed, I think it might have been this match. Dragon pummels Reckless and Reckless suddenly remembers he knows how to wrestle – including delivering the Best Lariat I have ever seen live. This match had the most heat as we got wildly behind Dragon, which lead to the rest of the crowd getting behind Reckless. Dragon goes over with a balls-to-the-wall submission that had he straining his neck about as bad as he was straining Youth’s.

PS: Good god, this was great. Dragon had to beat on Youth a little bit to get him fired up, but the last 8 minutes or so were as good as you are going to get. They went super All Japan with the finish, with Youth doing the screaming Kobashi sell of the kicks. The end comes with Dragon hitting a roaring elbow and backsuplex for two, then Youth hits a backdropdriver for two as well, he then absolutely wastes Dragon with that lariat. Youth is stunned too and takes his time to go up top for the frog splash, Dragon catches him and hits a top rope shoulderbreaker and slaps on the bridged chickenwing for the submission. After the first two minutes of Dragon v. Spanky, I really wanted a Dragon v. Ki final so I was totally marking out for each near fall, I was more into this match as a fan, then any I can remember. I was down on Reckless before this show, but this was the match of his career.

AG: That said, Youth was in with a strike machine – and kept his shirt on. The right person went over. Youth was over as hell, and I worried they’d book it safe and put him over Michaels’ boy, but they put the WWF developmental guy over so that they’d have him for the video package next year. Great match, as Dragon pulled Youth out of his lethargy.

MH: Great, great match. After Reckless’ First-Round match, I too was begging for him to job here and I was rewarded. Reckless worked his way back into my heart, with some good selling and a kick-ass Stan Hansen-level lariat. I wonder if Dragon was doing the shooter thing in TWA as well. Either way,
he’s found a style that works for him. I was way too excited at the Low-Ki/Dragon Final.

RD: This was pretty good, but I wasn’t overly in love with it. The lariat Youth hit really woke the crowd up. I think it was very much a mark out moment in the match as I was really wanting to see Dragon in the finals so it was fun to make as much noise as I could for Dragon in the match. This probably had the most heat of the tournament matches.

PP: Rippa couldn’t understand why DHS were going crazy for Reckless Tatsuhito’s lariat at the end. I’m like “Phil, the Hit Squad are the stiffest motherfuckers on the planet.”

PR: This is the infamous battle royal that has been held every year. They didn’t have one in ’99 which is why the ’99 show is the Best Show Ever. I slap Josh around as he marks out for Mr. Ooh-Lah-Lah. Mr. Ooh-Lah-Lah makes me think of Victor and how far into the Disputed Zone he might be now. Vincent Goodnight has that hair that says “I remember when I used to open for Whitesnake”. That is all I remember from the match.

PS: I saw a preemptive strike from bob.com, about “checking the “smartness” at the door in order to enjoy yourself, and it’s a shame some aren’t able to do that.” As someone who created a t-shirt celebrating Moujikin Ken, I think I can appreciate comedy gimmicks fine, the problem with this match wasn’t the goofiness, I mean I loved Japanese Pool Boy. The problem was that 90% of the guys threw horribly pulled punches and kicks and would throws them selves over the top rope, just completely unprofessional and they aren’t even ready for indies and that includes guys like J.J. and JR Ryder who looked terrible. Glen Osborne who has been working for ever, looked worse then guys like Nigel Fairservice and Mozart Fontaine. I mean parts were funny, but good comedy guys can wrestle, that is the difference between Stoker Ishikawa and Yone Genjin.

AG: I’m with Schneider here. People who justify bad art, bad music, bad books, bad sex, bad food with nothing but a ‘Dude, chill and have some pizza’ can blow me. And this battle royal was bad. Boogie Woogie Brown was like ZambuieExpress2000, as we all know there’s nothing more fun to watch than a fat black guy headed toward the triple bypass. Ooh La La looked and worked like my dad mowing the lawn. It didn’t get any better. After the cheap pop for the sleazed-out, played-out bullshit comedy, the crowd went catatonic and we all learned yet again that rasslin is fake.

MH: I figured we were in for it when Boogie Woogie Brown started the frickin’ match. My fears were confirmed when he bent over to pick up someone in the ring, giving us all a horrible, horrible picture to recoil in horror from. I think I almost punched Josh right in the face for being Mr. Ooh-La-La’s Number 1 fan. JR Ryder’s gotta be the shortest guy who’s ever had the Chokeslam for a finisher in the stats. This shit sucked, and even the opportunity to shout “AAARRRHHHH!” when Patch came out couldn’t save it. The Parish was packed to the gills, so I couldn’t even bail for a shot of Sierra Mist or a Pepsi chaser. I took solace in the fact that Low-Ki and American Dragon were getting lots of rest for the final.

RD: Japanese Pool Boy ruled it. And Mozart Fontaine had that Dr. Tom Pritchard/Jimmy Garvin curly mullet thing going which results in us reminiscing about Jimmy Garvin during this.

PP: Once again the Summit lives down to expectations, and this year we didn’t even get Benny Stoltzfus’ cool-ass polka music for his entrance. As a rule we Playaz don’t get the willies easily, but Holmes freaked the hell out of us as he suddenly transformed into the world’s largest Ooh La La mark. The eliminations where guys literally threw themselves out were good for some hysterical laughter on our part, but that’s about it. I will give them credit for not doing Ye Olde Battle Royale Finish where it comes down to two heels, they celebrate with each other and then one eliminates the other to get the title shot.

PR: Parkhurst cries big crocodile tears over the fact that Kevin Kelly is a no-show. I meanwhile hit the bathroom so I miss “the action”.

PS: This had some booking, yes it did.

AG: God, all this needed was Dawn Marie coming out to sit and spin on the ringpost, as Drew Carey and Korstia Korchenko worked their way to center-ring to french-kiss and defecate on the Lithunaian flag. Cheetah is such the failed cruiserweight, his selling is absurd, and this is the kind of thing Jess McGrath can watch as he shovels french fries down his gullet.

MH: At the end of the show, I saw Cheetah Master signing autographs and I saw that he ain’t the youngest guy. It then hit me that this is it for him – barring a miracle, he’s never going to the Big 2 and he’ll stay a big fish in a small pond. Hell, one night out of the year, he isn’t even the biggest fish in the pond, as the Super 8 Final is always the main event. A horrid match – Again, Low-Ki and American Dragon were getting lots of rest for the final.

RD: Cheetah does his bring entrance that he always does and I try to convince JJ and Patch that there’s two of them, one of Cheetah and that they’re heels, so they’re more than welcome to attack him before Welcome to The Jungle finishes. This because the huge cluster fuck as we get bumps and 80 run ins and eventually Jeff Peterson runs in and makes the count so Cheetah can win.

PP: Which was a pretty maudlin finish at that. I guess I’m in the minority here when I say that Peterson probably shouldn’t have been out there, because he did not look good at all and needed help just to climb onto the ropes at the end. I can sort of understand why they needed to do it (closure to the angle where JJ attacked him at The Bob back in November), but that doesn’t make it all that much better in my book.

PR: Schneider is downright giddy over Dragon’s promise to Low-Ki that this will be “his stiffest match ever”. And golly do they deliver, as the waffle each other. I am impressed by the psychology and the selling of the match. They both built off of spots from the previous tournament matches which are the way things should be done in a tournament. Low-Ki does the great Ricky Steamboat leg drag sell while Dragon was great with the little things like rolling his eyes into the back of his head after getting popped in the head. At 11 minutes, the match might have been a touch too short but I enjoyed the hell out it.

PS: I lost it when Dragon promised the stiffest match of his career. This was just off the charts pummeling, I want a best of 7809. They had great psych, as Dragon works on the knee to disable Lo-Ki’s kicks, including some submission that had Ki’s knee touching his face. Because Dragon worked on the knee, when he hits his arm submission, he had to let it go because Ki’s arm wasn’t damaged. Ki sells the knee the whole match including limping up to the top to hit a 450 legdrop to the floor, which was the most spectacular dive I have ever seen live, but was still the 14th coolest thing in the match. The ending was wild, as Dragon removes his armband to go for the super elbow smash which Lo-Ki ducks,he hits the Ki-Krusher and slaps on some crazy stretch plum looking thing for the submission. This was ass rocking, best Super 8 final ever. I love the professional wrestling .

AG: Freak freak funk funk Mississippi goddamn hear the drummer get wicked, this was strong as hell and seemed longer than 11 minutes. Dragon is a hella good seller, and so is Lo-Ki, and this was my favorite match of the night as it happened. I want to see the tape though, as I’m convinced that the best stuff on this show will prove to be historically signficant. Folks like Youth were smoked by Lo-Ki, Dragon, and Spanky, and I can only hope their ascension here leads to a shift toward stiffness in the US cruiser scene and away from the banal tableau of tables and pointless spots that have characterized so much of the alleged high-end US indie (and even Big 2) product of late.

MH: Getting the chance to see a match like this live and in person is why I watch Professional Wrestling. Good Lord, this thing rocked. The psychology is awesome – Dragon knew he had to get Low-Ki’s kicks out of the picture, so he works the leg. This gives Dragon a built-in advantage, because whenever Low-Ki went to the strikes, Dragon could always go after the leg and get the advantage back. This advantage then became a disadvantage, as this kept Dragon’s finisher from winning it because he hadn’t worked the arm. You don’t get a story like that in the Big 2, you just don’t. Also loved how Dragon scouted Low-Ki and was the only person all night to 1) Get out of the 3-kick combo by nailing the Dragon Screw before the third kick and 2) Block the Handspring Kammen-Giri by charging Low-Ki as he finishes the Handspring and getting the Dragon Suplex. Fantastic match. When Schneider told us he was “as giddy as a schoolgirl” after the Pre-Final promos, was Stein really checking for Schneider’s erect nipples?

PP: Schneider had a .9 Caliente going for him when he ran over and marked out a million times over that interview. You could put an eye out with those things, brah. 😉 Ki taking too much time between his kicks to Dragon’s chest finally came back to haunt him as Dragon whipped out the pristine Dragon Screw. The selling here was absolutely top-shelf from both guys, and they delivered in spades on the stiffness. Probably the stiffest match one will ever see in a church parish. The entire locker room empties out to salute Dragon and Low-Ki postmatch, which I believe is a first as in the past they only had the rest of the Super 8 guys come out to congratulate the finalists. I’m guessing at this rate next year they go balls-out NJ style and have all the participants work the final as seconds.

RD: I think we were going nuts when theses guys took it to the mat and were busting out the submissions. Dragon would slap on a hold and Low-Ki would uses chops and kicks to fight his way out of this. As mentioned earlier, Dragon’s selling of the kicks to the head were awesome and he had the look of someone who was knocked goofy. The best was when Low-Ki kicked him on the apron and he did a quasi-nestea plundge off the apron to the highspot area of the floor. Low-ki then follows it up with an even more insane Phoenix Splash style bodypress to the floor. I really loved this match, easily the match of the night.

PS: We go to the worst strip club ever, get attacked by rats, get home at 6am, had a great time.

AG: We checked the strippers, worked the amnesia angle as we wandered around Baltimore looking for an angry fix, followed Travis to Indiana for greasy diner food, got no play with the harried, soon to be haggard server gal, dumped Parkhurst at BWI as everyone cut promos on everyone who needed promos cut on them. Dean and I rode in the front seat as Tom and Schneider cuddled in the back, and we played Where’s Waldo with the National Airport as we listened to draggy Maxell C90s from 1989 with Aztec Camera and Smiths songs. I got deposited at the airport, planed my way home, sitting up front and
going 0 for 2 with the stewardesses. A great weekend, and it was what being a Death Valley Playboy is all about. Word.

MH: We couldn’t find the Fine Gentlemen’s Establishment that we had planned to go to, so we ended up walking the mean streets of Baltimore for a bit. And I mean Mean Streets – these were the ass-worst streets I’ve ever driven on, and I drive in Washington DC, regularly. During the walking part, we encounter all these hideous rats that wanted one of us for his trophy case back in the alley. We also walked past a couple of clubs that had a bunch of people outside.I was fine with it, but poor Travis was convinced that we were all going to die at that point. We did hit this one Fine Gentlemen’s Establishment, but the girls were nowhere near as hot as the house rates would demand. We had a beer (Dean, two) and then left. Travis then led us over the hills and through the woods to this Greasy Spoon Diner- we may have passed Grandma’s House as well, I can’t recall. After that, I headed back past Baltimore City to drop off Geoff, and then I stay above 80 the whole way back to Arlington. Sweet, sweet sleep comes at 6 AM. A great, great time, as always.

PR: Besides having to restrain Marcel from getting Cheetah Master’s autograph, I have nothing to report as I headed back home right after the show, well except for exploring parts various parts of downtown Baltimore as Sean tried to remember if John Hopkins was actually still in the city or not.

MH: Yeah, that was the longest line…….HEY!

RD: My trip home was uneventful as I didn’t have to sit next to a crazy homeless lady on the Amtrak to NYC. I think there were some XFL cheerleaders on the bus home (they were wearing Hitmen headbands and let’s face it, there are no Hitmen fans in New York unless Vince is paying you to be one), but alas, they were not drunk enough, I mean, pretty enough for me to try to pick them up. I ended up getting in at about 2:45 and caught the last part of the Thug/Terri Gold title match that lacked the stiffness of the Super 8 final.

PP: Ya know, those Amtrak trains have gotten really comfortable in the last few years… I think Ray gave me the high sign to wake up at least three times in the last 20 minutes of the trip as we were pulling into Penn Station. No gentlemens’ clubs for us in NYC now that our fine mayor Herr Rudy has cracked down on strip joints, black women posing as Jesus and other unmentionables, so it’s to home and to bed. Ironically enough I go to sleep eariler than if I was at home staying up for WOW.

DR: After dropping Tony off at National- the beautiful cap to less urgent lost driving around the beltway listening to the Ultravox as we headed through the interstate wasteland of the cusp of Northern Virginia- I take Tom K home and opt to just drop Schnieder off take the suicide trip to Richmond at 6:15 in the morning.