Matt Tremont looks to teach Brandon Kirk the meaning of respect in a Tangled Web match. CZW Heavyweight Champion Rickey Shane Page has a contract signing with number one contender MJF. Plus, Joey Janela battles Ace Romero in a singles match and much more!
Combat Zone Wrestling presents Proving Grounds
From: Voorhees, NJ
Opening Contest: Gary Jay vs. Mike Verna vs. Wheeler YUTA in a Trifecta first round match: The match is joined in progress due to issues with the stream. Verna takes YUTA over with a top rope hurricanrana but Jay breaks up the cover attempt. Verna misses a top rope swanton as YUTA moves out of the way. Jay hits a top rope spinning Flatliner on YUTA while Verna had YUTA on his shoulders.
Jay double stomps the back of YUTA’s head for a near fall as Verna broke up the pin. Verna drives Jay down with a swinging F-5 turned into a Rock Bottom but YUTA breaks up the cover. Verna has Jay but Jay breaks free and YUTA hits a missile dropkick and senton splash on his opponents. YUTA superkicks Jay and plants him with an elevated reverse DDT for the win. (NR. I can’t rate it since it’s not a complete match, but the closing sequence there was actually pretty cool and YUTA seems to be a good performer.)
Prior to the next match, Anthony Bennett can’t figure out the microphone to cut a promo so he needs help with it. Bennett shoves both opponents before trying to speak. Bennett is going to prove himself tonight.
Second Contest: Anthony Bennett vs. Rayo vs. Kit Osbourne in a Trifecta first round match: Osbourne hits Bennett with the microphone and a double dropkick sends him to the floor. Osbourne decks Rayo and works over him in the corner. Rayo head scissors Osbourne to the floor and goes to the apron to deliver a kick. Bennett delivers a 619 to Rayo on the apron from behind. Bennett goes to the apron but gets tripped by Rayo and is worked over on the floor. Bennett is sat on a chair and his two opponents act like they’re going to run around the ring but Osbourne instead sends Rayo into the post. Bennett sends Osbourne into the railing and hits a slingshot senton onto Osbourne. Rayo nearly pins Bennett with a rollup. Rayo kicks Bennett on the apron and hits a double DDT over the middle rope. Rayo heads to the top to dropkick Osbourne and Bennett nearly pins Ray after a moonsault. Osbourne takes Bennett down and tries to get a submission but Rayo breaks that up. Rayo kicks Bennett and hits a Code Red for a near fall. Rayo and Osbourne trade chops in the ring and forearm strikes. Rayo drops Osbourne with a kick and a springboard kick for a two count. Osbourne avoids a kick from Rayo and hits a spinning kick followed by a curb stomp. Bennett tosses Osbourne out of the ring and pins Rayo for the win. (**. Bennett is a little too green to get behind but there is some talent there he just has to figure out his selling for the most part. Osbourne probably should have won, but CZW needs to elevate some guys it seems like.)
Third Contest: Ace Austin vs. Brandon Watts vs. KC Navarro in a Trifecta first round match: Austin kicks Watts a couple of times and clotheslines Navarro over the top to the floor. Austin dropkicks Watts into the corner and plays to the crowd before hitting a springboard spin kick on Watts. Navarro comes off the top to head scissors Austin and delivers a kick to the midsection before dropkicking Austin to the floor. Watts kicks Navarro in the corner and hits a somersault dive on Navarro. Austin kicks Watts on the apron and does the same to Navarro. Watts drops Austin back first onto the apron and dropkicks Navarro. Watts plants Austin with a tornado DDT on the floor. Navarro takes Watts out with a somersault dive to the floor. Austin hits a twisting dive over the top onto Navarro and tries to get the crowd behind him. Austin goes for a springboard but is stopped by Watts. Watts heads to the top rope and Navarro comes over to try for a Tower of Doom but gets punched away. Navarro is able to German suplex Austin off the middle rope using Watts as a podium. Navarro steps up and kicks Watts, but Austin comes back with a kick on Navarro. Watts kicks Austin and a standing dropkick sends Austin to the apron. Watts drops Austin with a wheelbarrow suplex for a near fall as Navarro broke up the pin.
Navarro plants Watts with a tornado DDT. Austin counters a choke from Navarro with a backbreaker and kick to the head. Austin hits a Codebreaker on Navarro followed by a swinging neckbreaker of sorts for the win. (***1/4. This was completely non-stop action and they just hit spot after spot, which I think these kind of matches need to be. It felt like each triple threat match had a different style and I wasn’t burnt out with what they did. Ace Austin seems to be a lot of fun in-ring.)
Fourth Contest: CZW Tag Team Champions The REP (Dave McCall & Nate Carter) vs. The Awakening (G-Raver & Stockade) in a hardcore match: Stockade goes right after Carter but us met with a Samoan Drop/neckbreaker combo. G-Raver comes in and drops McCall with a double knee strike. Raver takes the champs out with a somersault suicide dive. They are all brawling on the floor at this point. McCall hits Raver with a bat a few times it looks like. Raver hip tosses McCall into the crowd and Stockade does the same to Carter with a backdrop. Stockade and Raver both jump over the railing to take out the champs. Stockade throws several chairs onto Carter. Raver takes McCall out with a running somersault attack. Carter is buried underneath several chairs. McCall is hip tossed onto the railing before getting knocked back to the ringside area. Stockade smashes McCall with a chair shot. McCall is getting double teamed by the challengers, but Carter makes the save on a pin attempt. Carter bridges a ladder onto the apron and railing. Carter puts Stockade through a ladder in the ring. Carter grabs Raver and powerbombs Raver through a second ladder on the floor.
Stockade hits Carter with a bat with a water jug on it. McCall drops Stockade with a suplex for a near fall. Stockade puts McCall through the second ladder with a Death Valley Driver but the referee is distracted. Carter low blows Stockade from behind. The REP hits the elevated Flatliner and Stockade is pinned. (**1/2. It’s actually an entertaining brawl and the first time I’ve seen the REP look vulnerable for any substantial amount of time. I’m thinking they are best when there are no rules, though. Regardless, this was a solid tag defense and an entertaining match from guys I may not have expected it from.) After the match, The Storm of Entrails make their entrance. They have the ultimate opportunity medallion, meaning they can get a title shot at any time.
Fifth Contest: CZW Tag Team Champions The REP (Dave McCall & Nate Carter) vs. The Storm of Entrails (SHLAK & Dan O’Hare): SHLAK is getting some good face reaction from the crowd. The REP cheap shot the Entrails with the tag titles. O’Hare hits a German suplex on Carter, who had McCall on his shoulders too. McCall gets put through a ladder in the corner by SHLAK. The referee is distracted preventing the cover. SHLAK gets distracted by Stockade and is rolled up by McCall allowing the REP to win the match. So, they have lost their coin of opportunity. Is there any reason that CZW is holding off on pushing SHLAK? This all leads to the Entrails and the Awakening arguing and that leads to a brawl on the floor. These two will likely have a crazy death match at some point.
CZW Wired Champion MJF makes his way out for a contract signing. He’ll be getting a CZW Heavyweight Championship match at Best of the Best 17. CZW Heavyweight Champion Rickey Shane Page also comes out for the signing and sits down. MJF cuts off the announcer saying that nobody cares about him and tells the fans to shut up when he talks. MJF feels bad for the fans that they have to lookup to Page. MJF insults Page for having no talent and calling him death match garbage. MJF thinks the fans like Page because he’s “really good at getting hit in the head with chairs.” MJF wants their match to have disqualifications. Page gets the microphone and calls MJF really annoying and calls him an asshole. Page says he is one of the best wrestlers in the world. He can’t be serious. Page will sign whatever MJF wants and he brought his own pen. Page signs the contract and fans chant asshole towards MJF. During the segment, Conor Claxton is getting beaten up by Alex Colon and they get in the ring. Page suggests a tag match involving the four men and it’s agreed upon.
Joey Janela cuts a promo about John Zandig starting the company and isn’t going to let pussies and new bookers change anything about CZW. So, the match with Ace Romero is going to be no disqualifications.
Sixth Contest: Ace Romero vs. Joey Janela in a no disqualification match: Janela tries to shoulder block Romero but isn’t able to do knock the big man down. Romero dropkicks Janela to the floor. Romero comes off the ropes and is met with a kick from Janela. Janela forearms Romero several times and is able to knock Romero down sending Ace to the floor. Janela takes Romero out with a suicide dive twice, and gets caught on the third. Romero powerbombs Janela onto the apron and crotches Janela on the railing before knocking Joey into the crowd to keep control. Janela stops Romero with a superkick on the aisle a few times. Romero stops Janela with a big boot and Joey staggers away into the crowd. Joey tosses a few chairs at Romero but Ace avoids them and forearms Joey. Joey sits Romero on a chair and delivers several kicks and a forearm strike. Janela gets a running start but is caught and slammed onto chairs by Romero.
Romero sends Janela into the guard railing and knocks Joey back to ringside. Romero tosses a chair at Janela to keep control and plays to the crowd. Romero sets two chairs up on the floor and looks under the ring for something but settles for a third chair. Romero has four chairs setup and forearms Joey onto them. Romero somersaults over the top rope and misses Janela hitting the apron back first and hitting the chairs with his legs. Janela leaps off the middle rope to swanton bomb Romero, who had a chair over his body.
Janela heads to the top rope and hits an elbow drop for a near fall in the ring. Joey and Romero begin to trade forearm shots in the middle of the ring. Janela superkicks Romero but Ace stops Janela with a boot and a spike piledriver. Joey no sells it and superkicks Romero. Romero turns Joey inside out with a clothesline. Janela tries to get Romero on his shoulders and hits a Death Valley Driver as Romero had a running start. Joey got a two count, but the bell guy thought it was three. Ace plants Joey with a powerbomb and hits a running Canadian Destroyer for another near fall. Romero goes to the middle rope but misses a senton. Janela hits a double stomp for the win. (***1/4. They had a good match and worked enough spots in there to keep my interest throughout. I thought this may have been a good time to give Romero another victory since they were promoting his dog collar match win at CZW Nineteen. This is probably the best Ace Romero match I’ve seen.)
Prior to the next match, Joe Gacy sits in the ring and doesn’t know who he is wrestling tonight. Gacy wants to know who he is beating up tonight. Here comes Jonathan Gresham.
Seventh Contest: Joe Gacy vs. Jonathan Gresham: Neither man can get a clear advantage to start the match. They trade some mat wrestling holds and the fans show some appreciation for their efforts. Gacy gets control with a test of strength using his power advantage. Gresham is able to counter and briefly gets control. Gresham takes Gacy down to the mat and keeps control of Gacy’s legs. Gresham tries for a rollup but doesn’t get a three count and avoids Gacy to lead to a standoff. Gacy staggers Gresham with a headbutt and gets a two count as Gresham went to the apron at first. Gacy clotheslines Gresham in the corner and plays to the crowd. Gacy and Gresham begin to trade strikes until Gresham tries for a slam but can’t connect. Gacy takes Gresham over with a snap suplex for a near fall. Gresham bites Gacy’s hand and attempts a snap suplex but can’t take Gacy over. Gacy and Gresham trade several chops in the middle of the ring. Gresham drops Gacy with a kick to his head. Gacy runs into a boot but drives Gresham into the corner followed by clotheslines. Gacy is met with a drop toe hold into the corner. Gresham dropkicks a seated Gacy in the corner. Gresham takes Gacy over with a hurricanrana and nearly wins with a rollup.
Gacy counters a figure four with an inside cradle for a two count. Gresham takes Gacy out with a springboard moonsault and locks in the ankle lock. Gacy kicks Gresham away and hits a sit out Death Valley Driver but is selling his left knee. Gacy nails Gresham with a few knee strikes but can’t get a three count. Gacy boots Gresham and tries for a handspring but can’t do it. However, a second attempt two-seconds later, Gacy hits the handspring cutter for a two count. Gacy plants Gresham with a sit down powerbomb for a near fall. Gacy heads to the top rope but misses a splash as Gresham moves. Gresham is sent into the referee but he dropkicks Gacy’s knee. Gresham gets the figure four locked in but here comes FEAR to attack Gresham. Some music briefly plays, but the attack continues. Jon Silver eventually runs in and cleans house. Silver takes out FEAR with a dive to the floor. Dan Barry hits Gacy with a chair on accident. Gresham hits the dead lift German on Gacy for the win. (**1/2. An interesting win for Gresham over Gacy. Sure the interference hides the loss a little bit, but it feels a little random for Gresham to get a win over Gacy. The action was okay, but Gresham’s style doesn’t really work well with hardcore guys. Gacy isn’t just a hardcore guy by any means, but Gresham excels with pure wrestlers, I guess.) After the match, Dan Barry apologizes to Gacy for hitting him with a chair. Barry knows he fucked up and wants Gacy to take his spot in the Best of the Best tournament. Gacy reminds Barry that they made an agreement for there to not have any mistakes. Gacy suggests that if Barry can’t handle the lifestyle than they should reconsider it. Gacy decides to take Barry’s spot in the Best of the Best. They embrace but Gacy then superkicks Barry and it appears that Barry has been kicked out of FEAR. Gacy doesn’t think Dan Barry can handle the lifestyle anymore. Gacy sets up four chairs in the ring with a fifth and sixth one laid over them. Gacy powerbombs Barry onto the chairs to end the segment.
Eighth Contest: CZW Heavyweight Champion Rickey Shane Page & Alex Colon vs. CZW Wired Champion MJF & Conor Claxton: Claxton goes after Colon and Page on the floor and gets worked over since it’s two against one. MJF stays away from the attack and hangs out on the other side of the ring. Claxton gets worked over by Colon and Page for a few moments. MJF eye pokes Page but is decked by Colon. Colon slams MJF face first onto a chair while Claxton uses a chair on Page. Page sends Claxton into the post face first. Colon kicks Claxton and then along with Page they go backstage to grab MJF. MJF screams as he gets caught by his opponents. Page has MJF by his ear like he’s a spoiled brat. Colon comes off the top to dropkick MJF. MJF spits at Page and bails to the floor. Claxton works over Page in the corner. Claxton stops Colon with a jawbreaker and a clothesline. Claxton and Colon trade shots while on their knees in the middle of the ring. Claxton uses his medical boot to hit Colon on the jaw. MJF uses his scarf to choke Colon while the referee is distracted. Colon plants MJF with a tornado DDT. Colon tries to tag in Page and first kicks Claxton. Page gets the hot tag and MJF avoids being tagged in by Claxton. MJF doesn’t want to meet Page in the ring.
Page elbows Claxton and follows up with a powerslam. Page signals for a chokeslam but MJF enters with a chair and only entered to get his scarf back. Page plants Claxton with a chokeslam turned into a backbreaker for the win. (*1/2. Well, this was mostly just an angle and a way to build hype for the Page vs. MJF match in April. The approach is fine and I like delaying their interaction. I’d have to think that MJF is going to be the next champion.)
Ninth Contest: Ace Austin vs. Anthony Bennett vs. Wheeler YUTA in the Trifecta Finals: Bennett avoids a double dropkick once, but the second attempt sends him to the floor. YUTA slams Austin followed by a standing senton for a one count. YUTA arm drags Austin to the floor and Bennett forearms YUTA from behind. Bennett hits a wheelbarrow cutter on YUTA and a Code Red out of the corner for a near fall. Austin comes back in and kicks both men. Austin arm drags both men out of the corner and comes off the top to hit a double leg drop for a two count. Austin attempts a twisting dive but Bennett avoids it. Bennett drops Austin over the apron chest first and YUTA hits a dropkick on Bennett off the apron while also hitting a senton on Austin. YUTA goes to the top and hits a crossbody for a near fall on Bennett. Bennett delivers a Codebreaker to YUTA and puts him on the top turnbuckle. Austin comes over and hits the Tower of Doom out of the corner. They all begin to trade strikes in the middle of the ring. YUTA clotheslines both men to get control of the match followed by splashes in opposite corners.
Bennett tosses YUTA to the floor but is met with a kick from Austin. Austin nearly pins Bennett following a double knee strike. Bennett stops Austin with a neckbreaker and a half nelson suplex. Bennett comes off the top to hit a neckbreaker but YUTA breaks up the cover at two. YUTA tried for a reverse DDT but Bennett nearly wins with a rollup. Austin stops YUTA with a double knee gut buster. Bennett sends Austin to the floor with a Codebreaker. YUTA finishes Bennett off with the reverse DDT. (**. YUTA is a good option to be inserted into the Best of the Best tournament. The match was okay, nothing really standing out. Having to sit through four triple threat matches can be a little repetitive.)
Tangled Web is the main event. This is my first time seeing such a match. There several weapons with barbed wire wrapped around them. One side of the ring has barbed wire wrapped around the ropes. There’s also a scaffold.
Main Event: Matt Tremont vs. Brandon Kirk in a Tangled Web Match: They trade strikes in the middle of the ring until Kirk gets a plastic bat covered with tacks. Tremont gets one as well and eventually hits Kirk. Kirk has already been busted wide open. Kirk tries to suplex Tremont into a barbed wire chair but isn’t able to do so. Tremont plants Kirk onto the chair with a northern lights suplex for a two count. Tremont whacks Kirk over the back with the barbed wire chair. Tremont is also busted wide open at this point. Tremont drops Kirk over the barbed wire ropes gut first. Tremont has a 2×4 wrapped with barbed wire. Tremont scrapes Kirk’s forehead with it to likely cause Kirk to bleed more. Tremont whacks Kirk over the back with the plastic bat. Kirk stops Tremont with a shot over the back with the bat. Kirk continues to work over Tremont with a steel chair shots. Tremont whacks Kirk over the back with the barbed wire chair. Kirk sends Tremont face first into the post. Kirk rolls into the ring and slaps Tremont a few times. Tremont backdrops Kirk onto a chair for a near fall.
Tremont grabs Kirk but Kirk breaks free to deliver a knee and ducks a clothesline to deliver a running boot. Kirk hit the barbed wire while running the ropes. Kirk has the barbed wire 2×4 and Tremont tells him to bring it on. Tremont ducks the shot and hits a Samoan Drop. Tremont climbs the Tangled Web, which is a scaffold. Tremont reaches the top and Kirk decides to join him up there. They trade blows on the top of the scaffold. Kirk headbutts Tremont several times but Tremont has a fork and digs it into Kirk. Tremont puts himself and Kirk through three barbed wire boards on the floor!
They are both able to slowly return to the ring. Tremont lays in the middle of the ring and Kirk gets a two count. That was weird since Tremont performed the move and rolled into the ring first. Kirk grabs the barbed 2×4 and gets met with mist of blood to his eyes. Tremont hits a Death Valley Driver to even the match. Tremont calls for something to be brought out. CZW staff comes back out with the original Tangled Web, which is big enough to cover the entire ring. Well, at least a good portion of the ring.
Kirk decides to climb back up the scaffold. Tremont eventually follows Kirk up there. Oh shit, there is a pane of glass as well. Tremont hammers away on Kirk and plays to the crowd. Kirk tosses a fireball into Tremont’s face and tosses Tremont off the scaffold through the Tangled Web! Kirk covers Tremont for the win. (**1/2. These guys are insane to do what they do, but it’s usually entertaining stuff to watch just because it’s something I’d never imagine attempting. I don’t think I was expecting Kirk to get such a strong push, but he appears to be someone CZW is heavily behind. The victory here makes a lot of sense and I enjoyed the match.)
I’d consider this a better show than last months and maybe even better than their Anniversary Show. They are setting up Best of the Best pretty well as I’m intrigued to see MJF vs. Page. This has to be seen as Kirk’s big moment and the followup on this for him is important. I’ll give the show a mild recommendation.
Thanks for reading.
34-year-old currently living in Syracuse, New York. Long-time fan of the New York Mets, Chicago Bulls, and Minnesota Vikings. An avid fan of professional wrestling and write reviews/articles on the product. Usually focusing on old-school wrestling.