CZW Heavyweight Champion Rickey Shane Page defends against CZW Wired Champion MJF. Who wins the 2018 Best of the Best tournament?
Combat Zone Wrestling presents Best of the Best 17
From: Voorhees, NJ
DJ Hyde makes his way down to the ring with the Best of the Best trophy. There’s a disturbance in the crowd with a fan having a sign that says, “CZW is unfair.” It looks like they were quickly escorted out of the venue. Hyde introduces the wrestlers involved in the tournament. They are introduced and then Rich Swann makes his surprise return to CZW. He got a positive reaction, if not a little quiet. Swann has been inserted into the Best of the Best tournament. Joe Gacy looks like he is noticeably angry about that. All the wrestlers pose with the trophy alongside DJ.
Opening Contest: Curt Stallion vs. Matt Riddle vs. Wheeler Yuta in a first-round match: Riddle delivers kicks to both Yuta and Stallion until Stallion delivers a German suplex, but Riddle just pops up and connects with a couple of suplexs. Riddle forearms both men in opposite corners but is met with a kick and forearm combo to send him to the floor. Stallion and Yuta remain in the ring and decide to trade chops and slaps. Yuta delivered really weak ones in comparison. Yuta arm drags Stallion and locks in an octopus stretch. Stallion stops Yuta with a headbutt strike. Yuta comes off the middle rope with a dropkick but Riddle delivers a knee strike and a German suplex for a near fall. Stallion breaks up the cover and trades chops with Riddle. Riddle hits a senton splash on Stallion for a near fall. Riddle tosses Stallion across the ring with another gut wrench suplex. Stallion and Riddle continue to trade chops in the middle of the ring. Riddle knee strikes Stallion and delivers a powerbomb followed by another knee strike for a near fall.
Riddle and Yuta trade forearm strikes until Riddle knocks Yuta to the floor. Stallion drops Riddle over his knee and delivers a double stomp but can’t put Riddle away. Yuta goes to the top rope and dropkicks Stallion. Riddle locks in a chokehold on the mat trying to tap out Yuta but switches to elbows and Stallion breaks that up with a running head strike. Riddle flies over the top to the floor. Yuta takes Riddle out with a suicide dive and goes to the top rope missing a double stomp. Stallion boots Yuta with a running knee strike in the corner. Stallion knocks Riddle off the apron with another headbutt. Yuta decks Stallion with a clothesline and goes to the top rope but Stallion catches him on a crossbody attempt. Stallion drops Yuta over his knee. Stallion spikes Yuta with a piledriver but Riddle comes off the top to elbow drop Stallion. Riddle plants Stallion with a cradle tombstone piledriver for the win. (**1/4. A decent triple threat match to kick off the tournament and it was the right call to have Riddle go over. Yuta didn’t look the best in there this time around as his exchange with Stallion on the chops were kind of awful.)
Second Contest: David Starr vs. Peter Avalon vs. Tessa Blanchard in a first-round match: Blanchard is the first woman to ever compete in the Best of the Best tournament. Avalon isn’t taking her seriously and shoves her in the face. Blanchard nearly pins him with a rollup. They all trade a series of rollups at the start. Avalon wants to punch Blanchard but Starr stops him. Avalon gets punched by both Tessa and Starr before being knocked over the top to the floor. Tessa head scissors Starr but gets pulled to the floor by Avalon. Starr drops Avalon with a springboard clothesline off the middle rope to knock Avalon off the apron. Blanchard hits a top rope crossbody on Starr followed by several elbow strikes. Starr boots Blanchard in the corner but Tessa continues to deliver right forearms. Avalon drops Blanchard with a boot to the face. Starr continues his offense with a clothesline on Avalon a few times against the ropes. Avalon drops Starr with a Death Valley Driver for a near fall. Avalon slams Starr to the mat and taunts the fans. Avalon misses a top rope moonsault. Blanchard forearms Avalon in the corner with forearm strikes. Avalon gets kicke don the middle rope and a Codebreaker by Tessa in the corner. Starr grabs Tessa, but she nearly wins with a rollup. Tessa plants Starr with an ace crusher. Avalon dumps Blanchard to the floor.
Starr nearly wins the match with a rollup on Avalon. Avalon comes off the ropes with a tornado DDT for a near fall as Tessa breaks up the cover attempt. Blanchard forearms Avalon several times followed by chops to the chest. Avalon nails Blanchard with a superkick on the jaw. Starr gets kicked away by Avalon, as well. Avalon tries for a cheap pin but Starr kicks out. Starr kicks Avalon a few times and works over the left knee. Starr ties Avalon up with a modified indian death lock. Tess comes over with a crossface and Avalon taps out. Who has won the match? DJ Hyde makes his way out and has a way to solve this issue. They both are advancing to wrestle Matt Riddle in the next round. (***. Well, the action was solid enough even though the finish wasn’t the greatest idea in the world. Avalon is a good talent and I hope he gets more chances in CZW.)
One of the people with the signs in the crowd is apparently Max Caster. He’s been in the crowd the entire time, so yes it’s an angle.
Third Contest: Brandon Kirk vs. Joe Gacy vs. Joey Janela vs. Rich Swann in a first-round match: Gacy kicks Swann and then clotheslines himself and Kirk to the floor. Janela and Swann go at it with Swann dropkicking Janela to the floor. Kirk gets kicked by Swann as he comes off the ropes. Swann head scissors Gacy to the mat and kicks him to the floor. Swann takes all three men out with a somersault dive to the floor. Janela clotheslines Swann and gets met with a headbutt from Gacy. Gacy takes Kirk over with a side suplex but Kirk comes back with one of his own. Penelope Ford comes off the top to crossbody Kirk and Janela superkicks Kirk. Ford delivers a shoulder strike and Janela boots Kirk followed by a Cradle Shock for a near fall. Swann kicks Gacy from behind and also kicks Ford. Swann takes Kirk off the top turnbuckle with a hurricanrana. Gacy hits a frog splash off the top onto Kirk for a near fall as Swann broke up the cover attempt. Janela takes Swann out with a suicide dive to the floor. Janela does the same to Kirk and Gacy on opposite sides of the ring. Janela heads to the top rope and takes all three men out with a somersault dive in the ring. Janela is soon met with three superkicks but doesn’t drop down. Janela instead superkicks the other men, which just looked bad.
Janela goes to the top rope but misses a somersault splash looking to hit Kirk on the apron. Gacy and Swann trade forearm strikes in the middle of the ring. Swann drops Gacy with a kick to the head but Kirk drops Swann hitting a running boot. Kirk gets distracted by the guys with signs in the crowd. Kirk punches Max Caster and shoves them down. They are the Shook Crew, apparently. Gacy attempts a handspring cutter but Swann countered managing to hit a superkick. Gacy hits the cutter on a second attempt and after another kick wins the match. (**1/4. They all kept a good pace, but the spot with the superkicks by Janela to all three guys after a triple superkick was just cringe-worthy in terms of suspending disbelief. Gacy gets a big win by pinning Swann, though.)
Fourth Contest: Zachary Wentz vs. Trey Miguel vs. Myron Reed in a first-round match: At the last show, the three men declared they were going to take over CZW. They show respect for each other and then Wentz dropkicks them both. Reed kicks Miguel and then Wentz is superkicked by both men. Miguel knee lifts Reed to the floor and comes off the ropes but Wentz stops him. Wentz takes Miguel over with a German suplex. Wentz takes Miguel down to the mat followed by a dropkick to a seated Miguel. Reed hits a springboard dropkick to take Wentz out. Miguel walks the ropes to arm drag Reed. Miguel comes off the ropes with a head scissors to send Reed to the floor. Miguel is met with a forearm shot from Reed. Wentz takes Reed out with a dive over the top to the floor after jumping off Miguel’s back. Miguel takes both men out with a twisting dive to the floor. Miguel takes Reed down with a neckbreaker and Wentz comes in from the apron with a Codebreaker on Miguel but Reed comes off the top to breakup the cover. Reed dives over the post to take out both Wentz and Miguel. Reed covers Miguel in the ring for a near fall.
Miguel traps Reed’s head on the top turnbuckle with a kick and a top rope double knee strike. Reed counters a suplex with a stunner followed by a Destroyer but Miguel rolls to the floor. Wentz slides back into the ring and slaps Reed several times with kicks. Wentz plants Reed with a cutter off the ropes and pins Reed. (**1/2. Another solid triple threat match. The style of wrestling didn’t really click with me, but it was enjoyable for what it was trying to accomplish.) After the match, the trio embrace to show respect for each other since they are going to takeover the company.
Wentz, Miguel and Reed are interviewed on the aisle way. Miguel says they had weeks to prepare for the match. Miguel says they are strong as a unit and strong as individuals. Miguel is confident that Wentz is going to win the Best of the Best tournament. That was bizarre to have Miguel essentially cut a promo for Wentz.
Fifth Contest: Joe Gacy vs. Zachary Wentz in a semifinal match: It’s interesting placement to have Wentz wrestle right away. Gacy delivers a boot in the corner followed by a sit out Death Valley Driver for a near fall. Gacy continues to deliver chops on Wentz against the ropes. Wentz takes Gacy out with a springboard corkscrew for a near fall. Wentz comes off the ropes and fakes out a dive to punch Gacy on the floor. Gacy rolls Wentz into the ring but misses a splash. Wentz goes for a cover but Gacy kicks out at two. Wentz continues to work over Gacy with chops around the ring. Wentz attempts a suicide dive but Gacy delivers a forearm strike for a near fall. Gacy continues to work over Wentz with strikes against the ropes. Gacy tosses Wentz across the ring. Gacy tosses Wentz across the ring out of the corner. Wentz comes back with a German suplex and gets a second wind. Wentz uppercuts Gacy in the corner and a seated dropkick to send Gacy to the floor. Wentz comes off the ropes to take Gacy out with a suicide dive. Wentz hits a standing shooting star press for a near fall on Gacy. Gacy avoids a cutter with a neckbreaker and kick to the back of Wentz for a near fall.
Gacy locks in the Rings of Terror looking for a submission. Wentz is able to get his boot on the bottom rope to break the hold. Gacy gets a steel chair but misses a chair shot. Wentz delivers a knee and a frontward falling face buster for a near fall. Blackwater hits Wentz with his kendo stick but Wentz kicks out at two on the cover. Gacy with a few boots and a sit down powerbomb for a near fall. Gacy continues to beat on Wentz with strikes. Gacy waits in the corner but some music plays, which is Anthony Gangone’s. Blackwater is waiting but the distraction allows Wentz to hit a cutter out of the corner to win the match. (**1/2. A decent match, but the distraction finish for an angle that isn’t really over with the crowd damages the creditability of Wentz. Gacy should have just lost cleanly and gone from there.) After the match, Gacy is pissed and asks ‘this is it?” and he knows that it was Gangone. He wants DJ to bring Gangone back.
Sixth Contest: Tessa Blanchard vs. Matt Riddle vs. David Starr in a semifinal match: Riddle slaps Starr after avoiding a few strikes and tosses Blanchard with a suplex. Riddle plants Starr with a German suplex and another suplex for Blanchard. Starr tries to fight back with chops but it doesn’t work very well. Riddle has a gut wrench on Starr tossing him to the mat a few times. Riddle plays to the crowd after dropping Starr a few times. Riddle kicks Starr several times on the chest. Starr blocks a kick and Tessa comes off the top to hit a Codebreaker on Riddle. Tessa comes off the ropes to hit a suicide dive and Starr hits another one to knock Riddle off his feet. Starr and Blanchard return to the ring and have a standoff. Blanchard ducks a few strikes and forearms Starr several times. Blanchard misses a running elbow strike hitting the bottom rope. Blanchard dropkicks Starr over the middle rope. Starr avoids a cutter and clotheslines Tessa. Riddle gets back in the ring and takes them both over with a double German suplex! Riddle delivers a senton splash for a near fall on Starr. Tessa is met with the Bro To Sleep by Riddle. Riddle forearms Starr in the corner a few times. Riddle tosses Starr out of the corner with an overhead suplex.
Riddle tries for a back splash but Starr gets his knees up. Starr tries for a rollup but Riddle counters into a choke hold. Blanchard comes off the top to hit a back senton splash onto both men to break the choke. Blanchard confronts Riddle with a slap but Riddle knocks her down with a boot and powerbomb. Riddle knee strikes Blanchard but Starr comes from behind with a straightjacket German suplex for the win. (**1/2. The trend with the triple threat matches has been they have been decent matches and that continues here. Riddle came across like a big star out of everyone in the tournament and it is rather surprising to see him not reach the finals.) After the match, the fans hope that Riddle makes his return.
They have removed the ring mat used for the other matches. I’m assuming the next match will likely be brutal.
Seventh Contest: CZW Tag Team Champions The REP (Dave McCall & Nate Carter) vs. The Storm Of Entrails (Dan O’Hare & SHLAK): Carter and SHLAK start the match trading strikes and headbutts. SHLAK splashes Carter in the corner followed by a couple of suplexs. SHLAK is already busted open from the headbutts. Carter plants SHLAK with a spinebuster but O’Hare breaks up the cover. McCall tosses O’Hare to the floor and now SHLAK wants a microphone. SHLAK asks the fans if they want to see some violent stuff. They do and that’s what they want to do. Several chairs are thrown into the ring. They naturally begin to use the chair on each other by tossing them around. McCall knocks O’Hare to the floor with a dropkick. SHLAK gets driven onto a chair by a combo Samoan Drop/neckbreaker by the champs. O’Hare drops the REP with a double bulldog. SHLAK drives Carter down with a backbreaker and O’Hare legdrops a chair off the ropes onto Carter for a near fall. O’Hare and McCall decide to sit down in chairs but they are clotheslined by the other guys partner. SHLAK and Carter want to do the same thing now. They get met with kicks and now McCall and O’Hare want to trade shots. Well, now SHLAK and Carter get chairs and they are all going to trade punches. SHLAK punches Carter and then his chair gives out in a hilarious moment.
McCall double stomps O’Hare out of a chair and then goes after SHLAK. McCall tosses SHLAK into the corner with an overhead belly to belly suplex. O’Hare drops McCall chest first onto two chairs in the middle of the ring. O’Hare brings McCall to the apron but McCall backdrops O’Hare onto several chairs that were setup. SHLAK powerbombs Carter and locks in the camel clutch but isn’t going to get a submission. SHLAK uses a chair on Carter but Maven Bentley comes into the ring to hit SHLAK with a chair. Carter low blows SHLAK and Bentley puts the plastic bag on SHLAK. The bag gets torn open quickly and Carter smashes SHLAK head with a chair on top of another chair for the win. (*. It’s just bad wrestling folks. It’s bad hardcore wrestling and when that happens, you know it’s just not going to be good at any level.) After the match, O’Hare for some reason grabs a teenage kid who looks like he’s a ring guy and wipes his blood off his forehead on his shirt. That was very weird. The kid looked confused, too. O’Hare did ask if he was alright, but I don’t understand the point of that interaction.
Eighth Contest: CZW Heavyweight Champion Rickey Shane Page vs. CZW Wired Champion MJF: Early on, MJF takes his time to stall by going to the floor and taunt fans. They exchange hammerlocks in the opening minute of the contest. MJF is able to take Page down to the mat working over the left arm with a knee drop. MJF trash talks Page saying that he’s a real professional wrestler. Page gets control with a half chicken wing. Page takes MJF down to the mat with an arm drag. Page springboards off the ropes with another arm drag and a rollup for a near fall. MJF decides to bail to the floor to regroup. Page shoulder blocks MJF and they power out of a rollup attempt moments later. Page nearly wins with a backslide and then MJF almost wins with an inside cradle. They have a standoff. MJF bails to the floor but Page follows.
MJF misses an elbow drop in the ring and Page tosses the challenger with a suplex throw. Page beats on MJF with a chop in the corner. Page stands on the ear of MJF. Page stops MJF momentum with a scoop slam. MJF decides to bail to the floor to regroup again. Page goes to the floor and continues to chop the challenger. Page holds MJF to allow fans in the front row to chop MJF. There was one fan rubbing his hands waiting and Page walked by him. MJF stops Page with an arm breaker after dropping Page over the top rope arm first. MJF flips Page into the corner as well. MJF continues to stomp on the champs arm and fish hooks Page. Page misses a chop and MJF drives Page down to the mat for a near fall. MJF kicks Page and is able to drop Page with a flipping powerslam for a near fall. MJF sits Page on the top rope but gets punched off. Page takes MJF out with a crossbody but can’t followup quickly. They are both on the mat struggling to get to their feet.
They begin to trade strikes with Page getting the better of the exchange. Page boots MJF in the corner followed by a Twist of Fate. Page plants MJF with a twisting side slam for a near fall. MJF eye pokes Page while on the middle rope and hits a middle rope flipping Destroyer. MJF quickly locks in an armbar. Page is able to reach the bottom rope to break the hold. MJF has Page over the middle rope but Page walks back into the ring to hit a modified Muscle Buster for a near fall. MJF double stomps the arm of Page and a running dropkick for a near fall. MJF kicks several times in the face and then spits on the champion. MJF ends up poking Page in the eye but Page connects with a roaring elbow and kick to the head. Page tries for a chokeslam but MJF counters with a cross armbar while Page is still standing. Page breaks the hold by driving MJF into the corner. Page has MJF on the middle rope and connects with a superplex. MJF knee lifts Page on the apron followed by a piledriver for a two count. MJF landed onto the referee and he heads to the floor to grab a chair. MJF whacks Page on the arm with the chair and then over the head. MJF locks in an armbar submission and a bloodied Page is refusing to give in. MJF lets go of the hold to confront the referee.
MJF gives Page the chair and wants him to hit him with it. Page tosses the chair down and is spat on by MJF. The referee takes the chair away and MJF delivers a low blow. MJF locks in a cross armbar again and Page tries to reach the ropes. Page appears to pass out in the middle of the ring and MJF has won the championship. (**1/2. I was actually looking forward to this match because I enjoy MJF’s work and was hoping he’d win the title. He did just that, but the match felt like it went on far too long than it needed to. The finish is fine since it protects Page and will likely get rematches between these two. Page isn’t the best wrestler in the world, as so he claims, and is better off when there aren’t any rules. That’s just my opinion, of course.) After the match, Page is bloodied and disappointed but gets an applause from the fans.
Anthony Bennett makes his way out and he’s sick and tired of the disrespect he’s been shown as he’s been in CZW every month proving himself. He considers himself to be the best. He’s asked if he belongs in CZW and he grabs the announcer by his shirt and says he’ll be the next top guy in CZW.
Main Event: David Starr vs. Zachary Wentz in the finals of the Best of the Best 17 Tournament: They avoid some impact moves at the start and neither man can get a clear advantage. They have a standoff and the crowd reacts accordingly. Starr takes Wentz down to the mat focusing on his arm and back but isn’t going to get a submission. They again avoid each other until Wentz hits a springboard corkscrew crossbody sending Starr to the floor. Starr is kicked off the apron by Wentz. Starr drops Wentz onto the apron with a back suplex. Starr sends Wentz into the guard railing back first. Wentz counters Starr’s offense and sends him hard into the railing as well. They trade chops on the floor until Starr drops Wentz back first over the railing with a back suplex. Starr clotheslines Wentz back in the ring several times. Wentz tosses Starr with a German suplex. Wentz delivers a knee strike and kick to the chest. Wentz continues hitting a standing moonsault for a near fall. Wentz gets another two count after several elbow strikes. Wentz tries for a submission but Starr fights out of the hold. They begin to trade strikes in the middle of the ring. Starr delivers a forearm shot but Wentz comes back hitting a kick on the jaw. Starr clotheslines Wentz after being knocked into the ropes.
Starr chops Wentz in the corner followed by strikes to keep control of the match. Wentz returns the favor with a series of strikes and chops. Wentz comes out of the corner and is met with a boot to the face. Wentz boots Starr again and they both collide on boot attempts getting knocked down at the same time. Wentz knocks Starr to the floor with a knee strike and dives over the top to take Starr out with a dive. Wentz heads to the top but rolls through only for Starr to backdrop him into the corner. Starr decks Wentz with a lariat for a near fall. Wentz avoids a straightjacket German with a strike. Wentz hits a slingshot Codebreaker from the apron into the ring to stagger Starr. Wentz springboards off the top rope to deliver a cutter for a near fall. Wentz hits a standing shooting star press for a near fall. Wentz goes back to the top rope and hits a Swanton for a near fall. Starr delivers a DDT over the middle rope onto the apron. Starr heads to the top rope but Wentz stops Starr.
Wentz takes Starr down into the ring with a superplex but Starr delivers a brainbuster onto his knee and hits a straightjacket German for a near fall. Starr gets the crossface locked in on Wentz. Wentz is able to rollover for a near fall and plants Starr with a Destroyer for a two count. They both struggle to get up and trade strikes from their knees. Wentz forearms Starr several times and is sent onto the apron where Starr delivers a clothesline to knock Wentz down. Starr hits a Flatliner back into the ring from the apron. Starr goes for a Package Piledriver and spikes Wentz for the win. (***. A solid main event and a good way to end the tournament. I really felt like Wentz was going to win the tournament. The piledriver was nicely done, though.)
CZW Heavyweight Champion MJF decides to come out as David Starr was being presented the trophy by DJ Hyde. MJF wants the focus to be on the championship and says he’s better than Starr and he knows it. Starr grabs the microphone but along with Wentz they superkick MJF to the floor. DJ Hyde strips MJF of the CZW Wired Championship. He announces that there will be a new champion crowned next month. Hyde puts over the talent and says he is proud of them to represent the company. Starr says he wanted to be part of the tournament because of a match between Sami Callihan and Adam Cole from ten years ago. He made it a mission to win the tournament and he did it tonight. Starr says the only thing to focus on is CZW and says that CZW will continue to be a staple on independent wrestling moving forward. Starr proclaims he is the man in CZW. Starr says that everyone owes DJ for providing a platform to become a star. He proceeds to list all his nicknames.
There is some decent wrestling on the show, but I didn’t come out of the show overly entertained or anything. Some of the stuff going on in CZW isn’t very enjoyable nor is it connecting with the fans, from what I can gather anyway. I am interested in seeing how MJF does in his role as champion, though. I’d consider this a skippable show.
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.