CZW returned to their new base in New Jersey for a memorable Night of Infamy that saw some rather odd title matches – and we’re not talking about the Southside strap!
Yeah, we’ve really fallen off the Southside wagon, but Ethan Page apparently won their title in October… and since he’s usually based in North America, he’s defending the belt over there. Hence his match against Space Monkey here being for the Southside belt. Fun fact: they tried to rebrand this show as “Hot Buzz”… it didn’t go down well with their loyal fanbase, and so the show reverted back to it’s former name: Night of Infamy. Just as well really, given that “Hot Buzz” is an awful name for a wrestling show.
We’re barely through the intros when CZW trainee Mitch Vallen stormed the ring and demanded to fight anyone. Mr. Claxton heads out, but the only thing he’s here to fight is feedback from the house mic, as he tried to talk Mitch into joining his crusade to end death matches. They’re interrupted by Dan O’Hare, who’s out with two doors for the hell of it. It’s quite the visual, as I guess Doors are the New Steel Chairs? Claxton powders as O’Hare beats Vallen with the doors, finishing him off with a pair of slams through the doors that had been propped into the corners.
Now we get underway…
Ace Romero vs. JT Dunn
There’s quite the size difference here as Romero looked to actually have a match this time, after his outing at the Wolf of Wrestling was thrown out before it started. Dunn gets into it with someone in the crowd before the match, then tries to get into Romero’s face when the match starts.
Yeah, it’s a bad idea, as a big boot and back senton squashes Dunn, before Josh Briggs – who seconded JT – pulled him out to safety. Well, relatively speaking, as Romero thought he’d countered a ‘rana, but eventually took a tumble into the crowd… where he caught a leap from JT and chokeslammed him onto the edge of the guard railings.
That looked like it SUCKED.
Ace keeps on top of JT from there, kicking his head on the apron before threatening to hit a legdrop off the middle rope… but Dunn moves and Romero crashes onto the apron instead. Dunn uses that as a reason to take a victory lap piggyback on Josh Briggs’ shoulders, before starting a beatdown when Romero rolled back inside.
Romero tries to fight back, but Dunn knocked him down with a combination of kicks for a near-fall, but Ace’s size allows him to just throw Dunn around like he was nothing, with a hesitant Pounce sending JT flying all the way to the outside… and in the path of a rather large tope from Ace!
Dunn looked to injure his hamstring in giving a superkick back in the ring, (a legitimate injury, unfortunately), but he gutted through it… before Chrissy Rivera hit the ring. She’s apparently one of Greg Excellent’s managers (Greg being the guy whom Ace was meant to wrestle last month, before their brawl forced the match to be called off). Her interference leads to Romero missing a splash off the middle rope, allowing JT to hit a forearm for the win. This was alright for what it was, but the unfortunate injury looked to have curtailed this. **¾
After the match, Rivera battled feedback as she railed on the beached Romero, slapping the monstrous Ace, who slammed Chrissy as payback. In an unsettling move, the crowd bayed for more, and they got it as a big splash off the ropes “for Greg” left Rivera laying.
David Starr vs. Tim Donst
Last time out, David Starr lost to Kit Osbourne – a CZW trainee – as his losing streak here continued. Will Tim Donst extend that run to seven matches? Donst has a customised “Donst 0:02” shirt, since he beat Tony Deppen in two seconds back in February… and yes, that plays into his character here. He loves the number two.
Donst does try to sucker Starr in from the off, but some rolling cradles don’t do it as Starr bursts into life, kicking away on Donst, who looks to be wearing an elbow pad that’s duct taped in place. The inverted slam from Starr has Donst begging off, but a miscue from Starr sees him land in the turnbuckles where he’s quickly taken out with a German suplex… but he’s still got plenty of fight left in him.
After fighting out of a rear chinlock, Starr gets sent to the outside as he misses a dive, and gets met out there with a Donst tope… to minimal reaction. Donst goes for the second dive, since he’s got OCD about doing stuff twice, but that earns him a Cherry Mint DDT before a clothesline took both men back outside. Starr fires back into life with a no-hands plancha, but he’s still unable to get any sort of advantage over Donst, as they continue to trade move-for-move. Back-and-forth forearms awaken the crowd, but Donst’s trash-talking does the same for Starr, who unleashes the Violence Party in the corner!
A brutal Blackheart Buster almost gets Starr the win – and nearly separates Donst from his shoulder – but a swinging neckbreaker keeps Tim in it. Donst grabs a couple of chairs and sets them up as a landing pad for a teased superplex through them… but Starr torques the wrist to stop it, before powerbombing Donst through them instead.
I guess because Donst brought the chairs in, it’s not a DQ? It still doesn’t shut him up though, so Starr throws some forearms before hitting the Product Placement for the win. I enjoyed this, since it wasn’t a “slip on a banana peel” finish, as Starr broke his streak in an even match. I just wish the CZW crowds actually made noise for the non-violent stuff… ***¼
After the match, Tim Donst nailed the referee with a clothesline and a swinging neckbreaker, because he’s a sore loser?
Southside World Championship: Ethan Page (c) vs. Space Monkey
We have to call the re-designed Southside strap a world title now, since Ethan Page won it a fortnight earlier in a 7-way match at Southside’s 7th anniversary show (see what they did?), unseating BT Gunn in a match that also featured Mike Bird, Tucker, HC Dyer, Senza Volto and Sean Kustom. The sound’s gone out of sync here for some reason, so this is going to be awkward to watch…
Commentary paints this as Ethan “backdooring” into a match in CZW, taking advantage of the CZW/Southside relationship that I didn’t even know was a thing, but since the CZW tag titles changed hands on a Southside show two weeks after this, I guess it is. Anyways, from this point in the show, the audio badly goes out of sync with the video, which makes this tough to watch.
Page gets some easy heat by blocking a monkey flip – something you’d think a Space Monkey would be good at – before yanking him off the top rope with a good ol’ Vanity Search (Iconoclasm). Eventually Space Monkey climbs Page and drills an elbow into the head as a tail whip misses, allowing All Ego to hit back and keep control.
Page stomps away on Space Monkey’s tail as the sound gets back to normal, right as a grounded chinlock looked to force a submission… but Space Monkey bites free and nailed a double upkick to Page. A springboard enziguiri from Page restores order, but the Monkey flies with an Asai moonsault as Page’s grip on that Southside title looked to be weakening.
Back inside, another Space Monkey moonsault misses as Page followed in with a big boot and a powerbomb for a near-fall, before countering another moonsault with an RK-Ego and a Spinning Dwayne for the win. Decent enough, but the standard CZW trope of a crowd that barely cares hurt this one at parts… and lets be real, the Southside strap’s not ever changing hands in CZW! **¾
Sami Callihan vs. Jimmy Jacobs
Rather than come out with chairs, Sami just pulls some from under the ring as the returning Jimmy Jacobs’ first match back in CZW would be against the same man he wrestled here last. Jacobs is back on the scene after a highly-publicised WWE departure, which led to his new nickname of the “Unprofessional”. I think Mr. Jakobi may have a word about that…
Jacobs starts by trying to out-do Sami at his own game, kissing Callihan as the match burst into life with a tope. We’re under “CZW rules” here, which means that anything goes, including back-and-forth biting as Sami kept on Jacobs with a series of chops and a charge into the guard railing.
Finally the match headed into the ring, but not for long as Sami’s attempt to suplex Jacobs to a chair on the floor just saw Sami knocked into it before a tope crushed Callihan… and the chair! Jimmy tries to follow up with some more chairs, but a brief duel ends with Jimmy taking a shot to the head and a package shoulderbreaker that almost ends the match.
Callihan keeps up the chair-based offence when he set up a chair bridge that he tried to give a backdrop superplex to Jacobs through… but instead he takes a modified Sliced Bread through it… a move that looked to hit Jacobs more. A brainbuster onto a chair that didn’t buckle keeps Callihan in the hunt as we’re back to the duelling chairs, before Jacobs counters a powerbomb into a guillotine choke, only for that to get countered into a cradle tombstone for another near-fall… and a shock roll-up reversal too. From Sami’s kickout, Jacobs rushes in with another guillotine, and this time Sami taps! Solid stuff, even with those hints of ring rust, but a decent enough first step back in CZW for the “Zombie Princess”. ***
Next up, we see that Maxwell Jacob Friedman’s filed an “injuction” over how Joey Janela won the CZW Wired title at Wolf of Wrestling. They’ve banned Janela from defending the title until MJF gets a rematch. Maybe they’ll learn how to spell injunction first? Anyway, he’s out at ringside next with his attorney Mark Sterling, to tell the crowd what we just saw. Friedman reckons he’s still the champion, and he gives Janela a month to give him his title back.
Oh hey, Cage of Death was a month after this!
Maxwell Jacob Friedman vs. Dezmond Xavier
Xavier bonks Friedman with the mic before the bell, and we get underway with flips!
MJF pulls the ref into the corner and uses him as a human shield as he starts to work away on Xavier’s arm, using a slingshot lungblower-to-the-arm, before using something decidedly less flashy. A thumb to the eye.
Xavier’s forced to kick out from a powerbomb as Friedman keeps up the pressure… but a body blow in the corner turns things around as Xavier slips in an Ace crusher after finding that his arm was rather compromised. A stomp to the arm gets Friedman back in charge, as does a pumphandle driver, before he’s backdropped to the outside after taking too long to set up a rope-hung DDT. Xavier capitalises with a moonsault to the floor, before rolling MJF back in… but Friedman rolls away and out of harm’s way, so he could come back with a half-nelson suplex, dumping Xavier on his head. A reverse ‘rana returns that favour as both men are left flat on the mat.
MJF gets back up first and nearly wins with a backslide, before trapping Xavier in an armbar… which nearly cost Friedman as he was rolled up for a near-fall. Xavier’s back in with a superkick into the corner, then a 619 around the ringpost as a corkscrew moonsault off the top should have won it… except Friedman’s attorney Mark Sterling hit the ring and barely got MJF’s foot on the rope to break up the cover.
Xavier makes Sterling pay for it, as he throws him into the ring… before sidestepping Friedman’s charge. MJF then shoves his attorney into the path of a handspring overhead kick, which left him in perfect place to win with a roll-up. This took a while to get going for me, but given they’re pushing on with the MJF/Janela rematch, it didn’t make too much sense for Friedman to lose. **¾
After the match, Xavier superkicks the attorney again, with MJF only caring after it happened.
Beaver Boys (Alex Reynolds & John Silver) vs. THE REP (Dave McCall & Nate Carter)
Apparently the REP are pushing for a tag title shot – but things are in a little disarray since #CCK (who won the titles at Lucha Forever earlier this year) haven’t been able to defend the belts. Commentary claimed that they were meant to have been on the Wolf of Wrestling show in October, but Kid Lykos’ broken wrist put paid to that…
John Silver tries to chop down Dave McCall with kicks early on, before some nice double-teams from the Beaver Boys put McCall down and out. Nate Carter tried to interfere, but he’s quickly dispatched, before McCall returned to drop Reynolds with a release German suplex. THE REP take over from there, as Carter drilled Reynolds with a sidewalk slam for a near-fall, before catching an attempted crossbody and turning it into a fallaway slam.
Carter lures Silver into the ring so the REP’s manager, Maven Bentley, can get some shots into Reynolds on the outside. Eventually Silver comes in to break up some pins as the Beaver Boys look to be down and out, with a slow-mo back body drop not helping things.
Finally the hot tag’s made to Silver, who clears house on Carter with clotheslines and… Beele throws?! McCall gets one too, before he gets Carter thrown into him in the corner as Silver became a one-man wrecking crew. Reynolds comes back to help with the clubbering, throwing in a lungblower before Silver’s German suplex picked up a near-fall.
In the end, Silver’s pushed up into a spinebuster as Carter nearly took home the win, before McCall lost out on a battle of enziguiris and took a brainbuster from Silver. Bentley hits the ring, but Alex Reynolds shoves away his partner as Silver was looking to take a shot… and Reynolds just walks into a pop-up flatliner as the REP get the win. Entertaining enough, but it’s been a tough sell for CZW to keep a tag division going without having the titles in play. ***¼
Silver and Reynolds exchanged words after the match, but there was a look in Reynolds’ eyes that made it look like while they made up, there’s still an issue in the background…
CZW World Heavyweight Championship: Joe Gacy vs. Shane Strickland (c)
This shot was granted at the Wolf of Wrestling after Joe Gacy’s goons held the show – and Kit Osborne – hostage. Hang on, why are the Kings of the North here? Oh, it’s just Gacy using that music…
Strickland looks more than a little exposed, as he came out on his own against all of Gacy’s goons, but Gacy dismisses them all to keep this match a little fairer than you’d expect… and it starts off as a slugfest as both men lay into each other, before a Gacy handspring ended with him having to fend off a cross armbreaker attempt. After throwing Strickland outside, Gacy dove to the outside, but the champ returned fire with a Sasuke special, only to get thrown into the guard railings as Gacy edges ahead, crashing into Strickland with a step-up cannonball into the guard railings. Hey, at least he used the ring steps for something close to what they were meant for!
Gacy tried to set up more furniture, but Strickland fought back, and has to fight out of a back suplex as Gacy ends up taking an overhead suplex into a propped-up guard railing. Finally back in the ring, Strickland works over Gacy’s arm in a bid to force a submission, snapping it with his feet, and then followed up with a slingshot flatliner to come within a second of retaining his title.
Gacy rebounds from there, rolling up into a neckbreaker for a near-fall, before Strickland took him onto the apron for a teased piledriver… but Gacy headbutts free and hits what looked to be a flip DDT onto the apron. An attempted leg lariat’s ducked as Gacy gets in a springboard cutter for a two-count of his own.
After grabbing a chair, Gacy tried to go all EVIL on Strickland, but the champ shoves the furniture away, and instead takes the chairshot on the outside as Gacy’s determined to use it for other means… but Strickland avoids a powerbomb through the chair and instead watches as Gacy shuffles… ahead of a double stomp through the chair!
Back inside, a couple of knees to the head nearly get Shane the win, before he decides to use the chair, putting it on Gacy’s head… only for his goons to flood the ring. Apparently we’re under CZW rules as the mugging doesn’t cause a DQ… but there’s reinforcements to make the save as Gacy tried to powerbomb Strickland through a guard rail!
John Silver hiptosses one of the goons over the top rope to the pile on the floor, before he unmasks another one… it’s his tag partner Alex Reynolds! A pay-off in the next match is a little too soon for my liking, but there you go! Strickland gets rid of Dan Barry – the unmasked goon – and leaves himself vulnerable for an Air Raid Crash through the guard railing for a near-fall as commentary fell silent.
Barry and Reynolds come back in to hold Strickland flat for a big splash off the top though, and that’s enough for Gacy to regain the CZW title. This was alright until the storyline got in the way, as Gacy’s army now includes Dan Barry and Alex Reynolds among its unmasked members… ***¼
Gacy brags over his title win… but he’s interrupted by Rickey Shane Page, who has an “ultimate opportunity” to cash in. Yep, RSP wants a title shot… now!
CZW World Heavyweight Championship: Joe Gacy (c) vs. Rickey Shane Page
Page gets rid of Reynolds and Barry on his way to the ring, but there’s another masked man in the ring… it’s Larry Legend, who attacks Gacy from behind with a knightstick! The bell rings, Page hits a choke-breaker, and we have another new champion!
Hope you didn’t blink!
The “segment” ends with Strickland returning to the ring to stare down Page, whilst the other recently deposed champion watched on from the floor… just in time for Page to offer them both a rematch, inside the Cage of Death! Spoiler: it doesn’t end well for one of the ex-champs…
Squared Circle Of Sacrifice: Brandon Kirk vs. Jimmy Lloyd
The Squared Circle of Sacrifice is a bit like the similarly-named EVOLVE gimmick, where the canvas and padding has been removed… so we have a boarded ring and barbed wire ropes. There’s also a conveniently-placed mobile scaffold in the entrance, which has me instantly fearing for these guys.
Especially when there’s over 20 minutes left on the clock here.
The boards on the ring are wobbling when the pair throw punches, and we instantly have an awkward landing when Lloyd’s thrown into the barbed wire… which gives, sending him onto a barbed wire board below. Lovely.
Lloyd recovers with a bunch of chairshots before using the wire to cut Kirk open, and it’s not long before both men are bleeding. A back body drop sends Kirk awkwardly into an opened chair, then uses a barbed wire chair onto Kirk’s head as this thing escalated quickly. Back in the ring, Kirk teases a suplex into the wire, but Lloyd reverses it, hanging up Brandon in the barbs for our first pinning attempt of the match.
More plunder comes into play as some strengthening brackets – gussets, as they’re called – get ground into both men’s arms, just to draw more claret. Another one gets hammered into Lloyd’s head, and he repays the favour, before taking Brandon into the wire with a drop toe hold. Yup, this is not a match for the faint hearted, but surely when you read the words “barbed wire ropes” that was a giveaway?
Kirk’s right arm is gushing with blood as medical staff come in to try and stem the flow… just in time for the ring crew to slide in a barbed wire board and a pane of glass. Yup. Oh, and a bucket of broken glass, which is apparently a thing people keep lying around. Wrestling Logic instantly hits as Kirk back suplexes Lloyd into the chairs with the glass on, then delivers a Destroyer into another chair after Jimmy’d popped up.
Now Jimmy’s bleeding from the forehead, and he’s in a precarious position as Kirk suplexes him into the barbed wire board, causing a hush to descend over the crowd. Kirk calls for the scaffold to get wheeled down to the ring as the ring crew try to tidy things up… and also set up another barbed wire board across the top of four chairs. This’d be much more dramatic were folks not blatantly setting up things for stunts, I tell you.
Of course, they add to the barbed wire board, as Lloyd piles chairs and a pane of glass onto the balanced barbed wire board. I’m sure you can guess what happened. They climb the scaffold, trade punches atop it, before Kirk teases a suplex through the grueseomeness below… but Lloyd reverses it and throws Brandon through the pile. To a virtually muted reaction.
Lloyd gets down “properly” and makes a cover, but somehow Kirk gets up at two… so Lloyd starts to rip up some of the boards as the ring crew help. Oh joy, there’s another pane of glass, which is slid into where the boards were, and after some pinning attempts, Lloyd kills Kirk, throwing him through the glass with an Air Raid Crash to the floor, as the referee counts the pin for the hell of it. Well, this was brutal – and totally not my cup of tea. Seventeen years ago me would have loved this, but seeing the brutality and the not-at-all-covered-up set-ups just lost me. You can’t fault their effort and guts, regardless of what your mindset is on this sort of wrestling…
Night of Infamy certainly lived up to its name, with a brutal main event and a wackier undercard… It’s a shame the crowds in Sewell don’t seem to react to much, as that hurt a lot of this show on the VOD. I wasn’t a huge fan of how they rushed through the Alex Reynolds stuff in back-to-back matches, but CZW left plenty on the table for the end-of-year Cage of Death massacre. Which we’ll be looking at very soon…