Friday, May 15, 2015

CZW Best of the Best XIII Review

CZW crowns the Best of the Best!

CZW Best of the Best XIII
Voorhees, New Jersey 4/12/14

I've heard that Best of the Best is one of CZW's better wrestling shows of the year, so I decided to give it look. It's one of CZW's longest running traditions, and has taken many forms over the years. In recent years, it has consisted of twelve competitors. The first round are all three-way matches, with four winners advancing to next round, where the semi-finals, and later, the finals, are singles matches.
Larry Legend aka Larry Mercer opens the show. He asks everyone to rise so they can do a 10 Bell Salute for The Ultimate Warrior, who had recently passed away. He then introduces all of the participants in the Best of the Best Tournament. Larry Legend then introduces CZW Owner DJ Hyde, who brings out the Best of the Best Trophy with him. They all pose for a group photo, and they also take a group selfie.

Everyone then leaves the ring except for DJ Hyde. He talks about how people like to run their mouth about CZW, but then Kevin Steen jumps the rail, shutting up DJ Hyde with a Package Piledriver! Steen says he came here to do three things: Shut up DJ Hyde before he ruins another show, sell his merchandise, and watch Best of the Best XIII to see Drake Younger win the whole tournament. The crowd begs for him to do another Package Piledriver, and he obliges. He leaves with Hyde’s suit jacket.

1.) Best of the Best XIII – First Round – Three-Way Match – Buxx Belmar vs. Lucky 13 vs. Chuck Taylor: **1/2

This should be an interesting match. All I can say about Buxx Belmar is that he is disgusting. He tries to get disgusting with his opponents, but Taylor somehow finds hand sanitizer and squirts it all over him. In another "interesting" moment during the match, Danny Havoc comes out and hands something to Lucky 13 (a cigarette or a joint or something), and he gets fired up from it. Taylor gets the win after hitting the Awful Waffle on Buxx Belmar, advancing to the semi-finals. A fine opening match, albeit a short one (around six minutes or so).

2.) Best of the Best XIII – First Round – Three-Way Match – Biff Busick vs. Azrieal (with Chrissy Rivera) vs. Caleb Konley: ***

Here we have our 2nd Three-Way Match of the tournament. A solid match. Better than the opener, but also relatively short. Alex Colon comes out during the match, complaining how he, who won the Best of the Best Tournament last year, isn’t in the tournament this year. Azrieal responds by diving onto Colon, Busick & Konley. Towards the end of the match, Azrieal looks to have the match won, but Colon distracts him, which allows Busick to take advantage and score the victory, advancing to the semi-finals.

3.) Best of the Best XIII – First Round – Three-Way Match – Timothy Thatcher vs. Papadon vs. Drake Younger: **3/4

This is the last CZW Show for Drake Younger, as he is on his way to WWE. The commentators mention how he has never made it out of the first round of Best of the Best Tournament in prior years, but that he's trying to make history by becoming the first man in CZW history to win both The Tournament of Death & Best of the Best. It was a decent match. Better than the opener, but not as good as the 2nd Three-Way. I think the match quality had to do with the fact that all three guys had different styles, but maybe that's just me. At one point, Younger goes for a dive on Thatcher, but Thatcher uses a chair to stop the dive, and delivers the Tower of London to Younger on the floor in a sick spot. Younger was able to come back, and later scores the win with Drake’s Landing to advance to the semi-finals.

After the match, Younger shakes hands with both Papadon & Thatcher.

4.) Best of the Best XIII – First Round – Three-Way Match – “Speedball” Mike Bailey vs. Andrew Everett vs. AR Fox: ***3/4

For me, this was probably the most anticipated match of the first round. Of course, I've seen a lot of AR Fox & Andrew Everett, but this was my first time seeing "Speedball" Mike Bailey. I thought that this was a really good match. All sorts of craziness, as you would expect. So much happened, that there's no way I can describe it all. All three guys looked equally impressive. AR Fox would eventually pick up the win in this high-flying spectacle to move on to the next round. Mike Bailey gets “Please Come Back” chants from the fans after the match (and I know I'm going to be seeing a lot more of him as he comes into places like PWG, Beyond Wrestling & Evolve).

5.) CZW Wired TV Title – Ladder Match – Shane Strickland vs. Devon Moore: ***1/2

I mentioned in my review of CZW's 15th Anniversary Show that Devon Moore had recently won the CZW Wired TV Title, but since then, he lost the title to Shane Strickland and his awesome entrance music. This is Moore's rematch, and it's a Ladder Match. During his entrance, Moore stands on one of the ladders…and falls off (Hello, Botchamania). It's wasn't an amazing Ladder Match, but it was solid for what it was. We saw some from pretty sick spots, including Moore giving Strickland a Rolling Samoan Drop off the top rope onto a ladder balanced on two chairs, and a diamond cutter from off the top of the ladder. Moore would later set up a Barbed Wire Board between the ring and the guardrail, but Strickland uses it to his advance, as he hits a diving double stomp onto Moore, putting him through the Barbed Wire Board. Strickland then climbs the ladder and retains the CZW Wired TV Title.

After the match, Moore takes the mic. He says that even though he lost, the fans have no reason to boo a great competitor like Shane Strickland (and they had been booing Strickland at points during the match). He says Strickland earned his respect.

6.) Best of the Best XIII – Semi-Finals – Biff Busick vs. Chuck Taylor: ***

It's interesting to see these two in a match because, a week or two prior, they had been involved in one of the worst matches of 2014 with Dragon Gate USA. This was another fine match in the tournament. It was about on par with most of the three-way matches earlier in the night. Towards the end of the match, Busick seems to hurt his knee when he went for a diving uppercut on Taylor. Despite this setback, Busick would kick out of the Awful Waffle, and is able to fight through his injury and eventually picks up the win with a rear-naked choke, and advances to the finals.

The Front checks on their man Biff Busick after the match. He needs to be helped to the back.

7.) Best of the Best XIII – Semi-Finals – AR Fox vs. Drake Younger: ***

AR Fox goes right after Younger while he was making his entrance. Again, another solid match in this tournament. Nothing outstanding, but it was a fine match. It was also one of the shorter matches of the tournament, as it was just under seven minutes. After a flurry of action, Younger would get the victory, and advance to the finals.

8.) #1 Contender’s Match – OI4K vs. The Juicy Product: ***1/4

The winner of this match will receive a future shot at the CZW World Tag Team Titles. OI4K jumps The Juicy Product with dives while they were making their entrance (well, one of the Crist Brothers did. The other seemed to get stuck in the ropes on the first try, and had to do it again). A really solid effort from both teams in this one. Both are good tag teams, so it's no surprise that this was a good match. Towards the end of the match, however, it looked like JT Dunn came pretty close to hitting one of Crist Brothers low (it was hard to to tell), and hit a rolling elbow to score the win for his team. The announcers were questioning whether Dunn did go below the belt as JT Dunn & David Starr exit through the crowd.

9.) Best of the Best XIII – Finals – Bif Busick vs. Drake Younger: ***1/2

Biff Busick comes out limping, so it seems that his knee injury he suffered earlier is still lingering. He is able to fight through it for this big Main Event. This was a pretty good match. They went at each other right at the opening bell, and they never let up. Busick gave Younger everything he had, but the "Psycho Shooter" would not quit. In the end, Drake Younger would survive the onslaught, and win the Best of the Best Tournament!

Younger celebrates with the Best of the Best Trophy after the match. The fans chant “Thank You Drake”. Drake runs through all the past winners of Best of the Best, which now includes himself. He says it’s an honor to be the first man to win both The Tournament of Death and Best of the Best. He thanks the fans for supporting him in CZW over the past eight years. He then specifically thanks John Zandig (former CZW Owner), DJ Hyde (current CZW Owner), Chuck Taylor, Kevin Steen, Danny Havoc, Devon Moore, Scotty Vortex, and others who worked for CZW. The celebration continues as the show draws to a close.

Overall: 7.5/10

Another solid effort from CZW. I really like that, in watching the 15th Anniversary Show, and now this show, that the hardcore/ultraviolent elements have either been non-existent, or at least toned down to a degree (by CZW standards). There were a few matches on this show that were just ok, but the rest of the card was pretty good. The highlights were definitely there three-way match involving AR Fox, Andrew Everett & Mike Bailey, the Ladder Match for the CZW Wired TV Title, and the Main Event. It was really cool to see Drake Younger end his career in CZW on a high note, and seeing Kevin Steen give two Package Piledrivers to DJ Hyde was pretty cool as well. Again, a solid show from CZW.

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