In Streets Ahead, we invite columnists to write about wrestlers and companies that are still on their way up or you might not be too aware of. Simply put, if you don’t get on board with them, you’ll be streets behind.
This week, we have “Nightlife” aka King of Anime to talk about Combat Zone Wrestling, or CZW. CZW is quite known for many things but we get a glimpse into what we may be missing with our preconceived notions. You can chat with Nightlife on Twitter about CZW, anime and more!
What is CZW?
Now, you may be asking yourself, “Hey Nightlife, CZW is pretty well-known.” First, that wasn’t a question, so you couldn’t have asked it, it was a statement. Idiot.
But the point still stands. Why should there be a Streets Ahead on CZW? While it is true that CZW is well-known, in most wrestling circles, it’s only well-known as a hardcore, ultraviolent deathmatch promotion. While CZW has been associated with hardcore wrestling (as well as my favorite deathmatch ever, DJ Hyde vs. Thumbtack Jack at Tournament of Death 8), to quote the almighty John Zandig (from one of his Smart Mark Video shoot interviews):
“The people still don’t know this to this day. CZW is fuckin’ every style, from the beginning back when you used to watch it. There’s funny stuff, there’s mat wrestling, high flying, and there’s hardcore! I mean, there’s EVERYTHING, but what got us recognized and what we’re famous for is the hardcore stuff. But at the same time, it never was-that’s not all we did. Our reputation was fuckin’ “uhh, backyarders, fuckin’ they can’t wrestle, they fuckin’…you know, hit each other over the heads with shit.
“CZW ain’t never been a hack-and-slash company. The hardcore stuff was just-it was actually a small part, because all night you had wrestling. You had high flying, you had mat wrestling. It was always, uhh, there was always a mix of everything. Even though people, you know, tend to say all we do is hardcore, and I’m proud of the hardcore, because we do it good and as far as I’m concerned, we’ve been doing it better than fuckin’ most for a long, long time. And if you don’t believe me, fuck you.”
And CZW is just that. It’s every style. You want hardcore? CZW’s got it. You want high flying? CZW’s got it. You want mat wrestling? CZW’s got it. You want comedy? CZW’s got it. The idea that CZW is “just” a hardcore promotion is like the idea of the balance of nature, very popular despite being totally false.
Who are some of the standouts in CZW?
Drew Gulak (@DrewGulak on Twitter) is a fantastic mat wrestler, trained back when the CZW Academy and the Chikara (RIP) Wrestle Factory had combined into one big indy training facility. Not only is he very proficient in the technical aspect of wrestling, he’s also great on the mic and my #1 guy to hear on commentary in all of pro wrestling. Any time Drew Gulak is on the mic, the dude is gold.
Andrew Everett (@_AndrewEverett on Twitter) is an up-and-coming high flyer and my number one twink to do misty flips for the Dub. Formerly known as the Chiva Kid, Andrew Everett is insanely agile and well on his way to being the next PAC. Check out his performance against AR Fox and Uhaa Nation in the opening round of Best of the Best XII, and his breakout CZW performance in the Aerial Assault match at Wrestlecon 2013. I expect big things out of Andrew Everett, and wouldn’t be surprised to see him in PWG within a year.
Matt Tremont (@TremontCZW on Twitter). But he’s a deathmatch guy! I’m not following the script! He’s also awesome. Dude’s legit only been wrestling since September 2010 and he’s already one of, if not THE best, hardcore wrestlers in the United States, and one of the best worldwide. He just gets it. From every small mannerism he does, to the way he sells, Matt Tremont knows what it takes to have a good match.
For good “regular” matches, I can’t recommend any, because all he does is hardcore, and he does it well. I recommend his Ultraviolent Pits match vs. Danny Havoc at Cage of Death XIII, and his matches with DJ Hyde at A Tangled Web V and Cage of Death XIV. Tremont had a Hep C scare earlier this year, which put him on the shelf for a bit, but he’s perfectly healthy and ready to get back there and bleed buckets for the Dub.
And last but not least is Alex Colon (@alexcolon0139 on Twitter). Ever since mid-2011, Alex has been steadily improving, and you can see the culmination of his evolution as a worker in the finals of Best of the Best XII against AR Fox, in what was a REALLY great match. Also, his match vs. Shane Strickland from the Ascension show in January is one of my favorite CZW matches of 2013, just phenomenally worked.
Where to get started with watching CZW?
So, what shows should you get? Well, for 2013, unfortunately, due to the hit-or-miss booking of The Deej, CZW has been rather lackluster this year.The Wrestlecon show was pretty good, and Best of the Best was very good, so I would recommend checking those shows out.
2012 was a much, much better year, with a ton of good to great shows such as Cage of Death XIV, Night of Infamy 10, Aerial Assault, and A Tangled Web V, as well as a great Best of the Best tournament. CZW just had an iPPV last week, New Heights, which might be worth checking out. I wouldn’t know, though, because this was written before the iPPV aired. If you’re interested, send me a message on Twitter and I’ll give you my opinion of the show!
Want to find out more about CZW?
You can follow them on Twitter for up to date information: @CombatZone
And find iPPVs and live event information at CZWrestling.com
ADDENDUM: CZW: Not Always Ultraviolent
– “Nightlife” aka King of Anime is an un-fan of Friday Night Smackdown. Chat with Nightlife on Twitter.