On Sunday, December 14, 2008 at 1:35 PM EST
CZW returned to the ECW (New Alhambra) Arena last night before a packed (and I do mean packed) house for Cage of Death 10, the promotion's annual year-end show.
In a nice touch, the promotion did its third annual Toys for Tots toy collection, with uniformed Marines at the collection box at the Arena's front door. The ECW Arena will continue the collection at this afternoon's CHIKARA and next week's Velocity Pro Wrestling events. Fans are encouraged to ring a new UNWRAPPED toy to the Arena fopr these shows, as Arena management and the promotions running the venue contribute back to the children of the Philadelphia area.
The show opened with a surprise as old CZW favorite Ric Blade came back to the promotion for his forst in-ring appearance the first time since 2004 as the referee for the Junior Heavyweight Title Match,.
The roof for the Cage of Death in the evening's main event hung from the ceiling. From that hung the ladders of the TLC Junior Heavyweight Title match....and a rope, and a rope ladder and the CZW or Heavyweight Title
Ryan McBride defeated Pinkie Sanchez, IWS regular Dan Paysan, Insanity Pro Wrestling's Carter Gray, and All-American Wrestling/IWA Mid-South Wrestling's Egotistico Fantastico in what may well have been the hottest match of the night to become the new CZW Junior Heavyweight Champion. The finish saw Pinkie Sanchez and Ryan McBride fighting on the ladder, both went to grab the belt, both fall down but McBride is holding the belt once they hit the mat.
Post-match, Zandig brought out Lobo, Nick Gage, and Wifebeater to the ring to join Ric Blade, and credited them for being the reason why CZW still existed. Then New Alhambra Arena manager Roger Artigiani surprised Zandig by unveiling the 2008 New Alhambra Arena Hardcore Hall of Fame induction banner on the wall joining The Sandman, Terry Funk, Ted "Rocco Rock" Petty and Johnny Grunge as inductees. A great video promo followed for the remainder of the show...with the punchline being that "if these five men want the $10,000...they'll have to go through me"...making Zandig the sixth man.
In a pleasant surprise, Sonjay Dutt plugged CZW after the match and suggested he might return as he could in 2009 (with everyone waiting for the expected heel swerve that for once wasn't forced on us by a promoter)
Given Nick Gage's concussion last week, my own expectations for this match weren't what they might have been under other circumstances. Gage won the match for H8 Club, as he hammered Ruckus at the end with at least 7 Chokebreakers at the end of the match in a Brian Danielson Ring of Honor finish of sorts (instead of elbows, chokebreakers). Ruckus was truled unable to continue and the match ended on referee stoppage. The crowd didn't get the stoppage finish.
Post-match, DJ Hyde was "fired" by "promoter" Lobo...with Hyde saying you haven't seen the last of me, setting up what is presumably one of 2009's CZW storylines.
John Zandig defeated Devon Moore, Drake Younger, Sami Callihan, Brain Damage, Danny Havoc
The Cage of Death was a double cage structure with a cage inside a cage...a roof made up of a barbed wire spidernet and a scaffold topping the traditional Cage of Death. Surrounding the Cage that surrounded the ring was a platform surrounding THAT with tables, chairs, lemon juice, salt, sheets of auto glass and other goodies enclosed by a second cage. In the middle of THAT platform was a vertical wall of glass which expolded after Devon Moore taking a mother fn bomb through like the vertical wall of glass,. Other sick spots saw Devon Moore doing a shooting star press onto all but Zandig, Sami Callahan hitting a senton off the scaffold/spidernet through a barbed wire table on Brain Damage, Drake Younger russian legsweeping Danny Havoc off the side of the cage through a barbed wire board propped up by chairs.
In the end, Zandig got to the top of the structure to win the match. But the point was made on the mike by Zandig that he was trying to prove that "his boys" had their Onita style "fighting spirit" back, and handed out the $10,000 to all five other competitors.
You can't say enough about the effort put out by the CZW ring crew to put up this monstrosity of a double cage structure. They worked their asses off. The problem is, CZW isn't WWE and they can't just lower something from the roof. So this kind of construction takes time...but a helluva lot of time and burned out the crowd somewhat for the main event. The show went on until 1:30 am. While not unusual for a Cage of Death, it's kind of tough to ask a crowd to stay "up" for 5 1/2 hours.