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ECWA Super 8


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I went to this year's Super 8 for the first time since 2003, when Paul London beat Chance Beckett in the finals, but I came out convinced that Chance Beckett was a future star and Paul London was a flash in the pan propped up by a few decent ROH matches. Whoops. Anyway, with tournaments in indie wrestling having become fairly prominent since the Super 8, I thought it would be fun to check in and see what the OG indie tournament was up to all of these years later.


Now, to be clear, while it is still ECWA's premier wrestling event of the year, it's not quite the same ECWA you may remember from the late 90's/early 00's. Jim Kettner retired a few years ago and the new ECWA is run by a different crew, so while it's still called the ECWA and still uses the same ring and entrance set (with heel and babyface entrance ways!), it's also very different. For one thing, this ECWA doesn't really even run in Delaware anymore, this show was in Woodbury Heights, NJ. And while the Super 8 used to bring in guys from all over the country in what was often their first break, this year's show featured mostly local guys. I don't know where Lio Rush is based out of, but he would probably have been the least "local" guy on this year's show, and I don't think he's from very far away. So it's definitely different from the Super 8's I remember. This show also lacked the ECWA Summit, which was usually entertainingly bad and featured the antics of Mr. Ooh La La, who apparently worked some shots for ECWA as recently as last year, which seems insane to me.


I got there as the show was just underway, and apparently Bob Artese is now the ring announcer for the ECWA, only he's now blond, which is weird. Anyway, they started the show by announcing that Joey Janela was out of the Super 8, which came out about a week ago because Janela had taken an afternoon booking in Connecticut for Beyond Wrestling, and they were concerned that he would not make it to the building in time for their fan festival that began at 6. Now, on one hand I sympathize for the promotion that they wanted Janela there by a certain time for their fan festival, but Janela is something of a hot property in wrestling right now coming off of the buzz he was able to generate for Joey Janela's Spring Break, and having Janela meant more for the Super 8 than it did Janela at this stage, so taking a hard stance on this just meant that they didn't have a guy that could have really helped get them buzz for their show this year. And in the end, they only had 7 of the 8 guys at their fan festival anyway, so what did pulling Janela really do for their show?


So with Janela out, they announced that an ECWA regular would be in the tournament to replace him (I honestly don't remember his name). On his way to the ring, he was jumped by "Hybrid" Sean Carr, who then threatens to break the guy's ankle if he does not replace him in the Super 8. Eventually, the ECWA matchmaker relents, and Sean Carr is now in the Super 8 instead of Joey Janela or the guy whose name I don't remember.


They did the usual Super 8 introduction ceremony with all of the wrestlers being presented with a medal and posing with the trophy, as they have done since I went to my first Super 8 in 1998, when it was won by Lance "Not Yet Simon" Diamond.


1. Lio Rush over Anthony Bennett. Bennett does not seem to have improved much since the CWC and his work was so light, I don't think it would break an egg. But Lio made this somewhat entertaining. This would become the theme of the night.


2. Zombie King over Leon St. Giovanni. LSG is a former UWC guy, so I was hoping he would at least get a run to the semis, especially since he's an ROH TV regular, but he put over the ECWA regular Zombie King here. This was OK, I thought LSG looked good but Zombie King was green. He also doesn't really do a zombie gimmick, like he just appears to be a regular dude, so I am not sure why he is the king of the zombies.


3. Joe Gacy over Timmy Lou Retton. This was pretty decent too, probably two of the bigger guys who have ever worked a Super 8, as Kettner tended to use guys who had a different look when he was still promoting. Retton has a few good spots and I have liked Gacy when I have seen him wrestle around New Jersey of late.


4. Sean Carr over Brandon Scott. Probably the worst match of the first round. Carr didn't look that impressive to me, he always looked a step slow and this match came off overly choreographed and co-operational to me. I think Carr is coming off of an injury, which might be why he was a step slow, but he still didn't look that great to me.


5. Chris Wylde defeated Azrieal (the same one who people may remember from being Angel Dust in Special K in ROH) by DQ in an ECWA Heavyweight Title Match, so Azrieal retained the title. This was a decent match but a weird dynamic. Apparently Wylde recently turned heel and said he no longer needs the fans in ECWA anymore, only Azrieal is also a heel, and the crowd mostly cheered Wylde. Anyway, they did a cheap title saving DQ finish when PCA (the top heel group in ECWA these days) hit the ring when Wylde was about to win the title.


6. Lio Rush over Zombie King. Rush did a nice job carrying Zombie King here and this was pretty good. Still, this only made me disappointed that LSG didn't advance, as I think Rush and LSG could have had the best match of the tournament if they had been given some time.


7. Sean Carr over Joe Gacy. Gacy looked good again. Still not totally sold on Carr.


8. The Extreme Rednecks (Chuck and Kyle Payne) over PCA (Damian Adams and Howie Timberche) to win the ECWA tag team championship. This was a no DQ match where they did some brawling around ringside and some garbage can shots. Extreme Rednecks have wrestled for UWC in the past and I think Chuck Payne has enough size to where I could see him going somewhere at some point. John Finnegan was the referee for this and apparently his gimmick now is standing in the corner looking frightened. Seriously, he never looked this scared when he was in ECW, and I'm sure he's been in the ring with New Jack countless times.


9. Sean Carr over Lio Rush to win the Super 8. I thought Carr looked the best he had all night against Rush, who I thought stole the show and looked great all night. I can see why WWE is interested in Rush. So they really put Carr over strong here, with clean wins against the CZW Heavyweight Champion (Gacy) and a guy who has wrestled for ROH, EVOLVE, PWG, and might be WWE bound soon (Rush).


I get why they want to put their local guy over strong in Carr, but in some ways, I don't know that Carr needed it. He's a former ECWA heavyweight champion, who just lost it on the previous show, so he doesn't need the push in front of their local fans, as he should already be over to them. They drew a crowd of around 125, which I can't imagine is much higher than what they normally draw and seems low for what used to be the premier tournament on the indie scene. I see that and I think that they need to rebuild the prestige of their tournament, and to do that, you need to put over the guy who is known outside of ECWA, and that's Rush. That is where their disagreement with Janela really hurt them, as without Janela, it's down to really Rush, Gacy, LSG, and Bennett (who is mostly known for being neck and neck with Ho Ho Lun as being the worst guy in the CWC, and Lun has gotten a lot better since the CWC) to really carry the prestige of the Super 8 to non-ECWA fans. I remember when the DVDVR guys would come in for the Super 8, and when it was a real destination tournament, and it's not that anymore at all, and I think going with a guy like Carr to win doesn't help rebuild the tournament's prestige. Granted, I may be biased as I didn't think much of Carr's work, but when I see the lack of buzz for a tournament that used to be a pretty big deal not that long ago, I think that's sad.


So I created this topic to talk about my own impressions of this year's Super 8, but if anybody has seen some of the past tournaments, which included guys like Daniel Bryan, the Hardys, Christopher Daniels, Low Ki, AJ Styles, Reckless Youth, Devon Storm, Lance Diamond, Xavier Woods, Tomassa Ciampa, Adam Cole, and yes, Paul London, feel free to discuss that here as well, since I'm assuming most folks probably weren't there last night (I saw almost no buzz on the show on Twitter, and as mentioned before, the crowd seemed a bit light).

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