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WRESTLING COLUMNS

The Anatomy of War
March 23, 2006 by Steve Urena


War as defined in the Webster's dictionary is the state of widespread conflict between states, organizations, or relatively large groups of people, which is characterized by the use of violent, physical force between combatants or upon civilians. Other terms for war, which often serve as euphemisms, include armed conflict, hostilities, and police action. War is contrasted with peace, which is usually defined as the absence of war. Now in the year 2006 wrestling will see a war never seen before unfold between two major independent promotions. Ring of Honor, run by Gabe Sapolsky and Combat Zone Wrestling run by John Zandig.

Combat Zone Wrestling was conceived in 1999 when John Zandig and four of his protégés, Ric Blade, Lobo, Nick Gage and Justice Pain began to run independent shows showcasing their "Ultra violent" style of hardcore wrestling. Ladders, tables, thumbtacks, cacti, barbed wire, and panes of glass were some of the keys to CZW's success. CZW brought the fans a certain style that they have been craving for a long time. A style so violent that it could not be found anywhere else in the United States. No where else could you see someone take a weed wacker to the abdomen or a wrestler going through a pane of glass during a high impact move. But as CZW began to grow older it would also build itself on other styles of wrestling. This includes the high flying antics of such established names like Teddy Hart, Petey Williams, Jack Evans, and AJ Styles; brawlers like Eddie Kingston, Homicide, Rockin Rebel and Tag Team specialists such as the Briscoe Brothers, H8 Club, and CKNY. Their fan base began to grow and CZW would begin to run shows in other territories besides their hometown of Philadelphia. This would include shows in Italy, New Jersey, Delaware, and other locations in Pennsylvania. They would be chastised by skeptics saying they wouldn't last and they would die just like indy promotions of the past. CZW since then has proved them wrong as one of the premier indy promotions until....

Enter Ring of Honor. ROH debuted on February 23rd 2002 in Philadelphia PA. Ring of Honor was the brain child of Rob Feinstein, who wanted to get away from the WWE style of wrestling and focus on the smaller high flying technical athletes who never got much play in the big leagues. His promotion would also include a pre-match handshake to show respect towards the competitors. It was something new and unique and would capture the fans imagination in and of what an independent promotion should be like. Ring Of Honor played to the Northeast market of wrestling and would showcase their talent in PA, NY, NJ, CT, and MI. Their top stars would include CM Punk, Colt Cabana, Samoa Joe, Austin Aries, and Low Ki. And on occasion they would bring in international talent to spice up the shows. Ownership would change In 2004 when Rob Feinstein was forced to step down. Gabe Sapolsky took control and kept Ring of Honor alive despite controversy. Ring Of Honor was pure wrestling compared to Combat Zone Wrestling's Ultra Violent Style. Fans knew eventually the styles would butt heads and clash.

Late 2005 was when the first shot was fired by CZWs own "savior" Chris Hero. This is what Chris Hero would have to say about ROH. Taken from Chris Hero's Live Journal:

"Just as many wrestlers before me were intimidated by the "big and bad" reputation of the Necro Butcher, just as many individuals have been browbeaten into actually believing that the "big and bad" promotion, Ring of Honor, is the end-all and be-all of Independent wrestling. I am living, breathing, walking and talking proof that you can be a success without playing politics and without having to kiss anyone's ass in the process. Heroes don't kiss ass and heroes don't back down. I didn't back down from Necro Butcher and I will not back down from Ring of Honor.

I have done battle with the finest wrestlers ROH has to offer and I have come out on top, more often than not. Samoa Joe, Austin Aries, CM Punk: All former champions and I hold victories over all of them. You can be sure that the only reason I haven't beaten Low Ki, Xavier and Jamie Noble is because I've yet to face them. That brings us to Bryan Danielson. Now, I'm man enough to admit that he American Dragon is a superb wrestler. Perhaps even one of the best wrestlers. Unfortunately for him, Chris Hero is the best. It's a proven fact. Ask Bryan who bested him at last fall's TPI.

After my match at Cage of Death 7, I verbally brought salvation to the Combat Zone. I stood directly in front of the impending danger and destruction and I said what everyone else was afraid to say. As the Savior, I represent CZW wholly. My skills are unmatched and I know I am the best they have to offer. I am CZW's David to ROH's Goliath and my challenge is 100% firm. I have nothing to be afraid of.

Bryan, if you have the guts, you know where to find me on January 14th. And if you don't have the guts, I am fully prepared to walk through the fire to meet you and take what is rightfully mine. And once I have that title, I will bring it to the Combat Zone and demonstrate my very best Jimmy Jacobs impression. John Zandig will have the trash can ready for me.

January 14th, 2006: CZW, ROH, take your pick or pick both. Long live the Savior!"

As the New Year ushered in so did the first ever meeting between ROH and CZW. This would happen on January 14th 2006 at the ECW arena during the ROH/CZW Double Shot at CZWs Afternoon of Main Events. Bryan Danielson responded to Hero's comments by interrupting the show and running down CZW and its fans. After Hero backed up his comments and a brawl ensued. Nigel Mcguinness then ran in to help his ROH teammate before both locker rooms emptied into a massive inter-promotional brawl. The ROH locker room got out unscathed, but Chris Hero would have a chance to get his revenge at the Hell Freezes Over show later that night. He would not be alone however, as he brought along Adam Flash, Necro Butcher, Nate Webb and referee Bryce Remsburg. Bryan Danielson did come out on top as he retained his ROH title and defeated Chris Hero. Hero would not quit as two weeks later he would invade ROH yet again at the Trios tournament. This time he and Necro Butcher bought tickets and were challenged by Ace Steel Again, just like at An Afternoon of Main Events there was another brawl but Necro Butcher and Chris Hero were all alone. The next night Necro Butcher tried to even the score by taking out Adam Pearce. CZW pissed at what they did to two of their top stars ,attempted to ruin ROH's 4th Anniversary show. Another brawl happened before CZW sanctioned the first match in this feud. It would be Generation Next consisting of Austin Aries, Roderick Strong, and Matt Sydal versus Ruckus, Eddie Kingston, and Necro Butcher. This would be the first time ROH tag team champions would go against a CZW tag team champion as Kingston had one the belts along with Joker on February 11th. ROH would recover in the war from the past invasions as Generation Next got the pin. 1-2-3. Now this war will not end but the real winners will be the fans. There is no one more intense or crazier than the CZW fans so we may see inter-promotional fights within the stands on who's better. Will we see a weed wacker to the Green Lantern fan? We'll have to find out. Whether you like CZW or whether you like ROH we will see something professional wrestling has never seen before and I cannot wait. I cannot predict who will win but I predict that the real winners will be the fans and it will be something to talk about for years to come. So take sides and get ready for a full fledged war ROH has their helmets on and CZW has their guns; the stage is set and its time to see which promotion will take the top spot in independent professional wrestling.

Watch closely because I know I will.

by by Steve Urena ..


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