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By Carlos Rivera on 2017-08-06 18:27:00

I attended the 8/5 CZW: Once in a Lifetime show, at the Flyers Skate Zone, in Voorhees, NJ. Overall, I would give the show a slightly thumbs up. It was a fun show to attend live, with both positive, and negatives.

The main draw of the show was obviously Atsushi Onita, wrestling in a death match, for the first time in the United States, against Matt Tremont. Many people traveled to attend this show, including one person who came all the way from New Zealand. That’s passion. One major positive that stood out to me were the video packages. I haven’t attended a CZW show in years, but I felt they explained the backstory to some of the matches.

Before the show, CZW held a 2 hour meet and greet. Not surprisingly, the line to meet Onita was long. There were so many people on line, it had to be cut, once it was 6:00 PM. I felt bad for people who wanted to meet Onita, but couldn't’t. They did announce he would do a meet and greet after the show. There was official FMW merchandise for sale at the table.

Onto my thoughts:

Aerial Assault match: The match started with 4 competitors (Ken Broadway, Smiley, Mike Graca, and Brandon Watts), but over time were joined by 6 more competitors (Jason Gory, Anthony Bennett, Kit Osbourne, Pandita, Jimmy Lloyd, and Ace Romeo). I popped when Pandita, a man dressed in a panda suit, came out to the song “Kung Fu Fighting.” It was silly, it was stupid, but I got a kick out of that. Ace Romeo, for a man his size, doing the things he does in the ring, is a sight to see, including doing a swanton onto Bennett, who was laid on top of a table. This was a fast pace, all action match. If you’re a fan of the more spot oriented wrestling, you’d enjoy this. It got the crowd going.

CZW Wired Championship - John Silver vs. MJF (Maxwell Jacob Friedman): This was a solid match. Both guys worked hard. This was the first time seeing MJF wrestle, and I liked what I saw. His persona is that of a cocky wrestler, who at times, uses underhanded tactics to gain the advantage. This was more a traditional babyface/heel match. Nothing wrong that. It still works in 2017.

Raijin Yaguchi and Hideki Hosaka vs. Storms of Entrails vs. The Awakening: Raijin Yaguchi and Hideki Hosaka are from FMW. This was a brawl. It actually started out with SoE, and the Awakening brawling during the Yaguchi and Hosaka entrance. Weapons were introduced including cinder blocks, and even doors. Yes, doors. It was fine for what was. Although, I could have done without the cinder blocks. I personally would of held off introducing weapons in any matches until the main event.

Tim Donst vs. Ace Austin Shakespeare:  A short match to get over Tim Donst, and to bring the crowd down. He asked for a timer to prove he can beat Shakespeare quickly. It was OK. Nothing of note.

CZW Championship - MASADA vs. Shane Strickland: I really enjoyed this match. Both guys brought it to each other. What I enjoyed the most, was that other than MASADA using the wooden skewers, this was just about the wrestling, not about weapons. MASADA is more known as a death match wrestler, but showed here that he can straight up wrestle. This was a back and forth match, where the physicality increased as the match went on. One of the matches of the night.

Joey Janella vs. Lio Rush: This was the billed as the “final chapter” of their feud. This was Rush’s final CZW match, as he is expected to sign with WWE. Before the match, they played a great video package that recapped the feud. Rush had a cool entrance that plays off his “Blackheart” character. This was a war. In some ways, this was the true main event of the show from a wrestling standpoint. While I enjoyed this match a lot, I didn’t like how they didn’t sell the table spots, especially because the tables looked to me, a little bit thicker then the tables you would see in WWE. I get that it’s a work, but if you add some realism to wrestling, it makes it easier to suspend disbelief. Popping up after a big spot off a ladder through a table?  Not realistic.  Despite this, this was a great way to end the feud. I thoroughly enjoyed Rush’s post-match speech, putting over CZW.

Matt Tremont vs. Atsushi Onita - No Ropes, Barbed Wire, Exploding Baseball Bats match: I didn’t have too high expectations for this. Onita is 59 years old, and coming off a broken leg. This wasn’t about the match itself, but more about the moment. Tremont got such a big reaction that some people in the front row were lifting the guard rails up and down in excitement, banging it to the floor together. If there is one wrestler on the roster that represents CZW, it’s Tremont. Seeing the Onita entrance, while “Wild Thing” was playing through the speakers, was awesome. I never thought I would get to experience that live. The reaction both guys got had a rock and roll feel to them.

The match was tame, by FMW standards, but there was no realistic way CZW could do what FMW did in the ‘90s. That said, it was really cool to see Onita wrestle live. Raijin Yaguchi and Hideki Hosaka attacked Tremont, which brought out Danny Havoc, and Ricky Shane Page to even the odds. Onita challenged them to a 6 man tag, FMW vs. CZW, which Tremont agreed. This brought the crowd down, because they were expecting a singles match.

I would have preferred to see this remain a singles match, but it was still fine. Blood was spilled everywhere. I hope they did blood tests. I didn’t like seeing unprotected chair shots to the head though. That shouldn’t be happening today, given what we know about head injuries today. Also, it was a let down seeing the explosions go off before the bats made contact with the body. The match ended a bit abruptly. It felt as it the match should of gone a bit longer. Onita wasn’t even the one who the got the pinfall, which was weird.

The scene after the match provided possibly the highlight of this whole entire thing. Onita gets on the mic, doing his usual post-match promo, when he said these weren’t explosions, and then proceeded to call CZW, “cheap.” If I were DJ Hyde, I wouldn’t be happy that the guy I spent a TON of money to get him to appear at my show was now burying my company in front of my audience.

Onita told Tremont to come to Japan, and he’ll show him what a real exploding match is. Tremont agreed, and said he will beat Onita. During all this, they were slapping each other. The fans popped for the all this. This was what it was, a spectacle. I enjoyed it though. It may have been more enjoyable live, then it would have been watching it at home.

After the show, Onita did a post-match meet and greet, still covered in blood. Only in wrestling.

Thanks for reading.

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