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Wrestling > Tape Reviews

True 'Till Death Review: Best of the Messiah
Posted by Jay Doring on Aug 20, 2003, 00:55

The two prevailing trends in independent wrestling have been junior-heavyweight highspot wreslting, aka “let’s see how many flips and rotations I can fit in coming off the top rope,” and a modification of the old Japanese “strong style,” which has come to mean “hit each other as hard as possible with no regard for safety.” However, despite these two styles being trendy in the 21st century, the good ol’fashioned brawler will always have a place, and arguably the best brawler on the independents is the current CZW World Champion, the Messiah. The former XPW Heavyweight champion and deathmatch champion has overcome tremendous personal adversity and continues to wrestle his balls off in intense matches against men like “Sick” Nick Mondo, Adam Flash and Justice Pain. Smart Mark Video’s “Best on the Indies Volume 3: The Messiah” features an in-depth shoot interview, as well as some of the Messiah’s best matches in CZW and various West Coast independents.*
(*Note: There is no XPW footage due to Smart Mark Video not owning the rights to it.)

Shoot Interview:
This was taped shortly after the “Wrestlemania of CZW” Cage of Death 4.

-Were you a fan of wrestling growing up? Definitely, in order to be a worker in this business you have to be a fan first. His father stated if he spent as much time studying as he did watching wrestling, he’d be a genius right now.

-Who were the wrestlers that inspired you growing up? His first memory was seeing Hulk Hogan, but the guy that really made him want to become a wrestler was Bret Hart. One night at the LA Sports Arena he saw Bret Hart against Mr. Perfect, and he was blown away by the amazing sequences of holds and counterholds. That match cemented his decision to wrestle professionally.

-Did you check out the California indies growing up? When he was growing up there was actually a local all-wrestling cable station, which had a TV show called “Wrestle Talk,” which constantly advertising a place called “Slammer’s Wrestling Gym.” He made a bet with his Dad that if he got good grades he could visit the gym. He loved what he saw, and immediately he graduated from high school he began his training.

-Who trained you? Mostly Hombre D’Oro, who also wrestled as Carlito Montana in XPW. Ed Ferrara (former WWF writer who is most famous for being Oklahoma, the fattest cruiserweight champion in WCW history) was a secondary trainer, but it was mostly Carlito.

-What was your original gimmick? Trent Acid. At this point, Trent shows up and mugs for the camera, and does his Messiah impression –“THAT ROB BLACK CAN SUCK MY ASS LICK MY BALLS!” Trent leaves, and Messiah says his first gimmick was “Iron Mike” Erhardt, the younger brother of an older Cali worker named Mark Erhardt. The Slammers crew would wrestle at Strongbow Stadium, a little rundown redneck place, and some drunk fan would always call him “Iron Mike” so the nickname stuck. At the time, his trainers told him he could never be a heel because of his “All-American Boy” good looks.

-What was it like competing on the Cali indy scene? He basically trained at Slammers for two years, and knew nothing else. He eventually took a break from wrestling due to personal and family issues.

-First match? Against a guy named “El Spirito,” who later became Felony in XPW. That’s the only time Felony ever beat him, because Felony sucks.

-How did you get into XPW? He left Slammers because of girlfriend issues, and faced a decision to either move to Georgia with his family or stay with the girlfriend. They broke up, he moved to Georgia, hated it, moved back. He wanted to wrestle, but not with Slammers, because he saw it was going nowhere. He saw an ad for XPW, and used his trainer Carlito as an “in” to get into XPW.

-Did they come up with Messiah gimmick or you? They came up with it, because when he was brought in he was put under a mask as “the Blunatic” and jobbing to Nicole Bass’ shitty chokeslam every night. They kept him under the mask until they could find a tag team partner to be half of a team called “The Moral Crusaders.” The tag partner never materialized, so he kept jobbing to people who sucked, like Nicole Bass. Finally, he asked Rob Black to do the “crusader” gimmick as a single. Their first plan name with this gimmick? Jesus, which he objected to as a devout Christian. The ring announcer was also clueless, so he called him Jesus too. Eventually, they narrowed it down to two names: Savior or Messiah, and they picked the latter randomly.

-Good memories of XPW? He was close to Supreme, Kaos and Dynamite D. The other wrestlers called them “the Kliq” because they constantly hung around each other. He got a job at the Extreme Associates office, because he kept being sent home from a second job as a waiter due to his face being gigged up all the time. He has good memories of working at the office, because he was constantly laughing his ass off. It was a weird place, because you were constantly telling people to fuck off. Him, D, and Kaos were always playing a “horse”-style game where they’d try to duplicate flips and dives and mess up their knees. Those are just memories though, that part of his past is dead and buried.

-Bad memories of XPW? He was always told “Extreme is a family and you CAN’T leave the family. It was always hinted as being very “Mafia,” but he didn’t think it was. If you left on good terms or bad terms, you couldn’t come back. He has no bad memories of all the boys, they were all top-notch guys. The month before he left, he had a loud argument with Rob Black, where he felt he crossed the line between employee and boss. Afterwards, he talked to Lizzy Borden, who relayed that Black kept repeating “why doesn’t Billy like me?” over and over again. It was never a case that he didn’t like Rob, but it was a very unhealthy place to work, and conveniently he got fired as soon as he realized that.

-Favorite matches in XPW? Against Dynamite D at the Palace, soon after the Messiah gimmick debuted. He generally hates every match he ever does, and it was the first time he came away feeling good. Soon after that, he got to wrestle Sabu. The first time, Sabu basically beat the shit out of him, but the second match was the one that got him noticed. That show was the first one in four months for XPW, as they had been running nothing but promos on TV before it, most of which were inside jokes among the workers. He feels wrestling Sabu was a learning experience. The deathmatch with Supreme was something that drained him emotionally and physically. The ECW Heatwave incident had happened a short time before, so all eyes were on them to deliver. He feels it was a great match, one that he was very proud of, and he’s glad that it’s still talked about to this day.

Recollections of the Heatwave incident? The plan was simply to sit there and show their t-shirts. Rob had bought front row seats, and they were supposed to just sit there. At the time, ECW had filed a lawsuit over the name “Extreme,” which he feels was bullshit because there were countless other companies also using that name. The whole mentality was again pretty Mafia, “our territory” and shit like that. The XPW crew was immediately accosted by Atlas Security, and told to turn the shirts inside out. Some random fan showed Atlas his ticket, which was for the nosebleeds, so Atlas let them through. Once they sat down, they immediately got swarmed by dozens of fans. They were getting recognized there more than they were at their own shows. Funny story: Rob Van Dam came down for his match, he did some cool move, and went to him and Kaos and said, “I know you guys are impressed.” They got the order from somebody to stand up as Kristi stood up and took her shirt off, and immediately he got pulled over the ring by Atlas Security. Justin Credible sat in the ring waiting for it to end, Tommy Dreamer told Supreme “your career is over” and Francine starts shrieking at Kristi. They get escorted outside the building, and Messiah gets whacked upside the head, and it turned ou the guy that whacked him was Paul Heyman! Heyman kept screaming profanities spitting on Kaos and daring Kaos to hit him, which would have resulted in disaster. He then spit on Messiah and dared him to hit him, with two LAPD cops nearby. Kid Kash and Balls Mahoney got in their face, and some ring crew kids got stomped by Chilly Willy. There was a celebration at EA afterwards, and Messiah was the only one who thought it was stupid. Nobody took a swing at anybody. He didn’t think one side was completely in the right, but both sides definitely overreacted.

How did you get into CZW? He hadn’t been with XPW for a while, only occasionally working Cali indies. He’d just gotten fired from another job, and was contemplating his life when he received a message on his machine from John Zandig. He thought it was a rib at first, but he picked up anyway. Zandig offered him a slot on their January show, so Messiah got out of another booking and took the spot. He flew in from Cali to Philly two days before the show, and did his first match with Justice Pain (one of the best heavyweight title matches in CZW history, in my opinion.)

Thoughts on CZW? Loves it. It’s very close, very much a “frat” feeling among the workers. The workrate is unbelievable. He had never seen any CZW tapes. Zandig said he’d never seen him in XPW, but the boys vouched for him. He stayed up until 4 am watching tapes of Pain, particularly Cage of Death 3, and it blew him away. A lot of the boys didn’t know who he was- he was just some jabroni brought into work the main event. They’re his best friends now, and he wouldn’t trade his time here for anything.

The attack: He had gotten home from work, and was playing Spider-Man on the Gamecube, when one of his two roommates walked in. She went out to walk the dog, but came back, but when she waslked back in, these two big black guys came in. He assumed they were with her, because her godparents were black. They actually greeted him as they came in, but when he saw the bewildered expression on his roommates’ face, he knew something was up, and he knew exactly why they were there. He got the roommate out of the house, and saw out of the corner of his eye they were debating how to do the job. The two guys locked the door and jumped him, and they struggled. They pinned him down, put his arm out, and popped his thumb off with shears. They tried to go for his other thumb, but he kept it in a fist. They dried to duct-tape him together, but he fought it. The whole time the two guys kept screaming “just stay down!” They kept pounding him, but he escaped and tried to unlock the door, but he didn’t have his thumb. They pulled him back down, and smashed a fish bowl over his head. “STAY DOWN, WHY DON’T YOU JUST STAY DOWN?!” He asked why they were doing this, but he knew why. The two guys couldn’t figure out why he didn’t stay down; they thought it was a simple job. He got one in an armbar, pushed one of them into the dining room table, and escaped as they ran out. He searched for the thumb, but he knew they took it. He ran outside, collapsed, and shortly after the authorities arrived. The whole thing took five minutes.”America’s Most Wanted” used the magic of editing to imply they were trying to cut off his penis, but in reality they were just trying to flip him over when they grabbed his belt.

Why did you think they were there? It had to do with a former employer of his- when they tried to push him he pushed back and refused to be intimidated. He feels his major fault is he is hardheaded and has too much pride. It was a case of not being afraid.

Thoughts on EPIC? He loves it. Gary Yap’s a great guy, but he’s a control freak. He feels he has to do everything himself. They’ve hit a roadblock, but he’s confident they’ll be back. (EPIC became the biggest financial disaster in Southern California wrestling history, folding after three shows due to Yap’s total ineptitude as a promoter. Long story short, checks got bounced, tapes never got released, venues getting cancelled THE DAY OF THE SHOW- a complete trainwreck. It’s a shame too, because EPIC had the potential to be the West Coast version of Ring of Honor.)

What’s your relationship with Kristi Myst? That caught him off guard. He loves her to death. They’re very close friends, but they’re dating relationship is over. Some of his best memories are hanging with Kristi and her daughter.

Name game-Turd Ferguson (Adam Flash) –He’s one of the guys that became one of his best friends. They IM each other all the time. He’s made friends for life in CZW.

Adam Flash: Dude, he sucks. For having 11 years in the business you think he’d know something (joking.) Flash was one of the guys who constantly called after the attack. A great wrestler to work from. Tells awesome stories, he’s like one of his brothers.

John Zandig: Literally breathed life back into him. Contrary to what people think, he was NOT brought in as a rib on XPW. John could give two shits about XPW. The shoot stuff has all been his idea. He’s in the main event of Cage of Death 4 because he’s a good worker that the fans like, not to piss off another company. He literally built CZW in his backyard and it blew up into a big thing without big money or sponsors.

Where do you want to be in the wrestling business? Definitely be in the WWE. Is he somebody they want right now? Definitely not, but he’s going to keep going as long as he’s healthy, having fun, and making a comfortable living.

Final message to fans: The fans are the reason he wrestles. No matter what the feelings are toward him, the fans are why he wrestles. Thanks for the fan letters and support. People have been through a lot worse than he has. You either let it consume you and you move on, and because of the fans and their support that he has been able to move on and do what he loves doing, and that’s wrestle. Thank you.

Jay’s thoughts: Messiah did a ton of interviews following the attack, so I’ve personally heard all of this stuff before. He also could not actually identify the employer who ordered the attack due to legal reasons, even though the implication was pretty clear. Still, the Messiah is an engaging speaker to listen to, the detailed account of Heatwave was interesting (as well as hilarious) and you really get a great impression of the strong sense of kinship in the CZW locker room. Recommended shoot

Onto the matches:

The Messiah vs. Nick Mondo vs. Adam Flash vs. Justice Pain- CZW “High Stakes”

This match is one of the most famous in CZW history, although maybe for the wrong reasons. The three other competitors in this match all appear in singles competition on this tape, so their histories will be detailed later. This is a “High Stakes” match, meaning everyone has something on the line. Justice Pain put up his CZW World Title, Adam Flash put up his CZW Iron Man title, Nick Mondo put up his career, and Messiah put up his girlfriend Kristi Myst.

BIG fourway brawl to start, and Pain gets FLUNG over the top rope by Mondo, and Mondo LIGHTS HIM UP with roundhouses on the outside. All four guys take turns running each other into the guardrails and this match is off to a very fast start. Keep this in mind later. Finally some order, and Mondo and Messiah start off. Mondo with some stiff roundhouses and a standing rana. In my opinion, Nick Mondo has the best strikes in the indys, as they’re strong enough to look believable but controlled enough not to seriously hurt to injure an opponent (like Low Ki did to Dan Maff last Saturday in Fairfield) Messiah recovers with a Manhattan Drop and some stiff chops and a sitout crucifix bomb for two. Tag in to Justice Pain, but Mondo BLASTS him with some more martial arts kicks and gets a near fall. Springboard back elbow by Mondo gets two. Pain nails Mondo with a Backdrop Driver RIGHT ON HIS HEAD, and tags in Adam Flash. Flash with a running Ligerbomb for two, and he slaps on an abdominal stretch. Mondo escapes, nails some roundhouse kicks and tags in Messiah. Messiah is LA CASA DI FUOCO~! until the heels turn the tide with a double flapjack. Flash hits the chinlock, and delivers a legdrop, brother for a quick two. Flash with the MOVE OF THE MONTH~! (top rope X factor) but Mondo saves. Swinging neckbreaker by Pain gets two. Messiah fires back with CARLITO’S WAY~! (Bubba Cutter) for 2.99
Mondo is in the ring, and he nails his usual GORGEOUS running somersault plancha on Flash and Pain. Messiah cuts off a second try, and the heels jump both men from behind. Pain gets BIG AIR on a plancha on Messiah, as Flash’s tag partner “Doomsday” Danny Rose makes an appearance and brings powder to the ring. Chairshot to Messiah. Messiah takes the old school POWDER TO THE EYES as Kristi Myst inexplicably runs in. Flash slaps her, and the blinded Messiah accidentally delivers the GODSMACK~! (Airplane Spin into a Stunner), sending Myst to the paramedics.
Messiah leaves to attend to Myst, and the heels doubleteam Mondo. Messiah comes back with trash cans, and it’s CAN CLUBBERIN’ TIME! Lionsault by Messiah gets two on Mondo. Everybody smashes each other with the trash cans and chairs for a while then…
We’re on the Viking Hall staging area now, as Mondo hits the ASSAULT DRIVER~! (Electric Chair Michinoku Driver) on Messiah OFF THE STAGE THROUGH A BARBED WIRE TABLE! SICK!
In another part of the arena, Flash and Pain are climbing a ten-foot tall scaffold. Pain LAUNCHES FLASH OFF THE SCAFFOLD, THROUGH A STACK OF FLAT TABLES! THAT’S EVEN SICKER!
Mondo gives chase and throws Pain into the bleachers, with Flash and Messiah both out cold. Mondo SUPLEXES PAIN ON THE BARBED WIRE, and Pain is busted open. They take turns raking the barbed wire into each other’s heads, and we head back to the ring.
Pain is slapping on a single leg crab, Flash and Messiah still nowhere to be found. Flash finally arrives, nailing Pain with a chairshot . PAIN THRILLER~! (Angle Slam, but the opponent lands head first) gets two on Flash. The match completely falls apart now, as each guy blasts each other with weapons and makes saves for each other. Side suplex by Messiah.
Exploder by Messiah, Mondo covers, kickout. Messiah flings Flash backfirst into a chair mounted in the turnbuckle.
Springboard legdrop by Pain drives a chair into Mondo’s face.
A table is brought into the ring by Flash. Flash sets Pain up on the table, cut off by Pain on the top rope. Flash reverses the superplex attempt into a POWERBOMB THROUGH THE TABLE…FOR TWO!
Mondo gives everybody a Ki Krusher, but can’t get the fall. FALL FROM GRACE~! (Reverse Death Valley Driver) by Messiah, but Pain steals the cover…for two.
Superplex by Messiah, Flash tries for the pin, kickout by Pain.
PUMPHANDLE BACKDROP DRIVER by Pain gets two on Mondo, as Flash brings out a ladder, reaming into Messiah chest. He wraps it around Messiah’s head, and RAMS him into the ringpost! Oh man, that was deadly. Flash tries for his Last Call legdrop off the ladder, Pain cuts it off, into a SUNSET FLIP POWERBOMB BY FLASH GUERRERO-STYLE!
The ladder is set up to bridge between the ring and the floor, and Mondo LEGDROPS MESSIAH THROUGH THE LADDER!
Michinoku Driver by Flash gets two, and all three roll around until the SIXTY-MINUTE TIME LIMIT EXPIRES! The crowd boos the time-limit draw loudly, until Messiah demands that the match restarts. The bell rings, AND WE BE ON AGAIN! Messiah and Mondo jump Pain and Flash with trash cans. Pain is too tired to even sell the shots at this point. Another table is brought in. Mondo reverses a Pain Thriller and crotches Flash on the top. Both heels are on the table, and Messiah and Mondo come off the top with STERO LEGDROPS, THROUGH THE TABLE! MONDO PINS FLASH, MESSIAH PINS PAIN, AND WE’VE GOT TWO NEW CHAMPIONS AT THE SIXTY-FOUR MINUTE MARK! Mondo is awarded the Iron Man title, and Messiah is awarded the World title in a decision NO ONE saw coming, ending the longest match in CZW history.

Before I say anything, all four men must be commended for going 64 minutes. A Broadway is by far the hardest match to perform in wrestling and a tremendous test of skill, and the fact that these men were able to work a semi-coherent match that long deserves huge kudos. That said, it’s very obvious that they set too fast a pace at the beginning and as a result ran out of planned spots way too early. Once the super-sick bumps ended, this was basically a series of brutal, random and meaningless hardcore spots until the time limit ran out. There were two other good points about this match though: the smart storytelling, as all four men went for pin covers as quickly as possible to desperately preserve what they put on the line, and the ending, which sent both faces home with title belts. The first half of the match was about ****, the second half was about *1/2, so we’ll roughly split the difference here:
Winners: The Messiah and Nick Mondo
Rating: **3/4

The Messiah vs. Joey Ryan- EPIC

Joey Ryan is one-half of the 2002 SoCal tag team of the year (the Lost Boyz with Scott Lost) but that doesn’t keep him from getting totally squashed by our blasphemous hero and going down via the Fall from Grace in about three minutes. Now that you know the result, I’d like to take this time to rip the absolutely horrifying EPIC announce team (Larry Rivera and some other guy.) Some gems from these two communications community college rejects:

Guy: “Is it a good idea to give the opponent advice before the match? Rivera: I agree.”
Guy: “Joey Ryan would be better off getting his girlfriend to wrestle. I’d put Joey and Hailey on the same level in the ring by the way, quite frankly.” (Way to shit on the worker buddy.)
Guy: “It deserves a certain amount of respect Rivera, but not too much, because he’s still involved with that strumpet Hailey.” (STRUMPET?)
Guy: “I am about to have a Red Fox-esque episode Rivera, my heart is pounding.” (This was delivered like a phone sex orgasm on a 900 line. Not that I’d know anything about that. Yeah.)
Rivera:” On Messiah’s first night in CZW he won the world heavyweight championship. Guy: And what an accomplishment that was.” (He LOST dipshits. Check your facts.)
Guy: “I must…compliment…the camera man in getting the back of the fan’s head. Nice chair, I wish I had that at home.” (Ben Stein on Valium would sound more excited.)
Guy: “Ding dong Rivera, it’s for you, answer the door. Who’s calling? Trouble!”
Guy: “It’s like Biggie and Tupac. Both men are currently dead.” (This guy must invest in Alcor.)
Guy:“This match is kinda like not making your car payments. How’s that for an analogy?”(Somebody scored a 200 on their SATs.)

I was a play-by-play announcer for a few months for a backwoods E-level indy promotion in New Hampshire, and I was admittedly really bad. But I never said anything even close to the stupid shit these guys said. These guys made ROH’s “Ray Murrow and Chris Levy” look like Gordon Solie and Jim Ross.

So anyway, I bet you’re wondering why a three-minute squash match is on a “Best Of” tape. Well, after Messiah finishes his post-match beating on Ryan and his valet Hailey, “Last Resort” hits over the PA, and out from the crowd comes “SICK” NICK MONDO! Mondo sends him to the outside and hits the gorgeous tope con hilo, and they head into the crowd and exchange weapons shots. Mondo sets up a table on the outside, and both guys head back in. Mondo gets back body dropped out of the ring THROUGH THE TABLE! Mondo is undeterred, however, as they continue brawling until Trent Acid and Ruckus separate them. Messiah makes a challenge to Mondo for the next EPIC show.

Smart Mark Video owns the rights to dozens of better Messiah matches. Against Justice Pain at Answering the Challenge, Nick Mondo at This Time It’s Personal, and Mondo at the Tournament of Death just off the top of my head. Sure, it sets up the Mondo/Messiah match later on the tape, but there’s absolutely no point in doing that on a “Best Of” compilation. A worthless squash that has no place on a tape like this. It’s a shame the match wasn’t more competitive, because Ryan has had classics with guys like Spanky and Frankie Kazarian on the West Coast.
Winner: The Messiah
Rating: 1/2*

The Messiah vs. Adam Pearce- MPW

Adam Pearce is another minor member of the Gold Bond Mafia indy clique who frequently works the West Coast, and is one of the great obscure wrestlers on the indies, working a stiff and energetic brawling style. This match took place between Messiah’s firing from XPW and his debut in CZW. This is his first match with MPW, drawing a big “surprise” pop from the crowd. Say what you will about XPW, but their roster was the most over group of wrestlers in SoCal at their peak. Messiah goes into foruth gear early with some stiff punches and a leg lariat, as my favorite chant, “fuck ‘em up Jesus!” fires up. Pearce takes Messiah down with a hard clothesline, and dumps him to the outside for his two goons to wail on him. Pearce goes JERRY LAWLER MEMPHIS with a second rope fistdrop for two. Pearce follows up with a NICE dropkick (and he’s a big guy- about 6’3” and 240). Messiah comes back with punches, cut off with an ANDERSON-STYLE SPINEBUSTER~! for two. Pearce heads to the top, but he’s cut off and Messiah hits a SIT-OUT CRUCIFIX BOMB for a nearfall. Messiah gets distracted by the goons however, and Peace sneaks up from behind with an Airplane Spin neckbreaker for two. Pearce TAKES IT BACK TO MEMPHIS~! again with a SPIKE piledriver for two. Pearce heads to the top, but no water in the pond for a senton atomico. Messiah capitalizes by hitting a Frogsplash for two. Never saw Messiah do that before. Messiah turns a tornado DDT attempt into a Godsmack, but one of the goons runs in for a weak beltshot and the cheap DQ finish. Local babyface Tech-9 makes the save for Messiah.

This was a really energetic brawl that was rockin’ and rollin’ before the bullshit DQ finish came out of nowhere. Tons of high-impact moves and fast-paced brawling, with no rest spots and intensity bleeding through the TV –THAT’s what has made the Messiah a big name on the independents. If this match had been given another five minutes with a proper finish, this could have hit four stars. Adam Pearce impressed the hell out of me. For a big guy, he’s extremely agile and has the NWA-style brawl down to a science. I’m surprised ROH hasn’t given him a call for the bunkhouse matches.
Winner: Messiah
Rating: ***

The Messiah vs. Adam Flash- CZW “Out with the Old, in with the New.”

Adam Flash is easily the best all-around worker in CZW. An 11-year veteran, he’s capable of taking to the air for insane spots, working the mat and brawling shot for shot with the most insane wrestlers CZW has to offer. Sadly, his main event run in CZW has been derailed by a hasty face turn, lazy booking, and tag partner Danny Rose’s hand injury. This is for the CZW Iron Man title, which Messiah won a shot at by beating Nick Mondo at This Time It’s Personal. Wait a second, a hot fan flashed her tits!
(Ten minutes elapse)
OK I’m back. Standard lockup sequence and Messiah unloads punches and a leg lariat. Messiah hits a stiff lariat that sends Flash to the outside. Baseball slide misses and they brawl on the outside. Both Flash and Messiah take shots on the unforgiving steel rails, and they trade chops. Messiah takes advantage, gets on the apron and hits a perfect HOLY ROLLER~! (running senton atomico from the apron). We head back in the ring, and Messiah hits a springboard legdrop for two. LUCHA JEEVUS~! Sky High by Messiah gets a nearfall. Flash crotches Messiah on the top rope and drills him with a clothesline as color commentator John House makes XPW porno jokes. Flash deposits Messiah on the top rope, Messiah fights Flash off but Flash persists and hits the MOVE OF THE MONTH~! for 2.9. Flash brings in a table and lays Messiah across it. Messiah cuts him off on the top rope and hits a DEATH VALLEY DRIVER OFF THE TOP ROPE! Awesome, but only two. Ref Rob Hartog gets bumped, and Messiah hits the FALL FROM GRACE, but no one to count the fall. Messiah sets up another table on the outside. Messiah DRILLS Flash in the head with a chairshot, and Hartog is still down. Flash slips out of a crucifix bomb and drops Messiah’s neck across the ropes. Flash off the top- BUT HE CATCHES A CHAIR TO THE FACE! BRUTAL! Cover! Nope, two count. Desperation superkick by Adam Flash KOs Messiah, and Flash BRINGS IN A LADDER! And OH MY LORD, he WRAPPED THE LADDER AROUND MESSIAH’S NECK AND DRILLED HIM INTO THE POST-TWICE! Messiah is OUT from the pain, and Flash deposits him on the table. Flash brings the ladder into the ring, but for whatever reason he decides the ladder isn’t tall enough. So he brings in a BIGGER LADDER. Messiah fights back, but Flash THROWS HIM OFF THE APRON- NECK FIRST ON THE RAIL! Messiah is prone on the table, Flash is climbing the ladder- LAST CALL LEGDROP THROUGH THE TABLE! HO-LEE SHIT! YOU BETTER BELIEVE IT’S OVER!

The biggest mistake CZW is making right now is keeping Adam Flash out of the main event. He and Messiah have INCREDIBLE chemistry, and a Flash/Messiah series could carry the company until Cage of Death 5. This was a very well structure hardcore match. The right amount of furniture was destroyed, there were a lot of dramatic nearfalls, and the biggest holy shit spot was used in the right spot- the END. The setup for the finish was believable also, as Messiah was too injured from the ladder shots to the neck to fight back. One of the best Iron Man title matches I’ve seen in CZW.
Winner: Adam Flash
Rating: ***1/2

The Messiah vs. Nick Mondo-EPIC

This match was the reason I bought this tape. If you’re reading this review, you probably know who Nick Mondo is. Quite possibly the craziest fucker on the independents, Nick Mondo has taken some of the most inhuman punishment this side of a Third World penal colony and has asked for more. At this year’s Tournament of Death, he practically got shot, puncturing an artery in his back, and he STILL wrestled another match. No EPIC announce crew, thank G-d. This is Fans Bring the Weapons. Strap in dear reader, because this is going to be a seriously bumpy ride. Messiah starts with an amateur-style takedown transitioned into a single leg crab, but Mondo makes the ropes. Messiah trips Mondo’s legs out of a go behind and gets a deep cover for two. Bet you didn’t expect that out of these guys, did you? Mondo reverses a headlock, but Messiah reverses with a bodyscissors. Mondo breaks with a STIFF martial arts kick and a standing rana. Mondo goes for a light-tube! –but Messiah ducks and bails. Messiah with the first big move, hitting Carlito’s Way for a two count. He follows up with a big British Bulldog-style powerslam for two. Now here’s a criss-cross- flying headscossors by Mondo, and he takes advantage with a NORTHERN LIGHTS BOMB~! for a near fall! Mondo charges, but eats a face-first tilt-a-whirl slam for two, and Messiah heads for the plunder. He grabs a ladder, but Messiah takes too long working the crowd and Mondo DRILLS the ladder into Messiah’s chest. Mondo with the whip into the ladder, ducked, Messiah with a discus clothesline, ducked, and Messiah gets BACKDROPPED INTO THE LADDER, BENDING IT IN HALF! The impact on that was LOUD. Mondo now drives a chair into Messiah’s chest, he sets up two chairs and places the ladder over them, and holy shit, hits the MONDO SLEDGE~! (springboard tumbleweed) DRIVING THE LADDER INTO MESSIAH’S FACE! He literally hadn’t done that spot in a year. In comes a gas can full of thumbtacks, and he POURS THOUSANDS OF TACKS INTO MESSIAH’S FACE. That’s one of the smartest and ugliest spots I’ve ever seen! Messiah bails, but Mondo hits his GORGEOUS running somersault plancha on the outside. Mondo follows up by smacking a road sign into Messiah’s face, followed up by a VHS tape to the head. Messiah reverses a whip, sending Mondo into the rail, and Messiah hits the HOLY ROLLER~! Messiah then FLINGS Mondo into a row of steel chairs. They weren’t folding chairs either, he took the pointy edges RIGHT on the back! They head into the crowd and brawl around for a bit, exchanging chairshots. Mondo sets up a table, and blasts Messiah with a road sign again to keep him down. Messiah cuts off the table spot, and gets a suplex on the wooden floor. Messiah sets up a steel chair coffin (chairs lined up next to each other) but Mondo blasts him in the back with a chair hard. Messiah is undeterred, and he hits a SPIKE DDT on the floor! HERE COME THE LIGHTTUBES as Messiah sets about 15 of them on the steel coffin. They head back in, and Messiah drops Mondo neck-first on the top rope, and Mondo FALLS ONTO THE THUMBTACKS! Running Razor’s Edge attempt is cut off, and Messiah heads to the top, but is SHOVED OFF THROUGH THE TUBE-COVERED STEEL COFFIN! HOLY SHIT! So THAT’S where the TOD1 spot came from. Mondo heads to the top with a tube, but Messiah HITS HIM IN THE FACE WITH A CHAIR! THE TUBE HITS MONDO IN THE FACE, AND HE FALLS OFF THE TOP THROUGH THE TABLE! That’s is one of the coolest and sickest sequence I’ve ever seen! The crowd is NUKED! Messiah sets up a light tube letter ‘E’ on the ropes, but Mondo, KICKS THE TUBE, SENDING SHARDS INTO MESSIAH’S FACE! Messiah uses the chair to shield himself, and hits the chair with the tubes, DRIVING SHARDS INTO MONDO’S BACK! That was an unbelievably brilliant spot. I’m marking out as Messiah hits a POWERBOMB ON THE TACKS! Second powerbomb attempt is reversed into the ASSAULT DRIVER RIGHT ON THE TACKS! Mondo’s back is soaked in blood, and he brings in the rest of the fan-brought weapons. He GOES TO FUCKING TOWN on Mesiah, mercilessly bashing light tubes, light bulb bats, golf clubs, thumbtack bats, more tubes, and he DUMPS A BUCKET OF BROKEN GLASS ON HIM- FOR TWO! Both men are back up and miraculously not dead, and Messiah turns a crossbody attempt into the GODSMACK- for two! Messiah is frustrated, but undeterred, hitting the FALL FROM GRACE with a “FUCK MONDO! ON TOP”-FOR TWO! The Messiah is practically crying in frustration! Mondo takes advantage by LIGHTING HIM UP with roundhouse kicks with his boots covered in tacks. You can SEE the tacks plunging into his neck! Mondo uses the most creative weapon in the match, a thumbtack hamster ball, and sets up a table. Mondo on top, crotched by Messiah. Messiah dumps another 1,000 or so tacks on the table, along with chairs and tubes, and BACK BODY DROPS MONDO THROUGH THE TABLE FOR THE THREE COUNT!….Wow.

My friend Jake Potter rates a deathmatch by two criteria: psychology and brutality. This was perfect tens in both. Nick Mondo and the Messiah proved that in addition to being the two best hardcore brawlers in the US, they could wrestle too, putting together picture-perfect chain sequences at the beginning and knowing when to counter the weapons insanity with well-placed high-impact wrestling. The violence was on par with the worst CZW and IWA deathmatches, and featured incredibly innovative and intelligent ultraviolent spots. The most striking aspect of the match though, was the emotion- this match was like an old-fashioned Hollywood street fight, both men absolutely bringing the hate to each other and coveying off-the-charts passion and intensity. This is by far the best ever deathmatch in the United States. I know I’m not conveying my criticism very well, so I’ll conclude this succinctly: This match was fucking awesome. You NEED to see this match. If I weren’t straight edge, I’d have needed a cigarette after it.
Winner: The Messiah
Rating: *****

The Messiah vs. Vampiro- MPW

Oh boy, oh boy, it’s the Messiah against my least favorite wrestler in the whole wide world, the drugged up, degenerate, moronic, vastly overrated whiny little bitch Vampiro. Vamp jumps Messiah at the bell and lays in the headbutts and Undertaker-like strikes. Vamp then sorta stands around for a few minutes, waiting for the Messiah to get up as the crowd just DIES. Some chops in the corner, then another 30-second stall between moves. Messiah finally kicks this into gear with a basement dropkick and a top-rope legdrop. Snap suplex by the Messiah, and then they BOTH kinda sit there and wait for each other to do stuff. Finally, Messiah heads to the top, cut off by Vamp, and he LAUNCHES Messiah with a MEGA BELLY TO BELLY SUPLEX. Nice, but he took another minute or so to follow up with a punch. Spinkick by Vampiro gets two. He picks Messiah up soo…slowly…BUT MESSIAH COUNTERS INTO A STANDING RANA! STANDING MOONSAULT?! WHAT THE HELL?! I didn’t know Messiah could even do that! Two count, and Messiah gets a sky high for two. Messiah heads to the outside and brings in a table, setting it up in the corner. He sets Vamp against the table, but Vamp counters a blind charge with a spinkick for a nearfall. Reverse moonsault by Vampiro hits canvas, and Messiah gets two off a cover. They exchange punches, and Messiah hits a DVD but fails to get the three. Vampiro looks gassed out and AGAIN fails to do anything. Finally, after a short eternity, Vampiro grabs a release powerbomb. Vampiro heads to the top- cut off with a FRANKENSTEINER BY MESSIAH! Damn, Messiah is busting out the moveset. Messiah goes for the Godsmack, Vampiro escapes and hits a chokeslam through the table for the win!

Ah, the “big name” match, the bane of all “Best Of” compilations. While it may drive up the tape sales, it drives the quality of the tape way the fuck down. Vampiro’s stalling, totally lack of stamina and general lethargy really hurt this match, and basically put it on par with your basic Raw midcard contest. If anything however, this showed that Messsiah is a way more versatile competitor beyond the garbage brawling he is generally known for.
Winner: Vampiro
Rating: *1/2

The Messiah vs. Justice Pain- CZW “Cage of Death 4”

The story of Justice Pain has become something of a morality tale in recent months. The franchise player of CZW, one of their original stars and the heavyweight champion for much of the company’s existence, he chose the big green over loyalty and jumped to XPW. Pain was immediately jobbed six feet under in XPW, and it turns out his giant checks were made of rubber. So the lesson here is to consider your career options very carefully, especially if your potential new boss has a FBI file bigger than Susan Sarandon’s. This match is for the CZW World title, the culmination of an angle where Messiah revealed himself as the person who stole the belt from Pain months before. Messiah is also the CZW Iron Man champion, having finally taken the belt off of Flash in another great match at Beyond the Barrier.

Both men start off with an aggressive lockup, and start the feeling-out process. Pain drives him into the corner, gives him a few slaps on the head, and puts the mouth to the challenger. Pain grabs an arm wringer and delivers some stiff kicks to the chest, Messiah reverses and hits a few armdrags, and follows up by slapping on an armbar. Messiah with a floating neckbreaker for the first two count of the match, and he delivers some stiff chops. Messiah keeps up the pressure with a leg lariat for two. Pain fires back with two superkicks, and a release belly-to-belly in the turnbuckle, right on his head! It’s a cool spot, but it’s getting repetitive and one day is going to break someone’s neck. Irish whip, Pain catches Messah off a leapfrog with a Samoan Drop for two. They take it back to the mat, Messiah reverses a Fujiwara armbar, but Pain fights out and hits a side suplex for two. Pain goes to the ground with a full nelson. Messiah fights out, both men try to head to the top but are cut off, and Messiah finally takes advantage with a TORNADO DDT! He drapes Pain on top of the ropes and gets a facewash, but Pain counters a second attempt with a clothesline. Pain grabs a chair, but eats it in the face off a Messiah dropkick. Messiah sets up a table, sets Pain on top of it, but catches a chair to the back on the top rope for his troubles. Messiah shoves him off the apron, and he goes for the HOLY ROLLER~!, but Pain moves and Messiah BOUNCES OFF THE TABLE WITH A THUD! That was absolutely brutal. Pain with a Buff Blockbuster back in for a two count. We head back outside, and Messiah whips Pain into the rail for two. Messiah sets up a steel coffin on the outside, and tosses Pain back in. Pain Koppo kicks a chair into Messiah’s face and blast him with another chairshot, busting our thumbless hero wide open. Messiah with a desperation crossbody against the ropes- and BOTH FALL TO THE OUTSIDE THROUGH THE STEEL COFFIN- TWO COUNT! Back in, overhead suplex by Pain, BUT HERE COMES NICK GAGE! HARDCORE DROP BRAINBUSTER ON MESSIAH! CHOKEBREAKER ON PAIN! Both men are down, and GAGE DROPS THOUSANDS OF THUMBTACKS IN THE RING! Now this match is gonna get interesting. Both men stare at the tacks, and START FUCKING EACH OTHER UP! Criss-cross- CARLITO’S WAY ON THE TACKS! PAIN GETS A HAND ON THE ROPE! Godsmack-BLOCKED! Pain Thriller-BLOCKED! Fall from Grace- HITS ON THE THUMBTACKS! TWO COUNT! INSANE! Pain is bleeding from the legs due to the tacks. Pain fights out of a powerbomb, Godsmack attempt- REVERSED INTO THE PAIN THRILLER! THAT GETS TWO! Pain brings in a table and heads to the top, cut off by Messiah, who SLAMS THE TABLE INTO PAIN’S HEAD! That’s concussion city right there. SUPERPLEX ON THE TACKS! PAIN THRILLER BY THE MESSIAH! 2.999! Both men are up, Pain tries for another Pain Thriller- REVERSED INTO A CRUCIFIX ROLL FOR THREE OUT OF NOWHERE! NEW CHAMPION!

This match was very similar to the Green Phantom/Dru Onyx match IWS the other Ninjas and I reviewed on the “Know Your Enemies” tape. An excellently structured match that gradually amped up the violence from excellently executed straight wrestling to standard hardcore weaponry (table/chairs) to the thumbtacks. The extracurricular elements surrounding the match (Messiah’s return from the attack, Pain’s dominant title reign, the Cage of Death atmosphere) made the big babyface win that much sweeter. Normally, interference would drop a match in quality, but Gage’s attack set up a future match, and advertising a big match early is key to indy wrestling promotion. The ending was the only part of the match that I didn’t like, as both men survived each other’s finishers on thumbtacks but Pain succumbed to a simple rollup. That’s the only flaw in an otherwise great match.
Winner: Messiah
Rating: ***3/4

Final Thoughts: If you’re a fan of the “Ring of Honor style,” you’re not going to like this tape, as these matches are all weapons-filled brawls. If you’re a fan of weapons-filled brawls, you’re going to love this tape, because there’s no one on the independents better at this type of match than the Messiah. A five-star deathmatch makes this a must-buy, but solid stuff all the way through(minus the Ryan squash and the Vampiro match) and a fascinating shoot interview are icing on the cake.
Overall Recommendation: Highly Recommended Tape

For this tape, and the other three volumes of the “Best on the Indies” series, featuring Reckless Youth (Tom Carter), Mike Quackenbush, and Adam Flash, as well as the official source of CZW, IWA Mid-South and 3PW tapes, head over to Smart Mark Video.

Comments, questions, queries, autograph requests, and candid nude photos of Natalie Portman can be sent right here baby!


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