CZW Once In A Lifetime Review

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FMW founder and Japanese deathmatch legend, Atsushi Onita, returns to the U.S. for the first time since 1992 to battle Matt Tremont in a No Rope Barbed Wire contest. This match can only happen Once In A Lifetime. This event was held on August 5, 2017.

Aerial Assault

Too many names to list, but among them were Smiley (who is always a nice treat to have on any show), Anthony Bennett and Ace Romero. Yes, 747 pound Ace Romero was in a match designed for high flyers. There were way too many slip-ups in the opening exchanges. A lot of the guys involved don’t have much experience and it really showed. The finish was badly botched so that really hurt match. Not a good start at all. ★½

CZW Wired Championship: MJF (c) vs Johnny Silver

It’s always fun to see the Raw Dog in action. This match was your standard indy affair. It was fast-paced with lots of back and forth action. Nothing really stood out, but both guys got their stuff in. A decent match that was enjoyable in the moment. ★★¾

Hideki Hosaka & Raijin Yaguchi vs. The Awakening vs. The Storm of Entrails

Hosaka and Yaguchi probably came as a packaged deal with Onita. This match was just a plodding mess. G-Raver is extremely reckless in the ring. It’s a really dark time for CZW when G-Raver has a permanent spot on the roster. The finish also gets botched in this match. Skip this one. ½★

Ace Austin vs Tim Donst

Ace Austin has future star written all over him. He’s only 20 years old and recently started to expand his horizons, so there’s still a lot of room for growth and improvement. This match existed to further develop Donst’s ‘two’ shtick. Donst couldn’t get the win in two seconds, but he did manage to get it in 2:22. N/R

CZW World Championship: Shane Strickland (c) vs MASADA

We are beginning to see the maturation of Shane Strickland as a wrestler. If you had any doubts about Strickland as champion, this match should remove them. Strickland solidified himself as the flag bearer of the new generation. Both men displayed their technical wrestling ability which was very crisp. They worked at a slow and deliberate pace, but it never felt dull or prolonged. MASADA is a master at pacing and timing; he just knows when and how to place certain spots. There weren’t any big, outrageous spots but all of them scored.  There was a tinge of ultraviolence near the end- Strickland’s first taste since his Panes of Glass  match with Devon Moore three years ago. This was a really good match and Strickland proved that he can carry the company on his back. ★★★¾

Side Note: Larry Legend came to announce the match between Lio Rush and Joey Janela, but was interrupted by Joe Gacy. Gacy expressed his hatred for the guys who wrestle for CZW on a part-time basis, and use it as a platform to move on to greener pastures. He attacked Larry Legend, and gave him a DVD onto a barbed wire board. Larry was crying and begging to be cut from the contraption. It was very unsettling to watch as he looked very startled.

I would hate to think he was coerced into doing this. I don’t want to believe that this is Sami Callihan’s direction for the company. If Larry willingly agreed to this, then he clearly had regrets the moments he landed into the barbed wire. This was completely unnecessary.

The Final Chapter: Joey Janela vs Lio Rush

By now, everyone has seen the gif of Lio Rush no selling a powerbomb from a ladder through a table. The spot wasn’t that bad, it’s the aftermath that made it terrible. Janela hit a piledriver after Rush got up, but he kicked out at two. Had that been the finish, I think it would have made for great drama. However, the match continued and that’s why the spot is silly. The match itself wasn’t bad. It’s not their best encounter, but there were definitely some high points. The pedigree is starting to become really cliched now, every time someone wrestles their last indy match. Good match with emotional investment, but there were some shenanigans that could have been left out. ★★★½

Once In A Lifetime: No Rope Barbed Wire Exploding Barbed Wire Bat Match- Matt Tremont vs. Atsushi Onita

Sadly, this match was a huge let down. It started off hot as Onita immediately went after Tremont, cutting him open within the first ten seconds. Once the match spilled to the outside, things started falling apart. Onita clearly cannot go in the ring anymore. After several minutes of mindless walking around and bumping into things, Danny Havoc and Rickey Shane Page came out and attacked Onita’s FMW entourage. A six-man tag then ensued. This was also a plodding mess. I respect everything Onita has done for the business, but sometimes you just have to know when to call it quits. I’m not saying this match should not have taken place, but they could have found a better way to make up for Onita’s shortcomings. ★★

You can catch the replay of this event at CZW Studios

Also streaming on Highspots Wrestling Network

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