CZW Down With The Sickness (2017) Review

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Danny Havoc makes his final appearance in the Combat Zone is an insane deathmatch as CZW presents it’s annual tribute show, Down With The Sickness. This event was held on September 9.

Jimmy Lloyd vs Sami Callihan

Sami Callihan in an opening match, so you know what that means. Very fast start to this show as both men spilled to the outside in under a minute. Jimmy Lloyd is slowly starting to win me over after this match. This match was an adrenaline from start to finish as they brawled all over the arena. A few chairs were used as well as the almighty door. Callihan worked his ass off and so too did Lloyd. These two really brought the best out of each other. The finish wasn’t the big, epic drama they were going for but that’s a small blemish on an otherwise really good match. ★★★½

Ugly Ducklings (Lance Lude & Rob Killjoy) vs Oi4K (Dave Crist & Jake Crist)

If there’s one thing I like about the ‘new’ CZW, it’s the influx of talent from other regions. The Ugly Ducklings, despite their name and appearance, are very talented and I liken them to Bill Carr and Dan Barry. At first glance it’s easy to dismiss them, but their workrate is impresses you right out of the gate. They have a really unique offense and, like Barry and Carr, their chemistry is undeniable. They work together as a team in tandem offense. The Crist brothers did an amazing job of putting these two over as they gave them a lot of offense. Everything was well positioned and well-placed in this match. This was a lot of fun to watch from start to finish. ★★★½

CZW World Title Match: Shane Strickland © vs Jason Cade

A few years ago, this match may have been a ‘flipz n shitz’ spotfest. However, Shane Strickland has matured so much that he has a great sense of pacing and timing. He just knows how to structure a match and can have a great match with just about anyone. If you ask me, he is legit one of the best in the world and I can’t think of a better wrestler to represent the company. As far as the match goes, I found that there was never a point in time where it felt like Cade had a real chance of winning. However, it was still a great showcase for him and Strickland proved that he can take the lead in a match. It was very structurally sound and they placed their spots carefully, but it still felt like it was missing that extra something to really take it to the next level. Still, a very solid match. ★★★

Matt Tremont vs Mr. Claxton

This was an impromptu match that took place after Tremont was revealed at the 50% owner of CZW. It was so much of a match as it was cheap heat for Claxton’s new character. N/R

Chri$ Ca$h Memorial Ladder Match: Private Party (Marq Quen & Isiah Kassidy) vs The REP (Nate Carter & Dave McCall)

I was really looking forward to this match going in. The REP’s heel turn was long overdue and much needed. They’ve found a bit more personality and added it to their matches as well. The crowd, for some strange reason, was extremely dead for this match. I’m not sure why either. They took some big risks and the spots they pulled could have easily gone wrong. Every spot was met with deafening silence which I cannot fathom.  I’m not one to usually care for a crowd, but they severely hurt this match in my opinion. Also, I’m not sure if Quen was legitimately hurt for the finish but he took a pretty nasty fall. Kudos to those involved if it was a work. But at the same time, if it was, the finish brought the match down as well. Not a bad match but a dead crowd and a questionable ending killed its momentum. ★★★¼

John Silver vs David Starr

David Starr has been on a losing streak lately in the Combat Zone. I’m not one to care about these kind of storylines, especially if the person wrestles sporadically for the company. It doesn’t make sense to get invested in it if I don’t know when next I’m going to see the person. This match started off with a bang but it quickly fizzled out. They started off with some mat work and it’s rare to see John Silver in that capacity but the dude can go. I wish they had kept up that pace and style, but it was limited to the first minute. They took the fast-paced, back and forth approach but they were never really able to string together a compelling sequence. Outside of a few cool moments here and there, nothing really seemed to connect and it was hard to get invested in it when the momentum shifted so often. A decent match nonetheless. ★★¾

CZW Wired Title #1 Contendership: MASADA vs Zachary Wentz vs Stockade vs Tim Donst

Like the World Title match, this didn’t feel like it was the high stakes match it should have been. There wasn’t a real sense of urgency given that it was a one-fall match. This felt more like an exhibition four way with an over reliance on contrived sequences rather than story-telling. There was nothing particularly memorable about it either. If this was an exhibition match, maybe my thoughts would have been different. But I felt like they could have taken a better approach. ★★½

CZW Wired Title Match: MJF (c) vs Ace Romero

MJF seemingly blowed up over night and for good reason. He’s a very talented worker and he seems to me finding his stride more and more every month. Ace Romero’s agility is scary for his size. This match didn’t go too long but for the most part it was structurally tight. They never really got out of second gear but MJF’s ‘shit-heel’ chartacter work made this fun to watch. Decent match. ★★¾

Ultraviolent Rules: Danny Havoc vs Alex Colon

This was Danny Havoc’s last match in the Combat Zone against an opponent no one ever expected to succeed in a deathmatch environment. This match was absolutely crazy from start to finish and it kept my attention throughout. Some of the weapons involved carpet strips, a cactus (yes, a cactus) and an exploding barbed wire table. Danny Havoc is one of my favourite deathmatch wrestlers simply because he understands the art of it. His knowledge of psychology is only matched by a few. He just knows when to place certain spots and he adds a certain element of drama to his matches. The appeal to Danny Havoc matches isn’t the grotesque, barbaric spots but rather the way in which he sets it up. Everything had meaning in this match and there was a light tube spot that was basically the deathmatch version of HBK/Taker from Wrestlemania 26. Yeah, that’s how good it was. I can’t think of a better way for Danny Havoc to go out. It was insane, it was bloody, it was emotional- it was ultraviolence. Colon also deserves his fair share of praise for this match. He’s an absolute maniac and has a sound knowledge of how to work this style of match. I don’t think this match would have worked as well with anyone else. These two are just natural born rivals and it was only fitting that this would be Havoc’s last match. Highly recommended. ★★★¾

You can catch the replay of this event at CZW Studios

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