Friday, 24 February 2012

Basso's Top 5 Pacifc Cup moments from 2010-2011

2012 Pacific Cup poster
Besides Halloween Hell, the Pacific Cup is ECCW's biggest blockbuster event. While, Halloween Hell is almost a throwback to the attitude era, with violence and grit... the Pacific Cup is based around pure wrestling talent but brings the same size crowds and just as much entertainment. Wrestlers from Oregon, Washington, Alberta & B.C. all take part for their chance to become the next star of the Pacific Northwest. My first Pacific Cup experience was back in 2010 and it was memorable to say the least. Since then things have changed. The Pacific Cup has now become a 2-day wrestlefest, split between back-to-back dates in Surrey and Vancouver. All weight limitations have been lifted, meaning any and all competitors are welcome. The one main thing that hasn't changed... is that ANYTHING can happen.  It's a major wrestling tournament and I will pay tribute to it the only way I know how.

I have sat down and recapped my favourite 5 Pacific Cup moments since I started attending ECCW shows over the past 2 years and have come up with the following:

Honourable Mention: Nicole Matthews enters Pacific Cup tournament for the 2nd time in 2011

Matthews vs Suede - Pac Cup 2011

Wrestlers over a certain weight aren't allowed in the Pacific Cup. However, members of the opposite sex apparently are. While it wasn't her first year in the tournament (she fought Artemis Spencer back in 2009)... ECCW Supergirls Champions Nicole Matthews inserted herself in to the 2011 edition of the competition. While her qualification match with Chuck Awesomesauce should be buried and never spoken of again, Nicole engaged in a very lively quarterfinal contest with former partner, Brilliant Billy Suede. Matthews was eliminated by Suede but it was still a breath of fresh air to have a supergirl involved. Especially since it is Nicole Matthews, who, in my opinion is a better worker than half of the men in the promotion. I never believed she would win it, but she was atleast a believeable competitor in the tournament.

5. Nick Price defeats Jamie Diaz in Pac Cup qualifier

Price vs Diaz in 2011 Pac Cup Qualifier
This is the only selection on my list that didn't actually take place at a Pacific Cup event. It was a Pacific Cup qualifier at TLC VI in March of 2011. Both guys laid everything they had on the line. Egos & Icons (Price & Diaz's former stable) had just split for good, with Price coming out as the bad guy. After slapping around his former butler Chuck Awesomesauce for a bit, Price was finally confronted by Diaz. The two had a great match. Though it may have been a bit of a spotfest, both competitors had an emotional bout and it made for a good show. Of all of the matches Price or Diaz have wrestled... this is probably my favourite for both of them. Price emerged victorious and moved on in the tournament only to exit in the next round. Friends outside the ring, enemies inside the squared circle... it just made for a good Pac Cup 2011 moment.

4. Kyle O'Reilly returns to defeat Scotty Mac at Pac Cup 2011

O'Reilly returns at 2011 Pacific Cup
If there is one man who knows the Pacific Cup, it's probably Ring of Honor star Kyle O'Reilly. He was a runner up 3 times (2006, 2008, 2010) a semi-finalist in 2011 and a winner in 2007. At the 2011 edition of the Pacific Cup, Kyle O'Reilly returned after a long absence from his time spent in ROH. He proceeded to have one of the finer wrestling matches seen in an ECCW ring with who else but Scotty Mac. In the opening bout of the night, Kyle O'Reilly & Scotty Mac put on a wrestling clinic for wrestling fans of all walks. O'Reilly emerged victorious but was eliminated in the semi-finals by Artemis Spencer, for the second year running. Nonetheless his return started off the show with a bang and reminded everyone that Kyle O'Reilly is a Pacific Cup legend.

3. Bishop & Kenny Lush collide at Pac Cup 2011

This is the only match on my list that wasn't a Pacific Cup Tournament match. One of the major changes to this year's edition of the Pacific Cup is that there are no weight limitations. Since the inception of the tournament, participants must be qualified Junior Heavyweights to enter. Since ECCW has now abolished all weight classes and title belts, the Pac Cup is a one-size-fits-all tournament. 2011 was the last year to house these limitations... but it didn't stop Bishop and Kenny Lush from almost tearing the Russian Community Centre in to pieces.

Bishop vs Lush at 2011 Pacific Cup
 In what can only be described as an actual fight, heavyweights Bishop and Lush proceeded to hit eachother about as hard as staged wrestling allows. It was a potato harvest. It genuinenly looked as if these guys were trying to hurt eachother (Though I'm sure with the talent of both men, neither had a bruise afterwards) After 7 minutes of the realest looking "wrestling" you'd ever seen, these two left the ring to a ruckus applause from the RCC faithful. They weren't chucking themselves around like cruiserweights with a trophy on the line, but I'll be damned if they don't get the props they are certainly due for a balls-to-the-wall display like the one those two men shared at Pac Cup 2011. It was a hard hitting affair worthy of any Top 5 ranking.

2. Artemis Spencer defeats El Phantasmo in 2010 Pac Cup semi-finals

This is probably what drew me to ECCW in the first place. The 2010 Pacific Cup and in particular, the performance of Artemis Spencer. I had started consistently attending ECCW shows in early 2010 but this was my first blockbuster ECCW event. After witnessing opening matches including Billy Suede, Kyle O'Reilly, Memphis and the like... I knew I was in for a night to remember. The one match that stole the whole entire show was Artemis Spencer vs El Phantasmo.

Artemis Spencer wins 10th annual Pacific Cup in 2010
 Former partners turned rivals, this match had just about everything. The finest high flying you will ever see. Some fine mat and chain wrestling. False finishes. This match is still to this day in my top 3 ECCW matches of all time. It was just a work of art that left the audience in awe. The funniest part is that this was a semi-final. It blew the main event out of the water, which included Spencer AND Kyle O'Reilly. It was a breathtaking encounter which I'm almost positive gave Artemis Spencer that 'boost' he needed. Spencer had been toiling in The Church for a while, but with this victory and the eventual 2010 Pac Cup title, Spencer grew out of the shadow and become his own man. Fast forward almost 2 years and he now holds one of the more prestegious titles in the promotion and defends it on a regular basis. This match is a perfect example of what the Pacific Cup can do for an invidividual.

1. RICK becomes first alternate competitor to win Pac Cup in 2011.

One thing that hasn't changed about the Pacific Cup is the 'Alternate contender' rule. In case of an injury to a Pac Cup entrant, ECCW assigns a designated replacement who waits on stand by to replace the injured wrestler. While this 'Alternate contender' has been used in past Pacific Cups, it never really came in to play. That is, until 2011. RICK, formerly known as Rick the Weapon X had recently turned heel after years of being sluffed of by the fans. After being excluded from the 2011 Pacific Cup tournament, RICK (a runner up in 2009) was assigned the role of alternate contender on the night of the event.

RICK wins 2011 Pacific Cup
 After El Phantasmo defeated Billy Suede in the semi-finals to ensure his spot against 2010 champ Artemis Spencer in the finals, a strange occurance took place. During Phantasmo's lengthy post match celebration, a masked individual (who strangely resembled RICK) came through the crowd and beat down El Phantasmo rendering him out of action for the finals. With ECCW management unable to prove his involvement in the attack, RICK naturally filled Phantasmo's spot. RICK managed to pull off a shock upset victory over Artemis Spencer to become the 2011 Pac Cup champion and become the only alternate contender to do so. The decision stood as ECCW management were never able to prove the controversial masked attacker was RICK. It was the perfect swerve. Just as it seemed we were set for a repeat of the 2010 semi-final classic between El P & Spencer, ECCW creative threw us a curve ball. Probably the finest swerve ECCW has ever orchestrated.

The only disappointing thing about this was the fact that we never got to see the aftermath. Unfortunately, just as RICK's heel character was picking up some real steam after his 'theft' of the 2011 Pac Cup, he was summoned back to his homeland of Australia to deal with personal matters. Part of me still naively hopes to see RICK's face pop out of the ECCW curtain at every show as a special surprise. Still no luck.

Hopefully the 2012 edition of the Pacific Cup brings us just as many memorable moments and matches!

The 2012 Pacific Cup takes place February 24th & 25th.

For more information visit, ECCW's Facebook page or follow them on Twitter at @ECCW

To contact me email or follow me on Twitter at @CDBasso

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