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Thursday, October 4, 2012 @ 10:40pm EDT

It was an announcement that shocked all of us in the Combat Zone as well as the world of professional wrestling. Via his Facebook page, JOKER declared that he was retiring from professional wrestling. A warrior both in & out of the ring, Joker waged some of the fiercest battles in the history of CZW. It is with that in mind we have decided to pay tribute to "The Cambodian Axe Murderer".
The first time I remember seeing Joker in action in CZW is at "Cage of Death V" in 2003. Anyone who was at the event or has watched it will remember his legendary ladder match with the late Chri$ Ca$h. There are many, myself included, who feel this match redefined what a ladder match should be in professional wrestling. A short time later in the early months of 2004, Joker joined up with the original incarnation of BLK-OUT & helped to establish the stable as a dominant force in CZW. Shortly before "Trifecta Elimination II" Joker answered the call of his country & went to fight in the war in Iraq. Before leaving, he took on CZW founder John Zandig in a deathmatch which saw interference from his stablemates. Wanting to set things right, Joker made a one night return to the Combat Zone at "Night of Infamy III", siding with Team Ca$h against his former cohorts.

Joker made yet another shocking return to the Combat Zone in 2005 at "Tournament of Death IV", assisting Zandig in his match against members of BLK-OUT in a fans bring the weapons handicap match. He would not be seen again until "Night of Infamy IV". Wearing his army fatigues, Joker cleared the ring and battled the team of Zandig & the H8 Club the following month at "Cage of Death VII". Joker would get his first taste of championship gold in 2006, winning his first CZW World Tag Team Championship at "Seven Years Strong: Settling the Score". Joker held the championship until August. After Eddie Kingston was excommunicated from BLK-OUT, Joker took a hiatus from CZW.

Nearly a year later, Joker surprised the wrestling world by returning to CZW at "Best of the Best VII" & winning the tournament. After rejoining BLK-OUT, Joker went on to win the Ironman Championship from current CZW Owner DJ Hyde at "Night of Infamy VI". The reign would be short lived, as he lost it 2 months later. After a hiatus from wrestling, Joker returned to CZW again in September to honor Chri$ Ca$h. Once again answering the call of duty, Joker left CZW to fight for the country.

Almost 2 years passed before Joker returned to CZW at "Home Sweet Home" in 2010. Joker reunited with Blk-Jeez to form Philly's Most Wanted. Their goal was the vacated CZW World Tag Team Championship. The pair won the straps that year at "Cage of Death XII". The celebration would be short lived as the team found themselves in the cross-hairs of the returning Briscoe Brothers, losing the belts at early in 2011 at "Twelve", Philly's Most Wanted would regain them at "Proving Grounds" & hold successfully hold them up until "Night of Infamy: Ultimatum".

After losing his match at "An Excellent Adventure", the final CZW event at the Asylum Arena, Joker wouldn't be seen in CZW again until "New Heights". Emerging from the crowd, he made it clear that he wanted a shot at Masada's CZW World Championship. The two would wage a battle so fierce at "Tangled Web V" all over the Flyers Skate Zone that they wound up being counted out. In a fit of rage, Joker wrapped referee Kris Levin around a ring post & knocked out CZW Vice President Maven Bentley. The attacks led to Joker being suspended. During this suspension, Joker wasn't seen on either of CZW's September live events. It was shortly after "Redemption" that Joker announced his retirement.

Whether you loved him or hated him, there is no denying Joker's work ethic & ability to command respect. And it is with that in mind that we say thank you. Thank you for some of the most incredible moments in the history of the Combat Zone. Thank you for your service to the country. We wish you nothing but the best in your life & endeavors.

Written for by CJ Becker


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