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From The Press Box
Tuesday, April 5, 2011 @ 09:43am EDT


Who Will Be Best of the Best?

As the Combat Zone gears up for the most prestigious tournament of the year, one of the many questions floating around the CZW Offices as of late is who the Combat Zone staff thinks will take home this year's Best of the Best X trophy and become the 10th man to win the tournament.  Despite the many hours of preparation it is taking to make this weekend's events successful, we have decided to take time out of our schedules to answer the question and offer insight on our picks.

Dan Cowhey:  JONATHAN GRESHAM – When I first started to think about this subject I found it hard to make a decision.  When I arrived here to start my duties with CZW, I arrived the same day Akuma did.  I have just been impressed with his undefeated streak he has going into Best of the Best X.  However, Akuma’s “Achilles’ heel” may be the woman who brought him here…  Kimber Lee.  That’s why I can’t fully put my “support” behind Akuma, as Kimber Lee may try to inject herself too many times and that may cost her “Warrior” the trophy.  However, the other man who has been quite impressive in the weeks leading up to the tournament is Jonathan Gresham.  I see Gresham as that workman’s hero; he works hard and never gives up.  That attitude may be enough to get him that trophy.  Gresham may have the hardest first round as he has to take on Akuma and wXw’s entry, Zack Sabre Jr..  Akuma is the man who stole Gresham’s first opportunity back at Cage of Death.  Akuma then took away Gresham’s second shot a month later.  That personal vendetta may be enough to take Gresham right through the first round and eventually into the finals!  But I still worry about the third entry in that match, Zack Sabre Jr..

Jake Black:  BRANDON GATSON – My natural instinct is to pick the CZW Junior Heavyweight Adam Cole to win the 10th Best of the Best as it would be a beautiful scene to close out the tournament with Cole having the Best of the Best trophy in one arm and the best trophy girlfriend in the world, Mia Yim in his other arm. Sadly I don’t see it ending up like that.

For all the talent, both homegrown and international stepping foot in the ring during Best of the Best, one athlete really sticks out to me and that’s Brandon Gatson. Gatson has made a name for himself with his acrobatic stunts on the west coast, but April 9th will become the biggest test of his career when he has a chance to make a big splash on the east coast in front of the most demanding audience in the world.

Whether I personally like his attitude or not isn’t the issue here. What I see is an athlete with a hunger in his eyes and fire in his belly ready to make a name for himself on the biggest platform of his career. Best of the Best belongs to Brandon Gatson, April 9th in Philadelphia will be his breakout performance.

***And if, somehow, I’m wrong here, my safety pick is former CZW Junior Heavyweight Champion Chuck Taylor. Taylor is just such a loveable dick how can you not want to see him win Best of the Best?

Salamander Jones:  SAMI CALLIHAN – I have to go with CZW's "Little Monster", Sami Callihan. Personal issues aside, I'd bet money that when it's all said & done, Callihan will be the one with another impressive accolade to add to his resume.

I may not think too highly of Callihan as a person, but there's no denying he's a great competitor. Just think about it: Callihan has made it to the finals of every major tournament he has competed in and recently won both the Peterson Cup & the 16 Carat Tournament. If that's not momentum, then I don't know what is.

There are a lot of things that can be said of Callihan. He is dangerous. He is vicious. He is psychotic. He is focused. He is determined. And if you ask me, on April 9th, he is going to be the 10th Best of the Best Champion.

Chris Methods:  ADAM COLE – So similar to my esteemed friend Jake Black…  While my heart wanted to go with the ultra-talented Jake Crist there is no way any CZW original will allow an outside force to win this prestigious tournament. I'm not going to go out on a limb at all. That is due to the fact that Adam Cole is on the biggest roll in the Combat Zone today. Momentum means a lot in a tournament setting, just ask little known Virginia Commonwealth about that fact. With Ty Hagen and ghosts of his past firmly placed in the rear view mirror, Cole is ready to become a star. Adam is looking to follow in the footsteps of former Best of the Best winners Ruckus, B-Boy, and Robert Anthony, who all went on to become CZW World Champions. While his first round bracket is extremely tough with Johnny Gargano and Kyle O'Reilly as opposition, Cole has the secret weapon. No I am not talking about CZW Bombshell Mia "Yum Yum" Yim, although they both graduated from the school of win at all costs. No Adam Cole will win Best of the Best X because he needs it to feed his enormous ego. He has to be the man in CZW with the brightest spotlight, showing himself as the biggest star in CZW history. Never before have I seen a man KNOW with every fiber of his being that he will rocket straight to the top, and we should all count ourselves lucky to watch him takeoff.

Rob Naylor:  A.R. FOX – This tournament is A.R. Fox's to win. This young athlete has come this close to winning the big one time and time again in CZW and I see him finally grabbing the proverbial brass ring at Best of the Best X at the Asylum Arena. Fox has wowed CZW crowds for well over a year with his jaw-dropping athleticism and he's never had a bigger stage to showcase his skills than on April 9th. He's consistently one Ace Crusher away from a three count. However, his bracket is indeed a tough one, as IPW's Jake Crist is also coming to BOTB with something to prove and Sami Callihan has been completely on fire of late. AR Fox must realize that there is no better way to make a statement than to beat one of CZW's top dogs in Sami Callihan and I'm thinkin' upset here. After the first round, Fox could go head up with a number of different people depending on how things shake down, but I for one, would love to see Fox get one more shot at Adam Cole in the tournament, just to avenge his BOTB loss to the pompous CZW Junior Heavyweight champ.

Nate Stein:  DAISUKE SEKIMOTO – When you say "Best of The Best", there's one person among the field of competitors on April 9 that stand out, Big Japan's Daisuke Sekimoto. Oh yeah, did I forget to say ALSO current wXw Unified World Heavyweight champion, former Big Japan World Heavyweight champion and multiple time Tag Team champion, and a Japanese television star? He is a legitimate WORLD competitor.

Seikimoto is also recognized in Japan as one of the country's TOP technical wrestlers...and the amount of gold he's carried around his waist prove his in-ring ability.

In the first round alone, while I recognize the abilities of Brandon Gatson and Chuck Taylor (or should I say more "antics" of Chuck Taylor), Sekimoto is not going to allow himself to be put in a position to be one-upped by anyone...to put in question his ability to hold onto wXw gold...or his legitimacy of being a top world-wide wrestling superstar.

CJ Becker:  AKUMA – When you look at the field of twelve, one man stands out above all.  Since returning to the Combat Zone late last year, he has been undefeated and easily destroyed all who have challenged him for his spot in the tournament.  Defeating young Kit Osbourne in a little over a minute to qualify for Best of the Best, holding multiple victories over another competitor in his bracket in Jonathan Gresham, humiliating "Tournament of Death IX" winner Scotty Vortekz, and most recently sending Ty Hagen out of the Asylum Arena on a stretcher, “The Warrior” Akuma looks to be the odds on favorite to win this year's Best of the Best.  To get past the first round, he must survive Gresham and wXw's Zack Sabre Jr..  With the beautiful and dangerous Kimber Lee by his side, Akuma is going to be next to impossible to defeat.  Of everyone to enter, one warrior will survive.  I firmly believe the 2011 Best of the Best winner will be Akuma.

We've weighed in.  Who do YOU, the CZW faithful, think will be the man to take home this year's trophy and find himself one step closer to greatness?  You can vote now right here at CZWrestling.com.  Then, be sure to order your tickets at the CZW Pro Shop to witness the action live in person or the iPPV Stream from our partners at HybridENT.tv!




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