Friday, June 23, 2017

Pacific Cup 2004: Flip, Flop and Fly

 For one to truly appreciate a moment of brilliance and bliss, they must experience a dark day to provide them with contrast.  It has been said that the 2004 Pacific Cup tournament was that shadowy day.


On the back of such a successful and exciting tournament the year before, I went into the Bridgeview Hall in Surrey with high hopes and even higher expectations.  “How are they gonna top last year?” I remember asking my friend as we waited outside the venue for the doors to open.  Someone in the lineup overheard me and said “Have you seen Jack Evans before?  He’s gonna blow your mind!”  I saw a few heads nodding in agreement.  Seeing as I had, in fact, NOT seen or heard of Jack Evans before this night, I was excited to see what he’d bring to the tournament that would ‘wow’ me more than Christopher Daniels had in 2002 or Bryan Danielson had in 2003.  It appeared that, as far as wrestlers that traveled to Surrey for the tournament that year, Mr. Evans was the one to watch.  He had apparently been making waves in Ring of Honor around that time as a tremendous high flier so he seemed like the perfect fit for this junior heavyweight round robin.


Along with Evans, Ryan Wood and JD Michaels were also brought in.  As far as talent goes, these guys belonged in the tournament.  Though, I do remember having real trouble getting past JD Michaels’s insistence in trying to be SHAWN Michaels in every way.  I do believe he claimed to be Shawn’s nephew or some such nonsense.  He fought Scotty Mac in the opening round and I was impressed with the match itself.  JD made a believer out of me by the end of it even though it was a losing effort as Scotty advanced to the semi finals.


Tony Kozina was back in action at the 2004 Pacific Cup showing everyone why he was the NWA World Junior Heavyweight Champion.  He defeated Aaron Idol in the opening round.


What I remember most about the 2004 Pacific Cup Tournament was, indeed, Jack Evans.  Though, I’m not sure it’s for the reasons I thought I would.  Evans beat Ryan Wood in the opening round.  He then moved on to the semi finals against “Tornado” Tony Kozina.  After seeing some of his aerial antics in the opening match I was curious to see how he would match up with Kozina who had been one of the forebears of high flying in the pacific northwest.  As it turned out, any time Evans was given an inch, he would find some way to jump in the air and do something twisty or flippy.  Over and over again.  Though at first it was exciting to see that for Jack Evans gravity was less a law and more of a polite suggestion, I couldn’t help but think maybe he should join the Olympic diving team and leave wrestling alone.  The penultimate moment of that match was an Overdrive from Kozina on Evans (a version of the swinging neckbreaker where the one receiving it has his back to the mat before the swinging begins.  That’s probably a lousy explanation hey?).  When Tony hit the move, I though we had witnessed the death of Jack Evans.  It looked absolutely brutal.  Kozina had been working Jack’s neck for most of the match and that looked like the final nail in coffin.  Kozina went for the pin but Evans kicked out!  I was flabbergasted.  Evans was somehow able to get Kozina down on the mat and, holding his neck and me fearing he was almost paralysed, he hit the ropes, jumped in the air and did some kind of double twisting flippy thing that caught Tony hard enough to keep him down for the 3.  I couldn’t believe it!


Evans went on to face Scotty Mac and Major Hardway in the finals of the tournament with Hardway winning the 2004 Pacific Cup trophy.  But for his performance in the tournament, Jack Evans has been forever renamed Mista Flippa by myself and my friends that were in attendance that night in honour of his constant need to flip, flop, twist and spin.  Mista Flippa, we salute you!  Now everyone, do a backflip!  Jack Evans has gone on to do some great stuff in Mexico, for Wrestling Society X on MTV and in TNA.


(Honourable Mention: This also happened to be the Pacific Cup debut of The Amazing Halo, perhaps better known now as Artemis Spencer)


Next we move on to another one of my favourite tournaments of the first decade of Pac Cup action, Pacific Cup 2005.  Don’t just sit Idol-y by, (see what I did there?) join me tomorrow for more great memories.  And don’t forget to get your tickets to Pacific Cup 2013.

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