Pacific Cup 2005: The Future Is Here.
Passion. It’s a word often thrown around in the world today. Much like the words ‘Love’ and ‘Hate’. When used constantly to describe things or people or moments in time, their acute applicability becomes somewhat mired. But if there is one word, in its truest and purest form, that I could use to describe the 2005 Pacific Cup, it would be ‘Passion’. Follow swiftly by ‘Determination’.
The 2005 Pac Cup was once again a 2 day proceeding. It marked the Pacific Cup debut of a man who will be making his return to ECCW for this years Pac Cup, Davey Richards. Also in the brackets for the tournament were “Jumpin’” Jesse Jimenez, T. Kasaki, JJ Perez, Puma, and a returning “American Dragon” Bryan Danielson. These grapplers would put their skills to the test against ECCW mainstays Memphis Raines, MR2, Black Dragon, the defending Pac Cup champion Scotty Mac, Chance Beckett and a grappler who had improved by leaps and bounds since his previous outing in this competitive meat grinder called the Pacific Cup Tournament, Aaron Idol.
After Pac Cup 2004, something clicked for Aaron Idol. Since his debut on ECCW shows he had quickly become one of my favourite guys to watch. To see him back then, he was very unassuming. He’d come out to the ring in a t-shirt with the sleeves cut off, he had long greasy-looking hair and his ever faithful companion, a steel chair, was always in tow. But he would put on some of the fastest paced matches I had ever witnessed live. He had a very memorable feud with Backyard Billy, and later White Tiger, that thrilled me and my friends. When those two were on the card we were sure not to miss it. The White Tiger/Aaron Idol feud culminated in a Mask vs Chair match to be contested under Tables, Ladders and Chairs match rules. Idol’s chair was hung from the ceiling of the Bridgeview Hall. Idol ultimately lost the battle but, when he swung his chair (which he had previously NEVER used as a weapon) and crushed the Tiger’s skull with it, he won the war. He got a hair cut, he got in great shape and got rid of that no-sleeve t-shirt. His style became more aggressive and hard-hitting. He became the reason many people would come to ECCW events. Leading up to the 2005 Pac Cup, though Scotty Mac was the reigning Pacific Cup Champion, Aaron Idol seemed to be the one to beat.
In the opening round on Day 1, Aaron Idol defeated Memphis Raines to advance to the semi finals at the Croatian Cultural Centre in Vancouver the next night. In a shocking turn of events, our 2003 Pac Cup Champion Scotty Mac lost in the opening round but, he lost to a formidable opponent with whom had a storied past, the Black Dragon. Also in opening round action were two guys that I have admired and enjoyed watching from the first time i saw them in a ring: “American Dragon” Bryan Danielson vs Chance Beckett. I was going to be happy no matter who won. It was AmDrag that moved on. Having lost in the finals the year before, he was determined to make his mark on history as the winner of the 2005 Pacific Cup. And with him sporting “The World’s Sexiest Beard” and wearing a hooded cloak to the ring that year, it looked like that goal was within his grasp.
The semi finals brought us the battle of the New Japan Dojo as Puma and Davey Richards took each other to the mat. Both of them had been spending time training down in Los Angeles at New Japan’s training facility there. It was a quick paced, stiff contest. When the smoke cleared it was the young, masked Puma that had his hand raised. The semi finals also offered a rare opportunity for the fans to witness a showdown between two dragons: “The American Dragon” Bryan Danielson vs Black Dragon. On this night, it appeared that “The World’s Sexiest Beard” proved to be to much for Black Dragon to handle but, who could blame him? That thing was GLORIOUS! Aaron Idol also bested his opponent, APW standout, JJ Perez. And therein we had our final match for the evening, and what a match it was.
Puma vs Bryan Danielson vs Aaron Idol. Idol’s style had developed into strong, striking and grappling, quite heavily influenced by Japanese wrestling. There were no tougher opponents for him to meet in the finals than two men who had been touring Japan and were well versed in their interpretation of professional wrestling. This match was 30 minutes a beautiful carnage. A main even worthy of any arena, anywhere in the world. After eliminating Puma from the Three Way Dance style matchup, it was a thunderous top rope Backdrop Suplex that dazed Danielson long enough for Aaron Idol to get the victory and become the 5th gladiator to hoist the Pacific Cup trophy high. Idol had trained hard, fought hard and after only 4 years in wrestling he had defeated two of the best the world had to offer.
Passion. Determination. Aaron Idol.
Onwards we go to the 2006 Pacific Cup. A curious set up it was for that one. Just another example of the constant evolution of one of the most prestigious tournaments in independent wrestling. We’ll see you back here tomorrow for more ECCW history.