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COMMENT





Pacific Cup: A History
By JASON CLEVETT -- SLAM! Wrestling


Scotty Mac, left, and American Dragon. -- courtesy Scotty Mac


The Pacific Cup was born in 2000, an idea of ECCW promoter Dave Republic. Since they were bringing in talent from IWA-Japan, ECW and NWA on a regular basis, it made sense to bring in some of the best junior-heavyweights in the world and match them up against the best in Canada. Thus, in 2000, the first Pacific Cup launched.

"We had a lot of good young guys in the area, and we thought we should do a tournament to showcase the junior-heavyweight talent in the Pacific Northwest and Japan. Asian Cougar won the tournament in New Westminister, and we gave him a Cup that went back to Japan. In 2001 we were so busy touring we didn't do a Cup, but we brought it back in 2002," ECCW mainstay and co-promoter Michelle Starr told SLAM! Wrestling.

"We've tried to bring in some of the top talent out there, which is how we got guys like the Ballard Brothers, Christopher Daniels and American Dragon in. That has really allowed our guys to showcase themselves against them," Starr said.

The 2002 tournament holds a special place in the heart of Black Dragon Brett Como, as he fought hard through the three rounds before defeating "The Fallen Angel" Christopher Daniels to win the tournament.

"To win the Cup I had to beat three of the best workers in the business, so it was one of the biggest wins of my career," Como said. "Beating Chris Daniels in the finals was like being on top of the world, seeing as I tagged with him in Japan many times."

In 2003, it was Scotty Mac's turn, wrestling what he calls his "Dream Pacific Cup" against Chance Beckett, Tony Kozina, Dragon and American Dragon Bryan Danielson.

"That was such a feeling of accomplishment. Kozina, Dragon and Beckett, I couldn't have been happier just facing them. They are my three favorite guys to work so it was my dream tournament. Then to add a guy like American Dragon on top of it in the finals was a treat and an experience in itself," Scotty Mac said.

He may not have won a tournament, but NWA Canadian Junior Heavyweight Champion Major Hardway considers just being in all four something to be proud of. "My favorite Cup opponents were definitely Mac, Dragon and Kozina. Just having been in all of the tournaments is something only myself and Dragon have done."

The first Cup for Aaron Idol was in 2003. After hard-fought matches against Dropkick Murphy and White Tiger, he had a chance to step into the ring with American Dragon, considered one of the top junior-heavyweight talents in the world.

"I work very hard, in preparation for every match, however I stepped up my training last year, as the Pacific Cup approached. I train with the idea of making it to the finals, and winning the final match, set in my mind. I do not think there is any chance of winning, if you do not train with the mindset of the winner. With regards to the match itself, I took it very seriously and wrestled as hard as I could," Idol said. "Dragon is a highly touted, well-traveled wrestler, who has garnered respect all over the world, and I was well aware the opportunity I had, stepping in the ring with him. The fact that it was in the semi-finals only made me work that much harder. I am very hard on myself, with regards to my own performance, as I feel that is the only way to improve, and avoid becoming complacent. That night he was the better wrestler, and having given 100%, I feel no shame in admitting that he out wrestled me. He eliminated me, but I definitely gave him the hardest match I had in me. The minute it was over, I knew I wanted another shot at him."

According to Starr, the Cup is when the wrestlers really bring everything they have to the table. "The wrestlers always give an extra 100% the night of the Cup. Everyone looks at it as the show to prove themselves, to show that they deserve to be there. We have people from all over Canada who want to bring themselves to bring in the tournament. It is a really recognizable thing to be a part of."

It is also a favorite of ECCW's rabid fanbase. "The fans look at it as the biggest event of the year, they are placing odds on who will win. They talk about who they want to come in or who could come in every year," said Starr.

Two matches are considered to be not only the greatest matches in the tournament, but two of the best matches the promotion has ever had. The first year's final saw Hardway eliminated early, and Cougar and Kozina proceeded to put on a classic. Three years later Scotty Mac and American Dragon put on a classic.

"My favorite tournament match was American Dragon vs. Scotty Mac. That was a classic match, very hard hitting and back and fourth and was one of the best matches we've ever had in the company," said Starr.

Adam Firestorm agrees. Sad that his streak of participating ends this year, he reflected on what he felt were the standout moments of the past three Pacific Cups. "The final match in 2000 was really something. Only a handful of people in the crowd had ever seen Cougar, thanks to tapes of him from Japan. Not many people knew what to expect, but they put on a match like no other. The place was packed and I can tell you from my own first-hand view that most of the match every single one of those people were on their feet. The entire dressing room was out watching that match. I also have to mention last year's final with Scotty and Dragon. Scott had gone from opening matches to main events within a year, due to hard work and dedication. To see him do go toe-to-toe with a guy who has a reputation like Dragon in the finals and hang with him was great. It is pretty hard to find matches as dramatic as that one in the Northwest these days."

Pacific Cup Results

2000
Quarter-finals
Havoc beat Weed
Private Todd Kelly pinned Count Monsterod Von Hugenstein
Chance Beckett beat Abbadon
Asian Cougar beat Adam Firestorm
Disco Fury beat Nikki Syxx
"Tornado" Tony Kozina pinned Prince Aladdin
Semi-finals
Asian Cougar pinned Chance Beckett
Tony Kozina beat Disco Fury
Havoc beat Private Todd Kelly
Finals
Asian Cougar beat Tony Kozina and Havoc to become 2000 Pacific Cup Champion

2002
Quarter-finals
Rockford and Abbadon fought to a 10 minute draw
"Fallen Angel" Christopher Daniels pinned Adam Firestorm
Private Todd Kelly beat Scotty Mac
Black Dragon beat Shannon Ballard
Havoc beat Shane Ballard
Semi-finals
Christopher Daniels over Havoc
Black Dragon defeated Private Todd Kelly
Finals
Black Dragon pinned Christopher Daniels to become 2002 Pacific Cup Champion

2003
Opening Round
Black Dragon pinned Vance Nevada
Ryan Wood defeated Scott Savage
"Tornado" Tony Kozina beat Adam Firestorm
Major Hardway beat Shannon Ballard
Aaron Idol defeated Dropkick Murphy
American Dragon beat Disco Fury
White Tiger defeated Shane Ballard
Scotty Mac pinned Chance Beckett
Quarter-finals
Black Dragon defeated Ryan Wood by countout
Scotty Mac pinned Tony Kozina
American Dragon beat Major Hardway by Disqualification
Aaron Idol beat White Tiger
Semi-finals
Scotty Mac beat Black Dragon
American Dragon defeated Aaron Idol
Finals
Scotty Mac pinned American Dragon to become 2003 Pacific Cup Champion

For more information on the Pacific Cup and ECCW events visit their official website at www.eccw.com.


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    Jason Clevett is a Calgary-based writer, and can be emailed at j_clevett@hotmail.com.