I keep telling myself it was just a professional wrestling company.
Then I realized I can’t lie to myself.
As of about 10:45 p.m. this past Sunday, Squared Circle Wrestling, or more known more affectionately as 2CW, is no more.
I watched grown men cry in the ring after their final match for 2CW. I saw fans with looks of disbelief. I heard chants that made the hair on my back stand up. I looked around at people who I had the chance to meet, talk to, and call friends for the past five years and realized some of them I may never see again, while others there will always be a bond.
That’s what 2CW did.
It wasn’t just about professional wrestling. We — the fans — were part of it.
2CW isn’t just some independent company — it was an experience.
I’ve seen a few reviews of the final show in Syracuse. Most of what I’ve seen has been amazingly positive. Alas, some people are “experts” and don’t get it. They claim independent shows should all be five-star matches. This show, one showed, was “overbooked.”
They don’t get it.
There were amazing matches that night. There was comedy. There were some missed spots and some misspoken words.
But the night was about 2CW, its history, its fans, and going out on its terms — not for those tuning in for the first time on a free internet show (yes, 2CW did their final show FREE online — something most companies wouldn’t do).
Enough about the bad stuff, though, allow me to give the good — at least from my eyes.
Three shows — Binghamton on a Thursday night, Elmira on Friday, and Syracuse on Sunday. All three delivered in different ways.
What an action-packed card. It featured hometown boy Sean Carr taking on Matt Hardy. What a fantastic match. It also has the Young Bucks and Kenny Omega facing Cheech, Colin Delaney, and Eddie Edwards.
Those two matches are important, too.
First, this was totally 2CW. Doors opened late. Show started late. But damn… it HAD to be that way in Binghamton. A good, solid crowd kept things lively.
Midway through the first half, the 2CW owner Josh came by me and tapped me on the shoulder and had me follow him. It was there he offered me something I’ve always wanted to do — shoot a couple of matches ringside.
I almost turned it down — for two reasons. One, I was loving being in the crowd (front row, of course), and two, I didn’t want to get mauled by being out of place. So, to keep the colorful language aside, basically Josh scolded me (seriously!) and noted how long I have watched wrestling and how I can react. Just go take some (colorful language omitted) pictures.
I’m glad I did. I shot those final two matches and it’s an experience I’ll never forget, and would have regretted if I had never done it. That’s what I’ll truly remember more than anything from this show. Well that and getting the first glimpse of the 2CW commemorative magazine, which I had created for the final three shows.
Binghamton is where I watched my first 2CW show. It’s where I fell in love with the company and what they did each show — and that’s perform at an amazingly high level for the fans.
This one was fun and it’s where I somewhat lost my voice.
Elmira is a different crowd. It’s not so much the rabid 2CW fans, such as in Syracuse or Binghamton. It’s definitely more toward a WWE crowd, hence why they went nuts for Rhyno, Hurricane Helms, and Matt Hardy. Those are the people they know.
This was also a different 2CW card — no intermission was held and the card went straight through.
Still, there were 2CW moments.
My favorite is when Matt Hardy came out to face Sami Callihan for the 2CW championship. But, before I get to that … allow me to backtrack to Binghamton.
When these stars hit indy shows, they are usually the big fan favorite. However, in Binghamton, Hardy faced Carr and the crowd was way behind Carr, thus making Hardy the bad guy. He ate it up, too. He threw his shirt to the crowd a few times, each time having it thrown back.
Fast forward to Elmira.
Hardy comes out as the challenger and in the ring and … for whatever reason … I started chanting “Who the F are you? Who the F are you?”
The 2CW faithful joined in. The rest of the crowd? Not so much. But, even though we were smaller of a group, we were louder. Then when Callihan came out, title in hand, and sat in the corner opposite us, we started chanting “We know him! We know him!”
That got a reaction from Hardy — and that’s where you know he’s an amazing talent with a great sense for the business. So, the shirt came off again and he looked to the crowd and got a feel for where it should go.
And where did he throw it?
He looked right at me and threw it. Boom. There’s no doubt he knew what was going to happen.
Right back in the ring.
My thought process was simple — get it near Callihan and see what happens. So it landed closer to Sami and he went to it, looked at Hardy, looked at the shirt, stepped on it and ripped it before throwing it at Hardy.
The overall event was solid and I’ll walk away there with more magic moments, much like what 2CW always does.
The final card was essentially two, as it was called 2 Sets. One ran for about 2 1/2 hours, the other around three and change.
That’s a lot of wrestling.
And despite it being hot in the Pastime Athletic Club, and being crammed in, it was electric. There were only a few matches that didn’t seem to have super chemistry. But overall, it was simply amazing.
The throwbacks were awesome, especially to those of us who may have followed 2CW for a long time, but still didn’t know some of those who competed in the early days.
I’ve seen a lot of 2CW events that were great — but this is probably the best one I’ve ever seen.
The talent was amazing. The swerves were great. The surprises were “OMG” worthy. The fact that Josh pulled out all the stops with this card was something I’ll never forget.
I wouldn’t even want to think about my favorite match as I don’t think I could pick one.
The chants throughout the night were fantastic. People definitely lost their voices. AR Fox did a flip off a basketball rim into the crowd. There was some blood in the main event. Spike Dudley — a longtime supporter of 2CW as he was a mainstay in the early days, returned to be in the main event.
And then it was over.
People hugged one another and shook hands. There were some who had tears. Some took photos. Some chatted with others, or wrestlers who came out. Some even left when things ended. Others went downstairs into the bar and shared cocktails with wrestlers who stuck around.
The night ended in such an amazing way. All the wrestlers and others in the ring as Josh spoke to the crowd, thanking who he could, as the crowd broke off into “Thank you Josh” and “2CW” chants.
I guarantee I’ll never experience something like 2CW again. I’m sure there will be great independent wrestling cards I attend. There will be amazing talent. Hell, I’m sure I’ll see a lot of these guys wrestle elsewhere.
But there will never be another 2CW. That’s fact.
For those who experienced 2CW, you know what it was all about. You can relate to what you saw and what unfolded. To those who only look at it as some other independent wrestling show, it’s a shame you didn’t get a chance to truly feel what it was all about. There’s a reason why wrestlers came back again and again.
While a professional wrestling show should mainly be about the in-ring aspect, there are so many other things that make the show great. You need a mix on a card. It can’t just be match after match full of spots. That doesn’t give people the chance to breathe.
And, honestly, it’s not believable.
I’m still old school in that regard. I cheer for good guys. And though I know what wrestling is all about, when I am there, I want to believe.
2CW made me do that.
The best way to show that? Watertown. Sami Callihan, back on the independent scene, makes a surprise appearance and beats the champion — one who had chased the belt for a year. As a fan of the wrestler (Sean Carr) and a friend, it took me way off guard. I was mad. At that moment — all was real.
The owner later told me he watched my reaction as it happened. And why? Because he knew there would be a reaction with that result.
This company easily drew you into their storylines or rivalries. It made you want to cheer or want to boo the people in the ring.
2CW, simply put was special.
For those who did experience it, these memories — the magic — will last with you forever. The legacy of what was 2CW will go on for many years to come. And in the end, that’s what it’s all about. A rabid fan base who were passionate about this company and who chanted up until the end … the way it should be.
Feel free to leave a comment, or e-mail P.J. at email@example.com. Also, please “Like” HooHaa Blog on Facebook!