Saturday night's IRON 8 was quite an event and something that our company is very proud of. Everyone involved in the IRON 8 gave an extraordinary effort and are to be congratulated on making a good accounting for themselves.
"The Golden Greek" Alex Arion proved to be the true iron man of the night by winning the IRON 8 tournament. "Die Hard" Eddie Edwards came very close to "three-peating" but narrowly missed when Arion scored the go-ahead fall with just 15 seconds left in the final 4 way match. The fans were solidly behind "The Golden Greek" and it was great to see Alex Arion take home that trophy.
Alex Arion has come a long way since breaking in to wrestling in 1998. First trained by Al Snow, I go back with Alex when he was a rookie in the old Century Wrestling Alliance and later NWA New England. In my not-so-humble opinion, Alex really came into his own when he won the NECW Heavyweight Championship from "Brutal" Bob Evans in March 2002. Alex has always been able to capture the emotions of the fans through good basics and psychology. All he needed was the right spotlight and when he got it, he delivered. Prior to NECW coming on to the scene at that time, no one really pushed local guys. Arion was the first real success of anyone in that role locally and paved the way for everyone who came after him.
I thought the first round match between Arion and Kahagas was a fantastic, hard-hitting match. Kahagas really impressed me this weekend both in the ring and out. There is a guy who could really make an impact in this area, should he ever think about relocating.
I had not seen Julio Dinero since the Tony Rumble days and he was a great addition to our tournament. Julio is a polished pro and one of the most underrated talents in pro wrestling.
Gran Akuma was also a fantastic addition to the IRON 8. Another guy who is just as impressive outside the ring as he is in it, Akuma is a real blue chip talent and someone who has the potential to be a big time player in our business.
I do not own a crystal ball and cannot predict the future with absolute certainty, but if Scott Osbourne does not become a big star in this business somewhere down the road, I will be shocked.
On the other hand, one does not need a crystal ball or lay claim to any sort of future predicting ability to know that "Die Hard" Eddie Edwards is one of the greatest talents in wrestling. Yes, he came up short in this year's IRON 8, but again, Eddie Edwards is someone who is destined for greatness. Edwards is leaving for a European tour soon, which will be a great experience for him and will only serve to add to his already impressive resume.
Speaking of people going overseas, congratulations to Big Rick Fuller who will be going over for New Japan Pro Wrestling this summer. Antonio Thomas will be heading for All Japan later this summer as well.
Sunday's Hot Dog Safari was a great day for everyone associated with it, especially The Joey Fund, which is the beneficiary of the gate proceeds. The event drew over 25,000 fans, which the Hot Dog Safari website claims was the biggest crowd ever.
NECW and World Women's Wrestling presented a nearly 5 hour long combined show which included a 16 man tournament to crown a new NECW Television Champion. The ring area was packed with fans all day long. We've received quite a few e-mails from people who attended, praising our company and looking forward to seeing us in our regular settings.
All of the talent and crew deserve praise for taking part in the event and working hard to put on a fantastic day's event. We had a lot of new faces at the Safari, some of whom are going to be great additions to the NECW roster down the road.
You'll be seeing some of the matches from the Safari over the next several weeks on NECW TV.
I want to take a moment to once again thank Eddie Andelman for his warmth and hospitality this past Sunday. It was also an honor and a pleasure to meet the legendary sportswriter, Frank DeFord, who is heavily involved in the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.
We were blessed to be a part of this truly one-of-a-kind event and look forward to next year.