May 1, 2011, Voorhees, New Jersey–Apparently, the third time really was the charm for Tommaso Ciampa, the long-frustrated, two-time East Coast Wrestling Association (ECWA) Super 8 runner up who had suffered finals losses to Nick Logan (2009) and Austin “Consequences” Creed (2010) in years past, casting heavy doubt on his own ability to get the job done. This year, however, in his third attempt at Super 8 glory, Ciampa outlasted the natural acrobatic ability of Rich Swann, the hard-hitting lucha style of Shiima Xion, and an ultra-dangerous Adam Cole Panama Sunrise (Canadian Destroyer) before pinning Cole to finally win the Super 8 championship he has coveted for so long.
“I’m absolutely speechless,” said an exhausted Tommaso only moments after scoring the final pinfall over Cole. “Coming into today, I just couldn’t shake the feeling that this would be my year. The fact that I’ve finally won this trophy just makes the third time all-the-more special.”
From the moment Ciampa walked into the arena for the show’s opening medal ceremony, he had a different kind of demeanor, more serious and certainly had this air he would let nothing slip by him. Even his decision to pick up the coveted trophy just prior to his first-round match against Rich Swann – and the bad luck that should have brought – did not seem to matter on this night. Last year, Ciampa could only watch on from a distance as the man who defeated him in the finals, Austin Creed took home the coveted trophy and signed with WWE only days later. In Ciampa’s mind, it should have been him all along.
This year, Ciampa had other plans.
“I’m disappointed to have not gotten the job done, sure, but I have to tip my hat to Tommaso,” said an exhausted Adam Cole, who had devastated his opponent earlier by sending him crashing to the arena floor after putting him through a table. “As much as people might have seen this Super 8 result coming, I think he was the one who believed it and made it happen all by himself.”
Joining Cole and Ciampa were Austin Aries, who outlasted the less experienced “Beautiful” Bobby Shields for a pinfall victory that would pit the Ring of Honor’s only two-time champion against Cole in a semi-final match, as well as Shiima Xion, who ended SHOCKWAVE The Robot’s year-plus undefeated streak in the ECWA and TWA with a win that would catapult him to a semi-final showdown with Ciampa, a match Xion would ultimately lose.
Also unsuccessful in his bid to defeat Ciampa was Rich Swann, a man who gave the Massachusetts native all he could handle. After kicking out of Swann’s breathtaking Standing 450 Splash, Ciampa recovered enough to hit his Project Ciampa powerbomb into lung-blower for the win.
Then, there was the match many considered to be the match of the night, as Sami Callihan challenged the man who had defeated him the week before at CZW’s Best of the Best tournament – Adam Cole – to a brutal first-round match, one in which Callihan sent Cole flying head-first into the ringside barricade, actually bending the metal gate in the process.
“I’m really proud of these guys. They gave it their all, and you could tell that each and every one of them really wanted to make his case for being the best in the independents today,” smiled Sunny. “The Super 8 and what it does for these guys, it’s really a great thing. I’m so happy for Tommaso Ciampa that his long journey finally paid off.”
In other action, Mr. Ooh La La won a joint ECWA/Tri-State Wrestling Alliance (TWA) battle royal … First Round Matches: Adam Cole pinned Sami Callihan … Austin Aries defeated “Beautiful” Bobby Shields (with Magnum) … Tommaso Ciampa pinned Rich Swann … Shiima Xion defeated SHOCKWAVE The Robot … Team ECWA (Papadon, Chris Wylde, and Team MackTion) defeated Team TWA (Josh Daniels, Damien Dragon, and Matt Saigon) in a four-on-three handicap match, after TWA Heavyweight Champion Breaker Morant was late arriving to the arena … Second Round Matches: Adama Cole defeated Ausin Aries … Tommaso Ciampa defeated Shiima Xion by submission … Ace Darling pinned Aden Chambers … Tommaso Ciampa pinned Adam Cole to win the 2011 Super 8 tournament.