– Me? Less-than-forgiving? Perish the thought, Rick.
– Live from Danbury, CT. Hotbed of wrestling.
– Your hosts are Joey Styles and Cyrus.
– Opening time-waster: Joel’s intro is rebutted by Cyrus, who gets the wittiest bit of the show: The PPV logo by his name is X’d out and “TNN” is written above it. He tells Gertner that the network only keeps him around because he draws the 18-34 gay male demographic. Gertner eventually backs him down, but turns his back and gets punked out. Cute, but is this REALLY going to lead anywhere? They’ve done this, what, four or five PPVs in a row without actually building to any kind of match or segment to draw money.
– Opening mat no, sorry, we’ve got more talking. Now it’s Steve Corino, who bitches out the fans, then finds Lori Fullington and Tyler at ringside and somehow finds about 18 different ways to call her a whore and Tyler a bastard. Gee, Steve, don’t be afraid to tell us what you REALLY think. He drags her into the ring, and Rhino spears her through a table in a nice spot. Sandman saves her and is assumed to have accompanied her back to the hospital. Junk segment to screw us out of another match tonight. What a cheap-ass, bush league bait-and-switch tactic.
– Opening match: Steve Corino v. Dusty Rhodes. 20 minutes in and we get the first match. This is a bullrope match, although thankfully it’s just there as a prop, rather than the “drag to all corners” modifier that it usually is. Corino stalls to start. They hits the floor the blood starts flowing as Rhodes cuts him open with the cowbell. They fight into the crowd, and Rhodes makes his one contribution to the match by blading. Back to the ring, more cow-bellage. Corino goes upstairs and gets yanked off into a chair. Joey brushes off Dusty’s wheezing as “taking a brutal beating”. Right, THAT’S why he’s immobile, because Corino is such a bad-ass. Dusty comes back with a bionic elbow (a move from Dusty! Hallelujah!), then Victory tosses another bell into the ring. The ref (who was apparently beaten up by Corino previous to this) helps tape it to Corino’s head (!), and Dusty smacks it with a chair, and the Big Fat Elbowdrop finishes at 10:12. For THIS I missed Jericho-Malenko 2000? Ã‚Â½* Dusty was about as useful as an overweight senior citizen could be in this sort of match, but if there’s a point to putting him over a guy you’re trying to hype as the future of wrestling, I certainly don’t see it.
– Cyrus announces that Sandman is in the hospital with Lori, and thus is out of the tournament.
– CW Anderson & Beautiful Billy v. Danny Doring & Roadkill. Lou E. does a mega-cheap heat promo before the match (sample of the witty repartee: “You should all shut up when I’m talking!”). Roadkill getsa quick sideslam on Anderson for two. Mini-brawl sends the Dangerous Alliance to the floor, and Doring follows with a rare plancha. Back in, Doring plays face-in-peril. Count me in on the CW Anderson fanclub, but Bill Wiles is a waste of space. And Anderson needs some better muscle definition. Hot tag to Roadkill, and a brawl follows. Nice move as Billy slingshots Doring into an Anderson superkick. Doring gets a Tiger Driver on CW for two. Hart Attack from Doring & Roadkill puts Beautiful Billy down, and Joey proceeds to blow the ending by proclaiming that they’ve all but won the match and will retain their #1 contendership. And of course, it doesn’t happen: Elektra turns on Roadkill, and CW Anderson hits the spinebuster on Doring for the upset pin at 7:22. Match was a decent enough use of 10 minutes. *1/2 I guess that makes Elektra into the new Madusa.
– Impact Players promo. Who keeps letting these people talk? And what exactly does Jason get paid for?
– House show rundowns. Yay.
– Simon Diamond v. Kid Kash. No, wait, here’s Mike Awesome for no adequately explained reason to chase of Diamond and his entourage, leaving
– ECW World title match: Mike Awesome v. Kid Kash. First of all, a gimmick that rips off a one-hit wonder like Kid Rock is going to look about as cool in a few years as PN News’ old matches do today. Anyway, Kid Kash (RIP) has no chance, as Awesome squashes him in short order and finishes with a superbomb through the table at 4:41. Yeah, Awesome’s a bad-ass, we get the point. *
– Jado & Gedo v. Chris Chetti & Nova. Oh good god, it’s Gedo. Of all the people to import from FMW, they had to pick the fatboy and his talentless partner. Maybe Gedo can ruin a Super J tournament over here, too. Nova has his McFarlane Spider-Man groove going tonight (Yeah, I still associate the black costume with the Secret Wars era Spidey rather than Venom, so sue me), as Joey reminds us that Gedo has victories over Jericho, Malenko and Benoit under his belt. Yeah, and Hogan has victories over everyone in wrestling under HIS belt, but that doesn’t make him any good, either. Bunch of disconnected spots to start, until Nova takes a shot from Jado and plays Ricky Morton. Jado gets a belly-to-back superplex for two. Hot tag to Chris “I heard Dusty was here, so I tried his Twinkie diet” Chetti, who dumps Jado on his head with a botched german suplex. Pier-six leads to a superbomb from Jado & Gedo for two. Nova & Gedo do a double-pin thing, and Nova & Chetti’s Title Wave double splash finishes Gedo (Ha ha!) at 7:32. Gedo & Jado don’t mean anything, so neither did the “biggest win of Nova & Chetti’s career” that Joey was hyping. * Match was just a disjointed spotfest.
– Elektra cuts a New Yawker promo and blows off Doring & Roadkill because Paul E. didn’t treat her right years ago or something. Please don’t let her talk anymore.
– TV title tournament semi-final: Super Crazy v. Little Guido. Quick start sees them going into the crowd right away. Crazy hits the quebrada on both of the FBI, but gets caught with a fameasser from Guido back in the ring. Guido hits a powerbomb for two. Back outside, where Crazy takes a fujiwara armbar on the floor, then gets mugged by Big Sal. Back in, Guido clotheslines him for two. Chair gets involved, thus pissing me off because Guido should be above that sort of stuff. Guido takes it to the head and blades off the shot. Sal gets involved, and provides his belt for use as a weapon. Crazy hits a SICK swinging DDT for two. Guido comes back with a top rope fameasser for two. Table gets involved (arrrgh!) and Guido goes through it for two. Guido pancakes Crazy coming off the second rope, for another two. Crazy powerbombs Guido onto the table’s remains and hits a quebrada for two, which Joey interprets as three and declares the match over. Oops. Crazy then does the ACTUAL finish, hitting a largely unnecessary brainbuster on the table’s remains for the pin to advance to the finals at 7:52. Good match, but the unnecessary furniture wrecked it to a certain extent. **1/2
– Funny bit (but not “funny ha-ha”) as Joey sells the video game by having virtual-Joey squash virtual-Cyrus. This was more of the “laughing at” rather than “laughing with” brand of humor.
– Ballz Mahoney v. Kintaro (aka W*ING) Kanemura. Joy. Two minute squash for Ballz, as he no-sells one chairshot (just one?) and hits the Nutcracker Suite for the pin at a brisk 1:57. Ã‚Â½* That was hardly worth the airfare for Kanemura. Da Baldies attack, and of course New Jack makes the save, and ONCE AGAIN, it’s
– Da Baldies v. New Jack. Say it with me: I hit you, you hit me. We go walking into the crowd (just New Jack and Grimes this time) and over to a conveniently-placed scaffolding, where they set up two tables on top of each other. They fight on the scaffold, with both of them clearly not having any kind of secure footing, and then proceed to blow the spot completely, as Jack falls feet-first through the table, and Grimes comes kareening down on top of him, almost breaking both of their necks in the process and missing the tables altogether. The paramedics rush out, and the match stops right there. I’m not even going to rate this bullshit, and if Paul Heyman approved this sick nonsense, then he’s an even bigger asshole that I thought he was. Who in good conscience could allow two people to risk their lives with absolutely no safety precautions on an unprepared scaffolding, without even a piece of plywood for them to get their footing? They were literally SIX INCHES away from both of them being dead on that landing. People might have wrote to me and complained how “anti-climactic” Mick Foley’s fall at No Way Out was, but at least they gimmicked the ring to prevent permanent injury on his part. And then Joey drags my opinion of HIM down a notch as well by comparing Lori Fullington’s worked hospitalization with New Jack’s near-death experience. It’s shit like this that causes me to lose respect for ECW’s management and it’s fans, especially as human beings. If New Jack had snapped his neck and died right there like Owen Hart did, how long would the crowd have chanted “ECW” before they realized exactly what happened, and would they even feel bad about it afterward? I don’t know, and that’s what scares me.
– Let’s get this show over with, please.
– ECW World tag team title: Mike Awesome & Raven v. Tommy Dreamer & Masato Tanaka v. The Impact Players. Joey & Cyrus make shower-room jokes about Jason to wink at the smart fans. Awesome hits the tope con hilo right away on Justin. Dreamer DDTs Raven, but gets powerbombed by Awesome, and Tanaka saves. Storm hits a double-team dropkick on Tanaka for two. Raven & Dreamer fight inside, with everyone else on the floor. Raven uses Dreamer’s face to break off a piece of a table on the second try. Ouch. Tanaka and Awesome go and Tanaka gets the Roaring Elbow for the pin??? Well, that was certainly, uh, sudden. That leaves the Players and Dreamer/Tanaka. Dreamer is bleeding. What is this, a contest tonight? Justin gets a swinging DDT (hey, he almost made contact that time, he’s improving) for two. Dreamer takes a beating for a couple of minutes, and tags in Tanaka. Powerbomb to Storm for two. A double-stunner on Storm and Jason gets two. A top rope stunner on Justin gets two, and meanwhile Storm DDTs Dreamer for two. Tanaka gets the Diamonddust on Justin, but the Impact Players come back with a spike piledriver on Dreamer for the pin and the titles at 8:51, thus putting everything right back where it was two weeks ago and wasting everyone’s time in the process. Match was a huge mess with a hot finish. **
– Cyrus wastes some more time by celebrating with the new champs, but Paul Heyman comes out and swears. A lot. Big payback is promised. FEEL THE EXCITEMENT! SMELL THE BUYRATE! You know, lord knows I’m no expert on the TV ratings system, but I’m pretty sure that Heyman’s use of the phrase “The only place you’re going down is right f*cking here!” while pointing to his crotch is a WEE BIT over the line for TV-14. And so with that buildup, out comes Super Crazy.
– ECW World TV title match: Rhino v. Super Crazy. Crazy goes aerial quickly, but gets caught and slammed. Crowd wants Sandman, but they don’t get him. As a result, the match has no heat because everyone is expecting Sandman to make the big appearance and turn it into a three-way dance. Rhino suplexes him for two. He presses Crazy out of the ring, onto a table. It gets two. Powerbomb gets two. Table gets moved into the ring, but Rhino misses the charge and goes through it. Cross-body gets two for Crazy. He hits the triple moonsault, but the ref is bumped on the way down. A REF BUMP??? Geez, you can usually at LEAST depend on Heyman to avoid hackneyed crap like that. Another table gets involved as Tajiri runs in and takes Super Crazy out. Then MORE interference, as Rob Van Dam and Scotty Riggs come in to help. God, enough already. RVD, on a broken leg, puts Rhino through the table, and Super Crazy moonsaults him for the title at 7:55. Heel beatdown follows, Sandman makes the save, beer is drank, end of show half an hour early. Man, whatever Heyman was shooting for there, the target is in LA and the arrow is in New York. **
The Bottom Line: Sure Paul had lots of injuries to contend with, but he had nearly a month to prepare after he found out about them. He could have stuck a Mikey v. Tajiri match on there, or given more time to the tag title match, or pretty much ANYTHING other than the path he chose.
Can’t go any higher than thumbs down for this one, given the lack of payoff, entertaining matches, good booking or common sense, despite the usual hard work from the participants.