– Live from Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
– Your hosts are Joey Styles & Cyrus, although it takes a while for Cyrus to do his customary booting of Joel Gertner from the announce position. As another note, the opening was REALLY bush-league, as Joey and Joel were left hung out to dry by the production team, with nothing to do but stand around after Joel’s schtick, before lamely leaving the ring and heading to the announce position. It’s stuff like this that keeps them from achieving that #2 position they’re always bragging about.
– Opening match: Ballz Mahoney v. Masato Tanaka. Ballz gets a ridiculously long intro, running through the entire song. Cyrus finally makes his appearance here, getting Kintaro Kanemura to choke Joel out, which looked pretty bad. Silly hammerlock sequence to start goes nowhere. Both head over the top and they brawl for a bit. Tanaka hits a tornado DDT on the rampway, and we do the dueling chairs. 3 shots to Tanaka gets two. Superkick to the chair gets two for Ballz. Ballz gets a bunch of chairs, but takes a tornado DDT on them for two. That was pretty contrived, but the payoff looked cool. Roaring Elbow misses, and Ballz hits a Michinoku driver for two. Diamonddust gets two for Tanaka. Nutcracker Suite on the chair pile gets two. Geez, that hurts. Legdrop misses, and the Roaring Elbow hits for two. Wow. Flying chairshot from Tanaka nearly kills Ballz, but he stays on his feet. Another Roaring Elbow is enough to finish at 9:13. Surprisingly brutal and solid opener. ***1/4
– Lance Storm gives us a look at the intense Canadian inside him, pointing out that Justin always has backup, including “Scott and Kevin in New York”. I’m personally hoping he heads to the WWF and joins the legions of Canadians currently killing each other for my pleasure and/or delivering funny interviews.
– Simon Diamond v. Mikey Whipwreck v. Little Guido. Mikey does crazy really well, and the new theme (with the Minister’s laughing mixed in) is pretty cool. Nice triple sequence to start, leading to Simon getting a triple suplex on Guido for two. Mikey & Simon cooperate to chair Guido, giving Simon a two-count. The lights then go out, because it wouldn’t be ECW without a bush league production error. So we wrestle in darkness with a spotlight providing the light. The entire Simon entourage gets involved in a trainwreck spot. Back in, Guido gets two on Mikey from that. Simon with a rydien bomb on Guido for two. Mikey superkicks Simon for two, then a Whippersnapper finishes him. Mikey then pulls out the most jaw-dropping finisher I’ve seen in months, starting from a Pedigree position, then hoisting Guido on his shoulders like a backbreaker while still holding the arms, spinning around a few times, and dropping him back to the mat, completing the Pedigree. Just awesome. The bad part of it is that it only gets two. Weak ending follows as Sal interferes, takes a fireball from Mikey, and Guido hits the tomikaze on Mikey for the pin at 7:07. Good fast-paced action for the most part, although the ending was bad. **1/2
– Justin-UH Credible-UH does-UH his-UH best-UH Triple-H-UH interview-UH to show us how intense he is.
– Kid Kash v. CW Anderson. Bunch of stuff with Jazz happens at the beginning, but since I don’t care about Jazz we’ll skip over that. Highlight is Elektra being stripped down to nothing but a piece of string. Kash hits a tope on both members of the Dangerous Alliance and we’re underway. Paul Heyman would be NUTS not to get Bobby Eaton for this angle YESTERDAY. Kash gets a rana and dropkick, and CW bails. Back in, CW counters a rana with a powerbomb. CW tosses Kash and Billy dishes out some abuse. Kash gets a nice springboard bodyblock for two. Moonsaultpress is stopped by Anderson and reversed to an interted suplex for two. Powerslam for two. Blind charge misses and the Alliance interference backfires. CW still gets a superkick for two, but Kash finishes him with a botched top-rope rana at 6:00 Too much Kash and not enough CW, but it was still a decent little match. **
– RVD is ready, and oh yeah, HE TRUSTS SCOTTY ANTON COMPLETELY. Oh man, as if we couldn’t all see this coming from 10 miles away as it is
– The Baldies v. Danny Doring & Roadkill v. Nova & Chris Chetti. Big brawl to start. DeVito gets tossed off the ramp and hits the railing, then Nova & Chetti double-team him back in the ring, using moves that were 100% invented by Nova and thus anyone else anywhere in the wrestling world using any of them must mean that they’re DIRTY, DIRTY THIEVES. So all you people doing punches (or as Nova calls them, “Spider-Splats”) beware, because Nova has LAWYERS and he’s not afraid to use them. Swanton bomb (also invented by Nova and not that talentless hack Jeff Hardy, even though Joey calls it by the name that Jeff Hardy came up with but Nova still invented it, make no mistake, because Nova never lies about that sort of thing) gets two. Chetti blows a springboard kick and gets slammed by Roadkill. Baldies chokeslam Roadkill on a pair of chairs, then Grimes runs in. Guitarshot from Angel eliminates Doring & Roadkill. Roadkill retaliates by splashing Grimes through a table on the outside. Back in, Nova catches DeVito with a Diamond Cutter out of the corner and the Tidal Wave finishes at 6:40. Just a bunch of spots (all of which are copyrighted by Nova, because he invented them all) and mindless violence, although I suppose some are into that sort of thing. *1/2
– And it wouldn’t be a Baldies match without New Jack to run in and do his usual, and I’m sure you don’t need me to tell you: Weapons shots, balcony dive, and back to the ring to pin Angel. Whatever.
– Steve Corino v. Yoshihiro Tajiri. Tajiri chops away to start, but takes an enzuigiri. Powerbomb gets two. Tajiri gets the Tarantula, and they both end up on the rampway, where Tajiri hits a brainbuster on the ramp. Corino rolls to the floor and does his contractually mandated bladejob for the night. Into the Tree of Woe, a baseball slide from Tajiri actually SPATTERS BLOOD ONTO THE CAMERA. Gotta like that. Attempt #2 is thwarted by Victory, and Corino superkicks Tajiri for a one-count. Oh, and I would be remiss in not mentioning that Corino’s hair is dyed red by the blood. Corino bails and Tajiri sets up a table in the ring. He then dropkicks the edge of it, into the Two Stooges on the outside. Nice spot. Corino backdrops Tajiri back into the ring, through the table, for two. Fisherman’s suplex gets two. Northern lights suplex gets two. He sets up a new table, and Tajiri bails after a dropkick to load up the mist. Back in, they trade abdominal stretches, and Tajiri sprays Victory with the mist. Corino gets a powerslam for two. Tajiri goes insane with a series of kicks, knocking Corino silly. Double-stomp through the table finishes at 10:23. Good match! ***1/4
– World TV title match: Rhino v. Sandman. Did Paul Heyman download “Enter Sandman” off Napster? Big staredown to start, then Rhino stomps him down. They brawl to the floor, and that goes on for quite a bit with not much happening. Onto the ramp, where Rhino charges and spears a table. Back in, Sandman gets a couple of piledrivers, and the cavalry runs in. Lori Fullington follows, and she gets into a tussle with Victory and Corino, spunky lady that she is. So Rhino piledrives her through a table from the apron, as any reasonable person would do. Now was that REALLY necessary? Sandman canes everyone, but as usual gets speared through a table and pinned at 6:23. I can see why were spared this one for so long. DUD
– Rob Van Dam v. Jerry Lynn. Pointless wrestling sequence to start. More reversing that looks pretty follows, to establish that they know each other really well and stuff. RVD hits a spinkick and cartwheel splash for two. RVD bails after getting nailed from behind and Lynn hits a somersault plancha. They do the railing dropkick spot, and Rob legdrops a chair onto Lynn’s head. Ouch. More brawling, and RVD misses a moonsault off the railing and splats on the hardwood floor. Double ouch. It gets two for Lynn back in the ring. Front suplex and guillotine legdrop gets two. Vicious swinging DDT gets two. Tornado DDT is blocked, and Fonzie deposits a chair. RVD legsweep misses and Lynn legdrops him on the chair. RVD comes back with a heel kick and rolling senton, for two. RVD does some flips and gets another chair, hitting a sloppy dropkick thing with it. Lynn reverses a top rope whatever into a powerbomb on the chair for two. Lynn with a superplex for two. Outside, where Lynn sets up a table and bulldogs Rob through it in a bad-looking spot. Anton steps in and gets taken out by Lynn. Back in, Fonzie assists with the VanDaminator, and ***** frog splash looks to finish but the Network runs in again. Geez, two straight matches? Corino & Victory get beaten back, but Rhino spears and powerbombs RVD. Rob fights back and takes out Cyrus with the VanDaminator. One for Lynn as well, and when Rob goes to the top Anton turns on him. Geez, now THERE’S a huge shock. Didn’t see THAT one coming at all. A pair of cradle piledrivers gets the pin for Lynn, FINALLY, at 19:50. Not that it means much with all the overbooking, but it’s nice to see. The match itself was better than the famous series last year because Lynn carried the pacing and sequences this time around and sold like a mofo, but Rob’s ridiculous flippy-floppy offense continues to drive me insane. Still, a good outing that makes the fanboys happy and at least kept me entertained for 20 minutes. ***1/2
– ECW World title match: Justin Credible v. Lance Storm. Tommy Dreamer bows out for reasons too dumb to get into here. Slugest to start. Storm tries a pescado but takes a cane to the head. Brawl on the floor. Back in, they exchange chops. Justin powerbombs Storm for two as the fans want Dreamer. Chinlock follows. More chops. This match is dying a slow and painful death. But mainly slow. Another chinlock. Storm breaks out and gets a rana, but Credible has a superkick for two. Drop toehold on the chair gets two. Flying bodypress is reversed for two. Abdominal stretch leads to a hiptoss through the table for Justin. Back in, and Dawn & Francine have a catfight. Storm canes Justin and piledrives him for two. Storm tries a tombstone, which is reversed to That’s Incredible for two. Swinging DDT gets two, and by the way, the crowd is totally SILENT for most of the match. I mean, you can literally hear a pin drop. Storm slingshot is countered for two. Storm goes to the top and gets caught and piledriven for the pin at 12:28, which is a way lame and boring ending to a way lame and boring match. *1/2 Okay, get the title off the jellyfish NOW. It was cute to see him with the belt once, but he is NOT anywhere near ready to be main eventing, no matter how much Heyman loves him. Swallow your pride, Paul, and give Raven the strap until RVD is ready for it, because he’s all you’ve got left right now.
The Bottom Line: Since we’ve pretty much established now that long-term plans are out the window due to talent raids and injuries, I guess the only real criteria left for ECW’s shows are entertainment value and workrate. And this certainly had both, despite some notable dogs, which makes for a marginal thumbs up.
But as for “The #2 promotion”, well, keep dreaming.