– What if they gave a PPV and nobody cared? That’s the situation facing ECW this month as they throw a show out with virtually no TV promotion, no real announced lineup until the last minute, and a confusing main event featuring the World champion, two guys who the fans refuse to buy as main eventers (Credible & Corino) and a guy who the fans do buy as a main eventer but who burned the wrong bridges and won’t ever get there again (Sandman). Not a good sign, especially with the loss of RVD for this show.
– Live from Chicago, IL
– Your hosts are Joey & Cyrus. As always, it appears to be Gertner, but a contrivance puts him on the sidelines so that Cyrus can step in. In this case, it’s a bitter Simon Diamond, who feels that his retirement of Tommy Dreamer hasn’t been getting the coverage it deserves. He punks out Gertner, with Swinger joining in, until Dreamer makes the save. CW Anderson punks him out in turn, and York & Matthews join in, leading to
– Impromptu match: The Hardly Boyz v. Simon & Swinger. Nice to see Simon & Swinger back as a team again instead of wasting Simon in a pointless midcard push, but feeding York & Matthews to them instead of one of the other multitude of useless tag teams Heyman keeps on the payroll (many of which are higher on the card tonight) strikes me as somewhat counterproductive. I can’t tell the pretty boy team apart and Joey’s too busy making up KEWL names for simple moves to actually keep them straight, so I’ll just call the blond one “JeffÃ¢â‚¬Â and the dark-haired one “MattÃ¢â‚¬Â, just to piss people off. I’d use “ShawnÃ¢â‚¬Â and “MartyÃ¢â‚¬Â but I grow increasingly worried that a good chunk of my audience wouldn’t get the joke. The Boyz hit stereo topes, and Matt suplexes Jeff onto Swinger. Cheapshot on Matt turns the tide. Simon with his triple rolling suplex on Matt (although the third one looked UGLY), and a double-team takedown gets two. Matt’s tornado DDT attempt is blocked, but a lowblow allows the hot tag to Jeff. A neat inverted spinebuster on Swinger gets two, but Simon & Swinger come back with their double-team sideslam on a chair for two. Cyrus speaks The Forbidden Name and refers to Swinger as “Johnny SwingerÃ¢â‚¬Â at one point, and I’m shocked WCW’s lawyers didn’t have the PPV yanked off the air RIGHT THERE. Matt & Jeff toss Swinger and Matt ranas Simon off the top, but CW sneaks in for a spinebuster, and the Problem Solver finishes at 5:17. Nice to see the gang back together, but they need a fourth guy to be a truly cool heel stable. Everyone tried, but it was only a five-minute showcase for Simon’s team. **1/2 Big beatdown follows, and Kid Kash makes the save and hits an INSANE springboard plancha.
– Impromptu Match #2: Kid Kash v. CW Anderson. Planning? What’s that? CW bails to start, then sneaks back in for a lariat before taking off again. Kash follows with an over-the-top rana to the floor. Into the crowd. Back in Kash blows a spot (I know, I’m as shocked as you) and CW suplexes him. Back to the floor, CW brawls to take over. Kash misses a corkscrew senton by six inches but still gets two off it. EXPOSING THE BUSINESS IS EXTREME! The Dreaded Anderson Left gets two. Heyman needs to bring Bob Cook out of retirement for a showdown with CW so they can see if the left or the right is more powerful. Jim Ross was always pimping Cook’s fearsome right hand back in tha dayz, so I’d be interested to know for sure. I mean, talk about your backhanded compliment: You’re such a total jobber that the only positive spin that the announcer can put on your career is that you have a good right hand. Of course, it’s not like it’s ever gotten a win for you, but it hurts like hell. I’m sure Cook went home at night with his $500 for losing to the Garvin Stomp or Jimmy Valient’s elbowdrop and went over the tapes looking for that one fatal flaw, only to have his wife look in and go “You know, Bob, I bet if you had hit him with that right hand a little earlier, things might have been better last night.Ã¢â‚¬Â And Bob would go to the bookers and suggest mabye that he either get a new signature move or at least get a win over someone with that right, and the booker would look at him sincerely and go “Bob, we think that your big right is money in the bank. Honest. But we’re trying to build up to the big win with it slowly, to build anticipation. Make the fans want more. Make them ask, Ã¢â‚¬ËœWill this be the week when Bob Cook hits the guy with that right and he goes down for the count?’ until they’re ready to plunk down their money and see you win the big one. How does Ã¢â‚¬ËœNWA World champion Bob Cook’ sound to you? Sounds like money to me, Bob. So think it over tonight, and then go out there and make the Ding-Dongs look like a million bucks.Ã¢â‚¬Â And then when he’d leave, the whole room would burst into laughter. I mean, if that right hand was so fearsome, wouldn’t, say, BOXING be a better career choice than wrestling, anyway? If I’m a wrestler who loses constantly and whose only saving grace is a fearsome right hand, I’m thinking “Fuck this, I’m switching careersÃ¢â‚¬Â and I’d test out the boxing life. Sure, Ronnie Garvin used a punch as a finisher, but at least guys sold it and he had an excuse to stay in wrestling. Bob Cook had no such finisher and no such excuse. I forget what this had to do with CW Anderson, but then these ECW undercard matches tend to have that effect on me. Kash sunset flip gets two, and we hit the double KO spot. They slap each other silly, and CW blocks the Pedigree attempt. Kash gets two with a rana, and they fight to the top rope, where CW debuts a delayed superplex for two. That’s another thing that bugs me: ECW has these guys bust out these awesome new moves that no one’s ever thought of before, and then the other guy immediately kicks out of it to kill it as a potential finish. Either save it for a finisher or don’t do a near-fall spot. Mikey Whipwreck’s awesome helicopter Pedigree suffered the same fate, when it could have replaced the Whippersnapper as a finisher. Kash rollup gets two. CW cradle gets two. Spinebuster gets two, and Kash comes back with a severely f*cked-up looking tornado DDT for the pin at 10:42. The problem with having someone like Kash, who has no real formal training, in an improvised match with someone as green as CW Anderson is that the match tends to suffer anywhere past 5 minutes due to the lack of a real story within the match, and this is a good example of that. CW’s good, Kash is good, but they were never really on the same page and the match suffered as a result. **
– Opening credits. 30 minutes in.
– Julio Dinero, Chris Hamrick & EZ Money v. Danny Doring, Roadkill & Spike Dudley. Hamrick makes the huge mistake of TALKING before the match, and everyone in the room immediately jumps on the opportunity to mock his “Cletus the Slack-Jawed YokelÃ¢â‚¬Â hillbilly accent. Everyone hits the floor and Spike follows with a tope. Back in, big schmoz. EZ blocks a Bareback and they double-team Danny. Hot tag Roadkill, but he gets chaired. I don’t understand the total reluctance here to push Roadkill. I’m not a big fan, but the guy gets massive support from the crowd and the team is dead at this point, so split them up and see if a singles push would work. It’s not like ECW is a real promotion where you have to use foresight and planning, anyway. Might as well hotshot something and see if it sticks. Spike gets nailed in the knee, and the Acid Drop is reversed to a powerbomb. Roadkill tosses both heels out, and Doring takes out Electra, who looks older by the day. Spike hits a modified double-team version of the Acid Drop on Hamrick for the pin at 8:17. Big mess here. *1/2
– Chris Chetti v. Nova. This is a loser-leaves-town match, a stipulation that Nova invented. Nova dumps Chetti, but misses a pescado, landing badly on his ankle. From what I understand, that wasn’t a mistake, it was a well-timed new move called the Shinsplint, invented just that morning, and he was just looking for a subtle way to work it in. I believe the idea is for Nova to fake the appearance of a blown spot, and then bludgeon his opponent to death with the shattered remains of his lower leg when it breaks after one too many bad landings on the concrete. If so, kudos to Nova for once again pushing the envelope. Brawl outside, and back in where a crucifix gets two. Not only did Nova invent that move, he was also the guy who invented the time machine, and went back to suggest to the Romans in the early part of the first century that they should crucify Jesus Christ. The original plan was to give him a stern warning and 50 hours of community service cleaning pools. The general feeling was that his ability to walk on water would give him an unfair advantage in that endeavour, and so Nova’s suggestion was all they needed to put them over the top and decide on a gruesome death instead. Nova hooks a crossface chickenwing, which was also invented by him long before Bob Backlund started using it in the mid-70s, despite Nova not being born then. Lou E. runs in to break that move up. A chair gets involved as Chetti bleeds. Match drags on and the crowd is dead. Nova backslide gets two. Were I the conspiratorial type, I’d suggest that Nova was upset that Kerry won the NWA World title with a backslide in 1984, and went on a decade-long rampage whereby he systematically had the entire family killed by seemingly unrelated separate events, but I’m not so I won’t. Besides, that would just make Nova look like an even bigger whiner. Chetti STEALS NOVA’S MOVE and uses Novacain on him for two. I can hear Nova’s lawyers revving their briefcases as we speak. Nova comes back with a flying body attack. A fameasser/Pedigree combo thing gets two. He invented both moves, and just decided to combine them into a new one, in case anyone is wondering. Small package gets two. Pin reversal sequence leads to a triple-piledriver chain, but Lou decks Nova with the phone to give Chetti a two. Nova hits a sloppy Kryponite Krunch off the top for the pin at 9:43. That match weren’t happenin’, y’all. *
– New Jack cuts a disturbing promo with underlying themes of anal fixation and other bad things. Time to switch to diet coke there, Jerome.
– Flaming table match: Da Baldies v. Ballz Mahoney & Chilly Willy. One of these things is not like the others. Big brawl, into the crowd, out of the crowd, you hit me, I hit you, you hit me back. There’s 10 minutes in one sentence. Willy takes a sick bump off a powerbomb on two chairs, then Ballz hits both Baldies with the Nutcracker Suite, and through the alcohol-covered flaming table goes DeVito at 12:12. What a waste of a gimmick that might have drawn some money if used right. Ã‚Â½* The scene of Willy & Ballz prepping the table with bottle after bottle of fake lighter fluid instantly reminded me of the Simpsons ep where Homer preps the BBQ in the same fashion.
– World TV title match: Rhino v. New Jack. Big mistake here: Doing two of the same style of match back-to-back is a recipe for disaster, because you’ve already burned the fans out less than 10 minutes before. I hit you, you hit me, no one cares. Rhino no-sells that stupid balsa wood guitar and gores New Jack for the easy pin at 7:57. Total filler here. Ã‚Â½*
– ECW World tag title match: The FBI v. Mikey Whipwreck & Yoshihiro Tajiri. Mikey & Tony do a wrestling sequence to start. Tony gets a rollup for two. Victory roll gets two. Tony gets double-teamed and double-kicked. Tajiri and Guido do a nice sequence that gives Tajiri a two count. Brawl outside and back in, where the FBI head up top but get whippersnappered by Mikey. Mikey appears to “injureÃ¢â‚¬Â his shoulder on the move, which is then totally oversold by the guys who proceed to carry him out on a stretcher with a neckbrace. Tajiri goes nuts, but gets double camel-clutched. And as rumored, here’s Super Crazy to take Mikey’s place. He does the “count in SpanishÃ¢â‚¬Â punches and puts Mamaluke in the Tree of Woe. Chair to Guido’s face follows, but Guido hooks the armbar out of nowhere on Tajiri. Mamaluke works on that arm further. Tajiri handspring elbows both guys, hot tag Crazy. Mamaluke tries a rana and Crazy blocks, and for half a second I’m thinking that Tony is just insane enough to be willing to take a Ganzo Bomb out of that position, but thankfully Tajiri just kicks him in the face instead, and Crazy powerbombs him for two. Tornado DDT on Guido gets two. Tony & Crazy brawl outside, but Sal nails Crazy. In the ring, Tajiri works an armbar. Crazy hits Sal with a quebrada off the big sign outside (totally missed by the camera) as Guido bulldogs Tajiri for the pin at 15:30. That was a pretty bad ending, and honestly there’s no excuse for not putting the titles back on the Minister’s team at this point. The FBI is not over and they’re not getting over, and at the very least it puts the fans in a good mood. Match was better than last month, but still nowhere near the Hammerstein match. ***
– Double Jeopardy match: Jerry Lynn v. Justin Credible / Sandman v. Steve Corino. Sandman is fashionably late, so the rest start without. Lynn & Corino do a wrestling sequence to start. Corino goes with them until Sandman makes his entrace at 3:00. The match then stops for FIVE MINUTES while he stumble through the crowd. Caneshots for everyone. Lynn & Credible double-team Sandman, then chop each other. Sandman brings the ladder and whips everyone into it. That gets two on Corino. Slingshot senton gets two. Big brawl outside, everyone bleeds. Sandman sets up an elaborate art-deco railing-and-chairs set piece, then suplexes Corino on it for two. Lynn tombstone Credible for two. Credible & Corino superkick Sandman, then Credible tombstones Lynn and Corino Expels Sandman and we’re down to Credible v. Corino, and OH MY is the crowd not happy about that one. Corino suddenly goes babyface again after an evening of heel behavior, doing his Dusty bit. Bionic elbow gets two. He bails and Lynn tosses him back in. Justin goes out and Sandman tosses him in. Chops abound. I was just watching Flair v. Steamboat on Saturday afternoon (Clash VI rant coming later this week!) and THOSE were some MANLY chops. These just don’t hold up by way of comparison. Double-KO follows. Corino suplexes Justin through a table for two. Francine gets superkicked and lays ass-up in the middle of the ring. I know Paul E. probably told her that good heels show some ass every now and then, but this is ridiculous. Expulsion gets two. Justin’s superkick gets two. Another Expulsion, but Dawn Marie turns on him. Caneshots, but Corino gets a superkick for the pin and the title at 24:18. Jerry isn’t terribly happy about handing over the title. **1/2 Match was a huge mess, basically.
– The Bottom Line: First of all, Lynn handing over the title means nothing because he’s not the guy who Corino beat for it. Second, what was the point of having Credible advance in the first place? If you wanna move the title to Corino, have him beat the champion and thus get cred. Third, Lynn’s only been champion for a month, so it’s not like this is any big Hogan-Warrior passing the torch moment or anything because now Lynn himself is only a transitional champion. Hell, Justin Credible got NINE MONTHS and he’s never drawn a dime in the sport in his life. Fifth, Corino hasn’t beaten anyone to earn this spot Ã¢â‚¬â€œ CW Anderson is now firmly back in the undercard, and Corino blew both World title shots that he received earlier on. Sixth, everyone knows that the World title is further devalued every day that Rob Van Dam doesn’t have it. I don’t like Van Dam in the least, but he’s clearly the biggest star in the promotion and the only guy who can draw money at this point. None of the so-called main eventers have beaten him (conclusively) and in fact RVD v. Corino, RVD v. Lynn and RVD v. Credible would all be considered easy Van Dam victories by the casual ECW fan. Corino works hard and he’s somewhat over, but to give him the promotion’s World title when his schtick is right out of Indy Hicktown Hell and half his stuff is a rib on Dusty Rhodes reeks of bush league booking and it’s just one step forward, seventeen steps back for a company that can’t afford any backwards movement at this point.
– Others have said it before, and I’ll say the same again: ECW had it’s time. It had a big impact on wrestling, and that’s fine. But now the extreme is the status quo and ECW just looks like another third-rate wrestling company recycling the same tired acts in the same tired matches, and if Paul doesn’t bow out gracefully pretty soon, he’s gonna bow out ugly, and no one wants to see that. The saying “piss or get off the potÃ¢â‚¬Â would seem to apply here, as Heyman has been waiting (and waiting and waiting and waiting) to pull the trigger on the Rhino main event push and the Roadkill singles push and the upward movement for the loyal tag teams and a dozen other things, but nothing ever gets done. If the mythical TV deal to save the company never comes along, then he’ll go down knowing that he wasted the last few months of his company in creative limbo with World champions who were just placeholders for the only star he had left.
– Give the guys an E for effort, but effort doesn’t put food on the table or asses in the seats. Thumbs down