The Netcop Rant for ECW Anarchy Rulz 99 (or: Why I Hate Shaw Cable)
Okay, so before we get to the show, I feel I have to complain about my cable company: Shaw. As those of you who have been following my rants regularly know, I recently switched to the new digital cable thing sweeping the TV industry, and overall was pretty happy with it. Until tonight.
See, idea is that you’re only supposed to call up the preview channel, and if you see something you like, you press “OK” and then confirm, and *poof*, show is ordered. So when ECW’s first PPV popped up on the “Coming Attractions” screen last week, I tried to order it, only to have a message pop up saying I had to call and order over the phone, just like in the old days. So fine, on Thursday I called Shaw and used the automated ordering system, only to have a message at the end that my order couldn’t be filled. No reason given.
So I waited on hold for a while and got a customer service rep, and I explained my problem to her.
“Ah”, she says, although I’m paraphrasing here, “you have the Shaw@Home internet service, and thus have two accounts under the same phone number.”
“So?” sez I.
“So that messes up our computer system, and it means you can’t order through the automated phone system.”
“Right. So what do we do about it?”
“Well,” she says, “I’ll just change your @Home account to your work number, problem solved.” So she does.
Okay, I think, great, no problem. “Great,” I say, “now I want to order the ECW pay-per-view on Sunday.”
“ECW. Extreme Championship Wrestling. Sunday at 6:00.”
“I don’t think we’re offering that.” This from a customer service rep.
“It’s on your preview channel.”
(At this point, she puts me on hold to check the system, and returns a couple of minutes later)
“Okay, I’ve found the show. But you can’t order it right now.”
This is JUST what I need to hear now…
“And why not?”
“We’ve been having some problems with our ordering system this past week. Give me your home number, and I’ll keep trying tonight to put it in the system.”
So she calls back about an hour later, and announces:
“Hello, Mr. Keith, we just wanted you to know that I ordered the show for you, and it’s set up and ready to go.”
So fine, the invitations are sent out, the chips and beer are bought, and the show rolls around Sunday afternoon. During the pre-game show, there’s an ominous “Please press OK to order this show” on the screen, but she said she was SURE that the show was ordered. And so 6:00 rolls around, we see Masato Tanaka getting out of the car…and the screen goes black, with the “Please OK for ordering information” message on the screen.
We call the automated system again, and get the same “We cannot process your order at this time” message from last time. I wait for an option to talk to a representative, but none is presented. Shaw’s automated system hangs up on me, goodbye. I try the repair line with the vain hopes of finding someone with an IQ of over 50 still in the office who can press the two buttons required to order the show for me, but all the repair options loop me back to the main menu. Nice to know that if my cable had been out, I would have had to wait until Monday to get it repaired.
Finally, after two hours of trying and offering sacrfices to the gods of cable, with 30 minutes left until the replay starts, Rahim offers to order the show at his house, and if it works there we can fly over there and catch the second showing. So his brother (still at his house) calls and orders, the show descrambles on his end, and we make a mad run for the other end of Edmonton, trying to get there in half an hour. We make it at 9:31, so the night wasn’t a total loss.
Needless to say, Shaw will get a phone call from me tomorrow morning. If I gave a crap about ECW, I might even be upset…
On with the show…
– Live (on a 3 1/2 hour delay because of cable company incompetence) from Chi-Town.
– Your hosts are Joey and Cyrus.
– Opening match: Lance Storm v. Jerry Lynn. Good choice for an opener, although Lynn should be pissed about being demoted to the opener again. Headlock sequence to start, and then Lance goes to work on the ribs as Cyrus makes various comments about how this is the first ECW PPV being shown in Canada and how much of a hero he is up here. The crowd actually chants “USA” to support Lynn. God, I thought they were above that sort of thing. Lance seems to be reigning Lynn’s spotty tendancies in much better than RVD can. Jerry comes back with a plancha, missile dropkick and pinfall reversal sequence, which was really nice. Storm gets two off an inverted DDT and the chair gets involved. Storm to the top, but Lynn powerbombs him off for two. Another powerbomb for two, but Bytch puts Lance’s feet on the ropes. Lynn takes a nasty rib-first bump to the post to put Storm back in control. Lynn reverses an inverted DDT into a Stunner for two. Top rope rana gets two. Storm nails him in the ribs and cradles him with a three-quarter nelson for the pin. Great match, although I question the sanity of jobbing Lynn. ***1/2
– Simon Diamond is out looking for a tag partner. Apparently he has to say “Simon Says” before it’s legit, ha ha. He ends up with Jazz as a partner, she fights the timekeeper (?), Nova & Chetti run in, a REALLY bad match erupts, a bunch of jobbers run in for the double-DQ after a few minutes, then New Jack makes his customary entrance and cleans house with his garbage pail of weapons. Waste of 10 minutes. DUD for the whole mess.
– Little Guido v. Super Crazy v. Yoshihiro Tajiri. I’m sorry, but this matchup is PLAYED, time to find another one. Anyway, Tajiri kicks everyone to start, then we head outside for a couple of token highspots, one from Tajiri and one from Crazy. They work in a few goofy three-way spots (a Tarantula into a dropkick from Guido, a double-team Boston Crab), and no triple sleeper, thankfully. Guido is first gone after a Crazy moonsault, after not doing much of note. See, why not just do another Tajiri-Crazy match? Because then the fans would think they’re getting more of the same, so they stick Guido in there and get him out quickly so they can do the match they really wanted to do, Tajiri-Crazy. The message is that Paul E. needs more cruiserweights to mix in. So we’re left with Tajiri-Crazy, and they basically do the same match from TNN on Friday. The “en espanol” version of the 10-punch count cracks me up whenever I see it, though. Usual spots follow, although Tajiri gets his knees up to block the second leg of the triple moonsault, then kicks him in the face and pins him after a brainbuster. Okay, but we’ve seen it 100 times before and it was way better then. **1/4
– Justin Credible v. Sabu. I just saw American History X the other day, and I gotta say Justin has got the Edward Norton look TOTALLY down. Anyway, Aldo Credible does a whole dumb restraining order bit, but it’s “Anarchy Rules” tonight so the law doesn’t apply or something. Sabu makes his lights-out entrance and jumps Justin. Sabu runs through his usual spots to entertain the crowd, but I’ve seen it all before. The wrestling is nonexistant here. He puts Credible through a table (twice) and Justin blades. It’s about 0.3 Muta. Long chinlock follows, then more disjointed spots with a table that require WAY too much cooperation. Another chair gets involved, they fight over a tombstone, and Justin gets it for the pin? Wow, that’s ballsy booking from Paul E. Match was pretty much just there. *1/2
– ECW World title: Taz v. Masato Tanaka v. Mike Awesome. Yes, the rumors were true: After some verbal sparring between Taz and Paul Heyman, Awesome gets pulled from the audience and put into the match. And my oh my, but isn’t Taz getting the BIG-TIME heel heat tonight? Hoo boy. Crowd runs through all the classics: “Fuck you Taz”, “You Sold Out” and “Taz Sucks Dick”. Tanaka and Awesome beat the hell out of each other for a bit, then get smart and go after Taz. The result: Taz is unable to fight off both of them, and falls victim to an Awesome frog splash about three minutes in for the pin, leaving us with the REAL match:
– ECW World title: Masato Tanaka v. Mike Awesome. Awesome hits the tope to interupt the “Na na na na” chant and follows with a top rope clothesline for two. Ligerbomb gets two. He sets up the table outside, but Tanaka blocks and they fight to the floor and up onto the ramp. He does the running chairshot. That sets up a tornado DDT from said chair onto the ramp. Cool stuff. Back in with a missile dropkick, and the tornado DDT for two. He then comes off the top, with a flying chairshot onto Awesome’s FACE, for two. They fight over a powerbomb and Tanaka ends up going through the table on the outside. Well, you know it was gonna be one of them. Back in and the Taz-killing frog splash gets two. A chair gets involved and Tanaka does his no-selling bit. He then shows that he’s been watching WCWSN by doing the somersault inverted DDT that Villano V invented against Lash LaRoux a couple of weeks back. It gets two. Awesome ducks the Roaring Elbow and spears him for two. He takes a chair to the top and comes off with a straight chairshot. Ouch! He sets up a table, but Tanaka gets up and they fight on the top rope. Awesome gets the better of it, powerbombs him off the top, through the table, and gets the pin and ECW World title. Whew. Even better than their Heatwave match, and that’s saying something. ****
– Taz and Heyman do the big farewell hug, so expect to see Taz on RAW any day now.
– Raven video package from TNN. Raven reacting to Beulah’s pregnancy announcement by attacking Stevie is still one of my favorite moments from ECW.
– Joel Gertner brings out Dreamer and Francine for an interview. Tommy promises not to cut a “babyface promo”, then cuts a babyface promo. Sigh. Francine makes sure to “accidentally” drop the title belt a couple of times, so she can pick it up. Corino and Rhino charge the ring, and we get Dreamer v. Rhino. He even pulls out the FAT GUY OUTTA CONTROL slingshot splash, but gets slammed on a chair. Rhino hits a Michinoku Driver on Francine, everyone runs in, Raven comes in, trips on the ropes while making his big entrance, and then a pair of stereo DDTs finishes it. Call it 1/2* That shock jock guy, Mancow, and two fat guys escort Raven back to the dressing room.
– Axl Rotten is out for something or other. He challenges Mike Awesome after sucking up to the crowd, but the Impact Players answer instead. Ballz & Spike join the party, an impromptu six-man erupts, and Johnny Smith takes a chair to the face to knock him out of the title match. Why? Who knows. So I know what you’re thinking, oh armchair booker, now would be a perfect time for the previously defeated Jerry Lynn to make one final dramatic return and best RVD cleanly for the title.
Yeah, right, this is the company that gave us Taz v. Buh Buh Ray Dudley as a main event, so dream on. And in that vein, we get…
– ECW TV title match: Rob Van Dam v. Ballz Mahoney. And again I say…WHAT THE HELL ARE THEY THINKING? Brawl to start. Ballz punches a lot, RVD kicks a lot. More brawling outside and Ballz blades for no good reason. RVD follows with an impressive 25-foot dive from the top rope into about the fourth row. Back in for some more kicking and resting. Ballz gets a Rydien Bomb and a frog splash for two. RVD comes back with his Overly Elaborate Seated Dropkick for two, but gets powerbombed on a chair for two. Crowd is dead. Piledriver gets two, then Ballz hits a superkick. He proceeds to wander around the ring playing to the crowd, then hits a greco-roman chairshot for two, with Fonzie making the save. Ballz goes after Fonzie, conveniently holding the chair level with his face, which allows the Van Daminator and frog splash for the pin to retain. Hey, if you want proof that Lynn carried Van Dam, there ya go. *
The Bottom Line: Two very good matches make it had to pass this one up, but Paul E’s other booking is so crack-influenced at times that I have to wonder if he’s actively trying to piss off certain portions of his audience.
Oh well, thumbs slightly up.