– Live from Buffalo, NY, in a poorly-lit arena that looks like a high-school gym. BAD choice, guys.
– Your hosts are Joey Styles and Cyrus.
– ECW’s crack sound crew allows us to hear Joey warming up the audience before the show starts, teasing a fan that she “must be Scott Hudson’s girlfriend”.
– Joey & Cyrus’ opening spiel is interrupted by Joel Gertner, who gets off a particularly risque line on the way to the ring. He wants to host, too. Taz interrupts that interruption, reaming out Joey for inferring cowardice on his part on TNN two weeks ago. Joey meekly walks away, but Gertner isn’t so lucky, getting choked out.
– Simon Diamond (and his Dick) come out for some gay innuendo (“Go get Ã¢â‚¬Ëœem, tiger!” *spank*), then Jazz interrupts for whatever reason. She gets dropped by Dick in short order, and Simon calls him his “giant-killer”, which brings us to
– Opening match: Simon Diamond v. Spike Dudley. Yeah, I care. Spike hits the Acid Drop on Dick, but gets jumped from behind. They brawl outside and Spike gives him a balsa chair to the head. Kevin Sullivan must be booking. Note to Mark Madden: Cyrus says “punk card” here, so now 2/3 of the major promotions are using that, which officially makes WCW “uncool” for not using it. So there. Diamond blades early for some reason. Acid Drop ends it quick at 2:56. DUD Next. And as if heeding my word, the FBI comes running in to attack Spike, and Nova makes the save, conveniently segueing into
– Nova v. Little Guido. Nova hits a facejam and a plancha quickly. Guido clotheslines him coming back in for two. Fameasser gets two. Neckbreaker gets two, then Guido gets knocked off the top. Nova turns it into a top rope Samoan drop, and pay attention kids, because here’s some scathing irony: Joey had been lambasting WCW for calling Kanyon the “innovator of offense” when in fact Nova deserved that title, and yet here’s Nova stealing Kanyon’s former finisher! Nova turns a powerbomb into a Diamond Cutter for two. Sal gets involved and takes a tornado DDT, but that allows Guido to hit the Tomikaze and get the pin at 4:07. Didn’t suck too much or anything. *1/2 And now the FBI destroys Nova, and Chris Chetti makes the save, and now Danny Doring and Roadkill are out to destroy HIM. Jesus, Paul, SETTLE DOWN. Take a valium or some Tai Chi classes or something.
– Yoshihiro Tajiri v. Jerry Lynn v. Super Crazy. Steve Corino looks like he spilled a bottle of Javex on his head. And while I’m thinking of it, does anyone else feel like humming “One Step Beyond” after listening to this ring announcer? Tajiri kicks everyone and Crazy & Lynn form a temporary alliance to get him out of the ring. Tajiri gets both in the Tarantula in short order. Out of the ring for a trainwreck spot. They brawl into the crowd for no real good reason. It builds to Crazy hitting the moonsault off the entrance way. Back in the ring for a couple of three-way sequences. Jerry gets a cradle piledriver for two, but Tajiri saves and then decides to brainbuster Super Crazy for himself, eliminating him at 6:50. Crazy really had no point being in this match, since Tajiri and Lynn have the issue anyway. Tajiri puts Lynn in the Tree of Woe and dropkicks him, leading to a suplex exchange sequence. Lynn gets a tornado DDT for two. Tajiri finally hits the big bullseye on Lynn’s ribs with some kicks, but Lynn fights it off, hits the cradle piledriver, and gets the pin at 10:55. And I say so what? **1/4
– Da Baldies v. Axl Rotten, Ballz Mahoney & New Jack. It’s a handicap match, 4-on-3. Joey essentially promises a bloodbath. Angel is wearing the STABLE GUN OF ETERNAL DAMNATION as a necklace. Nasty shot as a vacuum cleaner gets used in a way that would void the warranty pretty quick. Speaking of which, the saddest thing I’ve read on the Ã¢â‚¬Ëœnet all week: A report on grown men who attempt to use vacuum cleaners for, shall we say, self-fulfillment, and then INJURE themselves in the process. Even worse, they then check into the hospital and make up a variety of implausible stories about how the vacuum cleaner nozzle just suddenly jumped up and attached itself there. Anyway, they brawl all over the place as News & Skull kill Ballz in the ring. I like Skull a lot, he’s got potential for the Big Two. Meanwhile, Axl & New Jack spend about 80 years setting up a ridiculously contrived spot whereby a Baldie (we never catch which one due to the usual high-quality ECW camera work) is put on a table, then New Jack puts a ladder on another table to climb up to the basketball backboard and leaps off from there onto the table. It takes FOREVER for him to get in place, and the camera then MISSES the dive, as we only see him diving into the crowd but don’t actually see him making contact. Meanwhile, Skull & News have basically nothing to do but stand around in the pose in the ring while they wait for New Jack to pop up (after taking a 25 foot dive, mind you, which apparently the other three members of Da Baldies didn’t quite see, because presumably they would have done something to HELP). New Jack gets back to the ring and staples Skull, but gets bashed in the head by his own guitar and pinned by Angel at 8:06. Good riddance. This was the usual junk in lieu of actually thinking out a match. 1/2* Not even much blood, either.
– Chris Candido v. Sabu. Slugfest, and they brawl around for a bit. Candido takes a “holy shit” bump to the floor, and Sabu follows with a tope. Back in and Candido hits a delayed suplex and legdrop for two. Top rope whatever misses and Sabu gets a DDT for two. Triple jump legdrop gets two, and the first table gets involved. Candido fends it off with a plancha. Back in the ring and Sabu hits a top rope rana for two. Fonzie tosses the table into the ring, which is intercepted by Candido. He misses his legdrop and goes through it, however. It gets two for Sabu. Air Sabu causes Chris to bail, and Sabu follows with a plancha. They brawl around again, and this time Chris gets the better of it. Sabu springboards in with a splash for two. Another table gets involved, and Candido goes through it again for two. Triple jump moonsault misses. Candido with a powerbomb and piledriver, each for two. Nasty superplex gets two. Candido sets up a chair (why?), but Sabu uses it for Air Sabu and a blown moonsault for two. Tammy’s help allows Candido a top rope rana for two. Swandive headbutt gets two. Candido fetches ANOTHER table, and now Fonzie and Tammy tussle. Candido sacrifices himself to save her, and goes through the table again. Arabian facebuster and rear chinlock gets the submission at 17:45. Oh, man, Sabu was just USELESS here. I bow to the amazing carrying prowess of Chris Candido, even if he’s not going anywhere near the top of the card. ***
– Masato Tanka and Mike Awesome cut two comically bad promos.
– We get some footage from earlier in the night, as “Paul Heyman” lips off a bunch of people backstage only to be revealed as imposter Lou E. Dangerously, doing an impersonation so lifelike it’s scary. Funniest line of the night is gotten by Lou as he passes Sandman: “You’re fired .AGAIN!”
– ECW World title: Mike Awesome v. Masato Tanaka. Quick avalanche from Mike to start, and Masato one-ups him with a plancha. He hits the running chairshot on the floor. Back in the ring, then out again as Awesome nails the tope con hilo. He follows that up with a springboard plancha into the front row. Back in for some down home chairshots, no-sold by Tanaka of course. Roaring Elbow version of the VanDaminator gets two. Tornado DDT on the chairs gets two. Crowd implores “One More Time”, so he does, and Awesome reverses to a DDT. Yeah, listen to a group of ECW fans, that’s REAL smart. Tanaka escapes the powerbomb-through-the-table once, but can’t escape twice and Mike hits a ligerbomb off the apron, through the table. That was pretty cool. Joey actually says “Holy shit”, the first time I’ve heard him swear. Another table into the ring. He tries a top rope powerbomb through it, but Tanaka reverses and superplexes Awesome through it for two. Too much stuff revolving around going through tables here. Tanaka hits the DiamondDust, but Awesome ducks the Roaring Elbow and hits a german suplex and lariat. Frog splash gets two. Top rope powerbomb finishes it at 12:30. That one left me flat compared to their other matches, as this one seemed rather forced and rushed, with a bunch of spots and not enough build in between. ***1/4
– ECW World TV title: Rob Van Dam v. Taz. The usual choreographed sequence from RVD to start, then Taz takes him down with a judo throw and mocks him. Stalling follows. Rob gets backdropped to the floor, taking out a photographer. They brawl around on the floor. Rob catches his ankle on the railing doing a highspot, and we get a glimmer of psychology as Taz works the injury back in the ring, but it gets forgotten quickly. Taz smacks him around and hits a Tiger Suplex. He fetches a table, but Rob comes back with a dropkick and his series of flippy-floppy splashes that seem TOTALLY out of place here. He tries one too many ballet moves and Taz clotheslines him. VanDaminator is tried, but Taz ducks and suplexes him through the table. Fonzie slaps Taz, allowing Rob to hit a top rope VanDaminator for two. They fight for a superplex, and Rob slips and falls to the floor, driving Taz’ mouth into the turnbuckle and cutting his mouth open legit. See why I get on RVD for being a pothead? Sloppy stuff like that. Split-legged moonsault and five-star frog splash finish it cleanly at 14:33. Very underwhelming. *1/2 Not that Taz had a hope in hell anyway, but Van Dam was just phoning this one in.
– Main event: Rhino, Justin Credible & Lance Storm v. Tommy Dreamer, Raven & Sandman. Sandman & Rhino start, and I’m AMAZED we make it to two minutes in without a huge brawl starting. Sandman chases Credible, but gets caught by Rhino and plays face-in-peril, which makes sense because he’s the only one on that team who shouldn’t be in a hospital bed right now. Rhino gets a superbomb on him for two, and Storm misses a splash, allowing Raven to slug Dreamer to ensure he gets the hot tag. Rhino spears Raven for two, and NOW the brawl begins. Raven sets up a chair for Tommy to springboard off of onto the heels, but anyone who’s seen a Charlie Brown cartoon should be able to apply the Lucy and Charlie Brown football analogy at this point, I hope. Catfight erupts, and Raven uses the distraction to take a swing with a singapore cane, which misses and hits Sandman, and Justin Credible tombstones him for the pin at 9:20. The announcers act all shocked that RAVEN of all people might actually be a BAD PERSON. Yeah, I’m sitting here shaking my head in disbelief over that one, too. Match was junk. 1/4*
The Bottom Line: Yeah, well, whatever. Another show, more of the same. A decent three-way dance, a pretty good Tanaka-Awesome match, some garbagy brawls, an overbooked mess to start the show you might as well just call it Anarchy Rulz II and be totally upfront with it. Didn’t work half as well this time, though, although there was nothing brutally bad to really drag it below a mediocre rating. Still, there was nothing that really stood out, pretty much making this a November to Forget.
Thumbs in the middle.