Bitterness from my roommate at getting fragged at Quake 2/3 matches led to this punishment for me: Watching ECW. I started this one a while ago but never finished, so here’s the final product….
– Taped from the World’s Crappiest Arena.
– Your host is Joey Styles.
– We open with everyone in the ring to pay homage to Louie Spicoli, who wasn’t all that great but died so now he is. The crowd takes forever to shut up because it goes completely against their nature. Paul E. does the talking and the bell rings 10 times.
– Opening match: Danny Doring (w/ Amish Roadkill) v. Jerry Lynn. Doring is possibly the least interesting wrestler I’ve ever seen. Charming “You f*ck sheep” chant for Roadkill. How could the WWF possibly corrupt *these* minds? Stall-a-rama. We get going and it’s a nothing match, the usual ECW quasi-match where they try wrestling for a couple of minutes and when that doesn’t get over they brawl outside the ring. The fans ain’t buying it here. Doring is awful. He fakes an elbow which allows Roadkill a chance to drop an elbow from the top rope. Why bother distracting the referee, everything is no-DQ anyway. You know, if I were a wrestler, I’d call myself Bruce Borring, and then put my opponent in a headlock for ten minutes. So the crowd would start chanting “Borrrrrrrring”, and I’d go “thank you!”. Great idea, no? Well, Lynn wins with a powerbomb off the top here. *
– Tracy Smothers v. Al Snow. I’ll spare you the ugly details, but my roommate assures me that there is exactly 15 minutes of stalling before we begin the actual match. So we fast-forward through, and damned if he isn’t right. The FBI stalls, then Snow stalls, then they trade. We start the match and the arena is apparently on fire. It didn’t burn down, sadly enough. Move, stall, move, stall, FBI interference, stall. Yawn. Snow didn’t really do much in the ring to distinguish himself in ECW, it was all the Head. Notice how the early Snow in ECW was the usual apathy from the fans? The match goes on and on and on and on and on, with the referee getting bumped after an eternity and Jeff Jones running in, then Snow gets beat up by all four. Snow comes back, everyone gets a Snowplow, Tommy Rich blades, Snow comes off the top with Head and hits Smothers in the groin (Tracy was laying spread-eagled and might as well have had a sign saying “Hit me in the groin”) and Snow gets the pin. Truly wretched, and that’s saying something for ECW. -***
– Doug Furnas (w/ Lance Wright) v. Chris Chetti. Furnas can’t draw heat to save his life. They’re still pushing the lame-o “WWF Invasion” because ECW mutants are obviously so stupid that they think Vince gives a damn about ECW at this point. Furnas just destroys Chetti for about 8 minutes with his usual array of moves until Chetti hits a DDT and his double-jump moonsault out of nowhere for the inexplicable pin. What-ever. *
– The Triple Threat (with Francine and Sunny) come out to hype the tag match at Living Dangerously. Sunny knows who the partner is, you see. But she won’t tell. Candido is upset at this and a near-catfight erupts.
– Lance Storm v. Chris Candido. I like both guys so this should bring it up a notch. There’s some sort of dueling chant going on that I can’t decipher. They quickly brawl outside the ring but it gets inside pretty soon after that. Candido controls the match, which is not as good as Heatwave would end up being. Candido stalls a lot. Storm comes back with chops and a couple of nice dropkicks. Storm with the handspring splash, but misses a charge to the corner and gets superplexed by Candido as a result for a two. Candido ranas Storm off the top for two and goes for another superplex, but Storm reverses to a superbomb for the pin. Some nice spots but not much in between. **1/4
– ECW TV title match: Taz v. Brakkus. There was a rumor going around that steroid-boy would be the one to get the belt off Taz. Hee hee. Taz manhandles Brachus but ends up taking a couple of powerbombs, which he actually sells. Braccchhhus (is that the spelling?) makes the classic ECW mistake of setting up a table in an obvious position where it couldn’t possibly help him, and of course gets suplexed through it. Tazmission, and it’s over. Lasted maybe two minutes. DUD
– Aldo Credible v. Tommy Dreamer (first blood). The preceding match leads to a bet between Zenon and myself: 5 dollars says that Taz isn’t the World champion at the end of Guilty as Charged. Zen thinks he walks out with the belt. Amazingly this actually goes into the ring for a bit. Joey actually calls an inverted DDT correctly! Thank you, it’s about time someone did. I’ll print the bit from the FAQ about the difference between “reverse” and “Inverted” until everyone gets it right. They beat on each other for a while, with shots that would have had either guy gushing blood in any other match, but it’s first blood so of course it’s dry. They each pull out their two wrestling moves and they’re out of ideas so Beulah and Nicole get involved and the ref gets bumped. Tommy takes control and finds some barbed wire that was luckily at ringside, and wraps it around himself. Yes, he is that stupid. Dreamer does everything *but* actually cut Justin open with the barbed wire, and then Rob Van Dam gets involved, nailing Dreamer with a big kick and cutting him open with his own barbed wire. Then Beulah takes a piledriver from Credible (Overbooking? What’s that?). The ref sees Dreamer bleeding and calls for the bell. Dreamer hasn’t had a good match in years. -** Dreamer takes out Jason to vent his frustrations.
– Joel Gertner’s introduction (in this case, the Olympic edition) always brings a smile to my face. I’m still pissed that he’s chosen to do the “tease the fans” version of the “Buff, cut…” D-Von intro in recent times.
– The Dudley Boyz v. Axl Rotten/Ballz Mahoney/Sandman. During the interminable Sandman entrance, we discuss the possibilities for Sandman’s character. Can you see him chugging a Perrier, carrying a diamond-tipped cane and smoking a cigarette in a 40s film-noir cigarette holder? The idea could have terrific comedic potential. While Sandman and Buh-buh mouth each other off, D-Von does the “smackin’ my bitch up and doing her in the butt” dance! Wow, Smiley stole from ECW. And who ever forsaw the day when “smackin’ my bitch up and doing her in the butt” would become a phrase associated with WCW? Anyway, I hate everyone here except D-Von so pretty much nothing impresses me, especially the Sandman-Big Dick centerpiece in the ring. Ballz showed a lot of potential in SMW as Cactus Jack’s protege Boo Bradley, but that’s all gone down the tubes. More nonsense outside the ring while Buh-Buh and Ballz fighting in the ring, which would lead me to believe that someone else is going to run in. Axl blades first. Everyone switches off, leaving two people in the ring while the rest fight outside. This is begging for a New Jack run in. And he’ll probably bring Kronus with him, and since it’s the Dudleys, Spike will likely be with them. Sure enough, Buh-Buh sets Ballz up for a balcony dive (who REALLY thought Buh Buh would actually do a dive?) and The Music of Death starts up, revealing New Jack standing behind him. Jack completes the dive on Ballz and then Spike and Kronus enter the match. Damn I’m good. On the bright side, I like these insane brawls better when New Jack is involved. He brings a certain panache to them, plus I like the musical accompaniment. As goofy brawls go, this was on the low end of things. Axl does a WHOMP ASS finisher called the “Severe Skull Trauma”, an inverted brainbuster that looks like it could break a neck. Spike/New Jack/Kronus are gone and the crowd dies. When will Paul E learn not to eliminate these guys first? The Dudleys call for 3D, but Sandman ends up dropping Buh-Buh on a chair for the pin. Entertaining enough crap. **1/2
– Main event: Shane “Hulk Hogan” Douglas & Bam Bam Bigelow v. Sabu & Rob Van Dam. About five minutes of stalling and finally we’re underway with Rob Van Dam against Shane. Fonzie and Rob have a whistle-off just to annoy me. The ring is miked and everything is REALLY LOUD. Van Dam and Douglas pretend to wrestle for a bit, which is really insulting because we all know that it’s going to turn into a spotheavy clusterf*ck in about two minutes. Maybe less if Sabu gets bored. Shane ends up playing Ricky Morton for the usual Sabu/RVD spots and makes the hot tag to Bigelow. Fans seem preoccupied with something else. Bigelow destroys Van Dam, who now assumes the obnoxious-punk-in-peril job. And here I thought it’d be a pointless spotfest. Instead it’s a boring tag match. Six of one, half a dozen of the other I guess. Bigelow goes for Greetings from Asbury Park and Sabu makes the save with a chair, and the spotfest erupts. I hate it when they build one match for 10 minutes and then just abandon it and do a mindless brawl for the remainder. It cheapens the buildup from the first half. A table gets set up between the railing and the ring, and they proceed to set up an elaborate spot which everyone manages to blow in their own little way. Bigelow sets up a table but powerbombs Van Dam BESIDE it, which of course is the signal for Sabu to put Bigelow through it. This is a mess. Rolling Thunder on Douglas, which only gets two, because Douglas is superhuman and all. Then in a supremely sad moment, Sabu puts Douglas on a table and it breaks. Big boos from the crowd. Live by the table, die by the table. Van Dam takes Greetings from Asbury Park for the Triple Threat win. Douglas is just not cut out for these types of matches. *1/2
The Bottom Line: There was just nothing from most of 98 that I found the least bit interesting, and it shows with this show. There was no reason for Douglas to keep the title as long as he did, in particular. Nothing really worth seeing here for non-fans, and I’m sure fans already have it.
Just to quash the inevitable “Why do you watch it if you hate it so much” questions I always get, I do get letters like that, but I also get a sizeable amount of mail from people asking me to do more ECW reviews, with a good chunk of *those* asking for me to trash ECW more. So you see, I’m merely fulfilling the wishes of my loyal public.