The SmarK Retro Repost – Cyberslam 1997

Because Zen is bitter about me kicking his ass 3 times in a row at NHL

99 and once at NFL Blitz, I’m being forced at gunpoint to rant on an ECW

show in retribution.

With all the remembrances of the first RSPW / ECW convention, here’s a

look back at last year’s show.

– The Netcop Retro Rant for Cyberslam 97, Feb. 22/97.

– Opening match: ECW tag titles, tables & ladders: The Eliminators v.

Sabu & Rob Van Dam. Perry Saturn kisses the ECW fans’ ass before the

match, just a few months before dumping Kronus and jumping to WCW. Joey

is already learning the fine art of “plugging the PPV 101”. Saturn and

RVD start and do some wrestling to maintain the illusion of being

wrestlers. It goes nowhere and we get Sabu and Kronus and you can just

feel the psychotic brawl ready to begin. I think at this point we all

know which member of the Eliminators carried the team. The spotfest

begins as Van Dam and Saturn fight over the ladder and their partners

dropkick it and send everyone to the floor. Big brawl breaks out. They

fight, they bite, they fight they bite they fight, fight fight fight,

bite bite bite, the Saturn and Sabu show! I’m bored. Everyone is just

kind of walking back to the ring. Back in the ring and Sabu with a

triple jump moonsault for two. More non-sensical spots from the

challengers (moonsault off the bottom rung of the ladder, rolling

thunder on the ladder that misses, etc). Then the Eliminators get to do

their series of silly spots (Van Daminator using the ladder, etc). Nice

straightforward one as Saturn just chucks the ladder at Van Dam. That I

like — it’s much more intuitive to just nail the guy with the ladder

then it is to set up an intricate spot with it. I’ve never understood

the point of Paul E using the hot tag system when there’s way to DQ the

other guy anyway. The spots are only hitting at about 45% or so. Van

Dam’s lack of contact on his kicks and punches is very glaring. These

ridiculous “do your finisher but involve the ladder” spots look horrible

when they miss. Sabu and Van Dam are working extra sloppy here for some

reason. Sabu and Rob do a miscommunication spot, leading to Van Dam

taking two (very sloppy) Total Eliminations for the pin. ** Would have

been higher if they’d actually, you know, HIT THEIR SPOTS. I mean, if

you’re going to do a spotfest, at least have the decency to make

contact.

– The Elims want to shake hands, but of course Robbie won’t cooperate.

– Pitbulls interview. They’re really upset with Shane Douglas. Gary

Wolfe manages to work a Shawn Michaels insult in. Gee, Gary, who’s got

a job right now? Shane appears on the balcony to say something that

gets bleeped out every 1.2 seconds, and the end up following him up

(no one ever accused them of over-thinking a situation…) and get

jumped and destroyed by the Triple Threat.

– Little Guido v. Chris Chetti. Tommy Rich comes out with Guido to

begin the still-running FBI gimmick in it’s present form. Great

southern heel rant by Rich to piss off the fans. He even works in “You

smell what I’m cooking?” almost a year before the Rock started working

it in. The match is about what you’d expect between a rookie and a

comedy wrestler. Guido holds it together decently, but this is

basically Chetti’s debut so it’s very basic. Guido makes the fatal

error of going all the way to the top rope and missing, allowing Chetti

to hook a rolling cradle for the upset win. Nothing special. **

– Tommy and Guido have problems but reconcile.

– Ballz Mahoney v. Stevie Richards. Ballz was still in his gay biker

phase. Ballz tosses Stevie around for a bit before Stevie starts using

his speed to escape. Muchos armbarros. Did Chris Jericho show him that

list of moves? A short-arm clothesline from Ballz turns the tide.

Stevie goes out and stalling ensues. This is a terrible match by even

ECW’s low standards. Stevie gets recharged but falls prey to the

Nutcracker. Ballz misses the top rope legdrop. Stevie with a Stunner

for two. Ballz tries a powerbomb but Stevie flips out and kicks him in

the nuts. This of course sets up the Stevie-kick for three. Ugly.

1/4*

– Axl Rotten v. Spike Dudley. Axl decks him during the pre-match

tantrum and batters him outside the ring. Then he brings him in and

batters him inside the ring. Spike gets some offense off the top rope a

few times but gets caught with a clothesline coming off the top the

fourth time. Spike reverses a bulldog into the Acid Drop but the

Dudleys interfere, allowing Axl to hit the Dominator for the pin. Well,

at least it was short. 1/4*

– The Dudleys wipe the ring with Spike, until the Gangstaz make the

inevitable run-in.

– The Dudleys v. The Gangstaz. Chaos ensues. Blood flows. It’s an

okay psychotic brawl until the table gets involved and the Dudleys

actually try spots. Then it’s just the usual mindless ECW brawl,

without the cool music in the background that’s normally associated with

New Jack. I find I enjoy his matches much more with the musical

accompaniment. D-Von somehow ends up on a table that’s been set up in

the middle of the crowd, and New Jack does the semi-famous balcony dive.

Which, btw, misses quite badly. He basically headbutts the table, but

you’ve gotta give him points for effort, I guess. Axl Rotten interferes

on behalf of the Dudleys. Zen and myself ponder the possible existance

of “Old Jack” , an old-time wrestler in the Depression era who did

death-defying leaps off the first turnbuckle and would bring an empty

garbage can because weapons hadn’t been thought of yet. Anyway, New

Jack comes off the top rope and gets caught with a Bubba Cutter and

pinned. A boring brawl. *

– Tracy Smothers v. Taz. This was, obviously, before Tracy discovered

his eye-talian heritage. Fans don’t really dig him at this point. Nice

little wrestling sequence to start. Then Taz goes all no-sell on him.

Tracy comes back with his martial arts sequence and the jawjacker but

since it was a Smoky Mountain finisher Taz just kicks out and proceeds

with the usual stuff to make him tap out. It was okay, but Taz wrestled

the same match for 8 months on end. **1/2

– Raven & Brian Lee v. Terry Funk & Tommy Dreamer. I wonder how Tommy

Dreamer feels after years of chasing Raven now that EVERYONE has beaten

Raven. The stip here is that if Funk pins Raven, he gets a shot at the

World title at Barely Legal. So Raven lies down and offers Tommy a

chance to pin him, which would thus cost Funk the shot. Tommy declines

and beats up Raven instead. Uh, let’s see: Funk sucks, Raven really

sucks, Dreamer was carried by Raven and thus sucks even more, and Brian

Lee can’t even do an elbowdrop. So naturally everyone ends up in the

crowd a minute in. Back in the ring and Raven hits Funk in the groin.

Oh, this is exciting. Dreamer and Lee and doing stuff off-camera while

everyone pays attention to Raven taunting Funk. But Funk comes back

with the SPINNING TOEHOLD OF DEATH! But Brian Lee batters Funk with a

garbage can and then everyone gets beat on. Tommy blades on camera and

then passes the blade to Funk. They then do a big segment where Funk

may be horribly injured and unable to continue and Joey sells it like

he’s dying or something. Keep in mind that mere months ago he was

having bottles broken over his head by Cactus Jack while Joey was

cheering them on. So the match just kinda stops while Funk and Dreamer

head back to the dressing room. Then Stevie Richards comes out to

confront Raven. He gets chokeslammed by Lee. Then Lori Fullington

comes in and gets DDT’d. Then Tommy comes back and gets beat up. Then

Sandman (and Tyler) wander out, guzzles a beer, and kicks ass. Sandman

pins Raven, then has a tearful reunion with his son Tyler. What a load

of horseshit. DUD Why is this crap okay now but not in 1995 at the

first Uncensored? Well, whatever. Next match.

– Chris Candido v. Sabu. This is the main event? Chris notes that Sabu

is a table-breaking asshole who can’t wrestle his way out of a paper

bag, thus earning him points in my book. They slap each other around a

bunch during the feeling out process. Then of course Sabu starts

working in his usual spots for no reason in particular. You know, in

Japan they spend an entire match building to a tope off the top onto a

guy on the floor and here they work it in two minutes into the match.

For a two count. Candido with a twisting piledriver, then another.

Then one off the second rope which misses badly. Candido slaps him

around to revive him, and we end up outside the ring with Sabu doing a

plancha and nearly knocking his jaw out of place on the railing. They

fight over a table while Sabu tries to set it up without making it look

like he’s trying to set it up. He misses the legdrop. Candido chokes

him out. Running legdrop for 2. Chickenwing to rest. Sabu with a

flying body attack of some sort and then they end up outside the ring.

Random spots. Back in the ring and Sabu turns Air Sabu into a

hurricarana. He tries the springboard dropkick but it gets turned into

a belly-to-back by Candido in mid-air. Superplex blocked and Sabu with

a somersault flying body attack. More random spots. Sabu gets crotched

on the top rope and Candido goes for the Blond Bombshell powerbomb but

gets backdropped. Sabu with the triple jump moonsault but Candido lifts

his knees. Candido is trying like nuts to hold this thing together,

you’ve gotta give him that. Candido misses a dive and hits the chair,

but gets back up and powerbombs Sabu. Another one, but Sabu shifts his

weight and falls on top for two. Another try at the triple jump

moonsault and this time it hits and gets three. Good match, entirely

due to Candido. ***

The Bottom Line: Eh, it’s ECW. I simply don’t care enough about it to

form an opinion one way or another about pointless shows like this.

Half was crap, the other half was watchable but filled with inane spots.

I’ve always thought it was pretty pointless to do reviews of ECW shows

because those who like it already worship everything Paul E. puts out

and those who don’t aren’t going to be swayed by my opinion.

But if it matters, this was pretty okay for an ECW show.