– We’re back with an unscheduled return to the 95 ECW rants, as I decided to continue doing these in a stubborn attempt to finish the entire year by the end of the summer. I actually had this one half-done before LAST year’s Hardcore Heaven, but fell asleep in the middle of the Taz-Scorpio match and never finished the rant. True story.
– Taped from the Bingo Hall.
– Your host is Joey.
– Opening match: The Pitbulls v. The Dudley Boyz. We’re skipping over the house show that ECW did where Raven & Richards won the tag titles from the Public Enema, because it was a pretty nondescript show otherwise. And before you go “huh?”, the “Dudley Boyz” in question are Little Snot and Dudley, with manager Big Dick, which is the original form of the team, and this is their first appearance. Pitbulls methodically and leisurely squash them while Raven & Richards lounge at ringside and generally make a nuisance of themselves. Richards meets his secret admirer at ringside again (Fran-something or other) and they make out. Raven gets pissed and pulls the whole sideshow back to the dressing room, leaving the Pitbulls without their mentor to guide them. They superbomb Little Snot, but Dudley cheapshots #2 and puts Snot on top for the upset win at 5:38. The match was just a distraction from the circus at ringside. 1/4*
– The Pitbulls are pissed.
– Chad Austin & Broadstreet Bully v. Dino Sendoff & Don E. Allen. Hands up everyone who DOESN’T know what this is setting up. And yes indeed, 911 makes his mandated appearance at the 90 second mark and destroys everyone.
– Big Val v. Hack Myers. Nothing of note here — Val squashes (literally) Hack for a few minutes, but misses an elbowdrop and gets pinned at 5:19. Not one of Heyman’s better ideas. DUD
– Taz v. 2 Cold Scorpio. Shoving to start, and Scorp reverses a Tazplex with a judo throw, and bails. Back in, Scorpio hammers him to take over and hits the chinlock. Into a wristlock duel, and Taz grabs a headlock and hangs on for his life. Don’t see that very much anymore. Scorp escapes and gets cute, so Taz suplexes him out of his boots. Scorpio bails and stalls, then back in. Knucklelock into a bridge duel and Scop gets a monkeyflip and superkick. Powerbomb allows Scorpio time to goof around. I hate it when he does that. Like Gorilla Monsoon always said — you’re not getting paid by the hour, just go for the pin. Underhook suplex gets two. Scorpio maintains control and hits the standing moonsault, but no cover. Flying splash hits knee and Taz fights back. Scorp hits a sambo suplex, but a second is blocked and reversed into a T-Bone Tazplex. Ouch. Scorp comes back with a tombstone and goes up for the Tumbleweed. No cover, so Taz no-sells it and hits a head-and-arm Tazplex for the pin at 8:04. BUT WAIT! Bill Alphonso comes out and points out, rightly, that Scorpio’s foot was on the ropes. Paul Heyman flips out and attacks him, but Scorpio nails both he and Taz with a chair, then hits a top rope legdrop to get the real pin on Taz at 10:03. **3/4
– Shane Douglas cuts the most long-winded promo I’ve ever heard from him (counting the 30-minute interview from 1994) as he goes on and ON about how much ECW sucks and mistreated him and how ingrateful the fans are. Finally Woman comes out to confront him, but he goes after her, and Sandman and Cactus Jack both run him off. He vows revenge on both tonight.
– ECW World tag team title: Raven & Stevie Richards v. Tommy Dreamer & Luna Vachon. Stevie takes Luna, Raven takes Tommy. Raven & Tommy fight on the floor, and Tommy DDTs him there. Back in, Luna gets the testicular claw, giving Joey the opening for his classic line: “Well what do you know…Stevie’s got a set after all.” Luna hits a swinging neckbreaker as Raven & Tommy brawl to the back and Raven blades. Luna suplex gets two on Stevie. Tommy tosses Raven into a newspaper recepticle as Luna gets another two on Stevie. Man, a double feature angle would be very helpful here. Tommy returns to help Luna, battering the putz with an ironing board, but Raven returns and gains the advantage. Stevie spanks Luna with a chair in a funny spot, then Raven slams the newspaper recepticle’s door on Tommy’s broken fingers in a not-so-funny spot. Raven & Richards are thus free to decimate Luna in the ring, and hit a double suplex and double DDT for two. Raven poses on the apron as Stevie goes upstairs to finish her, but Stevie slips and falls off, causing Raven to get tied in the ropes. Tommy runs by and hits a SICK unprotected chairshot on the helpless Raven, but Stevie goes to Plan B and tosses powder in Luna’s face for the pin at 7:38. Wild brawl. ***1/4
– Tod Gordon calls out Fonzie. If he wants to ref so badly, he can ref…
– Tai Pei Death Match: Axl Rotten v. Ian Rotten. Both guys have glass glued to their fists. Joey gives all sorts of warnings about the blood. They spar and Axl gets the first shot, drawing a trickle of blood. So Fonzie stops the match at 1:18. Best finish ever. The crowd explodes, but now the Gangstas and Public Enema are brawling in the entranceway, so Alphonso leaves to deal with that. Tod Gordon sneaks in, waits until Fonzie’s gone, and restarts the match himself. The usual gorefest follows. Ian does an admirable bladejob and adds a bag of thumbtacks to the ring, but gets backdropped and splashed on them for the pin at 9:12. Just business as usual. 1/2*
– Dreamer/Luna & Raven/Richards suddenly pick up their brawl again, with the Pitbulls running in to help the Nest but then turning on them in revenge for earlier in the evening. The Dudleys come in to help Raven, and suddenly a huge, wild, bloody brawl erupts and goes all over the arena. The Pitbulls finally triumph and run off Raven’s gang. This was just awesome stuff.
– ECW World title match: The Sandman v. Cactus Jack. I could live without ever seeing this matchup again. Sandman stalls to start, then calmly canes Jack. Jack bails and Sandman pulls out a tope con hilo! Holy shit, it was a good one, too! Back in, more caning, but Jack gets a DDT. Jack’s turn with the cane follows. Sandman gets a chair to retain the advantage and more caning results. Sloppy DDT on the chair is followed by more caning. Slingshot legdrop gets two. Flying legdrop gets two as Woman brings more barbed wire for Sandman, in addition to the stuff wrapped around Cactus’ fist. Sandman wraps himself in it and avalanches Jack. Twice. Big fat flying barbed wire splash follows, and then Jack manages to dump Sandman in desperation. Cactus elbow follows. Back in, Jack does bad thing with the barbed wire, then legdrops Sandman off the top, underneath a chair. It gets two. Barbed wire punches get two. Woman gets involved, and the ref is bumped. Shane runs in and makes good on his promise by piledriving Sandman, then caning best friend Cactus Jack and putting Sandman on top for the pin. Some highspots make it worthwhile. ** Shane punks out Tod Gordon for good measure, so 911 saves and chokeslams him right into the Dean Douglas character.
– The Public Enema v. The Gangstas. Big brawl to start. Mustapha and Rocco fight to the broadcast position while Grunge & New Jack go into the ring. Rock hits the Drive-By on Mustapha, putting him through a table. Mustapha reciprocates. Meanwhile in the ring, New Jack controls Grunge. Grunge comes back and puts Jack through a table. Jack quickly recovers as Mustapha joins him. Rock returns as well and it’s a full four-way brawl. Rock moonsaults Jack through a table for two. Gangstas take over on Grunge, but Rock sneaks in and brains Mustapha with a croquet mallet for the pin at 11:28. Bleh. * TPE invites fans into the ring to celebrate, but if this is the show where the ring collapses the tape cuts off before it happens.
The Bottom Line: Pretty underwhelming show, although the Raven-Dreamer stuff saves the day again. The sudden lack of the Holy Trinity is very noticeable in terms of match quality, with everyone turning up the violence a notch to try to fill the void. It doesn’t work.