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The second ECW live event we're taking a look at is Cyberslam 1996 from February in the ECW Arena. As I can and will likely say a lot around this time, ECW is a promotion in constant transition. Last month they said goodbye to the Public Enemy, Cactus Jack is the next of the big names to get swallowed up by the big two. On the flip side, the New York taping a a couple of weeks prior to the show saw the debut of Bam Bam Bigelow (who was still under contract with the WWF) and this show would see the redebut of Brian Pillman (who did appear for the promotion in 1994). A lot has changed since then, mind.
Bad Crew & Dredd vs The Dirt Bike Kid, Devious Donny Allen and Dino Sendoff
Jobber six man, crowd booed them all. Bad Crew pin Sendoff to win the match, afterwards Sandman comes out swinging a cane and the place explodes.
El Puerto Ricano vs Spiro Greco
The first match seemed to be universally booed by design, this one I'm not so sure about. Spiro Greco is an impressive body, but the crowd didn't take to him here. Still, he looked decent and won cleanly – can't complain about that.
Taz (w/ Bill Alfonso) vs Joel Hartgood
So, Joel Goodhart was the guy who promoted and owned the Tri-State Wrestling Alliance – the promotion that would become Eastern Championship Wrestling before it became Extreme... that bit of trivia aside this one was another quick squash. After the match Taz knocks Hartgood off a stretcher, Mikey Whipwreck comes out to make the save and well, Taz beats him up.
Brian Pillman Returns
Having been "fired" by WCW, Brian Pillman showed up in a very strong segment here. Crowd go beserk, sign guy has a sign that reads: "Pillman: Don't Work Me". Pillman starts swearing, a lot, even by ECW standards, and basically "goes too far", nearly taking his knob out to piss on the ring mat. Tod Gordon, Paul Heyman and Shane Douglas come out and run him off, saying "this wasn't part of the agreement" (Douglas, preposterously, even says "he's shooting"). Strong segment, even if they were working overtime in an attempt to work the fans.
Buh Buh Ray Dudley defeats Mr Hughes in quick fashion
Mustapha Vs The Headhunters (w/ Damian Kane)
New Jack isn't here, but it seems like they may be turning the Gangstas "face"… if you can turn in ECW. Mustapha gets beaten, before Kane grabs the mic and asks if there's any team man enough to take on the Headhunters. Out come... The Bruise Brothers (aka The Blu Brothers aka Jacob and Eli Blu aka Ron & Don Harris). We get a nice arena wide brawl, before the ref counts a Harris pin (rather than a headhunter pin) - the Bruise Brothers take this one but it aint over.
We get a quick segment with the Harris Brothers becoming the latest team to side with Raven (it's now genuinely possible they all have). This is a quick beat down of Tommy Dreamer giving him some time off to heal injuries. Raven, at one stage, says "Get my girlfriend out of here with her demon spawn. Dreamer, prepare to die".
JT Smith vs Axl Rotten
Not the easiest match to watch within 48 hours of Rotten's death in February 2016. They brawl around the ring, Axl gets DDT'd onto the concrete floor, the action gets in the ring Smith "falls" off the top rope attempting a moonsault, which confuses Rotten, so much so Smith is able to hit him with a chair for the win. Hack Myers comes out and runs off Smith stopping a post match attack.
“Super” Stevie Richards and The Eliminators (Perry Saturn and Kronus) vs The Pitbulls and Francine in a Triple Dog Collar Match
Francine, for what it's worth, is paired up with Stevie, who immeadiately superkicks her, effectively rendering much of the match 3 on 2. A pretty good arena wide brawl, with one spot where the now shaven Saturn uses Kronus as a platform to launch off the eagles nest with a moonsault to Pitbull 2. Francine ends up pinning Richards after the Pitbulls hit him with a lovely top rope powerbomb/neckbreaker combo. Afterwards each Pitbull and Francine both eat the Total Elimination finisher. Good stuff this, both tag teams are excellent.
Sabu vs Too Cold Scorpio for the TV Title
An absolutely brutal 30 minute TV match, probably the longest set of match notes I’ve ever taken. Scorpio is excellent, highly underutilized ECW talent, and Sabu in this new mid-card great wrestler is fantastic too. Lots of weapons based offense, with the highlight of the match absolutely being a running flip drive from Sabu off the top rope through the table in the crowd which Scorpio had vacated. Great match, ended in a time limit draw but a well deserved standing ovation for both.
Cactus Jack vs Shane Douglas
The match itself was fun, both guys are pros – they may not be great technicians but both can be entertaining as hell. The match itself finishes with Brian Hildebrand (Douglas’ mate and now heel referee) handing Douglas some handcuffs. We then get the Rock/Mankind Royal Rumble angle three years early, Douglas unloads chair-shots onto Jack’s head, Jack cries out over the house microphone for Mikey Whipwreck, who comes out and levels Cactus with a chair, turning on him.
Raven (w/ Kimona Wanalea, Richards and Meanie) vs The Sandman (w/ Missy Hyatt)
It’s a damn good job these two are over, very over, because a main event caliber match this was not. That being said, the fans enjoyed it and what the pair lack in wrestling chemistry the make up for in histrionics. Two ref bumps, interferences from Richards, Meanie and the Bruise Brothers, Raven ends it with a DDT onto the chair for a three. The fans chant bullshit, we end with Sandman and Missy Hyatt smoking together in the ring.
Score Rating: 7/10
Go Back and Watch: Pillman debut, Scorpio/Sabu, Douglas – the rest is probably skippable, but as ECW stuff goes these three are both absolutely must see.