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We start with a promo from New Jack, not quite the barn burner from last month but still a solid segment. He says The Eliminators did something to the Gangstas last time they were here that they'd never experienced before – they kicked the Gangstas ass. They eventually call them out for a fight we get a big brawl which is eventually gets broken up by the locker-room emptying and keeping them apart. This is quite an effective segment, but when they reprise it again later in the evening (complete with a long brawl before the locker-room come out and break them up), it loses a bit of it's edge. This bit happens at the end of the first match.
El Pureto Ricano vs Super Nova
Super Nova looks like a Power Ranger dressed in blue and silver, the crowd chant in kind. Some nice action for an opener, including a senton over the top to the floor and Ricano hitting an asai-moonsault to the outside. Eventually, Nova hits superkick, out run the Eliminators who just start attacking both guys. The Gangstas run out and we reprise the brawl/separation spot from the top. Perhaps would've been more effective later in the night... perhaps. After the two teams have disappeared we get some talk from JT Smith, D'Von Dudley (who debuted earlier in the month) leathers Little Guido with a chair and Hack Myers cleans house.
The Pitbulls (1 & 2 w/ Francine) vs The Dudleys (Buh Buh Ray and D'von w/ some more Dudleys)
Buh Buh Ray Dudley gets on the mic, he's clearly quite infatuated by Francine, the flattery working quite well until Buh Buh tells her he wants a blow job. The match, like many this evening, goes straight into the crowd, D'von is laying in some hard chair shots to the head. We end up near the Eagles nest, Pitbull comes off it and hits D'Von with a chair. We return to the ring, the Dudley in the wheelchair at ringside gets laid out before Francine just starting beating him up. The match ends in a no contest, seemingly, after D'Von smashes a chair over the refs head and the Pitbulls give the ref a superbomb.
Taz (w/ Bill Alfonso) vs "Dangerous" Devon Storm
A surprisingly even match this one, and one of perhaps only two which didn't spend most of its time in with the fans. Storm does a fantastic baseball slide that drives Taz into the guardrail hard, Storm then sits Taz on a chair on the floor and hits a flip dive onto him. The story they're telling is Storm (who wrestles a bit like him anyway) is getting into Taz's head by wrestling like Sabu. They setup a table on the outside, Taz vaults Storm over the top who lands on the table but bounces off it – which looked fun. Taz wins by countout. Very nice this.
Little Guido (w/ JT Smith) vs Axl Rotten
Rotten backflips Guido, who's legs hit the top rope on the way down which could've got nasty. Instead, fans chant "JT's got a boyfriend". We drop to the floor, Axl rams a pie into JT's face then hits him over the head with a chair. Back in the ring, we get a load of pin attempts, before Rotten picks up the win with a powerbomb into a flapjack. Not bad, but no better.
The Sandman & Too Cold Scorpio (w/ Missy Hyatt) vs The Bruise Brothers (Ron And Don Harris)
We get maybe sixty seconds of tag rules before the match breaks down. Scorpio does a headscissors while pushing off the top rope, the Harris brother landed a bit awkwardly on that one. We go with the other brother, who just shoves Scorpio to the floor. The Bruise Brothers start beating down on Sandman, Hyatt looks oddly happy about this. Sandman rallies, before pouring beer down Missy's chest and motorboating her. Yep... We brawl into the crowd, Scorpio hits a big dive into the fans, before we return to the ring, Scorpio hits a moonsault to a standing Harris, a very quick pin later and this one is all over.
Prime Time Brian Lee vs Tommy Dreamer
Funny: famously in 1994 . At this stage, with the bandana and the leathers he looks oddly like the biker Taker gimmick we'd see in a few years. We brawl into the crowd, Dreamer hits a running bulldog on the platform by the eagles nest. After a ref bump in the ring, out come the Bruise Brothers and they hit a double kick to Dreamer's head while Lee holds two chairs around his face. Dreamer kicks out of that, but after a second ref bump they place a cinder block on Dreamer's nuts and Lee smashes it with a chair – that's enough for the win. Decent action, if predictable.
Sabu vs Rob Van Dam
These two had, by all accounts, a very good match in February (one with an incredibly convoluted finish). The match never aired on TV and, as we didn't cover the live event, I haven't seen it. However, this was the rematch, and promised "One fall to a positive finish". By the end of the match Joey Styles says this was probably the best match of both these men's careers (well, Sabu's within ECW anyway) - he probably wasn't wrong.
This was a fantastic effort from both, lots of dives, lots of strong aerial moves and spots – and all of that without overdoing it in a nice 18 minute package. Sabu does his triple jump spot into the crowd. Sabu then sets a chair in the ring and vaults off it towards Van Dam on the turnbuckle, Van Dam jumps over him, then swings wildly at him with the chair, Sabu ducks and the chair cannons off the ring post and flies into the crowd.
Sabu does a flip dive onto RVD on a table on the outside – he bounces off. So he gets back in the ring and just repeats the spot, this time it works. For a guy that likes flying through tables he really could do with being a bit bigger. Eventually, after more barbaric spots, Sabu unfolds a chair, vaults off it, onto the top rope then does a springboart moonsault back into the ring onto Van Damn – that'll do that. If this isn’t the best match of the year in ECW, it'll take some beating. And after Mysterio/Guerrera last month, it's already in good company.
Shane Douglas vs Raven for The ECW Title
This is the famous segment where Dreamer ends up kissing Kimona and Beulah. That being said, it’s not the home run segment you might expect. Dreamer has spent months trying to protect his unborn child at all costs – yet he is surprisingly unmoved when Douglas reveals the whole thing was a fake. A memorable if bizarre segment.
The match, itself, is a bit of a downer to end a downer of a show. Into the crowd early doors, eventually we go outside the building, Joey Styles pretends he can commentate on everything that’s going on despite the fact there’s no cameras following them. We return to the ring for some limited action, Douglas fights off interference from The Bruise Brothers and from Richards and Meanie before Raven “loads” his boot and hits Douglas over the head with it. A disappointing finish, but more so when you have Joey Styles on commentary telling us how unlike Nitro ECW is, before producing a Nitro finish straight from the playbook.
The show ends with Douglas being confronted by Too Cold Scorpio. The whole thing is designed to make Douglas (and us) try and forget about the World Title and instead focus on the ECW TV Title. It was a nice story, but a lame attempt at moving away from Douglas and Raven because they didn’t want Douglas to get a clean victory.
Score Rating: 5/10
Go Back And Watch: Sabu vs RVD (available on the first ECW Hardcore TV in May 1996, I believe) is fantastic, Taz vs Devon Storm is fun. The rest is… frustrating.