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It’s been a while since our last ECW review, largely due to the lack of major event to cover. It would overly simplistic to say that not much has changed in the last few months, but suffice to say given the fluid nature of ECW shows that most of the programs brewing through the summer were still going on. Sandman’s feud with Raven, that had dragged in both his wife and child, was still going strong despite the match quality largely being horrendous. At the Ultimate Jeopardy show in October, after a couple of no-shows, Paul Heyman decided to swap the titles with Sandman defeating Stevie Richards (subbing in for the perpetually injured Raven) in a great surprise.
Elsewhere Shane Douglas and Francine’s tirade against the Pitbull’s was in full swing, after “breaking the neck” of Pitbull #1 with a single arm DDT a couple of months ago. What’s followed has been the continuation as Shane Douglas as probably the most despised man in Philadelphia, even if his partnership with Francine has seemed somewhat forced (that may well be the point, anyway). At Ultimate Jeopardy he and Pitbull 2 had a match with great heat that ended with Douglas grabbing Pitbull #1 by his neck halo and throwing him to the mat before a white hot post-match angle saw a number of fans jump the guardrail in attempting to attack Douglas before a deluge of jobbers came out and basically driven through the crowd to save his life.
The seemingly never ending feud between the Eliminators and the Gangstas was rumbling on without, necessarily, much rhyme or reason. In August, the Gangstas won the titles at the Doctor is in show, but the titles were almost secondary as two stylistically similar-but-opposite teams were hell bent on basically just having a fight at every show. It lead to a battle in October that ended with Perry Saturn coming off of a six foot ladder… sat on top of a table… sat on top of the of the top turnbuckle. In ECW it didn’t even seem all that out of place.
While Dan Kroffat and Doug Furnas had come in and gone on to the WWF (they be on Survivor Series the night after this show) but in their short run they were the catalyst that bought the feuding Rob Van Dam and Sabu together for two just bat-shit crazy tag team matches that often went half an hour and barely stopped. They were gone but Sabu and Van Dam remained as a team, they were paired off with the Eliminators in a match to determine who would face the Gangstas later in the evening. Oh, and for what it’s worth this show is a week before the Mass Transit incident… we’ll get to it.
November To Remember
The show opens with Taz walking out with Bill Alfonso. Taz isn’t dressed for action, but he does have something to say. The whole thing is quite bizarre, as Taz basically implies that the “big show in the first quarter of the New Year (whatever that means!) will be a pay per view”. Of course, this would be big news but it’s still a bit up in the air, so having Taz as a heel make the announcement works really well, Taz turns it into a shot at Paul E., along with wanting the main event to be him against Sabu.
We then get another talking segment the debut of the “Blue World Order” of “Da Blue Guy”, “Big Stevie Cool” and “Hollywood Bob Starr” (he’d be Hollywood Nova soon enough). This whole thing is really good, Richards is just great and the other two make it work. Richards’ opponent, David Morton Tyler Jericho, is actually Kid Kash.
David Morton Tyler Jericho vs Big Stevie Cool (w/ Hollywood Bob Starr and Da Blue Guy – The Insiders)
Styles said: “Maybe he’ll wrestle like Kevin Nash, which’ll handicap Stevie as that means he can only use three moves”. Jericho grabs the mic and calls Richards the “gayest looking sunuvabitch I’ve ever seen in my life”. For some reason, there’s about eight low blows in this match which, by the end, actually seems to add to the proceeding. Richards is great doing a Nash impression, he does the jackknife but only gets a two, goes for the superkick but Jericho kicks out before coming off the ropes, ducking a clothesline and hitting a big ass superkick for the three. Really good that, very simple but effective comedy and decent action.
Axl Rotten vs Hack Myers
Shah – shit – shah – shit – shah – shit. Then we get a short if physical brawl with a lot of chair shots. This show, even by ECW standards at the time, was very chair-shot heavy. Myers comes off the top with a shoulder tackle, Rotten basically directs him falling into the direction of a chair before. Rotten hits a pedigree, of all things, onto a chair and that will win that. Not a classic but about as good as you could hope in the time allotted.
D’von Dudley vs Buh Buh Ray Dudley
As we’ve come to expect from these two, another big, physical and often very uncoordinated brawl. Whether you enjoy it or not will probably depend on how much ECW you’ve been exposed to come this stage and whether there’s any nostalgia in a “pre-tag team” Dudley’s match. Like most of the matches this evening, plenty of chair shots, plenty of stuff involving the guardrail. Buh Buh hits the Buh-Buh-Buh-bomb but that doesn’t get the win. After a couple of minutes where the match flattened out, Buh Buh throws D’von up in the air and hits a fucking excellent diamond cutter for a great finish.
After the match we get more Joel Gertner, who tells Buh Buh “If you wouldn’t mind, could you please move your massive body out of the view of the camera. Fat boy”. Buh Buh sets for the powerbomb but Axl Rotten comes out and lots of things happen very quickly. Spike Dudley comes out, but the gets cut off. We end with Gertner taking a Big Dick Dudley-sault as the segment finishes.
Rob Van Dam and Sabu vs The Eliminators (Saturn and Kronus). The winners will face The Gangstas for the tag titles later in the show
I’d need about 500 words to properly do this match justice, but as you might expect by this stage this was a barmy match between four guys all willing to put their bodies through serious punishment in front of a record ECW crowd. We got a trio of planchas in quick succession to the outside, Sabu doing a DDT to Saturn but basically putting himself through the table and two separate stoppages as the match ended for a time limit draw. Both times the fans chanted “Three way dance” but Tod Gordon came out and extended the match. Like a lot of these Van Dam and Sabu tags recently, the action has been great but feels a bit flat as time went on – this just about worked. The third time limit stoppage Gordon announces it’ll be a three way dance with the Gangstas later in the night. Very good match, but unsatisfying also.
Mikey Whipwreck vs Chris Candido
He really shouldn’t be surprised, but Candido grabs the mic early doors and says “she’s not fucking here”. Both guys work hard but it doesn’t ever really click into a higher gear, Candido hits some impressive looking moves but never looks like winning it, despite shouting “WHAT THE FUCK” at the ref. There’s a great spot down the stretch where Mikey goes for a moonsault to the standing Candido, who manages to catch him, steady himself and hit a tombstone. That probably should’ve been the finish. Instead, Candido hits a lovely powerbomb from the second rope and that will do that. After the match he says he spent two years carry pieces of shit, but tonight Mikey was the one doing that. (Candido referencing his own injuries).
The Gangstas (New Jack and Mustafa) vs The Eliminators (Saturn and Kronus) vs Rob Van Dam and Sabu in a Three Way Dance for the ECW Tag Team Titles
The fans may have pined for a three way dance earlier in the night, but I’m not sure this was an adequate follow up from the earlier match. This was exactly what you’d expect – a big ass brawl, lots of bleeding, lots of big spots and tables. Sabu sets for a triple jump moonsault, but stops when there’s nobody there, he goes again but Saturn moves and he goes crashing through the table. Sabu gets hit by the total elimination and gets pinned, before New Jack comes off the top and pins one of the Eliminators to retain. Think this match was a mistake.
Too Cold Scorpio vs The World
Ok, so Scorpio is on his way out (he appeared at a WWF Taping as Flash Funk about three weeks before this) and he openly admits he’s going to be at Survivor Series the following night. He says that tradition says he’s going to “job for the next mother fucker that comes out”. So, long story short, we get a series of very short matches where Scorpio says whoever loses leaves ECW for x days. He beats Devon Storm with a tumbleweed – so Storm has to leave for 15 days. He beats JT Smith with a moonsault, so he has to leave for 30 days. He beats Hack Myers with a 450 splash – so he has to leave for sixty days. Then he eventually taunts Louie Spicolli into having a match where the loser leaves for one year – you can probably sense where this is going!
The interesting, if somewhat perplexing thing about the first three matches was that Scorpio won each with a big top rope move, most of which he never won matches with in the bulk of the his ECW run. Still, the top rope leg drop doesn’t finish off Spicolli off, who hits a death valley driver and wins the match. Out comes Taz, he says “Bye – Flash”. Taz eventually starts fighting off a whole host of undercard wrestlers, before the lights go out. When they come back on Taz and Sabu are face to face. They brawl, then the lights go out again… and when they come back on they’re gone. Corny as fuck but a very nice tease for those two, the reaction was a big one.
Raven (w/ Lori Fullington, Tyler Fullington, Stevie Richards, The Blue Meanie and Hollywood Nova) vs The Sandman for the ECW World Heavyweight Title
Richards is doing commentary through the arena mic, he’s actually quite insightful for a while. This is basically every match between these that you’ve seen, the action is pretty plodding, there’s a load of interference, Sandman is able to fight it off before Tyler jumps in Raven’s path in the corner to defend him. Sandman figths them all off, DDT’s Raven onto a piece of the guardrail that gets leant up against the ropes and retains the title. Hopefully this is the last of these two for a while.
Terry Funk & Tommy Dreamer vs Prime Time Brian Lee and Shane Douglas
Yikes this match was too long. The action was good, but these shows don’t watch back so well when you’ve basically seen all of this stuff in matches earlier in the card. Still, it was nice to see Funk back, and the moment of the night was probably his moonsault from the top to the three guys in the crowd. The guardrail makes another appearance in the ring, and accounts for some of the better mid-match set pieces as Dreamer gets atomic dropped onto it. The moonsault comes right near the end, before Dreamer nails Lee with a TV camera, Funk hits a DDT and the faces win. After the match Pitbull 2 comes out and cleans house to close the show.
Score Rating: 6.5/10
Go Back And Watch: The BWO debut was fun, and this show is often solid, but there’s nothing in here that was massively memorable or brilliantly done.