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And that's how it opened. With head booker Paul Heyman (out of Paul E. Dangerously mode) accompanied by Taz and 911 wearing street clothes. Heyman went through the full story, claiming Sabu had “sworn to God” that he would be present at the event. Heyman apologised, and said it would be the ECW fans who decided whether Sabu would be welcome should he ever return.
Match 1: The Pitbulls def. Tony Stetson and Johnny Hotbody.
Squash match with the Pitbulls finishing with their impressive looking superbomb from the top rope. After the match Stevie Richards (who was with Raven at ringside for the match) announced that the Pitbulls would be aligned with Raven. Richards also said he had some great news for Raven, that of a girl who he and Dreamer knew at Summer camp – Beulah McGillicutty. Far from the fat girl Raven remembered, Beulah was rather attractive. She came to ringside for the next match.
Match 2: Raven (w/ Richards, Beulah) def. Tommy Dreamer
Hard working match, both men brawled into the crowd and weapons were common place. Dreamer looked on top and set for the in, but Richards distracted him by strangling Beulah, but as Dreamer went outside to her aid, she sprayed him with hairspray. Richards superkicked him, Raven DDT'd him and then picked up the victory.
Match 3: Mikey Whipwreck def. Ron Simmons by DQ
An odd pairing, these two. But very much setting up the ongoing program between Simmons and 911. Simmons dominated most of the match, as he should against a guy of Mikey's standing. Mikey briefly mounts a comeback but Simmons chokeslam's him twice before chokeslamming the referee. Understandably, the chokeslam's brings out 911, but he was on the losing end of the beatdown. After Simmons left, some jobbers came out (for no real reason, really), but it did provide seven guys for 911 to beat up.
Interview: Joey Styles interviews Chris Benoit mid ring. Benoit's delivery has improved a lot on the promo front, and what is in reality awkwardness actually fits his delivery quite nicely. He calls Sabu a pussy for running away from the challenge, but challenges Taz to prove he isn't. The fans (as they did for much of the rest of the evening) chant “Fuck Sabu, Fuck Sabu” over and over again. Taz comes out, then Malenko comes out for the beat down on Taz. Then Rick Steiner, of all people, comes out and the arena explodes. He clears house, does his trademark run around the ring the muzzles up to Taz. Unbelievable segment. And credit to Heyman for pulling Rick Steiner out of a hat from short notice, a great replacement (and, dare I say it, a far more viable tag partner than Sabu).
Match 4: Eddy Guerrero def. Too Cold Scorpio to win the ECW Television Title
Guerrero's second US TV appearance (I think) after AAA When World's Collide. Nice long match, which showcased a lot of Guerrero's ability, with a frankinsteiner, a spinning DDT from the second rope and other moves. A criticism I have of ECW a lot at the time is wrestlers kicking out of a lot of big moves. Too Cold kicked out of (what would eventually become known as) a frog splash, and Guerrero kicked out of a moonsault and spinning leg drop from the top. That aside, very good action and Guerrero picks up the clean win on debut.
Match 5: Axl Rotten def. Ian Rotten
Chalk, meet cheese. This match was just about a polar opposition of what came before it. These two faced off in a match where the loser would get his head shaved. Standard Rotten's brawl that went all over the arena, both men bleeding quite heavily. In the end Axl wins after hitting Ian with a chair. Axl starts to cut Ian's hair (a bit odd, given that Ian had a mohawk on an otherwise bald head), but Ian grabs the scissors and cut's Axl's forehead. Brutal violence.
Match 6: Hack Myers def. Dino Sendoff
A cool down, but not good. Myers is popular enough with his “SHAAA” chant that the crowd are into him, but the moment Sendoff got on offense the match turned to death. Thankfully it didn't last long and Myers won.
Match 7: Shane Douglas def. The Sandman (w/ Woman) to retain the ECW World Heavyweight Title
Not a thriller, and what made the VHS copy of the show was an abbreviated version of the match. Douglas demands the Singapore cane be removed from ringside. Sandman wants Woman to slap Douglas, but she won't. Eventually Sandman orders her backstage to get the cane. Eventually with the ref distracted, Woman hands Douglas the cane who cracks Sandman in the nuts for the victory.
We get dueling promos from both parties afterwards. Douglas celebrates his alignment with Woman, Sandman vows revenge on them both.
Match 8: The Public Enemy def. Chris Benoit and Dean Malenko & Taz and Rick Steiner (w/ Paul E Dangerously) to win the ECW World Tag Team Titles
Public Enemy got a great reaction when they came out, the bulk of the area doing the “Cabbage Patch” dance along to the Enemy's theme music. There's also massive “Fuck Sabu” chants throughout. There's a fantastic 30 second exchange between Benoit and Steiner in the ring. Benoit bounces off the ropes, slides under Steiner, hits a german suplex. Steiner jumps back up and nails the unsuspecting Benoit with a Stenier Line. Match stayed in the ring in the early goings until Taz and Steiner were elimited. After that the Enemy and Benoit/Malenko brawled all over the area. Rocco wore a lot of two on one offense, Malenko mocks the Sabu pose to the sky before motioning a “fuck you” gesture. Grunge reverses a 2 on 1 attack himself into a double DDT, then Rock hits a moonsault and we have new tag team champions.
Overall Score Rating: 5/10
Go back and Watch: Who knows how the main event would've gone down with Sabu in it (he had a beef with just about everybody in the match, particularly Rock and Benoit). Steiner was a fine replacement but the match dynamics didn't click, although the crowd went with the title change. Worth watching, as was Guerrero/Too Cold. Otherwise a flat PPV, like Double Tables in February – too much of the same thing.