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Following along on the heels of Hostile City Showdown from April is ECW's "A Matter Of Respect", this feels like the first consecutive show in a while that doesn't see ECW trying to recover from another departure. The show name is based around the Sabu/Rob Van Dam program (who had a fantastic match at Hostile City Showdown), after which Sabu offered Van Dam a handshake and Van Dam walked off. This time, the loser must declare their "respect" for the victor and offer to shake their hands.
The respect mantra was being played out (and, at times, crow-barred) onto other parts of the card, namely the Shane Douglas/Too Cold Scorpio match. After being screwed out of the ECW World Title last month, Douglas was confronted by Scorpio who wanted him to challenge for the ECW Television title instead (the whole thing basically being a cop out to avoid Douglas actually getting a fair fight with Raven).
Damian vs El Puerto Ricano
We didn't see much of the match, we jump straight into both men trying to do their best Sabu impression, which leads us to Sabu coming out and laying waste to both. Not much here, except the key fact that Sabu is indeed sentient – he is aware of what's going on in the ring, leading to the obvious question: why won't he answer Taz's call?
Damien Kane & Dangerous Devon Storm (w/ Lady Alexandra) vs The Dudleys (Buh Buh Ray and D’Von w/ Sign Guy & DW Dudley)
“My name is Buh, Buh, Buh…. BIG TITS”. Not much of a match here, but did at least resist the temptation to break down completely. Devon Storm is the better worker by some distance, and the better spots in the match come from him flying around (including one where he's thrown over the top onto DW Dudley on a wheelchair on the outside). All four men dive towards a vacant chair, Joey Styles says “If swinging a chair was an Olympic event then we could send D’Von to Atlanta”. The match ends with D'von laying out Buh Buh Ray with a chair shot, then the referee – who calls for the bell. They tease dissension between the Dudleys after the match.
The Full Blooded Italians (JT Smith & Little Guido) vs Axl Rotten and Hack Myers
Fans point out Smith's boner, Smith grabs the mic and says "Pretty spectacular, huh?". Myers hits an running leg drop on the apron but the camera doesn't catch it, and after a jump cut mid match we go to the finish – Little Guido sits out on a Myers sunset flip – grabs Smith's hand for some leverage while making the pin and that will finish it. Don't wait up for this one.
Raven (w/ Stevie Richards, The Blue Meanie and The Meanie Babe Miss Patricia) vs Pitbull 2 ( w/ Francine and Pitbull 1) vs Sandman (w/ Missy Hyatt & Too Cold Scorpio) for the ECW World Heavyweight Title
Very possibly the most fun I've had watching an ECW title match. That isn't to overstate Pitbull 2's abilities – but his presence in the match created a lot of opportunity for some fun set pieces and saved us from another dreary Raven vs Sandman match. Pitbull 1 was injured ("written out" on TV the week prior) so they shuffled things around and got Pitbull 2 in here – apparently due to a "tied fan vote"… whatever!
Raven and Sandman go after Pitbull, who withstands multiple chair and cane shots before clotheslining both over the top rope. Sandman hits a flying cane shot over the top rope to Pitbull, Raven follows with a plancha taking both men out. We get a ref bump, then Sandman goes for a leg drop from the top while holding a cane and almost does some serious damage to his "tucked" leg. Pitbull superbombs Sandman, but as they hit the deck Raven kicks Pitbull with his "loaded boot" for the first pinfall of the match. Stevie
Sandman gets a series of near falls on Raven, each one popping the crowd a little bit more than the last. Stevie jumps in the ring and shoots for a superkick, Sandman ducks and Raven eats it. Sandman covers him and Raven kicks out and the crowd gasp. Sandman dismantles a section of guardrial and puts it in the ring, Raven then DDT's him onto it and that's enough for the win. A seriously fun three way match, one of the best ECW title matches I've seen.
Mikey Whipwreck vs "Lionhart" Chris Jericho
Mikey counters a tombstone piledriver attempt with one of his own, barely having control of it. Later, Mikey hits a flipdive into the crowd then a flying forearm from the top, Jericho just about kicks out but the fans are getting angry with the referee. This match ends with a double underhook suplex from the top rope. A fine match, if nothing more. The pair shake hands after the match because, you know, "respect".
Shane Douglas vs Too Cold Scorpio for the ECW Television Title
Scorpio goads Douglas with a WWF shirt, Douglas responds by wiping his backside with it. Styles reminds us that this is a repeat of the 1994 NWA Title Tournament final in ECW. This is a good match, going over 25 minutes it pushed the boundaries a bit before falling into the usual trap of having too many near falls off of what should be match ending moves. Scorpio recovered far too well after being jacknife powerbombed onto the concrete, Douglas likewise after taking two of Scorpio's top rope finishers. That being said this is still an enjoyable watch – a motivated Douglas usually will be .
Douglas retains the title in 26 minutes after hitting a belly to belly from the top rope (a nice one to end it, but all of the other moves that didn't, plus the end to the previous match meant this was a bit of an anti-climax). Douglas does his usually speech – regaling us with all of the people who he has wrestled in the past, before saying that not only is Scorpio better than all of them, he might even be better than Douglas is. With that, Douglas invites Scorpio to show him the ultimate respect by putting the title belt around his waist which, of course, ends with Scorpio laying Douglas out.
Sabu vs Rob Van Dam in a "Respect" match
This includes the first "You fucked up" chant that I can recall on an ECW show – it was a weird one too as Van Dam only slipped on the leg of a guardrial attempting to plant his weight on it. Sabu vaults off of the top rope into the crowd, Van Dam throws a chair at him on his way down. Sabu sets up his triple jump move to the crowd, this time going for a splash and crashing through Van Dam and a table in the crowd, that was fantastic.
Their match last month ended with Sabu hitting a "triple jump" moonsault off of the top rope into the ring, Sabu shot for this again but this time Van Dam gets his knees up. Van Dam then hits a split legged moonsault and that's enough for the win. The crowd are shocked into silence, Sabu is nursing a litany of injuries post match. They actually stretcher him out before he came back out a few minutes later do to the angle - he wasn't in great shape. He says "respect" then offers out a handshake, Van Dam bats his hand away and says "not only do I not respect you, you're a piece of shit". Van Dam joins sides with Alfonso and Taz on the aisle way. Taz says "there's a time and place for everything".
Prime Time Brian Lee and The Eliminators (Saturn & Kronus) vs Tommy Dreamer and The Gangstas (New Jack and Mustapha)
After a show full of action that largely stayed within the confines of ringside, an arena wide brawl of a main event felt less detracting that previous ones had last month. Lots of action with the guardrail, we spill around to by the eagles nest, Lee suplexes Dreamer through a table adjacent to the hard camera before just flinging him off of the platform and then throwing a section of table at him. Later, Dreamer shapes to DDT Lee in the ring, but Stevie Richards comes out and superkicks him in the back of the head.
Kimona and Beulah come out and drag Richard's backstage literally by the bollocks, they also come out with a cinder block (a throw back to the fine last month) and give it to Dreamer. Dreamer turns the tables on Lee from Hostile City Showdown, putting the block on Lees crotch and smashing a chair onto it – but Saturn breaks up the pin. New Jack hits a splash off the top with a chair and that's enough for that. A paint by numbers ECW brawl-heavy main event, but was a fine end to an other-wise much more balanced show than last month.
Score Rating: 7.5/10
Go Back And Watch: Possibly the best show we've reviewed from any promotion in 1996 so far. I'd recommend the Raven/Sandman/Pitbull match, Scorpio/Douglas and Sabu/RVD as required viewing. Jericho/Mikey is perfectly fine too.