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ECW held a double-header "Big Ass Extreme Bash" pair of shows across two days firstly in New York and then the following day in the more familiar surroundings in the ECW Arena. While the tape released (that I'm reviewing this show from) only includes highlights from the event, the most important of which made their way onto Hardcore TV – the opening angle with Shane Douglas and Brian Pillman and the ECW debut of Chris Jericho against Cactus Jack both aired on TV in March.
The second night at the ECW Arena featured the same crew in a similar set of match-ups, Jericho faced Taz and Cactus Jack (in his final appearance before joining the WWF) faced off against long time friend/foe Mikey Whipwreck – the pairings effectively swapping opponents. With New Jack returning, this show also marked as formal a "babyface turn" for the Gangstas into one of the promotion's primary acts.
New Jack Promo
After being accosted by a fan (who's actually New Jack's wife) we get an impassioned promo from the newly freed from prison New Jack, who said he never thought he'd miss anyone in his life, but he missed these "crazy, retarded mother fuckers in ECW. Fuck Eric Bischoff, fuck Vince McMahon WCW may be where the big boys play but this is where the real mother fuckers play". This was tremendous, New Jack playing the foul mouthed babyface is money already. Damian Kane comes out and gets his Headhunters a spot in the main event that's now a triangle tag match.
Bad Crew vs El Puerto Ricano and Damian Stone
Listless action that seems to go to a no contest as Brian Pillman walks out with Philadelphia Eagle Harry Boatswain. Pillman, talking to Joey Styles, says he's quite certain the rogue horseman is here. Douglas joins in the fun from the eagles nest, Pillman and Boatswain flee and Douglas comes down to the ring. Douglas says “it’s WCW vs ECW, and I say extreme wins”. Douglas attempts to rip off his shirt, but doesn’t quite make it and it ends up around his neck like a cape, he bemoans Hogan for that. Fans chant – "Pillman is a pussy."
We get brief highlights of The Eliminators facing "The Dudley Clique" (in this case Buh Buh Ray and Hack Myers). Saturn hits a lovely Frankinsteiner on Buh Buh. Myers takes a total elimination and the Eliminators retain the titles.
Chris Jericho vs Taz (w/ Bill Alfonso)
Not the longest match for these two, clocking in at six minutes, but some nice back and forth in an even contest. Jericho busts out a lionsault, and his running-diagonal turnbuckle dropkick to the outside. After a Tazplex, Jericho starts selling a neck injury but says he is OK to continue, Taz locks in the Tazmission and Jericho submits – a decision then overturned Ito a DQ after Taz doesn't release the hold. A lot of post match carnage, including Pillman running scared of both Taz and Douglas – Pillman swan dived over the guardrail into the arms of Boatswain before making a hasty exit. We tease Douglas and Taz as a rivalry.
Juventud Guerrera vs Rey Misterio Jr in a (2 out of 3 Falls Match)
The previous night in New York these two did a two out of three falls match where Guerrera won 2 to 1, so no prizes for guessing what happened here (much like with their booking of Eddy Guerrero and Dean Malenko, one weakness they had with their booking of outside stars was never being brave enough to have one look definitively stronger than the other).
This match was great, tons of athleticism and a preview of what we would soon be seeing in WCW on Nitro. Guerrera took the first fall with a drag suplex, Misterio hits an impressive powerbomb to level it at 1-1. After this we actually venture outside, Misterio takes a powerbomb onto the hood of a car. We return to the ring, Misterio takes it with a reverse hurricanrana from the top, and piledrives Guerrera through the time keepers table afterwards.
Mikey Whipwreck vs Cactus Jack
A really good brawl this, and a great way for Cactus to sign off. For the first time as a heel in ECW he breaks out the apron elbow drop. Lots of action on the outsider, including a guardrail neck-breaker which looked fun. We get near the eagles nest, Mikey hits a splash off the top to the floor. Jack wins it in the ring with some chair shots and a piledriver onto a steel chair.
After the match Cactus hugs Mikey, then says “I’ve said some pretty outrageous things, and to have 99% of you give me this kind of reception makes it all seem worth it." Cactus makes it up with the sign guy, who has a sign that says “Keep Uncle Vince away from Dewey”. Cactus goes to praise the pair of visionaries and creative geniuses without whom ECW wouldn’t exist… he is, of course, on about Stevie Richards and the Blue Meanie. Cactus says if he has one last wish, it would be to strut out of the ECW arena. Very nice finale this.
The Pitbulls (w/ Francine) vs The Bruise Brothers (Ron and Don Harris)
An arena wide brawl that was particularly difficult to follow on television. The video, also, cuts out a chunk of the match, but see do see the Pitbulls hit a superbomb onto one of the Bruise Brothers, the Fabulous ones (Richards and Meanie) come out and Francine eats another superkick. The match seems to end in a no contest when Tommy Dreamer comes out wielding a plastic sling type thing he's been holding his arm together with as a weapon.
Sabu vs Big Titan
Another match that was truncated in the end, Titan is Rick Bognor (who will soon become Fake Razor Ramon in the WWF). Titan does a slingshot knee drop over the top rope to the outside, Sabu rolls off the table and Titan goes through it knee first which seems like a load of fun. Sabu ends it with a DDT onto a chair and an Arabian Facebuster for the win.
Shane Douglas vs Raven (w/ Kimona Wanalea, Stevie Richards and The Blue Meanie)
Raven is carrying a very legitimate injury here which, really, should stop him for working all together. As is we get a match with about as many shortcuts as you can imagine. We get a ref bump which opens up the floodgates for all manner of interference from the Fabulous Ones (Douglas gives both of them and Raven a belly to belly suplex) and the Harris Brothers. Raven ends it with a DDT to the chair. A fine effort but a serious question as to whether Raven was in shape to perform.
The heel beat down continues post match before Dreamer, and then Sandman come out to even up the numbers. We then get a very uneasy truce between the trio... Dreamer leaves and Scorpio comes out to argument with Sandman himself. Some fine storytelling here.
The Headhunters (w/ Damian Kane and Lady Alexandra) vs Too Cold Scorpio and The Sandman (w/ "Mommy" - aka Missy Hyatt) vs The Gangstas (New Jack & Mustapha)
ECW triangle match rules in effect – two teams start, the third come out a while later, elimination rules. Your usual ECW main event fare, lots of brawling and shenanigans and a shockingly not-awful top rope leg drop from Sandman. The Gangstas come out and put one of the headhunters through the timekeepers table, we then get all six people brawling on the outside. Sandman eats some unprotected chair shots before Too Cold Scorpio hits a 450 splash to eliminate the Headhunters. We soon get a powerslam/splash combo from the Gangstas and that's enough for the win.
Score Rating: 5/10
Go Back And Watch: Cactus Jack's match and promo is memorable (come to think of it, so was New Jack's). The Juventud Guerrera/Misterio match is excellent, and Taz vs Jericho is a good outing. But all in all a disappointing show – ECW walks a fine balance between wrestling/brawling and shenanigans and they missed it on this night.