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You never quite know what you're likely to get with an ECW live event, but you've usually got a fair idea. 1996's Heatwave had the usual crowd brawls and innovative story-telling; but considering the ravaging of their roster over the last year or two, the misfit outfit managed to pull off a pretty decent go of it, complete with an outside runner for match of the year.
The Gangstaz vs The Samoan Gangsta Party
We open with the Samoan Gangsta Party approaching the ring who are set to go up against New Jack & Mustafa. The Samoans mock the Gangstaz & Dre & Ice Cube hits. The Gangstaz hit the ring with trash cans and the four go at it. New Jack works Smooth inside as Mustafa takes Silk to ringside. New Jack cuts up Smooth before they beat both down with chairs, canes then road signs. Jim Molineaux asks Mustafa to finish it as New Jack drags Sammy the Silk through the crowd.
Jack gets back and bites Silk ringside, the referees clear the Samoans from the ring and New Jack takes the mic calling for a four corner tag match with the Eliminators, the Bruise Brothers & the Samoans. The match was declared a no contest, for those keeping score.
Mikey Whipwreck vs Paul Lauria
We cut to Damien Kane in his best Gorgeous Jimmy Garvin get up, complete with his own Kwik Save Precious. After failing to beat Mikey Whipwreck, he's got another opponent - THE GIANT, PAUL LAURIA!
Mikey takes the Giant to the outside, Lauria gets one up but Mikey crotches Lauria on the top to get the quick win in 1'32". The Eliminators hit the ring nailing Lauria with the total elimination. Saturn accepts New Jack's 4-way invite and Kronas launches Mikey over the top. Saturn twice calls the tag belts his, says Mikey should go get his idol Sabu to give them a match. Sabu comes out from the back and it's on.
Sabu & Mikey Whipwreck vs The Eliminators
Saturn & Kronas dodge the jump to rings of pussies from the crowd, Saturn accepts - and for the titles - but only in a traditional tag match, one man per team in ring at a time, actual tags and all. Sabu works Saturn's knee, Perry grabs the ropes, some shots to get the champion down, a springboard senton manages. Saturn nails a thrust kick then a shot to the neck & he stays down. Lovely top rope splash with 3/4 second hangtome, Kronas gets the tag in. Sabu gets hit with an acrobatic corner elbow, Mikey tags in to turn the tide. Double arm drags to both Eliminators & Sabu splashes the pair for a two.
Mikey arm bars Kronas, Sabu then bulldogs Kronas off Mikey's back instead of a chair, but Saturn hits a brainbuster as the referee ushers out Sabu. Savat kick to Mikey for a long two, Eliminators hit a modified Doomsday Device with Sabu's interference cut off. Big German from Saturn, a dropkick launches Sabu from the apron and the crowd rally for Mikey. Superplex reverse from Mikey, Frankensteiner turned into a power bomb & Sabu gets the tag. Chair in, goes for Air Sabu but he "fucks up" and Saturn regains control. Stunning springboard hurricaranna from the top rope to Saturn. Arabian power bomb sees Sabu sunset over Saturn to thr outside and drive him to the concrete. Kronas hits Sabu through a table on the outside, total elimination to Mikey & the champs retain.
The Dudleys vs The Full Blooded Italians
Little Guido passes Bob Ortiz a written intro and we get the debut of the Italian Karaoke Bistro. JT Smith then gets introduced as old brown eyes. Yes. Sal Belomo brings out JT and Smith takes the mic. Guido gets bi-lingual and bi-sexual mixed up & JT tries to calm the crowd. Little Guido says there's too many Dudleys, so he brings out his little brother, big Guido who's easily seven feet. Out come Deliverance, Bubba has a "fuck you D-von" headband, big Dick coming up the rear. Big Dick & Bubba line up against Guido & JT. D'Von calls out this "bullshit" from Big Dick for trying to take his "fucking" family. He'll kick Dick's ass & the rest of the brothers can kiss his.
Big Dick goes after D-von, and Dances With takes his place. Little Guido gets some shots in before Big Guido slams the mokassins off him. Dick gets back, D'von's fled, Bubba tries to piledrive big Guido, his big brother blocks it & Bubba takes the power bomb. Sal tries to chair Big Dick, it gets no sold and he gets big Guido up before the FBI beat him down. D-von takes the plate, levels sign guy with the chair, chubby with the chair, DW with the chair, Bubba shows him the head band and just before he chairs him, D-von begs Bubba to stop before hitting a low blow. The FBI still work over Big Dick, out of nowhere, Hack Meyers gets D-Von down. The two come back & square off, but D-von runs, Big Dick hits Big Guido with a power bomb and the match that was still going on gets won.
Axl Rotten vs Tarzan Goto
Axl Rotten comes to the ring, his opponent -imported from Japan's FMW - is Tazan Goto. Goto goes for the legs, Axl backs him off before running his mouth. They swap body charges before Goto back body drops him. Axl hits a heel kick and they trade bombs, Rotten gets tied in the ropes then thrown to ringside:
NOT EVERY MATCH NEEDS A RINGSIDE BRAWL.
Axl & Goto have a steel chair swordfight, Rotten threw onto a table, but no break. They trawl the crowd into the new bleachers. After a brief hiatus, they tease coming back into the ring, Goto with a chair beating down Axl. The chair ends up in bits, really savage looking. A lax cover gets a two, Axl gets a new chair and gets even. Rotten gets chants as he really runs and bumps for Goto. DDT to the chair reversed, Goto hits a brainbuster to the steel for the win.
52 mins in, Joey Styles introduces us. Fair fucks. Styles brings out Taz with Fonzie & Team Taz. Alfonso laps up the boos, Styles says the Polar Bear's back to the ice referring to his last opponent. Taz runs down his choke outs - WWF's Bam Bam Bigelow, WCW's Devon Storm & UFC's Paul Varellans. The crowd scream fuck you Taz & he says he loves them too.
Fonzie calls himself & Taz superstars & declares his first order of business is to sack Joey Styles. Joey says no, Taz calls him a motherfucker & he takes the sack. Fonzie announces his new personal commentator, everyone's favourite insolent prick, tuxedo clad Joel Gerdtner. He compares Styles to McMahon & Bischoff, decent chops on a microphone, he reluctantly shakes Gerdtner's hand.
Taz gets a formal introduction, he calls out Sandman for being a crying drunk. As the crowd berate him. He says if his kid betrayed him, he'd beat some respect into him. Taz then starts on Dreamer & his two "lesbian slut rat wives". Who's back? 911 baby! Dial it up!
Gerdtner gives a subdued intro to "independent wrestler extraordinaire" and gets chokeslamed out his slip ons. Taz gets the same and the crowd go apeshit. Taz gets up and Germans 911 before locking in a choke. The big mam's out as the officials run the ring.
Chris Jericho vs Too Cold Scorpio vs Pitbull #2 vs Shane Douglas for the ECW TV Title
Jericho out first to a decent reaction. Scorpio out next and the two stare down. Douglas next, lapping up the atmosphere and sits ringside to watch Scorpio/Jericho. Pitbull 2 gets the best reaction of the four, but gets chaired and cut by Douglas. Scorpio & Jericho start fast, Scorpio launched out as the crowd chant Lionheart. Jericho & Franchise slow it down, trading chops to loud WOO chants. Jericho lionsault for an early two. Pitbull 2 in to loud cheers, Douglas runs to Scorpio for the tag.
Pitbull plays the power game, Scorpio goes to the top but Jericho crotches him. The two go to the top rope, Jericho nails a rana, but Douglas tags himself in. Heel kick from Scorpio, fast rights & lefts daze Franchise, the two brawl ringside. Douglas eats a chair, covered in beer & soda, Scorpio throws him in, two count. Douglas flees a tagged in Pitbull 2, tags Jericho in to deal with him. Pitbull gets a two. Jericho whipped to the corner, fuck knows why but tries a leap over from the turn buckle, but no run in from the Pitbull and he looks a bit of a Goon. Scorpio in, DDT from the champion, Franchise refuses the tag. Pitbull & Scorpio in ring. Top rope overhead suplex to 2-Cold, Douglas finally takes on Pitbull, hip toss reversals back and forward, they fall to the outside.
Jericho splash from the top to the two, Scorpio splash from the top to the three. Scorpio and Jericho tour the building, Douglas crotches Pitbull to the guard rail. Franchise takes a time out with a chair in the ring, Pitbull comes in to get a bulldog to the steel. Francine leads the Pitbull chants. #2 cleans Douglas's clock, Jericho missile dropkick but Pitbull breaks the fall. Nice story develops with everyone trying to beat Douglas but each get in the other's way. Jericho slaps on the figure four to more woo's, Douglas falls back to his shoulders for some near falls. Pitbull shouts from the apron to break his leg.
Second attempt blocked & Douglas tags Scorpio. Jericho lionsault attempt, but fuck me, 2-Cold drop kicks him mid-leap. Entire bleachers on their feet, power bomb from Scorpio, laps up the crowd & fails to go for the cover. Dropkick from Jericho, again Douglas refuses a tag & lionheart forces him. One shot from Scorpio, Douglas tags Jericho back in. Scorpio nails a tombstone, goes up top for the tumbleweed and three seconds later, the champ is eliminated. Douglas tries to get Scorpio to team up against Pitbull 2. The fans beg him not to shake on the deal. Scorpio does, but instantly works over Douglas. Pitbull gets knocked off for good measure, Scorpio locks in a submission to Douglas. Looks out of it, Scorpio pulls out the pinfall. Douglas rallies, goes up top, but Scorpio nails a leaping sunset flip.
He pulls in the Pitbull, goes for a moonsault but misses, Douglas hits a DDT and tells Pitbull to pin him. In a twist of fate, Douglas then sets up Scorpio for the superbomb from Pitbull and we're down to two. Douglas and Pitbull brawl round ringside, the fans offer chairs by the dozen. Pitbull high fives the cunt with the straw hat, Franchise driven shoulder first into the post and Pitbull throws two chairs in the ring. He sets them up, powerbomb to Douglas through the chairs, the fans chant ECW.
Pitbull 2 then goes for a table, Douglas crawls to the corner and the table gets laid in the corner. No one told Pitbull if you set up the weapon, you get put through it. Douglas reverses an irish whip then belly to bellies the Pitbull. Franchise brings in Francine, lays in a lip lock, Pitbull 2 knocks out the ref. As Pitbull 2 power lifts Douglas, Francine then salts the eyes and strips off her skirt to show Franchise underwear. Out of nowhere, Pitbull 1 comes back, takes out Douglas, and the 'bulls set up the superbomb and a table to the new Miss Franchise.
Francine gets killed through the table, as she lies face down ass up, Franchise DDT's Pitbull 1, goes for the win, but #2 kicks out. Douglas takes the brass knuckles from the tights, again - Pitbull 2 kicks out. If this doesn't get ridiculous enough, Douglas takes a chain from the boot, bang, one-two... Kickout. Pitbull 2 goes for a spin kick, horrible bump over the turnbuckle to the outside, Douglas gets him back in, belly to belly, 1-2-3, and we have a new champion. He gets the gold and the crumbled knicker-clad Francine and carries both to the back.
Louie Spicolli vs Sabu
Hard cut to Louie Spicolli against Pablo Marquez and El Puerto Ricanio in a glorified squash. Out comes Sabu and we get our scheduled match: Spicolli starts with a beatdown on Sabu who's out in a neckbrace. Kicks and clubs to the neck garners chants of "You fat fuck". A lax cover gets a two, another sees Sabu just manage to get his foot on the rope. Spiccoli seems stumped early on how he can beat Sabu. The Arabian takes him to the outside, launching himself into an Air Sabu plancha over the guardrail as he gets a second wind. In ring, Sabu sets up the chair, leaps from the chair to the rope, landing bang on Spicolli with a chair shot for good measure.
Spicolli gets draped over the ropes and Sabu misses with a senton as Joey Styles compares him to Evil Kineavil. Sabu again pulls out his dueling chairs spot besting Spicolli who falls to the outside. Sabu bridges a table between the apron and the guardrail, moonsaulting through it and Spicolli from the top rope.
Sabu, another step closer to death.
A broken Spicolli gets his foot to the ropes for the pin, a triple jump moonsault only gets a two & Spicolli Germans with a bridge for a two of his own. Big man goes to the top, Sabu clocks him, goes for a springboard hurricaranna, but Spicolli holds on & Sabu crumples to the mat. Sabu dodges a splash attempt, Spicolli dodges an Arabian facebuster, Sabu tries to work the knees, but Spicolli stomps him down.Sabu launches a chair at a top rope Spicolli, lands a super DDT then finishes him with the facebuster for the win.
The Sandman, Terry Gordy & Tommy Dreamer vs Raven, Stevie Richards and "Prime Time" Brian Lee
Raven tries to get in Sandman's head, offering Tyler's return if he's spared. Raven canes down Sandman, locks in a figure four on the new knee. Lynrd Sknyrd hits & Bam Bam goes for Richards. Gordy & Stevie go at it up at the eagle's nest & Richards is burst open to fuck already. The two go crowd touring before Brian Lee gets his hands on Bam Bam. Dreamer makes his way out buzzing, goes for Lee, Nova & Bluedust get trash canned for trying to interfere.
Tommy takes Brian Lee up through the bleachers, and we cut back to in-ring. Gordy throws the champ repeatedly to the cage. Richards climbs over and misses a splash from the top of the cage. Gordy works Stevie & we see Dreamer nail Lee with a door at ringside. Raven goes for Bam Bam, but gets a piledriver. Worryingly, due to the cage, you can actually make out the crowd brawls easier than the in-ring.
Lee suplexes Tommy to the door, Richards twice hits Gordy with the superkick, but Bam Bam stands tall. Raven & Sandman sit gasses & Brian Lee gets in to hit Gordy. The two hosses go to the outside, Raven & Richards get the better of Sandman, but Gordy & Dreamer team up on Prime Time. Tommy gets in the cage, kicking Stevie, caning Raven. Beulah & Kimona pass Tommy handcuffs, well if they're good enough for the bedroom... 1995's Heatwave comes back to mind as Raven gets cuffed to the cage. Sandman grabs the cane, but Tyler blocks the champion & Dreamer & Sandman square off.
Behind their eyes, Supernova cuts Raven free and Sandman & Dreamer go to ground. Raven gets DDT'd and both Dreamer & Saturn only get a two. Outside, Raven's flock stack three tables atop each other. Dreamer and Lee trade blows on top of the cage, but before Tommy gets his bearings, Lee hits the prime time slam through the tables to holy shit chants. Lee comes down to assess the damage, but Missy Hyatt liplicks him. During the distraction, Sandman gets the pin on Raven, but as Stevie survived, he retains the title. Post match, Gordy & Lee swap bombs and we fade to black with Tommy getting checked by the doctors and Bam Bam again steals the spotlight to the crowd's ovation.
Overall rating: 6.5/10
Match of the night: TV Title
MVP: Shane Douglas
All in all? A largely forgettable show, but with a forty-minute title match including Jericho, Douglas and Scorpio; you'd be struggling to put it down any more. There's some good early incarnations of what would soon be household names; the Francine turn shows Heyman's chops for telling a compelling story and it would be a further example of how ECW was easily the most consistent promotion in North America.