Written by: Arnold Furious
The year – 1997. The place – Philadelphia. The company – ECW. Before the WWF had stolen (yes, stolen) ECW’s ideas and incorporated them into the “Attitude” era ECW was the only hardcore place on TV. This wasn’t even on PPV. This was just a little bash they threw together on the cheap. It’s August, it’s hot and there is a lot of barbed wire lying around.
No introductions or any crap like that it’s straight into it.
Pablo Marquez v Little Guido w/Tracey Smothers/Tommy Rich
Rich tries to cut a promo but all you can hear is the crowd chanting “shut the f**k up”. Corrupt referee Jeff Jones is the ref. Pablo is agile and lands on his feet from a hip toss and then tosses Guido over to demonstrate his superior skills. Rana from Pablo. Guido bails and Pablo hits a suicide dive through the ropes. Pablo springboards back in and Guido nearly decapitates him with a clothesline. Pablo hits a sweet missile drop kick from the top but only gets 2. Guido with a suplex which only gets a 2. Guido misses a charge and Pablo reverses straight into a russian legsweep. Guido starts working the leg which is a bit out of character as he normally goes after the arm but it makes sense because Pablo is a flyer. You take out the legs you eliminate the aerial offence. Pablo goes for something through the ropes (it looks like a dropkick but he’s screwed it up whatever it was). Pablo planchas onto Smothers and Rich to stop them from interfering. Pablo goes up and gets whacked with the Italian flag and Guido covers for 3 at 6.04. **. Nothing much doing here. They didn’t have long enough to properly entertain.
Mikey Whipwreck v Louie Spicolli
For those who don’t know Spicolli was the future of pro-wrestling before he tragically died. Mikey has the early speed advantages with arm drags and dropkicks. Spicolli stops and asks the referee he wants to just announce him as the winner now to save everyone some time. Hehe. Mikey crotches Spicolli around the ringpost. Stunner from nowhere by Louie. Mikey comes back with a sunset flip which gets a 2 and Spicolli comes back with an ensiguri. Spicolli with a fall away slam. I think he’s actually doing moves from the WWF and WCW to anger the ECW crowd. That’s heel psychology my friends. Hogan-style glory leg drop which gets 2. Rana from Mikey and a russian legsweep. He goes for a jumping rana off the ropes and gets powerbombed for 2. Spicolli misses a swanton bomb (he weighs about 280). More dropkicks from Mikey. Spicolli goes outside and Mikey follows with a dive over the ropes. It looks suspiciously like Mikey broke both his legs on a security barrier and cracked his head off the floor. Back inside it’s a top rope rana from Mikey and he wins it at 6.54. **1/2. Short and quite bad considering how good Spicolli was at the time.
Bam Bam Bigelow v Spike Dudley
On my copy of the tape they let all of Highway to Hell play without dubbing it but they try to dub over Welcome to the Jungle, badly. Why? Bigelow gestures early that he’s going to throw Spike into the crowd. Bigelow just throws Spike around like a rag doll. Press slam from Bigelow. Big vertical suplex. Out of the ring and Spike gets posted head first. Spike is busted wide open. Huge choke toss and Spike lands on his neck. Avalanche. Bigelow misses the moonsault. Spike hits a few dropkicks and gets a 1 count. Spike goes for the acid drop but Bigelow just side suplexes out of it and Spike lands on his head. Spike hits a low blow and a victory roll and by God he’s won it at 6.36. Jesus Heyman stop booking 5 minute matches. **1/2
Chris Candido v Chris Chetti
Chetti is still really green at this point. Candido tries to outwrestle him with a hammerlock into a roll up. 3 armdrags from Chetti and an arm bar. Chetti hits a crossbody off the second turnbuckle for a 2 count and it’s another damn arm drag. Candido rana’s Chetti over the ropes and that looked like it hurt. Candido drops a leg onto the back of Chetti’s head from the second buckle. Long stalling vertical suplex from Candido. Candido mocks Taz (that’s never a good idea). Candido goes for the top rope sunset flip but Chetti blocks into his own cover for 2. Chetti nearly kills Candido with a German suplex (Candido lands right on his head). Big back body drop from Chetti. Neckbreaker gets a 2. Powerslam. Sommersault leg drop misses for Chetti. Chetti superplexes Candido for another 2. Gutwrench powerbomb from Candido. Double underhook superplex from Candido and this one is in the books at 11.20. **1/2. 4th straight match that was really average. Chetti botched most of his offence while Candido just looked pissed off that he kept get dropped on his head.
Shane Douglas w/Francine v Lance Storm
Douglas cuts a promo about the forthcoming PPV Hardcore Heaven. Douglas challenges Sabu and Terry Funk to a 3 way dance. Shane swears for a cheap pop. Storm still has his blonde rat tail. Lots of big chops in the early going. Couple of arm drags from Storm. Storm with a superkick but Francine distracts Storm. Shane with a hot shot to get back into it. Francine takes advantage of a ref distraction to choke Storm. Butterfly suplex from Shane. Shane with a baseball slide to the ‘groin’ of Storm. Shane puts on a camel clutch (to annoy Sabu) and Francine throws some chairs in. Shane suplexes Storm into a chair which collapses under Storm’s weight. Shane gets a 2 count. Storm backdrops Shane out of the ring and then baseball slides him into the guardrail. Springboard into a high crossbody from Storm. Cartwheel clothesline and a Kawada style ensiguri for a 2 count from Storm. Shane rolls up Storm but Storm counters midway and gets a 2 count. Springboard sunset flip from Storm but Shane counters into another pinning combination and we have a nice sequence of near falls. Storm connects with a spinning heel kick but he misses a top rope leg drop. Shane goes for the belly to belly suplex of doom but Storm counters into a DDT for a 2 count. Douglas hits the belly to belly suplex the second time and scores the win at 8.52. ***. The best match of the night so far.
ECW TV title – Taz (c) v Al Snow
Snow is really over and is dressed like Leif Cassidy. Al cuts a quick promo – “I’m not Leif Cassidy, I’m Al Motherf**king Snow”. I wasn’t aware that Al used profanity but hey this is extreme. The crowd start a “Taz is gonna kill you” chant. “As if Taz needs encouraging” – Joey Styles. Al counters a waistlock into an armbar and Taz counters out into a headscissors. Sweet. Al rolls out and goes for a headlock. Taz rolls out with a hammerlock. This is some great counter wrestling. There’s another couple of minutes of roll throughs and leg trips. It’s like watching an amateur match or a walk home from the pub with Jim Burman. Taz locks on a heel hook and Al has to bail. Back inside Taz hits the worlds largest spinebuster. Reverse ensuguri from Snow. Snow with a sidesuplex on Taz. Out of nowhere – T-bone Tazplex. Sit down powerbomb from Snow. Release German Tazplex. Fireman carry suplex from Snow. Snow hip tosses Taz out of the Tazmission. The second time he locks it in at 10.14. ***1/2. The opening 4 minutes of amateur grappling was worth the *** on it’s own.
The Dudley Boys (D-Von/Buh Buh Ray/Big Dick) w/Joel Gertner/Sign Guy Dudley v Balls Mahoney/Axl Rotten/Hack Myers
This starts out as a regular 2 on 2 tag. As per usual the Dudleys eat up about 10 minutes before the match starts. Balls starts working over the arm of D-Von and that’s about as far as the psychology will go in this one I think. Big Dick keeps tripping Balls and Axl. After about 3 minutes of this it’s quite obvious they’re trying to point out that it’s 3 on 2. Axl and Balls bail which is odd for the faces. The crowd chants for New Jack but they come back out with Hack Myers. The Dudleys all get whipped into one another in the center of the ring. That was quite clever. Big Dick gets punched by all 3 faces to chants of “Balls”, “Shah”, “Axl”. You see both Balls and the “Shah” Hack Myers had this gimmick where the fans would chant their name when they punched someone. At 6.20 it’s finally made a 6 man tag. Should I reset the counter? Axl stiffs D-Von with a chair on the outside. Axl and D-Von have fought off into the crowd somewhere. D-Von is busted. Back in the ring Balls hits the Nutcracker Suite on D-Von. Top rope leg drop from Balls. D-Von kicks out. Axl stiffs Buh Buh with a chair shot. Axl stiffs Dick with a chair shot. Now he has the set. Sign Guy gets bumped when he tries to interfere. Balls stiffs the shit out of Big Dick with a chair shot. Big Dick chokeslams Balls through a table at ringside and inside it’s 3-D on Hack Myers. Match time – 11.59. **1/2. Just a bunch of chair shots and stalling.
Tommy Dreamer w/Beulah v Rob Van Dam w/Bill Alfonso
RVD starts out sloppy by accidentally tripping Dreamer into the ropes. Spinning heel kick and Dreamer is down early. They repeat the screwed up spot and Dreamer hits a dropkick to the back of RVD’s head. RVD to the outside and Dreamer hits a pescado. Dreamer crotches RVD on the guardrail and comes off the apron with a no parking sign which he belts RVD in the skull with. RVD gets a 2 count with a split legged sunset flip. Spinning kick nearly takes Dreamer’s head off. Dreamer to the floor and RVD hits a ‘no hands’ rope flip. RVD crotches Dreamer on the guardrail as a receipt for earlier and hits a Van Daminator off the adjacent rail. RVD with a chair assisted drop kick. RVD surfs the chair into Dreamer’s face in the corner. RVD hits the 5 star frog splash but Dreamer kicks out. RVD slams Dreamer on a chair but misses the split legged moonsault and RVD hits the chair. Dreamer hits a Van Dreamerinator. RVD in the tree of woe and Dreamer drop kicks a chair into his face. Dreamer hits a frog splash. Cool. Alfonso comes in so Beulah kicks his ass. Van Daminator on Dreamer as he was going for a DDT on Alfonso. Corkscrew leg drop with a chair (Arabian facebuster anyone?) but RVD misses. DDT from Dreamer. Sabu does a run in with a trashcan. Van Daminator with the trashcan and RVD follows up with the corkscrew leg drop onto the trashcan. RVD pins at 9.51. ***1/2. Solid encounter with some interesting Dreamer offence which included stealing the better half of RVD’s moveset. After the match the Triple Threat and RVD/Sabu fight over the right to kick Dreamer’s ass. Then the whole locker room clears out. The Dudleys sort of win and we have a repeat of the earlier match with Balls and Axl. 3-D on Balls. New Jack, Kronus and Saturn with a leg brace rush the ring and clear out the Duds. It all finishes off with the faces beating the shit out of Joel Gertner. Always funny.
ECW title (No Rope Barbed Wire) – Terry Funk (c) v Sabu
Funk wisely has a t-shirt on – Sabu is completely nuts so he’s going in bare chested. Sabu is nearly whipped into the wire after a minute puts the breaks on. Same thing happens to Funk. Sabu with a camel clutch. Hangman’s neckbreaker from Funk. Nasty piledriver from Funk. DDT from Funk. All the Funk moves so far have been brutal. Rana from Sabu. As Funk kicks out he pushes Sabu into the barbed wire. Ow. Funk rakes Sabu’s head across the barbed wire and we have a little blood. Sabu gets whipped into the barbed wire. Could you imagine this on a WWF show? No, me neither. Sabu gets crotched on the wire except he takes it in the hamstrings. Sabu’s tights are shredded. Sabu gets whipped into the wire again and you can see his arm get caught on it. Funk has to help Sabu free his own arm from barbed wire. Sabu is bleeding from at least 10 different places. Funk gets reversed into the barbed wire and he gets caught too. Sabu gets a chair and nails Funk with it. Funk gets his head shoved into the wire. Funk is busted and Sabu grabs a piece of barbed wire and hits Funk in the head with it. Chair assisted splash onto the ropes from Sabu. Funk got caught under that. Air Sabu misses and Sabu gets caught in the barbed wire again. Sabu just tore his bicep open. Argh. Dear God, that’s just not right. Sabu kicks out of a pin straight into the wire. Sabu tapes up the torn bicep. Sabu is insane. Funk with a hangmans’s neckbreaker through 2 chairs and on the way down Sabu is still taping his arm up. Sabu finishes taping the arm up and goes nuts. Awesome. Sabu can’t even punch without causing himself agony. Sabu gets his forehead opened up on the wire again. Funk Spinning Toe Hold. Fonzie gets dragged in over the barbed wire. Sabu get’s hot shotted onto the wire. Funk nails Fonzie with the barbed wire fist. Funk deliberately busts Fonzie’s back open with a length of wire. Funk with wire cutters and he takes a couple of strands of wire and whips Sabu with them. Sick. Sabu appears to be caught up in the wire while Funk abuses Fonzie. Sabu uses the wire cutters to belt Funk. RVD does a run in and hammers away on Funk. RVD rolls Funk up in the barbed wire. Fonzie is a bloody mess. Funk now closely resembles a Christmas tree only with barbed wire instead of tinsel. They set Funk up on a table and Sabu drops a leg through it. Jesus. Dreamer comes out to help Funk. Dreamer carries RVD away from the match. Funk kicks out in the ring. Funk is set up on another table. Sabu wraps barbed wire around himself and drops a leg. “Oh my God” – Joey Styles. Yeah, really. Both men are tangled up in the barbed wire and can’t move. This has gone a bit messy. Sabu gets a 2 count. They cannot move though. Sabu eventually manages to pin Funk at 20.39. ****. Absolutely insane. The stand out match on the show, mainly because they let them go for so long. The high spots were worthy of the ****
Best matches –
3. Rob Van Dam v Tommy Dreamer. Good. Dreamer is the innovator but he steals RVD’s moves wholesale in this one. He even does a good frog splash.
2. Taz v Al Snow. Solid amateur stuff early in the match got me hooked and I think if they’d gone any longer they might just have stolen the show.
1. Sabu v Terry Funk. Just an insane match. There really isn’t anything in the WWF to compare this to. Hell in a Cell is all about falling and not killing yourself. This is about lacerating yourself and using a length of tape to hold the wound shut.
Overall PPV rating – B-
Why so high? No bad matches. No filler. Everything was decent at the very least.