Written by: Arnold Furious
We’re in Queens, New York. Host is Joey Styles. Apparently the city was under snow at the time. Ring announcer is Joel Gertner looking unusually neat.
PROMO TIME – Paul Heyman. At ringside are a camera crew from Current Affair. Crowd doesn’t like them.
Taz w/Bill Alfonso v Shark Attack Kid
Joey takes shots at John Tenta calling him washed up as he was wrestling as The Shark at the time. Crowd wants Sabu. Shark Attack Kid hails from “The Great Reef”. He’s debuting and is a really bland jobber guy. Taz controls with ease and nearly taps the Kid with a cross armbreaker. Taz starts popping off suplexes and the Kid lands on his head off an Exploder. Kid gets a little offence in hitting a dropkick before Taz decides to kill him. The Kobashiplex leaves the Kid bleary eyed but he must have really upset Taz because he takes it to the ropes for a belly to belly superplex. Tazmission finishes at 3.30. ½*. Squash!
POST MATCH Taz calls out 911. Todd Gordon comes out instead waving his finger at the ring. Apparently 911 isn’t here so Fonzie invites Gordon in for a fight instead. Fonzie knocks him on his ass but when Gordon fires back Taz jumps in there to murder him but BAM BAM BIGELOW makes the save. That would be quite a surprise. Crowd immediately bites on him with a “Bam Bam” chant. He wants a piece of Taz but the orange clad one takes a walk.
Axl Rotten/El Puerto Ricano v Headhunters w/Damien Kane/Lady Alexandra
Ricano was in the WWF after this as Tiger Ali Singh’s assistant Babu. In case you’re wondering what happened to Damien Kane he got fired for making “inappropriate remarks” towards Missy Hyatte. If she found it offensive then it MUST have been bad. Alexandra is a pretty hot piece of ass and you’d assume that was the draw. It’s not the Headhunters who plod through their offence as per usual. Nice Tiger Driver on Ricano though. Ricano takes a sick head bump off a clothesline. The Irish whips are unbelievably sloppy in this because they involve effort and the Headhunters aren’t down with that. Ricano is too green to cover for it and they just generally beat him up and jump on him and stuff. Eventually the Headhunters get too sloppy to stop a tag happening and Axl comes in. He also gets squashed but gets some offence in. Ricano gets tagged back in where he hits a splash and the Headhunter he hits it on kicks out at 0. Oh dear. Fat guy moonsault finishes at 6.48. ¼*. A total squash that just kept on going longer than was necessary. Great visual on the moonsault though. Very cool.
Tag titles – Cactus Jack/Mikey Whipwreck (c) v Eliminators
Raven is out here as well because Cactus likes him. Mikey doesn’t. He keeps throwing the title belt down to demonstrate how little he wants to be here. Cactus is soon to depart and is wearing a WW F’N F shirt. “You sold out” chant the fans. Mikey does some nice improvisation after blowing a crucifix and changes to an armdrag. Crowd still chants “you fucked up” because they are without mercy. Everything Mikey does with both Eliminators seems to suffer from minor timing issues. Cactus jumps in there to complain about Mikey doing headlocks all the time. Cactus gets the mic and tells Mikey to get the hell out of here if he isn’t going to be supportive. Mikey remains. Cactus v Saturn is a hell of a match with Saturn’s speed and Cactus’ psychology. Mikey in but Saturn superkicks him after Cactus stops him attempting another pesky wrestling hold. Kronus helps out on a double STO. You know the Eliminators won’t go for the finish without their cool as fuck double team finisher though. Kronus with his handspring back elbow. Remember when he could that? It didn’t last. I remember the XPW John Kronus who could do nothing right. Powerbomb from Kronus and a double kneedrop off the top from Saturn gets 2. Cactus runs in for a save and that’s the first time he’s actually helped out Whipwreck during this one. He gets the tag and cleans house but the Eliminators are done making tags. Foleyline on Kronus. Cactus eyes up a sick back elbow to the floor. Piledriver on Saturn but Cactus bails for a broken bottle. He’s hardcore! Mikey doesn’t agree with this and dropkicks him. Saturn grabs the bottle so Mikey superkicks him. Diving rana on Saturn. That was nice. Apart from Saturn having to tell Kronus to get out of the way. Cactus gets in Mikey’s way AGAIN though and the Total Elimination signals a belt change at 10.55. **1/4. There was an awful lot of stuff going on there with storylines but ultimately the right team takes home the belts leaving the other storyline to progress to its logical conclusion.
POST MATCH Cactus sticks up for Mikey by throwing Raven over. Because he wants to beat Mikey up himself. Double arm DDT on a chair. Raven appreciates it. The Eliminators get back in the ring for some promo time and out comes Francine. She wants to manage the Eliminators despite them giving her Total Elimination beforehand. It’s a ruse though as the Pitbulls run in to mess up the new champs and Francine hangs Saturn with a dog collar while Kronus gets superbombed. And with that we set up another match. One thing leads to another and it’s all got heat on it. Heyman booking people! Gotta love it. Francine gives Saturn a new haircut seeing as he was going bald anyway.
BACKSTAGE the Gangstas remind everyone involved in the previous beating that they’re the top contenders. Well, New Jack does as Mustafa is an idiot. Creepy.
Raven/Stevie Richards w/Kimona Wanalaya/Blue Meanie v Tommy Dreamer/Shane Douglas w/Beulah McGillicutty
Stevie refers to the Blue Meanie as “Stan” during his pre-match promo and names his tag team the Fabulous Ones (get it? No? Stan Lane and Steve Keirn were the Fabulous Ones originally). They do the strut. Apparently this was all to keep Raven amused and to see if Stevie would actually do anything daft. The faces come out to Shane’s kickass music rather than Tommy’s kickass music. He’s freshly returned from his run as Dean Douglas. Raven looks upset with Dreamer for having Beulah grind all over him. Raven tags out. Clearly he’s working the psychological warfare right from the off. Stevie is still very much a comedy character at this point so Dreamer finds it easy to control him. He’s more interested in fighting Raven who’s reluctant to enter this match. Stevie changes his strategy with a new t-shirt, which is Razor Ramon’s. That upsets Shane Douglas JUST A LITTLE BIT. He jumps in there. TOOTHPICK~! Shane ignores it and destroys Stevie and his shirt attempting to feed it to him. Stevie tries for a sleeper so Shane kicks him in the nuts twice then ball shots him on the ropes as well. Dreamer starts involving the audience by borrowing assorted plunder to beat Stevie with. More groin shots. Poor Stevie. Tommy bashes him with a phone, perhaps a tribute to the boss, and slams Stevie on a chair. He misses the splash off the top and now Raven wants in. If you thought Stevie’s groin got worked over it’s nothing towards the number of ball shots Raven got in on Tommy Dreamer over the years. As if to punctuate that statement he punches Tommy in the balls. Stevie comes in and dumps Dreamer on his head after fucking up a powerbomb. KAWADA THAT SHIT DOWN! Raven bashes Dreamer with the belt. Crowd wants blood. Raven and Dreamer have a horrible miscue where Raven dives off the top and Tommy isn’t looking and gets landed on while he’s halfway up. Raven with a piledriver for 2. Crowd is getting pretty restless about the lack of ECW style. They sure were bloodthirsty. Dreamer does some pretty bad timing on the hot tag blatantly watching Raven make the tag before tagging himself. Shane uses a chair. Raven feels that a few times. Now it’s Shane’s turn to hit a piledriver, on Stevie Richards. Raven and Dreamer get into a brawl. Cactus runs out here but collides with Stevie. Belly to belly but Meanie has the ref. Raven jumps in to chain shot Douglas for 2. Sandman runs in here and canes everyone. Meanie takes a great shot and the ref is next. Raven with a piledriver on Shane for 2 but shortly afterwards they clash heads and it’s a double knock down. Shane is up first and hits a DDT. More lying around follows. Richards gets a tag and the Steviebomb gets 2. Dreamer gets the hot tag and hits a powerslam for 2 but Raven saves with the chair. Meanie tries to get in a moonsault but Dreamer switches with Stevie behind his back and Meanie moonsaults the wrong guy. This has certainly gotten manic. Shane hits a pescado on Raven. Dreamer puts a frying pan on his boot and hits an Enzuigiri on Stevie for the pin at 19.33. **3/4. That was all getting pretty crazy at the end. I love how ECW in this time era tried to get as many angles running at the same time as possible to make sure the crowd was constantly delivered matches it wanted to see. Every show was a blow off or a major progression of something.
Juventud Guerrera v Rey Mysterio Jr
EXTREME LUCHA LIBRE~! Kinda weird seeing Juvi masked because he’s been without one for so long. Crowd is jacked just to see these guys because of great reports out of Philly. Gertner does the introductions bilingually. Rey is billed as 165lbs. Rey wants a handshake so Juvi spits in his face. It is so on. Rey armdrags right out of the opening lock up. That was nifty. Juvi picks him up for an airplane spin but then stops suddenly and just dumps him for 2. They go to some mat reversals and the crowd gets a touch restless at the sight of a headlock. Rey switches up to bouncing around into armdrags. DRINK! Juvi with a spinebuster into a double leglock. Rey starts slapping him so Juvi turns it over and they end up on their heads still slapping at each other. They do springboard near misses but Juvi gets caught showboating and is taken off the apron with a springboard rana. Crowd loved that but the pause before the move killed it for me. It made Juvi look like a retard too. Rey drops down on a crossover so Juvi does a flip legdrop on him. Rey comes back with a springboard rana that sends Juvi to the floor and Rey follows with a somersault plancha. Juvi gets necklaced with a chair and run into the ring post. Juvi decides it’s his turn to show off with a springboard spin kick. Not the cleanest move in the world but it was effective. Juvi with a Ligerbomb for 2. Juvi with a press into a table top suplex for 2. The middle transition part of that was a big ugly. Juvi is probably high to be fair. Rey flubs a corner spot but then snaps off a rana to prevent any negativity. He takes Juvi over with another off the rudo’s shoulders and follows up with a powerslam. Rey goes up top but Juvi isn’t worn down enough and cuts him off for Splash Mountain but Rey counters into a rana off the top and both guys land awkwardly. The collision of man and mat is enough to put Juvi away at 9.26. ***1/4. This was so energised compared to everything ECW was doing at the time and set the standard for in ring expectations for the following five years. The Extreme Lucha Libre added an extra element to ECW and future guys coming into the company were aware the fans craved not only blood and violence but exciting moves also.
PROMO TIME – Joey makes his way to the ring and out comes Taz & Fonzie. The latter claims that 911 won’t be coming out here anymore and making saves because Taz is going to finish him. Rey Jr is back in there to tell them not to mess with 911. He adds that he isn’t afraid of Taz. Fonzie goes to mouth off and gets knocked on his ass. Rey springboards at Taz a few times and Taz is rana’d on his head. Rey probably should have left there though as his next springboard is caught and Taz pops off a patented Tazplex. He goes to add a chokeslam to mess with 911 but Rey rana’s out of that too so Taz pops back up and suplexes him on his head again. That was cool. Why no match? JT Smith comes out to put the boots to Rey because his character is a complete ‘tard. Hack Myers happens to be out there so he attacks drawing “SHAH” crowd participation. Joey calls for Damage Control. I loved Damage Control. The WWF stole that one too with paramedic BB. I guess the WWE got it right in terms of having tits involved in the angle but never should have made her into just a regular wrestler afterwards.
Joey tries to get back to introducing the show but he’s interrupted by Woman. She shills Nitro. Seeing as she appeared on the show by this point as a fan before joining the Horsemen as a valet. She says she’s not leaving here though. She’ll have to be carried off kicking and screaming. She offers Joey a spot in WCW but Joey wants nothing to do with Monday nights. Out comes The Sandman! Really early days for the gimmick so thankfully he doesn’t take 10 minutes to get out here. Woman tries to appeal to his sensitive side and get him to go to WCW with her, which is pretty funny because he eventually did three years later. Sandman has no idea where the camera is and stands with his back to both of them while he calls Woman a bitch. She issues an open challenge for someone to remove her psychically from the building. Scorpio strolls in there, he was tagging with Sandman at the time, and Woman seems to have him on her side. But then he carries her out of the building in a great spot where the camera follows them all the way outside. He throws her into a limo. “Take that bitch to Atlanta”. Awesome.
Stevie Richards and the Blue Meanie are out here now and Sandman is still there as they’re delivering a message from Raven for Sandman. He has an opportunity for Sandman to back out of his title shot. That’s just ASKING for trouble. “Sandman’s gonna kill you”. Stevie repeats the offer with the added ‘or else’ of a Steviekick. Meanie wants to do it though so he steps up and can’t reach. Sandman canes him in the head. Sandman says he’s coming for his belt, bitch, and nonchalantly canes Meanie’s corpse on the way out of the ring. Comedy. Stevie blames Joey Styles for that last spot going wrong and wants an excuse to give Raven when he gets here…and here he is. “Richards…you are a moron”. He’s not happy with Richards’ mistreating his personal flunky, which is superb hypocrisy. Raven calls Sandman something that gets beeped out and it’s a LONG beep. He points out Sandman can’t handle his drink, which would be daft if it was coming from anyone but Raven who drinks constantly in between taking drugs. Stevie acts like a total wuss but has a surprise for the champ and it’s a big shock. Meanie is still out from the cane shot. Stevie is suing Missy Hyatte for sexual harassment. This of course brings out Missy, which provokes the threat of a restraining order from Stevie. Raven offers Missy a spot in the champ’s entourage “it ain’t like you’ve not been there before”. Oh, BURN! Missy brings up the fact Tommy Dreamer impregnated his girlfriend, which brings out the still pissed off, and drunk, Sandman to cane Raven in the back of the head. Missy approves and offers her managerial services effectively replacing Woman in the valet role. She lights Sandman’s cigarette and opens his beer to seal the deal. Funny part of this was Missy asking Joey if he was 18. “I was when this began”. Haha. The chat segment came in around 20 minutes incidentally.
JT Smith v Buh Buh Ray Dudley
I totally forgot JT came out to the Rocky music. He’s running the Italian gimmick solo at this point. The Dudley Clan has Dances With, Sign Guy and Big Dick along with Bubba. I loved the goofy babyface Bubba. It reminds me of Redje when he’s really happy. Even the other Dudleys are scared of Big Dick. Bubba gets a mic as the crowd chants “what’s your name”? He stutters in JT’s face but he interrupts to say he got busted in the cranium a minute ago and he’s not fit. He offers to pay off Bubba Mafioso style. Bubba is amazed at the sight of money but Big Dick won’t let him take it. JT is an opportunist though and kicks Bubba in the Jackson’s. Bubba recovers quickly and stutters on the wind up for Bubbabomb, which finishes at 0.42. Very silly. Bubba liberates JT’s hundred dollars anyway.
POST MATCH the crowd demand that Bubba dance. Big Dick lets him go back into the ring and gives a little smirk because it’s time for some dancing. Amazing that Bubba made such a good heel after being such an over babyface. He charges out of the ring afterwards to buy some soda pops and comic books with his new found pocket money.
Mr Hughes v Sabu
Joey talks up Hughes’ history in the big two although most people try and forget his appearances anywhere he goes. Joey gives us some Sabu war stories as well. This is before Born to be Wired and the legendary ECW barbwire match where Sabu cut his arm open to the tendons and taped it back up. Hughes falls into the crowd early and Sabu hits Air Sabu from inside the ring into the front row. Sabu is insane. That’s the only explanation. He tries a pescado but gets caught and run into the post shoulder first. Hughes with some really slow chair shots. Sabu blows a back roll and they run a counter thing into a convoluted DDT spot that doesn’t look right at all. Sabu bails to set up a table. Hughes’ selling is quite horrid. He just lumbers around and barely reacts to anything. Air Sabu and Sabu just bounces off. Hughes slowly falls through the ropes. Sabu sees an opportunity but Hughes moves and Sabu bounces off the table. OW! Hughes is eyeing that shoulder up and hits a shoulderbreaker. Hughes takes a terrible front turnbuckle and then slowly falls over off a slingshot sidekick. Sabu gets caught again into a slam. Hughes works at a nervehold for ages. Fucking horrible botched sidewalk slam gets 2. Sabu with an entirely unbelievable headscissors. This is not a match I think ever should have happened. Not with Heyman. He should have known Hughes’ limitations. Sabu spots the table again and decides it’s time for it to die. Hughes gets placed on it and Sabu hits a slingshot legdrop through it. The table was barely together when he hit and barely broke because it was so close to the ground. Sabu goes for a rana back inside but gets caught with a sloppy powerbomb. Sabu goes for a super rana but falls on his head. Jesus. This match is a disaster. “You can’t work” chant the smarkier elements of the crowd. Hughes misses off the top. Sabu catches him with an Arabian facebuster and mercifully that ends it at 12.27. DUD. Just a horrible clash of styles. Sabu was sloppy and Hughes was incapable of working anything approaching the match Sabu had in mind.
Gangstas (New Jack/Mustafa) v Sandman/Scorpio
New Jack brings a load of crap into the ring so there is already too much crap in there to have a wrestling match before we start. The crowd throw stuff in there to make matters even worse. Mustafa makes early use of a toilet seat. That’s about the level for this one. Scorpio slips over a chair. This is the kind of garbage brawl that made ECW’s name and the crowd seemed to really enjoy. Scorpio manages a moonsault in the midst of all this and a bloody Sandman hits a slingshot legdrop. The fans are handing even more garbage over the rails. The result is just one plunder shot after another. Sandman hits a fucking awful leg jam, which is worse than his usual bad leg jam. Scorpio at least attempts to clean up the ring a bit and create some space. He’s the only wrestler in there you see. He hits a twisting splash on Mustafa for 2. The Gangstas isolate him for such an affront to hardcore. Mustafa steals Sandman’s cane and uses it on him. Scorpio rolls him up in the process and gets the pin at 7.48. Yeah, Mustafa struggles when wrestling moves come into play. DUD. “Violent crap” as Larry Rivera would say.
Final Thoughts: Creatively it was great but they just couldn’t afford good enough wrestlers to put on the shows Heyman was envisaging. And when they could WCW stole them. Here Juvi-Rey was fantastically energetic and a great change of pace for the show but Bischoff hired them both. Some of the storyline stuff here is good fun like Woman being removed from the building, Stevie Richards sexual harassment lawsuit against Missy, Bigelow’s debut, Taz fighting with Rey but there isn’t much in the way of quality in the matches. Skip over the last two matches and I suppose it’s not too bad though and it’s a slight thumbs up.