Written by: Bob Colling
Extreme Championship Wrestling presents Hardcore TV
From: Philadelphia, PA
1.)Masato Tanaka defeated Balls Mahoney
2.)The Dudley Boys defeated Tommy Dreamer, Sandman, Spike Dudley & New Jack
3.)ECW Television Champion Rob Van Dam & Sabu defeated ECW World Tag Team Champions Chris Candido & Lance Storm to win the titles
1. Joey Styles welcomes everyone to the program. He introduces the new color commentator for the show, ECW World Champion Shane Douglas. Douglas comes out with Bigelow, Francine, Candido and Lance Storm. That’s interesting since Storm refused to join the Triple Threat, I thought. Douglas says he is the first to admit that he came back from an injury too fast. He no longer has a brace on his arm. Douglas shows off his scars from the injury he suffered to his elbow. He is sick of hearing Taz run his mouth and creating a championship. Douglas says that doesn’t make Taz a world champion but rather a dreamer. Douglas tells us that Taz never injured his elbow, but rather Bigelow did. He says that Taz pissed off the wrong people. Here comes Taz, folks. Taz says he would kick Shane’s ass with one arm tied behind his back. Taz doesn’t care who acknowledges his championship, he is the champ. Taz wants the cameras off to kick Bigelow’s ass. A referee comes down and it looks like we will get Bigelow vs. Taz. Of course, they go to the intro of the show. Bait and switch anyone? We don’t get the match. They wrestled to a 20-minute draw for those curious.
2. This is Tanaka’s debut in the ECW Arena. They start off with mat wrestling. They tend to do this when the match is expected to be a hardcore brawl. Mahoney and Tanaka trade chops and jabs early on. Tanaka gets slammed off the top by Balls, who heads to the top. Tanaka hits a superplex for a near fall. Mahoney drops Tanaka with a right hand. Mahoney follows up with a big power slam and heads to the top rope. Mahoney misses a top rope leg drop. Tanaka decides to head to the top and nails Balls with a missile dropkick. Mahoney catches Masato on the floor and drops him across the railing. Masato drives a chair into Balls head on the floor. Mahoney counters an elbow with a back suplex. They begin to do dueling chairs, but Tanaka isn’t affected by a chair shot. Masato gets up after a second unprotected chair shot. Balls isn’t affected either until a third one but Balls kicks out at two. Tanaka gets crotched on the top rope. Mahoney attempted the Nutcracker Suite but Tanaka avoids it and plants Balls with a tornado DDT onto several chairs for the win. (**. This was mostly about unprotected chair shots and basic brawling. The fans ate it all up, though.)
3. Backstage, Justin Credible is cutting a promo. He calls the fans nothing but wannabes who aren’t rich enough to live in Baltimore. Credible says he is going to lower his standards to wrestle at the Arena. He doesn’t have to be Stone Cold for Hollywood. He just has to be Justin Credible.
4. Joel Gertner and the Dudley Boys have a doll in the ring to pay respect to Beulah. The ring bell guy refuses to ring the bell ten times. D-Von Dudley ends up doing it ten times himself.
5. Sandman and Dreamer come to the ring with a ladder and a 2×4 wrapped in barbed wire. The Dudley Boys work over both Sandman and Dreamer rather easily. Big Dick accidentally scoop slams Bubba onto a ladder after Sandman bailed out of the way. Dreamer piledrives D-Von onto the ladder! Apparently Dreamer and Sandman have a mystery partner, who hasn’t showed up yet. The mystery partner is Atsushi Onita, the founder of FMW. Onita uses the barbed wire 2×4 on all Dudley’s and hits Sandman with it too. Dreamer is pissed, but Onita plants Dreamer with a DDT. Onita has turned on them. Onita plants Sandman with a DDT onto the barbed wire too. Here comes New Jack to even the odds. New Jack tosses a trash can in and hits Bubba in the head. Jack Victory comes out from nowhere and whacks Jack over the head with a guitar! Spike Dudley comes down to the ring and gets driven through a table on the floor by Big Dick. Sandman is really busted open badly as the heels have destroyed the babyfaces. The referee doesn’t want to make the count on Dreamer after Bubba hit a top rope senton splash. Jeff Jones comes out to knock the referee out and makes the count. (***. A really bloody match and is exactly what the feud is all about. A turn by Onita and the continued dominance of the heels is the perfect way to build the match leading into Heatwave.)
6. The match is joined in progress as Storm missed a top rope cross body on Sabu. RVD did a back flip off the middle rope just to deliver a dropkick to Storm for some reason. Candido knocks RVD off the apron for doing so. The champs drive Sabu into the canvas face first for a near fall. RVD puts a surfboard on Storm and that allows Sabu to drive a chair into Lance’s body from off the top. The champs hit a top rope dropkick/powerbomb combo by the champs on RVD. Sabu hits a hurricanrana on Candido and RVD gets a two count after a leg drop. RVD goes for a moonsault but Storm puts him on his shoulders and Candido hits the Doomsday Device for a near win. Candido attempts a vertical suplex but RVD gets out of it and leaps off the apron to hit a corkscrew leg drop on Storm. Candido takes RVD out with a suicide dive! Sabu nails Candido with a chair on the floor. Sabu takes Candido out in the crowd with a triple jump dive! Candido hits a top rope hurricanrana from the top and Sabu crashes through a table. Storm spikes RVD with a piledriver. Sabu is placed onto the table as is RVD. The champs head to the top rope on opposite corners. Candido leaps off but misses and crashes through the table. Storm clotheslines Sabu from the top. RVD kicks a chair into Storm’s face as he was hung on the top rope. Sabu plants Candido with a DDT and the champs are put on a table. Sabu and RVD leap off opposite corners to put the champs through the table! Sabu covers Candido and wins the match! (****. A really good match here as they did a lot of great stuff. A nice job by these two and the crowd exploded for the title change. The best match on Hardcore TV this year, probably. It should be noted that Sabu stole the cover from RVD, it looked like.)
A good episode of Hardcore TV this week. I feel like the last few months saw a lot of average television, but this week was done nicely and had a few major developments. Tanaka’s ECW Arena debut, a bloody brawl to advance the stable feud and a title change. You can’t go wrong with that. A thumbs up for this one.
Thanks for reading.
31-year old currently living in Syracuse, New York. Longtime fan of the New York Mets, Chicago Bulls and Minnesota Vikings. Avid fan of professional wrestling and write reviews/articles on the product. Usually focusing on the old school wrestling.