The latest installment includes Tazz, Dean Malenko, Stevie Richards, Essa Rios and D’Lo Brown.
Match: Tazz vs. Gangrel
Date: March 25th, 2000
Reason Reviewed: Certainly not because there is any hope this would be a high quality match. Instead, largely because I was a big Tazz fan growing up and the Gangrel character has always interested me. I’m more intrigued to see how their styles clash in a singles match.
They lockup and the fans are chanting “ECW” rather loudly. They trade right hands in the corner after the referee gets out of the way. Tazz clotheslines Gangrel and they got to the floor. Gangrel rams Tazz face first onto the apron but Tazz comes back with a drop toe hold in the ring. Tazz kicks away on Gangrel in the corner. Tazz sends Gangrel into the corner and Gangrel pops out. Gangrel counters a suplex attempt with a scoop slam and an elbow drop for a two count. Gangrel knee lifts Tazz but is taken down to the mat and chokes Tazz with his knee. Gangrel back elbows Tazz to knock him down to the canvas for a near fall. Tazz takes Gangrel over with an overhead t-bone suplex. Tazz ducks a clothesline and puts the Taz Mission on! Gangrel taps out before he even drops to the mat. (*1/4. Tazz was really over with the crowd and it’s amazing how quickly his reaction fizzled because officials didn’t want to push him. This was better than I expected, honestly.)
Match: Essa Rios vs. Billy Fives
Date: April 15th, 2000
Reason Reviewed: Rios is a lightweight wrestler that I actually really enjoyed as a kid and often played him on the wrestling game. Billy Fives was a wrestler who got a lot of press in Pro Wrestling Illustrated magazines and I don’t recall seeing a lot of his stuff. So, I figured I’d check this out.
Rios works over Fives with several kicks and a snap power slam after Fives countered a hurricanrana attempt. Rios backs Fives into the corner and delivers several strikes. Fives sends Rios into the ropes but is met with a super kick. Rios hits a hurricanrana and a clothesline to send Fives over the top to the floor. Lita comes off the apron with a hurricanrana of her own. Rios takes Fives out with a somersault dive over the ring post to the floor! Rios goes for the cover but Fives kicks out at two. Fives drops Rios throat first across the top rope to get some momentum. Fives delivers several kicks in the corner to stop Rios. Fives continues with a heel kick for a near fall. Fives takes Rios down to the mat and delivers a kick to the back. Fives goes to the top rope leaping off to hit a frog splash for a two count. Fives puts Rios on the top turnbuckle but Rios counters a hurricanrana with a power bomb. Rios hits a top rope moonsault for the win. After the match, Lita hits a moonsault but she came up a little short. (**1/2. It was designed to showcase Rios and it was effective in making him look good. Fives had a few moves thrown in there and did fine in his role. I could see Fives being a good wrestler on the independents where he would have more time to showcase his skills.)
Match: D’Lo Brown vs. Julio Fantastico
Date: April 22nd, 2000
Reason Reviewed: I feel like D’Lo Brown is a capable wrestler of putting on decent matches and Julio Fantastico is better known as Julio Dinero in ECW. This could be a fun match. D’Lo had just turn heel, too.
Brown controls Julio with a headlock and soon hip tosses him a couple of times. Brown dropkicks Julio and continues his offense with right hands. Brown chops Julio in the corner with right hands. Brown drives Julio down to the canvas with a back suplex and heads to the top hitting a moonsault for a near fall. Julio head scissors D’Lo face first into the second turnbuckle and taunts the fans. Brown comes off the middle rope with a clothesline and hammers away on Julio some more. Julio leg sweeps D’Lo but can’t keep Brown down on the cover. Julio chokes Brown over the middle rope and soon chokes Brown in the corner. They trade a few strikes with D’Lo getting the better of the exchange. Brown boots Julio but is met with a belly to belly suplex for a near fall. Julio comes off the ropes to elbow drop for a near fall. Brown drives Julio down with a modified Samoan Drop. Brown blocks a right hand and hammers away on Julio delivering a spin kick. Brown forearm smashes Julio followed by a scoop slam. Brown signals for a leg drop and hits it for a near fall. Julio kicks Brown in the corner but Brown hits a sit out spine buster. Brown goes to the top and hits the Sky High for the win. (**1/2. An enjoyable enhancement match for D’Lo. It was kind of weird that D’Lo had turned heel but was acting like a face here since the match was taped prior to the heel turn. Julio, I believe, was working for ECW and came across like a more seasoned wrestler than normal for Metal.)
Match: Tazz vs. Tracy Smothers
Date: April 29th, 2000
Reason Reviewed: Two former ECW guys meeting on a WWF C-level show. Plus, I’ve grown to really appreciate Smothers in-ring talent.
Smothers taunts the fans trying to get some heel heat. Smothers backs Tazz into the corner but gets knocked down with a right hand. Tazz elbow strikes Smothers and clotheslines Tracy over the top to the floor. Tazz hammers away on Smothers on the floor. Tazz rams Smothers face first into the ring steps. Tazz rolls Smothers into the ring and is met with an axe handle shot. Smothers keeps Tazz on the mat with a few forearm drops and taunts the crowd. Smothers continues to work over Tazz with right hands until he’s taken down and Tazz gets a few right hands in. Tracy stops the strikes with an eye rake. Tazz hits a northern lights suplex for a near fall and clotheslines Smothers. Tazz delivers several cross face shots. Tazz avoids a heel kick and locks in the Tazz Mission for the victory. (*. There wasn’t much to it here. Though, I must say that Smothers looked to be in the best shape of his career since his SMW days. He must have been looking for a job or something.)
Match: WWF Lightweight Champion Dean Malenko vs. Stevie Richards
Date: May 6th, 2000
Reason Reviewed: I’ve grown to enjoy Stevie Richards in-ring more than I did in years past. Malenko is a favorite of mine and I’m hopeful this is a competitive battle.
This match takes place before Richards had any sort of direction with the company (RTC) and looks rather generic. Malenko goes for a hammerlock and gets backed into a corner where Richards delivers a few strikes. Richards scoop slams Malenko followed by an elbow drop for a two count. Malenko kicks Richards and slams Richards to the mat. Malenko delivers a few elbow strikes to the lower back. Malenko continues with a vertical suplex for a two count. Malenko chokes Richards over the middle rope and delivers several stomps on the challenger. Dean drives Richards down with a back suplex and stands on Richards hair while pulling his arms up to pull the hair. Malenko continues with a knee drop. Malenko clotheslines Richards in the corner and attempts a back suplex. Richards drives Malenko with a side slam for a two count. Malenko takes Richards down with a side Russian leg sweep for a near fall. Richards fights back with several chops. Richards goes for a sunset flip but Malenko counters with the Texas Cloverleaf for the win. (*1/4. Well, it was fairly one sided it felt like and Richards didn’t come across like a true challenger to Malenko.)
That wraps up this installment of the series. Be on the lookout for the next installment soon!
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.