ECW Natural Born Killaz 1996 8/24/1996

Written by: Shinobi M. from Hardcore Theater

Extreme Championship Wrestling
Natural Born Killaz
August 24th 1996
ECW Arena
Philly, PA

I ran out of quirky ways to open these several reviews back, so I’ll just jump right into what was going on elsewhere in professional wrestling during the week of August 24th 1996. The hottest thing going right now in the business is WCW’s NWO Invasion. Hogan had already dropped the bombshell last month by shooting on everyone before joining the group. During August the NWO just terrorized the WCW while still being “Outsiders” that weren’t employed by WCW. It was just Hall, Nash, and Hogan, and that was it. Bischoff wasn’t in on it yet. They were teasing the fourth & fifth members during August, which would go on to be Ted Dibiase & X-Pac(Syxx, 123 Kid). The buildup was going towards September’s Fall Brawl, which would feature the War Games match between a united WCW/Horsemen team of Sting, Luger, Flair, and Arn going up against Nash, Hall, Hogan, and an imposter Sting. Fall Brawl would be the last time we would see ‘Surfer’ Sting. He would disappear after being accused of planning to join the NWO, returning weeks later as the Crow Sting that everyone knows and loves.

August was really when things started picking up for WCW as far as the quality of the show. They managed to put together a string of really good Nitro’s during August with a sick roster full of guys like Malenko, Rey, Jericho, Benoit, et al. The NWO angle was arguably in it’s prime as well.

Over in the WWF it was all about Camp Cornette. Summerslam ’96 was a week prior to this show. The main storylines going in the WWF during this time was HBK’s feud against the monster Vader, and the awesome Taker vs Mankind rivalry, which took a hard right turn at Summerslam when Paul Bearer did the unthinkable.

Meanwhile in the Bingo Hall it’s all about the Gangstas vs Eliminators, Raven vs Sandman, Taz vs The Heyman Guys(Sabu, Dreamer), some up and coming young talent by the name of The Dudleyz, and Rob Van Dam, as well as a resurgence from some old diehards in Terry Gordy & Steve Williams. The main course of this show is a LOOOOONG overdue meeting between the Eliminators vs Gangstas in a “Natural Born Killaz” steel cage weapons match. The rivalry has been running throughout 1996 and is my pick for tag team feud of the year in all of pro wrestling in 1996. It’s had it’s ugly moments, but for the most part the fights and the promos have been really good. Absolutely one of the better, more underrated rivalries in ECW history. Lets get the curtains back open on this motherfucker and try to make our way through 1996 by the end of the summer, shall we?

By the way my copy of this DVD is autographed by Rob Van Dam himself. Had to have it.

Louie Spicolli vs Devon Storm

Show opens up with “The Godfather of Extreme” Damien Kane cutting a promo about how he’s not going anywhere anytime soon. I don’t know if you caught my recent post about Kane, but I did a bit of research and found out that he was supposedly the first booker to give Paul Heyman a chance to be a manager(Paul E. Dangerously) back when he was just a snot nosed photographer. Kane was booking some territory and gave Paul E. a shot, and the rest is history. I’d like to believe that to be true, otherwise I can’t for the life of me think of why else Kane would be kept around in ECW for so long in 95-96. I think Heyman felt like he owed the guy, so he kept him busy on the bottom of the card.

Kane is accompanied by Devon Storm and his actual real wife, Lady Alexandra(hot!).

Something weird happens right when this match gets started. The camera shot cuts away to Taz hijacking the commentary booth. The camera zooms in REALLY close on his face(hate these shots). Taz goes on an angry tirade about how Rob Van Dam is now working with Sabu. It’s hard to understand everything he says because he’s really angry, but something along the lines of RVD tipping off Sabu about how to beat Taz. This angle is a little weird all the way around. The team of Sabu & Rob Van Dam is awesome, but doesn’t make much sense considering the story coming into this show. On top of that, there hasn’t really been any mention or setup for them to team together yet on any of the Hardcore TV episodes, so if this is how they put the team together, it’s rather haphazard and ill planned. Poorly executed to say the least.

Devon Storm lands some quick, high flying offense early on. Louie gets knocked out of the ring. Damien Kane taunts Louie before hiding behind his woman. Devon Storm hits Louie with a plancha as he’s distracted with Kane & his girl. Louie is surprisingly over here.

Louie overtakes Devon on the outside with a chair, destroying his leg with multiple shots. Devon Storm’s leg is targeted with some vicious shots.

Louie continues working the leg over until Devon kicks him out of a Spinning Toe Hold, sending him out of the ring. They go back outside for a short period of time where Devon lands a few chair shots to Louie. They take it back to the ring where Devon lands a weird slingshot kick. Louie counters a whip and catches Devon with his Death Valley Driver. Pretty devastating looking move.

Louie picks up the clean win and the crowd gives him a surprisingly nice reaction. 6:34 is the official time.

Louie is gaining momentum with the fans. They even get a small chant of “LOUIE!” going.

Damien Kane enters the ring with his lady and makes an offer to Louie to be his manager. Damien offers a handshake. Louie pulls him in and spikes him with the DVD. Damien sells it perfectly.

Crowd loves it. Chants of “ONE! MORE! TIME!”

Louie spikes him again and the crowd loves it. Some really effective booking because the crowd’s love for the guy grew through this one segment/match.

6.5

perfectly competent opener, Louie getting over slowly but surely has been kind of fun to watch. Heyman booked the guy pretty well.

Little Guido vs Mikey Whipreck

The Full Blooded Italians are a goofy mess here. We got JT Smith, Little Guido, Big Guido, and Sal Bellomo(who at least is dressed in an Italian suit now instead of his ridiculous spartan outfit). I don’t think it was necessary to bring in the big guy or Sal. They were pretty worthless.

Mikey is announced as the “European Juniorweight Champion” as if this is a legit ECW title here. What’s the story on this? I first heard of this belt at the last show, but I don’t recall ever really hearing about it in the shows after this. I’m guessing this was their weak attempt at an ECW Cruser title.

Mikey’s shirt is fucking awesome. Seriously.

Pretty even little cruiser matchup here.

They lock up in your traditional pro wrestling match, arm drags, clotheslines, blah blah. Guido plays the good guy with the dirty breaks out of the corner. Mikey struggles to get in any offense early on. They go through some decent sequences a bit later on. Mikey lands a nicely setup Rocker Dropper off of the top rope. Guido rolls out of the ring and gets hit with a Pescado by Mikey. Mikey fights with the FBI goofballs, knocking the big guy into the crowd in a pretty funny scene.

Mikey goes for a Rana flying from the ring into the crowd, but he just barely overshoots the big oaf. Looks like he almost broke the guy’s neck. Shit.

Guido pounces on Mikey in the crowd, choking him with a chair.

They take it back to the ring with Guido going for an MMA style armbar, aka the Cross Armbreaker, or as Joey calls it here, a Short Arm Scissor. Love the way Joey calls holds. I’ve learned a lot about pro wrestling just from listening to Joey’s commentary in these tapes over the past year or so. Really smart, savvy commentator. His voice is annoying at times, but the actual shit he says is priceless, and informative.

Guido continues going after the arm with stomps. Mikey lands a sunset flip and we go through a couple of nearfalls. The ref gets distracted by JT Smith when Mikey has Guido rolled up.

Mikey looks totally out of gas for real. He’s so tired he severely fucks up a Frankenstiener off the top. He gets the clean pin after a real sloppy flying elbow drop. at 10:12.

6.8

Not real bad. Mikey fucked up the ending for sure, but it was an OK match. I’m starting to see why Mikey’s push lost steam and he never really got his chance at the big show until years later. He would have flashes of greatness here and there, but there were a lot of times when he would just get really sloppy, possibly from being out of shape and getting REALLY fatigued, which was the case at the end of this one. He looked so tired he couldn’t even climb up to the top rope for the Frankenmikey. Completely out of gas after just 10 minutes of action. It was a fast paced 10 minutes where he worked hard, but still.

Buh Buh Ray & Big Dick Dudley vs Axl Rotten & D-Von Dudley

D-Von comes out and says “Number 1, shut the fuck up!”

Always loved that.

Axl’s heel turn at the last show was extremely weak.

Devon starting to cut loose on the mic with the heat drawing, near riot starting promos begining to take form here. He’s fucking with the fans, singling them out, calling them pathetic, inbred pieces of shit.

He starts fucking with the front row regulars pretty hard, using a racial slur on one guy, then singling out the sunglasses/goatee guy for being spotted in the crowds of WWF & WCW shows. He calls out Straw Hat Guy for being at every ECW show week in and week out, telling him to get a life and take a fucking bath.

D-Von goes further with the rest of the crowd, calling them a bunch of sheet reading, no good, wannabe, pieces of shit marks.

The crowd goes crazy when Buh Buh Ray sprints out to the ring and goes at it with D-Von. Axl fights Big Dick as Buh Buh and D-Von fight with a chair.

We get a sloppy table spot before this thing goes off into the crowd for an ugly brawl. They make their way up to the booth/soundstage area.

This is really ugly.

Buh Buh leaps off of a speaker on the booth down to the stage onto Axl, Dick, and D-Von with a nice little dive that gets the ECW chants going. The crowd loves it.

Buh Buh and D-Von’s brawl is the center stage of the match, with Dick and Axl not being shown at all really. The crowd loves every minute of this, but the thing about that is these fans were up in the cheap seats, and now their getting a taste of some front row action right in their laps. They don’t give a fuck about how sloppy this is, they just mark out because the guys are right there in their faces. Everybody looks to be having a hell of a time during this particular match.

Buh Buh sets up another table and goes for a legdrop, but D-Von moves out of the way. Axl and D-Von isolate Big Dick and hold him for a chair shot. Big Dick moves out of the way, causing D-Von to accidentally nail Axl. Buh Buh blasts D-Von and pins Axl after an assisted splash from Big Dick Dudley to win it.

Axl was just thrown in this thing to take the pinfalls.

The crowd gives it up for Buh Buh, who is pretty over here as a face. D-Von gets hit with another Plancha before being run off.

5.9/10

Not a real, real bad mess, but still pretty bad. Buh Buh’s stage dive was alright I guess. Just a really sloppy mess. The crowd reaction and a few other things keep this from being a total waste of time, but really it was pretty bad. Axl being involved is pretty random and useless.

After the match we get Joel Gertner in the ring with Sandman and Missy Hyatt. Lori Fullington(Sandman’s wife) is in the ring dressed like Raven, accompanied with Nova, Blue Meanie, and Stevie. This was supposed to be a cat fight, but Joel Gertner announces that the match is off because of an injury to Missy Hyatt’s arm. Gertner begins further pissing the crowd off by calling them a bunch of drunk morons. The crowd wants The Sandman to cane Gertner down. Gertner is just asking for it, telling Missy to come to his motel room tonight, and bring change for a 20.

Missy gets the cane and drops Gertner. Sandman gives him a couple of real man shots for his troubles. The Blue Meanie gets the mic and gets his ass caned down by Missy.

Stevie Richards gets the mic and tells Missy that he still has a sexual harassment suit filed against her. Stevie’s shorts

Stevie tells Missy that he will drop the suit if she agrees to leave the Sandman. Missy disses the Sandman for having a small dick before she dumps him. Poor guy.

She turns her back on the Sandman and he canes her in the back of the head. Poor girl.

Sandman is flying solo now. I think this was Missy’s last ECW appearance. She was pretty damn hot.

Bad Street Match: Terry Gordy vs Brian Lee

This match was setup a few shows back when Gordy fought Raven in his ECW debut. Lee cost Gordy the match.

Gordy comes out and runs the ropes like he always does. Lee decks him with a cheap shot and powerslams him. They immediately take it into crowd and begin fighting up to the stage.

Some standard brawling going on here. They take it out the front door to the parking lot, slamming each other into vehicles, setting off car alarms. The shot of the graffiti on the wall in the background is a nice touch.

They don’t stay outside for long, taking it back through the small foyer, slamming each other’s heads into the steel door.

They take it back to the ringside area where Brian Lee gets backdropped onto a table that doesn’t break. They make it back in the ring to exchange some heavy punches. Terry Gordy is doing alright and keeping a pretty good pace here for a guy his size/age, and considering he’s nearly died after 2 drug overdoses prior to this. He could have very easily just went out there and dogged it for a check, but that’s not how he approached these matches at all. You can tell he’s giving it everything he’s got, and I think that’s what led to him being picked up for a run in the WWF(Executioner) a couple of weeks later. He’s making a pretty good comeback here considering his circumstances.

Brian Lee goes for a chokeslam, but Gordy blocks it with a kick. Gordy picks up the clean win with his Asiatic Spike submission, pinning Lee in the center of the ring around/under 10 minutes.

6/10

Short little brawl, not bad, but not great. A bit of a weak finish, but Gordy looked alright. Nothing really special here though. This was semi-watchable at the very least.

Rob Van Dam vs Doug Furnas

This is RVD’s first match coming off of his feud with Sabu, which lasted all through the Summer of 96 with 4 fairly awesome matches. He lost the last one in a stretcher match. RVD at the beginning of that feud and the RVD here for this match are two completely different wrestlers. Sabu really was very instrumental in helping RVD develop his style through that series of matches, and now by this point he’s kind of developed into that “Whole F’N Show” that we all(well some of us) know and love.

Doug Furnas is from All Japan Wrestling, and would go on to the WWF with Phil Lafon a few weeks after this to help out their despicable tag team division.

Van Dam lands some really nice spin kicks early on. All of them miss, but still some really nice, fast martial arts style kicks that look really good.

They finally tieup in the collar-and-elbow, with Furnas lifting Van Dam up and slamming him face first into the mat. Nice.

They go through a pretty awesome chain of moves. Furnas blasts Van Dam with kicks and forearms across his back before sending him into the ropes with a whip. Van Dam reverses the whip and drops down with his Splits. Furnas leaps over him, and pulls him into a brutal German Suplex as RVD tries to go for his Monkeyflip. Very nice.

Furnas continues dogging on Van Dam with headbutts in the corner. He whips him into the other corner and runs into a boot. Van Dam follows with a Beautiful moonsault off of the top rope to his feet behind Furnas, drilling him in the face with a nice Thrust Kick, following up immediately with his Springboard Cross Body Press. Van Dam continues to keep the pace up, running into the ropes for another move, but Furnas lifts him up for the “Stun Gun” drops across the ropes. They overshoot it and Van Dam flies all the way out of the ring.

Van Dam gets back up to the apron and gets knocked out into the crowd with no warning. Poor fans.

Great match so far. Van Dam’s improvement compared to earlier in 1996 is remarkable.

Furnas begins brawling Van Dam all over the Arena, blasting him with chairs, and fighting with him up through the audience.

Doug Furnas beats Van Dam’s ass all through the bleachers. He pulls him up to the top of the bleachers and dumps him off to the soundstage with a press slam.

Van Dam is just taking a beating around the Arena. Furnas is managing to keep a pretty intense demeanor that keeps it entertaining. Van Dam is just getting his ass whooped. Still think they should have just kept it in the ring. The crowd brawling gets a little old when every single match on the show just has to have it. I don’t think it’s fair to hold that against this match though, more so the event itself.

They finally make it back to the ring and fight each other with Vertical Suplex attempts with Furnas in the ring and RVD on the apron. Van Dam wins the battle and drops Furnas HARD on the apron. Ouch!

I think we probably take little bumps like this for granted sometimes. That shit has to hurt pretty bad. Something else that is often taken for granted by pro wrestling fans is just how far of a fall it is from the top rope to the canvas/apron, and even further from the top rope to the floor on the outside. I frame houses for a living and have to walk on top of 3 & 1/2 inch thick walls about 8 ft. tall(usually taller, but 8′ is the average and is roughly the same distance from top rope of a ring to the floor). The thought of falling off of one of those walls is really scary when you are up there looking down. Pro Wrestlers take that fall a LOT! Sometimes on their BACKS! Terry Funk MOONSAULTS AT 50 YEARS OLD! That’s crazy to me. Pads or not. Got to give it up for the toughness of pro wrestlers I don’t give a damn who you are.

RVD hits Furnas with a stiff Slingshot Guillatine Legdrop as he’s draped over the apron with a chair laid on him.

This match is devoid of any storytelling or psychology, but it’s a pretty damn hard hitting match between two really tough guys. To be honest back in the day I kind of thought RVD was some pretty boy that couldn’t hang with guys like Taz or Sabu, but eventually he really won me over as one tough motherfucker. One of the toughest even.

They tieup with another fairly decent chain of moves. Furnas reverses a whip into the ropes and goes for a backdrop, but Van Dam does a spinning roll off of his back and goes for a Spinning Back Kick. Furnas ducks the kick and tosses Van Dam over his head with a Belly to Belly suplex. Van Dam gets up and hits the ropes, but Furnas catches him with a Powerslam for 2. Not Bad.

They slow down a little bit. Van Dam lifts Furnas up and racks him on the ropes before springing out of the corner to hit him with a Back Kick that gets another nearfall. The crowd is a little dead. Not a bad match though.

Furnas pushes Van Dam to the canvas as he goes for a Superplex. He leaps off the ropes with a Flying Clothesline. Things start getting a little sloppy as that “Tin box with no air conditioning in August” effect comes into play. I wouldn’t be surprised if it was 90 to 100 degrees in this building right now.

Van Dam starts to get frustrated. He goes for a Flying Crosbody, but Furnas catches him and OH!

Looks like he almost breaks his neck with a fucked up Tombstone onto the chair in the ring. Damn that was dangerous. Van Dam survives and kicks out of the pin attempt at 2.

Both guys are really tired. Van Dam goes for his Monkey Flip out of the corner to the chair, but Furnas catches him and slams him back down into it.

Furnas blasts Van Dam in the head with a brutal shot. Van Dam goes down. The ref tries to take the chair away from Furnas for some reason. Furnas pushes him away as Van Dam pulls himself up. RVD drills him in the face with the VAN DAMINATER! Lights out. Van Dam wins after 14:02.

Van Dam gets the mic after the match and tells Furnas that he respects him. He offers a handshake, but Furnas drops him before flipping him all the way over with a BRUTAL Belly to Back Suplex.

Crowd loves it.

EMT’s come out and stretcher RVD out of the Arena. This booking looks like Heyman had some plans for Doug Furnas.

8.6/10

This was a good match. It was better early on before the heat took it’s toll(something I didn’t even consider during the Mikey match, looks like it hit him hard). Van Dam’s improvement from show to show has been fun to watch through. This was a pretty physical match between two tough athletes that were in great shape. It definitely had it’s moments. I liked it. The brawling was decent, but I would have liked this match a lot better had they kept it in the ring, maybe with some submissions/grappling thrown in there. This is one of those ECW matches that I believe would have been better without the chairs and crowd brawling. The Van Daminator at the end was very nice though, so at least he’s got a good finisher now.

Taz vs Tommy Dreamer

Taz’s intensity on the microphone here before the match starts is god damn unbelievable. Fuck, I love this character.

“SHUT YOUR FUCKING MOUTH WHEN I’M IN THIS RING!

I got some bad news for you people.

I got some very bad news.

You see, every time Dreamer comes out here and wrestles someone, he’s breaking tables, breaking chairs, busting somebody’s ass with crutches, busting somebody’s ass on a pole…

You people are not going to see a chair shot.

Your not going to see a table broken.

YOU AIN’T GONNA SEE SHIT!

The only thing you’re going to get to see, is Tommy Dreamer, get out-wrestled by the Human Suplex Machine!

So Dreamer, get your fucking ass out here so I can stretch you!”

Love it.

Beulah comes out with Tommy with a cast on her arm for some reason. Hotness almighty!

Taz and Dreamer get face to face for an awesome staredown before going right into it. Taz immediately takes Tommy out of the ring and starts whipping him into the railing. Really intense.

Tommy catches Taz back in the ring with a Drop Toe Hold and I can already see what the story of this match is. Hopefully they stick to it.

Tommy catches Taz in a hiptoss. He’s actually going to try to wrestle Taz clean here, but Taz only baited him into it so he could have the advantage with the hardcore stuff, or so it seems early on. Taz looking up at Tommy after the hiptoss is an awesome shot.

Tommy continues going move for move with Taz, and I’ll be damned if he doesn’t look pretty good here. What a nice surprise.

Dreamer catches Taz with a Fireman Carry Rollover, but Taz follows through into a Headscissor Takeover. Tommy quickly scrambles free to a headlock on Taz. Taz transitions around into an armlock on Dreamer, pulling him up and wringing it out(twisting it). Taz pulls Dreamer in for a Headlock Takeover and goes for some amateur style pin. Tommy uses a bridge to avoid even a 1 count. This is awesome.

Tommy makes his way out from under Taz, but Taz quickly catches him with a takeover into a lateral press for 2. Joey calling moves on commentary is awesome.

Taz pulls Tommy up and whips him into the ropes. Tommy slides down under Taz’s legs and blasts him with a punch to the balls, just as he starts losing the grappling battle, I love that.

Tommy lands a Snap Suplex for a 2 count of his own. This is a really solid match believe it or not.

Tommy locks Taz into an armbar. I’m just now noticing a huge crew of Team Taz guys in orange windbreaker’s sitting crouched down near the apron. About 7 or 8 guys it looks like.

Tommy catches Taz with a Sunset Flip for another close 2 count. Tommy continues to surprise Taz, catching him with a Belly to Back Suplex. Both guys stay down for some reason.

Taz is the first to get up and he immediately goes after Tommy’s ribs with stomps. He goes for the submission with a Leglace/Chinlock “STF” type of move. He release the hold and reveals some tape around Tommy’s ribs under his ECW shirt. He begins ripping the tape off and targeting the ribs again. Tommy tries to fight back with a reverse whip, but Taz catches him with the T-Bone Suplex, followed by another nice Tazplex that I didn’t catch the name of.

Taz then folds Tommy backwards with a Bow and Arrow with a fantastic fucking bridge. Completely stretching Tommy out here just like he said he would.

Taz knocks Tommy out of the ring where Team Taz gets involved, holding Tommy for Taz to use a chair on him. Tommy starts to outshine Taz in the brawl on the outside when he gets his hands on a chair. Tommy takes the chair back in the ring with him and slams Taz into it face first.

Tommy goes for the DDT on the chair, but Taz pulls free and pushes Tommy’s back down into it. Taz sets Dreamer up for a German off the top, but Dreamer holds the ropes, sending Taz down to the canvas. Tommy leaps off the top rope down onto the Team Taz guys with a plancha, taking all of them out. Crowd starts chanting E! C! DUB!

Tommy pulls a table out and sets it up in the ring. He runs and baseball slides into the table, knocking into the Team Taz guys as they recover on the floor. Taz gets Tommy from behind and slams him with the German Suplex. Taz picks up the chair, but the referee tries to take it away from him. Big mistake. Taz folds the ref in HALF!

Taz sets the table up in the corner and puts Tommy through it with an Overhead Belly to Belly. Nice spot. He gets on his knees afterward and mocks Sabu’s pose.

Taz goes for another Suplex, but Tommy blocks it. Tommy goes for the DDT, but Taz counters with the Northern Lights Suplex. Taz brings it home by locking Tommy in the Tazmission. The ref is still out cold. Pretty dramatic scene here when Beulah gets into the ring and begs Taz to let Tommy go. Fonzie gets in the ring and goes after Beulah. MOTHERFUCKER!

Fonzie backs Beulah down in the corner with the chair, but Terry Gordy hits the ring for the SAVE!

Ah, shit, here come the Eliminators.

Gordy gets dropped with Total Elimination. Brian Lee comes out and locks Gordy in his own Asiatic Spike submission. Another referee comes out and immediately gets knocked the fuck out with the Total Elimination.

Pablo Marquez(El Puerto Ricano) comes out and gets a violent Total Elimination out of nowhere. Brian Lee dumps him out of the ring with a sick Chokeslam to the concrete floor. Good god almighty. The crowd is going insane.

Don E. Allen comes out next and gets Totally Eliminated. God damn I love this.

Bad Crew comes out next and gets a DOUBLE TOTAL ELIMINATION! Oh my god!

Buh Buh Ray Dudley comes running out and goes toe to toe with the Eliminators. Crowd is fucking WHITE HOT!

Buh Buh Ray drops the Eliminators, but Brian Lee drops him with the chokeslam.

Sign Guy Dudley gets a Total Elimination. This is hilarious.

HACK MYERS!

Hack gets in some “SHAH!” punches before getting dumped on his head with a Tazplex. The Eliminators and Taz in there with Fonzie is a great trio. Brian Lee not so much.

So these guys pretty much just cleaned out the whole roster. Taz makes his exit with his Team Taz guys and Fonzie. He looks into the camera and says that he’s coming for Sabu. Tommy Dreamer and everybody else is left laying. Nobody wins, nobody loses, but who cares, this was fun.

10/10

You want to talk about a clusterfuck, this was the Master Clusterfuck.

Taz working with other heels isn’t a direction I really like to see that character go in, and this might even be some kind of answer to the NWO angle or something, maybe Heyman experimenting with a big mastergroup of heels of his own. I’m not sure.

With that out of the way though, I had a blast watching this match. I wasn’t ready for it and it totally took me by surprise. The random Total Elimination on the referee at the start of it got me laughing pretty hard and by the time random jobbers started coming in and getting killed I lost it. The actual wrestling with Taz and Tommy Dreamer was really good to boot. Dreamer with some surprisingly good technical mat wrestling believe it or not, and Taz just a total badass with the Suplexes. The belly to belly through the table was a nice spot, and overall the match was pretty damn good before all of the shenanigans took place. The teaming of Taz with the Eliminators would have been better without Brian Lee in the picture, but Lee made sense to be there considering his feud with Dreamer/Gordy going into this. Had an absolute blast watching this match. Laughed really hard.

Double Dog Collar Match: The Sandman & Pitbull 2 vs Raven & Shane Douglas

Sandman’s out first with the dog collar on talking about how he’s got nobody right now. No wife, no son, no manager. Poor guy’s been through hell this year. Looking at Sandman’s storyline arc it was like his character never really recovered from this little era, just getting further and further out there into being a drunken brawler. He started out as a surfer, evolved into a hardcore pimp that was being pimped in the end in order to win the ECW championship(Woman), Lost the championship, his family and his manager Missy due to Raven & Stevie’s bullshit tactics, and degenerated into a drunken madman before disappearing away to WCW. god dam I love ECW.

Sandman says Douglas jumped Pitbull and he will have to fight by himself, but that’s alright because this is all he’s got. He’s the king of extreme. The emotion coming out of the Sandman is just very awesome, screaming for Raven that if he want’s his life to come and get it.

Douglas and Raven come out together with Franny and the BWO posse. Sandman immediately takes out Meanie/Nova, and takes a shot at Douglas with the cane.

Raven crouches down in the corner with Sandman’s son in his lap. Shane Douglas eats a couple of cane shots. Sandman’s wife hits Sandman with the cane. Raven hits the DDT and we get our first nearfall.

Shane Douglas punches on Sandman with the chain wrapped around his hand. Raven and Douglas are the two top heels in ECW right now for sure. I’d have to put Taz at #3 right now on the heat scale.

Sandman and Raven are chained together at the neck with the collars. Shane Douglas is in street clothes. We get some more great camera work with an excellent shot of Raven holding the belt over The Sandman.

This is your typical sloppy dog collar match, but it’s 2 on 1. Sandman gets his shots in every now and then, but he’s just outnumbered here. Things get a little bloody and gory with the horrifying shot of Shane choking Sandman with the chain around his mouth. They knew how to make this shot look over the top.

Pitbull 1 walks out with his halo on his head and the crowd immediately starts chanting “SHANE! SUCKS! DICK!” as soon as they get a sight of him.

We get another really gritty shot when Sandman and Raven take it outside the ring. Raven holds The Sandman while his wife Lori canes him in the face like 5 times. BRUTAL!

Shane Douglas gives Sandman a piledriver and goes for the win, but Sandman kicks out. Raven and Shane pulls him to the corner and post his groin on the ring post. All of a sudden Pitbull 2 comes running out with a neck brace on. Pitbull 2 kicks some ass as the crowd cheers him on. He lands a belly to belly suplex on Shane before dropping Raven with a DDT and ripping the neck brace off. Got’em with their own finishers.

Sandman and Pitbull 2 take the upper hand for a bit before Raven lands a low blow on PB. From here it degenerates into a pretty mind numbing brawl. I seriously started drifting off there for a second.

Pitbull 2 beats on Shane Douglas and targets his neck. Sandman beats the fuck out of Raven on the floor. Raven and The Sandman are having a backyard wrestling level sloppy brawl out in the outside, fighting over pieces of a broken table. Raven and Shane retake the momentum by working together. They help each other Superbomb Sandman off the top rope, but he kicks out of the pinfall attempt. Pitbull drops Raven with a low blow and locks Shane Douglas in the full nelson suplex. Raven loads up his boot in the corner and takes a swing. Pitbull 2 ducks and picks up the boot after Raven misses.

Pitbull cracks Raven with the loaded boot and pins him in the center of the ring, 1, 2, 3. Shane Douglas bails on Raven, leaving him high and dry. Pitbull has pinned the Champ.

The scene fades out with Raven and The Sandman laid out in the ring chained together at the neck.

6.2/10

Alright, the whole concept of Raven working with Shane Douglas doesn’t make much sense. I’ve watched the Hardcore TV episodes that led to this show, and the setup for this match was rather weak to begin with(mostly just advertisement graphics flashed across the screen). The actual booking of the match itself is also a bit weird. Shane Douglas is made out to be an even slimier, stronger heel than Raven, who is the World Champ here. Pitbull 2 continues to look like a beast now with a pinfall over the champ in a tag match to keep his momentum going, but this was kind of making it clear that Shane was the top heel with the booking of the finish.

This was some pretty sloppy stuff. Nothing really major as far as storyline progression. Just kind of a filler match really. Some weird stuff going on with the heels of ECW right now.

ECW World Tag Team Championship
Natural Born Killaz Steel Cage Match:
The Gangstas(C) vs The Eliminators

This one gets going pretty quickly. The Gangstas hit the ring and the fight is on in the crowd. Fast, furious, violent brawl. Mustapha on Kronus and Saturn on New Jack.

All four men brawl on the outside of the cage, in the crowd and around the ring for a good while. Saturn goes up to the top of the cage and lands a nice plancha on the three others below. Saturn gets up and dominates New Jack all over the floor. Saturn and New Jack were the core of this feud. Both guys were always at the center of it, and whenever somebody got pinned it was always either Mustapha or Kronus. Saturn and New Jack were kept strong throughout the feud.

Kronus and Mustapha finally take it into the cage. There are two men dressed in executioner masks that hold weapons up near the corners of the ring. Pretty goofy concept for a match. Reminds me of Beyond Thunderdome

Saturn lands another dive off the top of the cage, this time catching New Jack in the ring with a flying clothesline. The pace of the action slows down a lot. All 4 guys blade themselves and the blood runs everywhere.

Really slow sloppy stuff with a dead crowd right about now.

Saturn lands a sick Snuka style splash off of the top of the cage onto Mustapha. New Jack dives off of the other corner of the cage with a trash can shot to Kronus immediately after.

This is just a back and forth bloody brawl. Saturn goes back up to the top of the cage and lands his always awesome Elbow Drop. Nice.

New Jack gets a keeboard from the masked executioner. Kronus knocks New Jack down, gets the keeboard and goofs off.

Really slow pace now. Kronus is bleeding very badly.

New Jack goes up top to get a guitar from one of the masked executioners. The masked man busts the guitar over New Jack’s head and pulls his mask off to reveal Shane Douglas. Shane holds up the Triple Threat sign as if this was the unveiling of the new Triple Threat. Shane Douglas is helping the Eliminators.

Saturn lands yet another dive off of the top of the cage for a 2 count as Shane watches on from the outside.

Saturn goes back up top for another splash off the cage, but New Jack tosses a trash can at him, knocking him down through a table on the floor. That wasn’t a Foley/KOTR 98 caliber fall, but it was still a pretty good drop. DAMN!

Mustapha drops Kronus with the running powerslam followed immediately by New Jack’s 187 chair dive. Gangstas win and retain their tag titles. Notice who took the pinfall again.

Shane Douglas is pissed. The show ends pretty abruptly.

6/10

More weird stuff with the heels. I don’t remember Shane Douglas working with the Eliminators, but this was honestly still a bit before my time. It will be interesting to see how this develops, but overall the angle with the mask was poorly executed. The match itself was pretty bad as well. If your a Perry Saturn fans like I am you should at least check it out for some of his sick dives/bumps off of the cage. He definitely stole the show, but still didn’t save the match. This could have been a lot better even considering both teams weaknesses.

Overall: 7.3/10

This was a pretty short show at just under 2 hours long. Most of the other shows have been 3+ hour marathons on 2 tapes/discs. A lot of mediocre to downright terrible stuff on here, and plenty of ammunition for a pickier wrestling fan. I enjoyed the Taz vs Dreamer segment/match probably more than I should have, and I thought RVD vs Furnas was alright. The main event was the Perry Saturn show, but was still nothing to brag about. There was some funny business going on with all of the heels working together, Shane Douglas, Raven, Brian Lee, Taz, and The Eliminators were all working together in one way or another or in some combo. NWO effect? Who knows. Maybe Heyman was thinking about doing his own supergroup for a short period of time before changing his mind. Maybe not.

One of the shorter, weaker shows of 96 so far, almost like a filler show to get to the next big mega-supercard. I still enjoyed the show and found it very interesting. Especially considering the storylines that have been running for quite some time that were coming into this show. Not bad, but definitely nothing spectacular.