The SmarK Rant for ECW Heat Wave ‘98–08.02.98

The SmarK Rant for ECW Heat Wave ’98 (08.02.98)

As promised, let’s take another look at this one.

The Network actually gives this one TWO separate TV-MA warnings, so you know it’s gonna be good.

Live from Dayton, OH, drawing 4376 for $110,000 and a 0.2 buyrate.

Your hosts are Joey Styles & Shane Douglas, and he’s immediately dropping f-bombs. So yeah, it’s definitely uncensored. Joey notes that his suit is double-breasted, like Francine, and she tells him that it didn’t cost $6000 “like these” and then shoves his face into them.

Justin Credible v. Jerry Lynn

Justin’s entourage of freaks was pretty much at its apex here, with Jason, Nicole Bass and Chastity all hanging around ringside. Lynn takes him down with armdrags, but Justin chops him in the corner and Jerry gets a rollup for two and a crossbody for two. Justin tries the tombstone and Lynn reverses for two and dumps him with a clothesline. He follows with a dive and tosses him back in for two. That’s a nice touch. Do the move and then actually try to follow up. Gourdbuster gets two and Lynn goes to a headlock, but they reverse off that and Credible hits an inverted DDT to take over. Joey goes on a rant about how “know it all wrestling journalists” didn’t give Credible credit for being a great athlete when he arrived. Well, Joey, just wait until Paul puts the World title on him a year later and buyrates go into the toilet, and then you’ll hear some REAL complaining. The entourage help out with a chair and Justin dropkicks it into Lynn’s face, into a powerbomb for two, and then Jason adds some shots on the floor and Justin hits him with someone’s beer. What a great athlete. Back in, Justin cuts off a comeback attempt with a clothesline on the apron, but goes up and lands in a flapjack from Lynn. Justin with a Bossman slam for two and he goes to a chinlock on the mat, but Lynn fights out with a sunset flip for two. They do the pinfall reversal sequence and Lynn powerbombs him for two. Top rope rana gets two. He goes up and tries a rana, but Justin powerbombs him for two. He grabs another chair, but Lynn DDTs him onto it for two. I never understood why you could hit someone with chairs and weapons in ECW, but the ropes still break pinfalls. They head to the apron and Lynn puts him through a table with a rana as you can see Lynn just working his ass off to put this goof over. Back in, Jason breaks up the pin with a chair to the head, but Lynn powerbombs him. Then Bass lays out Lynn, but Lynn hits her with a low blow and puts her down with a chair. Then Chastity interferes and accidentally kicks Credible in the balls, so Lynn gives her a tombstone. Joey: “I don’t condone violence against women, but she’s been asking for it all summer long”. “Lines that would not fly today” for $200, Alex. And then after all that, Credible hits Lynn with the tombstone and pins him at 14:40. Ugh. It was just so transparently an attempt to make Credible into the star with every shortcut and cheap heat gimmick that Paul had. It was fine, but too slow most of the way. ***

Chris Candido v. Lance Storm

Tammy is in Candido’s corner here, which I don’t remember at all. Last I remember of her in 1998 was the “LOD 2000” thing. Storm gets a leg lariat and slugs away in the corner, then dropkicks him into the corner, but Chris leverages him into the corner. Lance bails and Candido follows with a flying bodypress to the floor. Back in, Tammy trips Lance and he chases her around the ring, but walks into a powerbomb. Candido with a delayed suplex and a legdrop for two. Storm comes back with a superkick for two. These guys are on totally different pages here and I’m not sure why. Candido with a neckbreaker for two and he goes to the chinlock, but Lance fights out and tosses Candido, then follows with a dive. Back in, Candido puts him down again for two and goes up , but Storm catches him with a superplex and then follows with a top rope leg lariat for two. Crowd is really dead for this one, for whatever reason. Powerbomb gets two. Springboard bodyblock is reversed into a powerslam by Candido for two. Tammy gives him a bag of powder (insert your own jokes here) but Storm kicks it back in his face and then goes up. Tammy crotches him, but the blinded Candido accidentally pulls her top down, and then Candido recovers and powerbombs Storm off the top for the pin at 11:12. Crowd was dead but the work was good. *** A quick check reveals that Tammy was fired from the WWF only three days before this show, for refusing to attend rehab. That’s pretty messed up.

Meanwhile, New Jack is hanging around in the parking lot and making threats to Jack Victory. Then the Dudley Boyz drive up and everyone gets into a brawl that ends with Jack bleeding and laid out, which I guess was an angle shot to explain why we didn’t have to sit through New Jack v. Jack Victory.

Meanwhile, RVD and Sabu are ready for the competition from Japan (“Hakushi!” “Gesundheit”)

Mike Awesome v. Masato Tanaka

So you may have heard about this match before. Awesome runs up the ropes with a back elbow for two and they slug it out with forearms. Tanaka dumps him to the apron, but Awesome slingshots in with a shoulderblock for two. He clotheslines Tanaka to the floor and follows with the Undertaker dive. Back in for a clothesline that gets two. German suplex follows, but Tanaka no-sells it and powerslams Awesome. Tanaka brings in the first chair and takes a running swing with it from the end of the ramp. They head to the floor and have a swordfight with chairs, and Awesome sends him into the crowd and then goes up and dives onto him in the front row. Back in, powerbomb gets two. Awesome goes up again with a flying splash for two. And then the chairshots. Oh, the chairshots. He whacks Tanaka in the head twice, but Tanaka fights up, so Awesome puts him down again for two. Running powerbomb for Tanaka and he preps a table outside, then comes back in with a chairshot to the head, off the top rope. Good lord. And Tanaka is taking those with no protection. Awesome tries to powerbomb him through the table, but Tanaka reverses and powerbombs Awesome over the top rope and through the table instead. That was a TERRIFYING bump. And with no mats on the floor to save Awesome’s skull, either. Back in, Tanaka gets two. Roaring elbow gets two. Tanaka piles some chairs in the corner and hits a tornado DDT to finish at 11:50. To say this got both guys over would be an understatement. ****1/4 Amazingly, Tanaka is not only alive today, but still working a regular schedule. Awesome’s career did not have the same good ending, of course.

ECW World tag team title: Rob Van Dam & Sabu v. Hayabusa & Jinsei Shinzaki

Rob takes Hayabusa down and works the leg, but Hayabusa springboards off the ropes with a bodypress that gets botched. Over to Shinzaki, who tries an enzuigiri but gets kicked in the head by RVD instead. A second try hits and Jinsei does the ropewalk chop, but misses a kneedrop. Rob puts him down with a spinkick and Sabu comes in for two and gets a legdrop for two. Over to Hayabusa and Sabu immediately moonsaults him for two, but Hayabusa sends him to the floor and teases a dive. Sabu tosses a chair at him in annoyance. Back in, they slug it out and Sabu goes to a chinlock as we’re 10:00 into this thing and there’s NOTHING going on. Finally Rob comes in to break it up and everyone heads outside for a brawl, as Rob dumps the challengers into the crowd and Sabu follows with Air Sabu from the ring into the crowd. Rob guillotines Hayabusa on the railing and the champs double-team Shinzaki in the ring, as RVD uses a bow-and-arrow on Shinzaki and Sabu comes off the top with a chair to the gut for two. Next, Shinzaki & Hayabusa double-team RVD with some stuff, hitting a senton into a Hayabusa quebrada for two. RVD with a spinkick on Hayabusa for two. Sabu gets kicked back and forth and superkicked by Hayabusa for two. Shinzaki goes up and Sabu brings him down with a rana for two. Shinzaki hits Rob with a Pele kick and Hayabusa goes up with a 450 for two. Rolling Thunder on Hayabusa, and Rob gets a flying legdrop on Shinzaki for two. Now a table gets involved and everyone meanders around the ring trying to set up some kind of spot before Shinzaki just gets a flying shoulderblock on Sabu for two. Rob dropkicks a chair into Hayabusa’s face, but Shinzaki keeps taking them down with dragon screws and they just can’t figure out what to do with that fucking table. Finally Hayabusa does a splash onto RVD on top of it, but the table just falls down without breaking and it’s a compete debacle. So they think “Hey, let’s bring in another table, since the first spot worked so well” and they put both challengers on it, before finally finishing them with stereo splashes through the table at 20:50. This was a complete clusterfuck, with 10:00 of a half-assed normal tag match, then they just started doing highspots and fucked up 70% of them and then it REALLY fell apart at the end. I stand by my original rating, this was terrible. *1/2

FTW World title: Taz v. Bam Bam Bigelow

Oddly enough, Taz’s music survives all the overdubbing. Taz comes out of the corner with a clothesline and takes him down with a samoan drop, and they head to the ramp and continue the fight out there. Taz boots him off the ramp and into the crowd, but Bigelow runs him into the railing and they go fighting to the back of the arena, where Taz takes him down for two. Suplex on the floor gets two. Taz tries an armbar, but Bigelow escapes and hits him with a chair for two. Taz tries the Tazmission, but Bam Bam escapes with a jawbreaker and tosses him back to ringside. Back in, Bigelow gets a powerbomb and brings a table in, which Taz gets run through. Another try, but Taz blocks and suplexes Bigelow through the remains of the table, but Bigelow gets a clothesline and back to the ramp they go. Bigelow tries a suplex off the ramp, but Taz reverses to a DDT and they both go through the ramp. Bam Bam crawls from the wreckage first, but then Taz follows in a great horror movie moment, dives onto his back, and taps him out at 13:20. Now, this would have naturally set up Shane defending against Taz at November 2 Remember, but they delayed it for another five months and Taz lost all his momentum and never got it back. This was a fun brawl with a great finish. ***1/4

The Dudley Boyz & Big Dick Dudley v. Sandman, Tommy Dreamer & Spike Dudley

This was set up by the Dudley Boyz supposedly breaking Beulah’s neck and thus writing her out of the business. Joel Gertner’s nickname tonight is “I always leave them sore, but they keep coming back for more.” Sign Guy Dudley has a broken leg, which leads to a funny bit where Gertner is running a list of his injuries and accidentally adds “ruptured rectum”. So the Dudley routine and all the entrances take up a staggering 20 minutes, leaving about 15 left in the runtime of the show. D-Von and Tommy do some token wrestling to start, but Spike wants in and he quickly gets destroyed by Bubba before reversing a press slam and slugging away in the corner. And then Bubba powerbombs him out of the corner for a crazy bump and the Dudleyz work Spike over in the corner. Big Dick comes in and Spike is able to tag out to Sandman, who clotheslines Dick to the floor and thankfully they finally give up the pretense of having a match and just start the crazy brawl. Dreamer beats on D-Von in the crowd while Sandman slugs it out with Bubba in the ring and gets a top rope rana. Meanwhile, Dick is bleeding all over the place on the floor, and Spike sets up a ladder in the ring and dives off the top of it, onto the heels on the floor. Sandman drops a ladder on D-Von and hits a swanton onto him, but Dick backdrops Sandman onto the ramp. So this leaves Tommy alone with the Dudleyz, and Bubba puts a ladder on him and follows with a senton that man that one looked like it HURT. Spike returns with the Acid Drop on Bubba to save, but D-Von slams him on the ladder. Sign Guy tries to get involved and Tommy puts him in a figure-four, and then piledrives Jeff Jones. Joel Gertner gets put in the Tree of Woe and the ref dropkicks a chair into him in a funny spot. Big Dick puts Tommy onto a ladder with the tree slam and then tosses Spike through a table on the floor, but Bubba misses a splash on Dreamer and Tommy DDTs him for the pin at 14:28 to get his revenge. Jack Victory comes in for the beatdown on Tommy, but New Jack pays off the earlier angle and makes the save for the big finish and lays everyone out with weapons to send the crowd home happy. I’m amused at the overdubbing of “Natural Born Killers” with a much happier rap song while he beats people up. Typical ECW messy brawl, and it was a fine ending to the show. **1/2

The Pulse

Between this and Barely Legal, I still enjoy Barely more because of the amazing energy of the show, but this had a bunch of good matches and a mostly-hot crowd and only one stinker, so it’s an easy recommendation and arguably the best PPV show they ever did.