While the World Wrestling Federation (WWF) and World Championship Wrestling (WCW) were locked in a fight for national supremacy for much of 1995, a renegade promotion based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania built a cult-like following. Extreme Championship Wrestling (ECW) relished challenging wrestling’s norms and conventions. When Jim Crockett sought to revive the prestige of the NWA World Heavyweight Championship in 1994, ECW star Shane Douglas threw the title on the canvas in disgust after winning it in a tournament final against 2 Cold Scorpio. While the WWF tried to tone down violence in its product by not allowing the use of chairs or ladders as weapons, ECW encouraged its brawlers to put each other through tables and use weapons liberally. And whereas WCW sought to take wrestling back to the 1980s with a revival of Hulkamania, ECW’s owner and booker Paul Heyman – known at this time by his television name Paul E. Dangerously – tapped into the 1990s Jerry Springer-like zeitgeist with risqué storylines and promos that featured colorful language.
So here we are again with another ECW pay per view event of 1999. It’s been a tad hit and miss for ECW on pay per view this year, with Anarchy Rulz being good whilst Heat Wave and Hardcore Heaven were kind of just there and Living Dangerously was pretty bad. Hopefully tonight ECW can knock this one out of the park, especially as this show is supposed to be the biggest one they do all year.
I actually bought the live American pay per view version of this show years back from the dearly departed Extreme Central UK store in Manchester, which was a fantastic place to buy ECW/CZW/ROH tapes without having to faff about with arranging things online. The picture is a bit fuzzy but I get the real entrance music at least, so I’m counting it as a win.
Yes we hop once again into the way back machine twenty years to the day for yet another review of ECW Hardcore TV, as we continue the build towards Living Dangerously on the 21st of March 1999.
Last week we viewed the first hour of footage taped from Crossing the Line 99, and we’ll finish that off this week.
So without further ado, let’s get to it!
We’ve got a bit of a break between now and Six of the Best for WCW Uncensored, so I thought I’d watch some ECW TV from 1999. This era of ECW was when I first started properly getting into it, and I loved it so much that I went on to hoover up all the classic stuff I could from 1994-1997.
We’ll cover these up to Living Dangerously 99, and if people are digging them and I’m still enjoying writing them, I might keep them going after that. Living Dangerously 99 was actually the first ECW pay per view event I saw in full, and it did an excellent job of hooking me, so it’ll be interesting to see how it all came together on TV and whether the show itself still holds up.
So without further ado, let’s kick on with ECW Hardcore TV #304!
by Logan Scisco
Jerry “the King” Lawler are live from the Manhattan Center in New York, New
Contest: The New Blackjacks defeat The
Godwinns after Windham pins Phineas following a Bradshaw lariat at 5:51:
Justin “Hawk” Bradshaw and while this idea may have worked in theory, it had a
couple of problems. First, people
usually prefer the original and second, many WWF fans were unaware of the
original Blackjacks because the WWF didn’t care to emphasize its history at
this time. The crowd is dominated by
smarks and ECW fans, who don’t care for either team here, but we do see Ken
Shamrock in the audience during the course of this contest. A sloppy brawl is what we get out of both
teams before a train wreck of a finish sees Phineas pinned despite having his
foot on the bottom rope. Another referee
comes out to inform the original referee that he messed up, but the original
referee refuses to reverse the decision so the Godwinns slop him. This did nothing for all parties
involved. Rating: ½*
show up and give Total Elimination to an unfortunate ring attendant and Paul
Heyman steps into the ring and says that ECW is in the house. The Eliminators should’ve roughed up the ring attendant after taking him hostage, though, because it looked silly to have him stand there like a statue while the Eliminators got into position to hit him with their finishing move.
(w/The Blue World Order) defeats Little Guido with a Stevie Kick at 3:39:
cameo less than a minute in, coming from the locker room and
staring down Richards. Goldust appears
in the split screen and says that ECW is like a B-movie. This is a basic match without any psychology,
but its purpose was to put over the Blue World Order and Stevie Richards in
anticipation of ECW’s Barely Legal pay-per-view and it effectively did
that. Rating: **
will not be in any condition to beat her in the arm wrestling match they are
going to have tonight.
Match: Marlena defeats Sunny:
the loudest pops of the evening before she rips off Rick Rude’s opening speech, with
robe and all. Making this an arm
wrestling match is odd, but Vince Russo hadn’t developed the evening gown match
yet, so this is what we get. It unfolds
like any other arm wrestling match you’ve ever seen, with Sunny playing the
heel rule and constantly pulling away.
Regardless, the crowd is pretty into it and after making a comeback,
Marlena wins, only to have Sunny throw powder in her eyes. This brings out Savio Vega, who wants to take
advantage of the weakened Marlena, until Goldust runs in and gives us…
(w/Marlena) defeats Savio Vega (w/The Nation of Domination) via
disqualification when Crush interferes at 8:43 shown:
no idea what has happened to Savio.
Savio finally has some different ring gear, which effectively
distinguishes him as a heel. The problem
with heel Savio is that his offense consists of chokes and nerve holds and it
sucks the life out of the match. Things
pick up a little bit when Goldust makes the comeback, but then things fall
apart again as Savio barely connects on a spinning heel kick and both guys run
out of ideas. Crush interferes when
Savio has the advantage, which makes little sense, and Perez comes to Goldust’s
aid. Rating: ½*
Ken Shamrock in the audience and takes credit for Shamrock’s success. Shamrock says he doesn’t know Lawler and
that’s the segment. Really?
1-900-737-SLAM to vote for Best Finishing Move for the 1997 Slammy Awards. Your choices are Shawn Michaels’ Sweet Chin
Music, Marc Mero’s Wild Thing, Sid’s powerbomb, Steve Austin’s Stone Cold
Stunner, and Bret Hart’s Sharpshooter.
Alphonso) beats Mikey Whipwreck via submission with the Tazmission at 3:29:
and I have to fully agree with him. Sabu
makes an appearance by taking out Taz’s crew, which the camera nearly misses,
and comes near the ring, where Taz can’t quite elevate Whipwreck enough to
crash onto Sabu on the floor.
Nevertheless, Sabu is pulled to the back by Taz’s entourage and Taz
quickly finishes Whipwreck. A decent
squash for Taz, but the WWF’s camera crew needed to be better positioned to capture
Sabu’s dive live. They do a better job
handling the replay, though.
Doom and The Headbangers wrestle to a double count out at 7:39 shown:
The Legion of Doom’s return to Raw is the “surprise” that McMahon had been
promising to viewers throughout the evening.
Who says Vince doesn’t know his audience? The crowd does make Vince smile during this
match by chanting that Nitro, Hulk Hogan, and Eric Bischoff suck. This match is booked wrong, as the Legion of
Doom dominate the action, but have to do it over the course of eight minutes,
which really exposes them. Worse, they
aren’t even booked to go over. Was it
really necessary to protect the Headbangers here? The Legion of Doom should’ve come out and
squashed some random guys in less than two minutes. Rating: ½*
Lie” video is played for Shawn Michaels.
I would normally say this is unnecessary since Dr. James Andrews told us
last week that Michaels would be returning, but I enjoy the song.
(w/Beulah McGillicutty) pinned D-Von Dudley (w/Sign Guy Dudley) after a DDT on
a chair at 4:29:
face. This is really a prelude to the
hardcore era in the WWF, as chairs get involved for a variety of maneuvers,
including the finish. It’s a garbage
match, but an entertaining one when compared to the lousy WWF stuff on the
show. After the bout, Buh Buh Ray comes
in and the Dudley’s give Dreamer a Dudley Death Drop. The Sandman then comes out of the crowd to make
the save. Interestingly enough, you
could play this match before the first ECW One Night Stand pay-per-view that took place over nine years later and it would make perfect sense. Rating: **
Dreamer-Dudley match, Lawler irritates Heyman and provokes a brawl between the
two and McMahon gets lost amidst the ECW crew.
last week’s events, which culminated in Sid winning the WWF title. Jim
Cornette also narrates Bret Hart’s rampage through the locker room after losing
that Bret Hart and Steve Austin will face each other in a no holds barred match
interviews Shamrock and his family.
Shamrock compliments the Undertaker, thereby sparking his interest in
MMA. Pettengill does a poll for who the
fans would like to see win at WrestleMania between Austin and Hart and the
crowd firmly sides with Austin.
Doom’s Doomsday Device on Mosh after tonight’s tag team match is the WWF Full
Metal: The Album Rewind for this week.
defeats Faarooq (w/The Nation of Domination) by disqualification when the
Nation runs in at 10:50 shown:
ring and Shamrock teases jumping the guardrail and going after him.
The Nation takes out the Undertaker’s leg on the floor, but Faarooq
really doesn’t know how to take advantage of that. After what feels like an eternity, the Nation
does the predictable run-in to draw the disqualification and the Legion of Doom
come to the Undertaker’s aid as we go off the air. This one was a chore to sit through as
neither guy seemed motivated and the constant striking grew tiresome. I always try to look for any redeeming quality
a match might have, but this had nothing.
put together bad matches since they knew that the ECW crowd was going to
upstage them in terms of crowd reaction, but the WWF was clearly overshadowed
on this show. Of the WWF matches, none
of them broke ½* and it was an embarrassing display of what the company had to
offer. In the WWF’s defense, most of its
top talent was overseas on a European tour, but there’s little excuse for this effort. The ECW experiment
demonstrated Vince’s desire to do anything to get back into the Monday Night War with WCW and it did pop a rating here, but the WWF-ECW on-screen relationship
would fizzle when McMahon wanted the WWF to beat ECW in any invasion angle that
developed and Heyman wisely vetoed it.
Although the show was an interesting experiment at the time, it’s a
chore to sit through today and is really not worth your time to check out
unless you need to cure insomnia.
2.5 (vs. 3.0 for Nitro)