History of ECW 7/3/1998

Taped from Philadelphia, PA
Airdate: July 3, 1998
Hosted by Joey Styles
From the WWE Studios Joey welcomes us to another installment of the History of ECW. This week’s episode emanates from the ECW Arena. In this episode Chris Candido and Lance Storm defend the ECW World Tag Team titles against RVD and Sabu. Also, Balls Mahoney will face Masato Tanaka. Joey warns about the dangers of chair shots to the head with regards to this match.

 

Joey is in the ring while the crowd gives a hearty “ECW” chant. He then introduces his new color commentator…ECW World Heavyweight Champion “The Franchise” Shane Douglas. Oh lord, Shane is on commentary. One would think that the censors must be getting overtime, but Paulie was cheap so we’ll see what we get. Actually the entire Triple Threat with Francine and Lance Storm enter the ring. To show just where her priorities are Francine kisses the belt around Shane’s waist and then him.
Shane takes the microphone and the <CENSORED> music is cut. He then admits that he returned too quickly from injury. Next we see the scars from his elbow surgery. Ick. Subsequently he runs down Taz as a “pretender to the throne.” He calls him out and Taz’s music hits. Taz then challenges Douglas with a steel cable tied behind his back. Afterwards he refers to himself as “the world champ” while holding the FTW title above his head.
In a somewhat fascinating situation Taz wants all the cameras off so he can give the paying customers their money’s worth against Bam Bam Bigelow. Unless we get one of Paulie’s infamous clip jobs I don’t see that happening here.
Match 1: Bam Bam Bigelow (w/ Chris Candido, Lance Storm, and Francine) versus Taz
As each man circles the ring the crowd encourages Taz to “f--- him up!”
Bait and switch much, Paulie? We get a promo for Heat Wave ’98 and then the opener.
Actually they did turn the cameras off…WOW! Joey informs us that an epic battle occurred over the past 30 minutes. Meanwhile both Douglas and Francine stand alongside Joey. While Douglas and Joey argue over the outcome of that match our Hardcore History moment reveals that Francine’s only match in WWE was against Ariel on 9/26/2006. Mmmmmm…Shelly Martinez.
REAL Match 1: Balls Mahoney versus Masato Tanaka
 According to Joey this is Tanaka’s first appearance in the “infamous” ECW Arena. A nice little mat wrestling sequence begins the match. After a second collar-and-elbow tie-up Tanaka takes Mahoney to the corner, notices how hungry he is, and feeds him some chops. A snapmare out of the corner leads to a legdrop and a 2 count.
After Tanaka grabs a headlock Mahoney maneuvers him to the corner and serves him some tasty chops of his own. He tries to cross-corner whip Tanaka but gets reversed. Tanaka tries to hiptoss him, but Mahoney counters with a shove to the corner by the throat. Mahoney then cross-corner whips him, but Tanaka floats over the top rope. Instead Tanaka tries to come off the top rope but gets caught and slammed to the mat. He must be taking notes from Ric Flair and Arn Anderson. Thinking he has the upper hand Mahoney mounts the top turnbuckle, but Tanaka meets him up there and brings him down the hard way with a top rope superplex!
After surviving a pin attempt at the very last moment Mahoney gets to his feet. Tanaka comes off the ropes and makes him eat an elbow and a running clothesline. Right hands are exchanged, but Mahoney easily wins that battle. He then whips Tanaka off the ropes and delivers a powerslam. Again he heads to the top rope but misses the “New Jersey Jam” according to Joey.
Tanaka then mounts the top turnbuckle and gives Mahoney a missile dropkick. Mahoney takes a quick powder on the outside until Tanaka tries a plancha. However, Mahoney catches him and drops him face-first on the steel railing. He then tosses Tanaka into the first row. After hitting him with a foreign object he joins him among the fans. As they brawl Mahoney grabs a fan’s beer and wallops Tanaka in the head with it.
Mahoney tosses Tanaka over the steel railing back to ringside. He then tries to whip Tanaka but gets reversed into the steel railing. Tanaka then charges and nails Mahoney with a chair to the head. Said chair is then thrown in the ring by Tanaka. Back in the ring Tanaka attempts a roaring elbow, but Mahoney ducks and gives him a belly-to-back suplex instead.
Each man grabs a chair and a quick fencing match ensues. Mahoney then kicks Tanaka in the groin and gives him a chair shot to the head. Much to the crowd’s delight Tanaka no-sells it! More fencing with the chairs occurs until Mahoney kicks him in the leg and nails him in the head again with the chair. Again Tanaka gets to his feet. Tanaka wins the fencing match this time and destroys Mahoney three times with the chair but only gets a 2 count!
Sensing victory Tanaka signals for the roaring elbow and mounts the top turnbuckle. Instead Mahoney catches and crotches him! He then sets up the two chairs in the middle of the ring and attempts the Nutcracker Suite. Tanaka fights back and delivers an outstanding tornado DDT to Mahoney onto the chairs! That gets the pin! ***
Upon returning from commercial Tanaka is still soaking up the cheers in the ring. In the meantime Joey plugs the next show in the ECW Arena on July 18 and the PPV on August 2.
We return to the ring where Joel Gertner tries to generate heat from the crowd alongside the Dudley Boyz. Sign Guy Dudley is on crutches with a huge brace on his left leg while wearing an “I Hate Dreamer” t-shirt. While Bubba Ray Dudley has a blow-up doll wearing an evening gown in his hand Gertner “pays homage” to the end of the career of Beulah McGillicutty. He then instructs the timekeeper to ring the bell ten times. The timekeeper refuses, so D-Von Dudley rings the bell himself.
Match 2: The Dudley Boyz (w/ Joel Gertner and Sign Guy Dudley) versus Tommy Dreamer, Sandman, and ????
Dreamer and Sandman carry ladders to the ring. Foolishly they enter the ring and get ambushed by all three Dudleys. Sandman even gets suplexed on a ladder by Big Dick and Bubba. Big Dick then picks up Bubba to slam him on Sandman atop the ladder but Sandman avoids getting crushed. Sandman then shoulderblocks and dropkicks the ladder into Big Dick.
Dreamer gives D-Von a piledriver on the ladder! Sandman then sets the ladder up in the corner as he and Dreamer create a Dudley sandwich with D-Von in the middle. As Dreamer and Sandman point to the entrance Atsushi Onita comes out. He proceeds to nail D-Von and Big Dick with a barbed wire 2×4! Accidentally Onita hits the Sandman with the board, and Dreamer questions him about it. Onita then gives Dreamer the DDT! He then jams the board into Sandman’s midsection then DDTs him!
New Jack hits the ring and tosses his garbage can directly into Bubba’s head. He then grabs his guitar and faces off with Onita. Jack Victory then Pearl Harbors New Jack from behind with his own guitar. All we need is Jeff Jarrett and a woman and this match would be legendary! Seeing that he has made his presence felt Onita leaves the ring. At the same time Bubba makes Sandman eat another guitar shot to the head!
Little Spike Dudley hits the ring and goes after both D-Von and Bubba Ray Dudley. After nailing Bubba with a weapon he gives the Acid Drop to D-Von. He then crawls between Bubba’s legs and gives him the Acid Drop. He then kicks the proverbial field goal on Big Dick and sets up the Acid Drop; however, Big Dick just drops him straight down through the timekeeper’s table!
Big Dick then gives Dreamer “Total Penetration” on the ladder! Even I had to cringe while typing that. D-Von drapes the barbed wire board over Sandman then legdrops it! As you would expect Sandman is a bloody mess. Bubba then gives Dreamer the senton splash through the ladder. Gertner gets on the apron to distract the referee. He gets in the ring to confront Jim Molineaux and eats a right hand. Out of nowhere referee Jeff Jones nails Molineaux then quick counts the pin for the Dudley Boyz! *
Match 3 for the ECW World Tag Team titles: Chris Candido and Lance Storm (w/ Francine) versus RVD and Sabu ( w/ Fonzie)
We are joined in progress as Sabu avoids a high cross body from Storm. He then dropkicks the knee and applies the camel clutch. For no logical reason whatsoever other than to show off RVD does a back flip off the ropes and then dropkicks Storm in the face. Unfortunately for RVD he touts his accomplishment to the crowd so Candido runs over to his corner and nails him sending RVD off the apron into the steel railing.
With some nice double teaming the champs whip Sabu off the ropes, leapfrog him, and then pancake him face-first to the mat. RVD makes the save and sends Candido to the outside. RVD then applies a bow and arrow on Storm. Sabu ascends to the top turnbuckle and demolishes Storm in the gut with a chair! I have never seen that done in quite that fashion before. Candido pushes Sabu out of the way and makes the save. He then tosses Sabu to the outside.
Another great double team maneuver occurs when Candido hoists RVD up as if to deliver a powerbomb, but Storm gives RVD the missile dropkick instead! This time Sabu saves the pinfall. After he tosses Storm outside the ring he and RVD execute Poetry in Motion into a huracanrana by Sabu. RVD then gives Candido the corkscrew legdrop and earns a 2 count.
After slamming Candido RVD mounts the second turnbuckle; however, Storm interrupts him by hoisting him up on his shoulders. Candido then heads to the top and delivers the Doomsday Device earning a 2 count. As Storm and Sabu fight at ringside RVD escapes one of Candido’s patented delayed vertical suplexes. He then gets a single-leg takedown and heads to the apron. From there he delivers the corkscrew legdrop to Storm across the steel railing!
While Fonzie blows his whistle and RVD showboats Candido gives him a plancha! Sabu objects to that by hammering Candido with a chair shot to the ear! He sets up a chair and performs his triple jump dive onto Candido. The crowd voices their approval with an “ECW” chant. Sabu then grabs a table from under the ring and tries to set it up in the ring. Candido interrupts that as Joey mentions that Sabu is a former tag team champion with Taz. Douglas interjects with his “why did you have to bring him up?”
While Joey and Shane momentarily argue Candido gives Sabu a top rope huracanrana through the table! Storm tries to put another table in the ring but gets stomped by RVD. All four men are in the ring as Candido powerbombs Sabu then Storm piledrives RVD. Candido sets up the table. The champs then place both challengers on the table.
As Storm and Candido mount opposite turnbuckles Fonzie’s whistle enables the challengers to escape the double team maneuver. Instead Candido goes through the table by himself. Storm then delivers a top rope clothesline to Sabu and gets a 2 count. As Douglas notes that Candido is hurt RVD crotches Storm on the top rope then gives him a Van Daminator from the top rope with Fonzie’s assistance.
The challengers position yet another table in mid-ring. Sabu then gives Candido a DDT. The challengers then place the champs on the table and deliver stereo leg drops! Even Fonzie got on the top rope for that one! Joey celebrates with an “OMG” as the crowd eats it up with a spoon with another “ECW” chant. As RVD makes his way over to cover Candido Sabu sneaks in and gets the three count! We have NEW ECW World Tag Team Champions! The new champs pose with the gold! ****
Wow! What a main event! Props go out to all four men who busted their ass to give Philly a PPV-worthy main event. The title switch made sense as the champs looked vulnerable in previous weeks. While the semi-main was your typical ECW brawl it furthered the storyline of Dreamer trying to exact his revenge against the Dudley Boyz for their actions against Beulah.
Tanaka’s debut in the ECW Arena was definitely noticeable. He will be a force to be reckoned with in the weeks to come.
I must retract my earlier assertion that commentary from Shane Douglas would detract from the in-ring product. While his analysis wasn’t spectacular it certainly worked. He only went into business for himself briefly when Taz’s name was mentioned. It’s a crying shame that Paulie felt that his World Champion could hold the belt and sit on the sidelines. Perhaps it was good strategy not to hotshot the belt to Taz in ’98 because Taz was seeking greener pastures in ’99 when he was ECW champion.
Anyways, stay tuned to more History of ECW reviews from your resident Rock Star in the coming weeks!

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