Mike Reviews: ECW Living Dangerously 1999 – 21/03/1999

So here we are, after over a month of Hardcore TV episodes we finally reach Living Dangerously 99. This event was the first ever ECW show I saw, getting the VHS for Christmas in 1999 and immediately falling in love with the ECW product. I’d been an avid follower of the group in wrestling magazines up to that point, so I was jazzed to finally see what the product was actually like.

I eventually went back to the glory period of 95-97 when I finally had the chance, but Living Dangerously 99 was important when it came to getting my feet in the door so to speak when it came to the Land of the Extreme. The question is, will this event still hold up 20 years on? Well let’s take a look and see shall we?

The event is emanating from Asbury Park, New Jersey

Calling the action is Joey Styles

Before the show starts, we see footage from earlier in the day when Steven Prazak attempted to interview ECW Champion Taz as he arrived at the venue. Taz says that his game plan tonight is to target Sabu’s already injured jaw and then lays out challenges to Ric Flair, Steve Austin, Hollywood Hogan, The Rock and Mankind, saying he would tap them all out. Hmm, I wonder if such bragging served him in good stead when he jumped to the WWF later in the year. This was a decent enough promo from Taz that established him as a vicious man when it came to targeting Sabu’s injury, but the challenging other champions bit just made him look small time.

We cut to Joey Styles in the ring for his traditional pay per view opening spiel, as he declares that Don King has been barred from the building, thus ensuring we will have an Undisputed World Champion tonight. For those not au fait with real life sports from this time period, Lennox Lewis and Evander Holyfield had tried to unify all the boxing world titles, and Lewis looked to have done it until he got robbed by some dodgy judging, which some people felt was a deliberate fix to ensure a rematch. In a funny line when you consider one of the match results coming up, Joey states that there will be no predetermined draws tonight.

Pay Per View Intro

Opening Match
Super Crazy Vs Yoshihiro Tajiri

Crazy and Tajiri were both still new to ECW at this point and Tajiri hadn’t yet gone all mist spitting and evil. Tajiri had won their first battle at Guilty As Charged in January and the two had been trading wins since, with this match supposed to be the decider. Yup, I’m sure we’ll never see Crazy and Tajiri go at it again after this one, no siree!

Crazy’s hometown is just “Mexico” here, which is a bit disappointing considering ECW usually made a bit more of an effort when it came to home towns for international talent. We get some lovely chain wrestling to start, which leads to a series of arm drags and a standoff, which the crowd approves of.

Tajiri monkey flips Crazy to the outside and follows with a big somersault dive. Not just content with that, Tajiri also adds an Asai moonsault for good measure, before throwing Crazy back in. Crazy replies with a sunset flip onto the ramp though, before getting a moonsault of his own out onto Tajiri. I should point out that the ramp goes all the way up to the apron on this show.

Back inside, Crazy hits a trifecta of moonsaults onto Tajiri and makes a cover for two. Crazy hangs Tajiri in the tree of woe and adds a dropkick before hitting a Quebrada for another two, as he seems to have control of things. Tajiri fights back with his usual stiff kicks and returns the favour for the tree of woe from earlier by drop kicking Crazy right in the face for two.

Tajiri keeps bringing the kicks, but Crazy is able to reply with a roll up for two. Crazy goes for a springboard move but slips off the top rope and falls on the mat. The crowd seem to think that was a botch, but part of me thinks it was planned as Tajiri plays up to it before delivering a German Suplex for two.  Crazy blocks a Dragon Suplex with a mule kick and delivers a sit out powerbomb for two.

Tajiri counters another powerbomb attempt with a modified rocker dropper and delivers a rana, but Crazy is able to roll through into a pin of his own to pick up the win out of the blue. That was a pretty abrupt finish to be honest.

WINNER: SUPER CRAZY
RATING: **

One of their lesser matches actually, as it just never really got going and it felt like they had more planned but had their time cut or something. There were some nice moments, but both men are capable of far better, especially against one another

We head backstage for some promo time with Rob Van Dam, Sabu and Bill Alfonso. Sabu’s jaw is heavily taped up, but he won’t stand for Van Dam suggesting that he’s not 100% going into the match. The way Sabu and RVD always bickered with one another was pretty funny, especially as Sabu never even said anything and got it all over with his facial expressions. RVD angers Sabu further by querying that once Sabu wins the title tonight “How is Rob Van Dam going to carry all five belts and his partner too?”

Joey tries to show some replays of the opening match, but Steve Corino interrupts it by cutting a promo saying that both Crazy and Tajiri suck and that he can do all the stuff they do, but much better. He then lays out the dreaded open challenge, which the fans get excited about thinking that it’ll be Sid, but Balls Mahoney answers instead and the match is on.

Match Two
Steve Corino Vs Balls Mahoney w/ Axl Rotten

Balls runs wild on Corino to start with punches and clotheslines, but Corino low bridges him to the outside and hits a baseball slide. Corino goes for a dive to the outside, but Balls catches him and sends him into a clothesline from Axl, before putting Corino back inside. Balls heads up top and hits a frogsplash, but Corino is able to kick out at two.

The fans want Balls to bring the chair into play, but he instead heads up top again, this time for a New Jersey Jam, but Corino is able to dodge it and Balls goes arse first into the canvas. Corino gets a nice leg lariat for two and then delivers a super kick, before declaring that he’s going to use the chair. It all ends up being a ruse however, as he instead sets the chair up and sits on it so he can apply a chin lock.

Okay, that spot was absolute comedy gold. Corino got quite a bit out of this Jericho Light gimmick, and moments like that were a good example. Balls and the crowd are of course unamused by this, and Balls easily powers out of the chin lock before getting a super kick of his own and splattering Corino’s brains with a sickening unprotected chair shot for the win.

WINNER: BALLS MAHONEY
RATING: *

Too short to be any more but Corino did a good job getting his anti-hardcore heel act over, whilst Balls got to splat someone with a chair for a pop from the crowd.

We get a video package hyping up the Mr. Mustafa Vs New Jack match, although the WWE Network has understandably over dubbed both Paul Heyman’s commentary and C.R.E.A.M by Wu Tang Clan. Joey tries to do the voice over instead, but it just doesn’t have the same panache as Paul E. for those who haven’t been following these recaps, The Dudley Boyz ran The Public Enemy out of ECW as the behest of a mysterious benefactor, and then went after New Jack as well. Outnumbered, New Jack brought his old partner Mustafa back to ECW, but Mustafa turned on him and was revealed as the mysterious benefactor. We still don’t know exactly WHY Mustafa was the benefactor all this time, as ECW has neglected to tell us, but I’m guessing it had to do with New Jack teaming with the likes of John Kronus and Spike Dudley whilst Mustafa was out of ECW.

Match Three
Antifaz Del Norte Vs Little Guido w/ Big Sal E. Graziano

Antifaz’s name translates to “Mask of the North”, and he had a decent career in Mexico but didn’t last very long in ECW. Guido paint brushes Antifaz to start and out wrestles him on the mat. Antifaz replies with a nice arm drag and a springboard missile dropkick to send Guido scurrying outside. Antifaz follows Guido out there with a dive and throws him back inside for a sunset flip for two. Guido counters another Antifaz move attempt with a powerbomb and works him over with strikes.

Antifaz fights back however with a sit out gourdbuster and drops a leg before heading up to the second rope. He takes too long however and Guido brings him down with a side Italian leg sweep for two. Guido keeps stopping to yell at the fans, which causes them to start chanting that the match is boring. Antifaz runs wild on Guido and sends him outside again, but when he tries to dive out onto him again, Sal catches him and ploughs him through a ringside table. Guido adds a Sicilian Crab back inside for the submission victory.

WINNER: LITTLE GUIDO
RATING: *1/2

The work wasn’t bad or anything, but this felt like a throwaway match and the crowd weren’t into it as consequence.  The finish did made Sal look like a monster and Guido a conniving devious heel though, so it had that going for it at least,

Following the match, former Guido teammates Tommy Rich and Tracey Smothers come down to berate him over the fact he came down to the ring with Big Sal and not them, which leads to Sal chasing them off.

Match Four
ECW Television Title
Champion: Rob Van Dam w/ Bill Alfonso Vs Jerry Lynn

This match was the first big television/pay per view bout between the two in ECW, although they had faced each other on ECW home video prior to this. This would end up becoming a legendary rivalry in the annals of ECW history, but as far as everyone was concerned at the time, Lynn was just the challenger of the month who was getting a shot thanks to having some hot matches with RVD at live events.

RVD is not only the TV Champ here, but one half of the Tag Champs as well, as you could see they were starting to build the company around him, especially as he’d been TV Champ for something like 11 months at that stage. A great fast paced counter sequence leads to both men standing off, as you can tell right away that they have some quality chemistry together. RVD gets an inverted atomic drop, so Lynn nearly takes his head off with a lariat in response, which causes RVD to bail outside to regroup.

There’s an especially hyper fan yelling “RVD” lightning fast whilst RVD walks around ringside, which makes me think he downed a couple of litres of cheap supermarket cola before showing up to the event. Lynn keeps getting the better of RVD in the early exchanges, as it becomes clear that the story they are trying to tell is that Lynn might just have RVD’s number. Lynn gets a couple of big dives, one a rolling somersault off the apron to the outside and the other a big cross body into the crowd.

This finally gives RVD an opening to dropkick him when he gets back into the ring however, but when he tries a springboard move Lynn is able to dropkick him off the top rope to the floor. Both men brawl outside, where RVD lays Lynn over the guardrail and drops a leg, before following with a cross body of his own into the crowd. They are wasting no time getting wild here, as it seems like Lynn might have hurt his knee when RVD dove onto him.

RVD lays Lynn on the apron and drops another leg from the guardrail, before making a cover back inside for two. Fonzie throws a chair in for RVD, which he uses by setting Lynn up in a surfboard and then pressing him into the air so that he lands back first onto the steel. That was a genuinely inventive use of a weapon there, bravo lads!  RVD tries to monkey flip Lynn onto the chair, but Lynn moves out of the way and then powerbombs RVD off the middle rope onto the chair for two.

Lynn tries to piledrive RVD onto the chair, but RVD fights him off and tries for a Northern Lights Suplex, but Lynn slips out into a reverse DDT for two. Fonzie tries to get involved next, but Lynn foils him by blocking a chair shot, which seems to set him up for a Van Daminator from RVD. However, Lynn sees it coming and ducks both a high and low spin kick before leg dropping RVD on the back of his head in a truly fantastic spot. I just love how these two keep you guessing with the counters, it really is like a martial arts fight from a movie sometimes.

Lynn only gets two from the leg drop, but the crowd was BUYING that near fall and are now totally into the idea that Lynn might win this, even going as far as to chant “New F—in Show” for him (RVD’s nickname at the time was the Whole F—in Show).  Lynn heads up top with the chair, but Fonzie grabs his leg to stop him, which allows RVD to kick the chair into Lynn’s face and send him tumbling from the top rope through a table at ringside, in a spot that would have meant a lot more if we hadn’t just seen it in the Antifaz/Guido match.

That was one hell of a bump from Lynn though, and he appears to be dead weight as RVD and Fonzie hurk him back inside. Lynn isn’t ready to stay down however, and manages to kick out of the resulting pin fall attempt at two. RVD lays a chair on Lynn and goes for the split-legged moonsault, but Lynn holds the chair up to block it. Lynn gets a sunset flip on RVD, but RVD is still holding the chair and he’s able to hit Lynn in the face with it at two.

Fishtails pin fall sequence leads to both men getting a series of near falls to a good reaction from the crowd, and Lynn follows up with a German Suplex for two and a double down. Lynn back drops RVD onto the apron and then tries to hit a Tornado DDT off the apron through a table, but the table doesn’t break and both smack off it before hitting the concrete. That was utterly terrifying. Back inside, Lynn only manages a two count and sets RVD up for a suplex of some kind. RVD fights him off though and gets a big clothesline for another double down.

RVD is up first and gets a body slam followed by the Rolling Thunder for two, as Lynn refuses to stay down. Lynn tries to fight back with a Tornado DDT, but RVD appears to block it and goes for a Northern Lights, only for Lynn to counter THAT into a big spiked DDT and both men are down again. I just love how both men keep bringing the counters, it’s fantastic. I was losing my mind when I first watched this 20 years ago as I hadn’t really discovered Japanese wrestling yet and seeing two guys go through these sort of counters with such fluidity was something I’d never experienced before.

Lynn crawls over to make a cover on RVD following the DDT, but he manages to kick out at two and the bell rings for the time limit draw. It would have been much better if the bell had rang on the two count to be honest, especially for the finish and story they were going for.

WINNER: TIME LIMIT DRAW
RATING: ****

So yeah, no predetermined draws eh Joey? My biggest worry about this show was that this match wouldn’t hold up, because it was a big favourite of mine back in the day. Thankfully, the match is still great, with wonderful counter wrestling and a great story of Lynn coming almost out of nowhere to prove that he is indeed on RVD’s level. Is it the best RVD/Lynn match? Probably not, the one they have on ECW TV later in the year where Lynn has injured ribs is probably the best, but this one is no slouch when it comes to the overall pantheon of the rivalry.

In a weird moment, it looks like the referee is trying to award the belt to Lynn because he thought he deserved to win on points or something, even though there’s no precedent for a referee doing such a thing in wrestling and it wasn’t announced that this would happen prior to the match. Lynn doesn’t want to be awarded the title like that however, so demands five more minutes, which RVD readily agrees to.

Match Four (Restarted)
ECW Television Title
Five More Minutes
Champion: Rob Van Dam? Vs Jerry Lynn

I assume the fact they’re restarting it means that Lynn was never officially the champion, even though John Finnegan was trying to award him the title? Lynn goes right after RVD and hits a big piledriver (He hadn’t started to cradle it yet) for two. Fonzie gets involved again and flings a chair at Lynn, who catches it and gets Van Daminated to set up the Five Star Frog Splash for the three count.

WINNER AND STILL CHAMPION: ROB VAN DAM

Okay, well let’s first deal with the myriad of issues with that, focusing mostly on the fact that the referee had no authority to actually award Lynn the belt, meaning that the whole “he turned down the title for five more minutes” thing doesn’t make any sense. If he had accepted the title in those circumstances, it would have been a robbery. Also, if the story is that Lynn wins by a referee’s decision, then you really need to make sure that Lynn looked truly dominant in the match.

Lynn held his own in the match no doubt, and had RVD on the ropes more than once, but it was hardly one way traffic and he definitely didn’t do enough to win the match decisively on points. Finally, if you’re going to restart the match, then what’s the point in having Lynn lose so quickly following the restart? If he’d really won the match in normal time due to being so dominant, then surely he should have battered RVD for most of the five minutes, only for RVD to catch him?

Despite the head scratching booking decisions however, this was still an excellent match, but it would have been much better if they’d rung the bell at two following the big DDT from Lynn and just ended it as a draw. The whole “ref awards the title” nonsense helped no one and having Lynn get beaten so quickly into the extra time took the shine off him after he’d just performed so well. The screwy booking leaves the door open for a rematch at least.

We get a video package hyping up the Taz Vs Sabu match later. Thankfully WWE own the rights to Sabu’s entrance music, so we can still listen to Paul Heyman’s excited yelps as he hypes up the unification match. The additional stipulation of the match winner getting to be the big spoon at the hotel later isn’t mentioned, but I’m pretty confident it was written into the contract.

Following the video package, we cut to Joey in front of the banner and he throws to a segment from before the show, where Jasmine St Claire and Lance Wright get battered by Francine. For some reason they play music over it, when I’m sure that didn’t happen on the VHS version I had. Jasmine would end up sticking around and managing Blue Meanie in 2000, but I don’t think Lance Wright was long for ECW after this.

Match Five
Mr. Mustafa Vs New Jack

The only redeemable thing about this match is that both men have cool entrance music, but this being the WWE Network version means that said music is dubbed out, which leaves us with nothing. NOTHING I SAY! New Jack brings out possibly the biggest garbage can of weapons he’s ever had, and proceeds to annihilate Mustafa with all of them. Mustafa actually finally manages to get a little bit of heat ON New Jack by hitting him with some of the weaponry and throwing some punches, and it all looks awful because he’s barely mobile. Bloody hell, the road owned Mustafa didn’t it?

New Jack fights back and tries to use the dreaded guitar, but the comedy of errors continues when the body breaks off and goes into the crowd, meaning that Jack has to wait patiently for them to return it to him so he can finally hit Mustafa with it. Mustafa replies with a low blow and takes the fight outside, but Jack refuses to sell for him and takes over again before throwing him into the crowd. Out there, New Jack tapes Mustafa to a table so he can’t run away and dives off a balcony to put him through it.

That was a good idea in theory, expect for the fact that Mustafa looked like he could have quite easily got out of the tape and New Jack only barely reached the table with his jump. With both men out cold on the floor, the arena security drag them back to ringside and throw them into the ring, where New Jack drapes an arm over Mustafa to pick up the anti-climactic pin fall victory.

WINNER: NEW JACK
LOSERS: THE REST OF HUMANITY
RATING: DUD

New Jack’s refusal to essentially sell anything for Mustafa at any point in this match killed it from the off, as it became a tiresome array of weapon shots very quickly before the outright silly finish of Jack taping Mustafa to a table. This match is widely regarded as one of the worst pay per view matches in ECW history, and for good reason.

Following the match, The Dudley Boyz of Buh Buh Ray, D-Von, Sign Guy and Joel Gertner come down to batter New Jack and help up their benefactor. With that out of the way, we then get a prolonged promo segment from The Dudleyz that feels like it goes on forever. I know people like to fondly reminisce about The Dudleyz cutting nasty promos and inciting riots, but it happened so often that it eventually became tiresome. Anyway, The Dudleyz throw out the dreaded open challenge, which leads to Spike and Nova answering.

Match Six
The Dudley Boyz Vs Little Spike Dudley and Super Nova

Spike and Nova get destroyed in quick order and Spike gets flung into the audience to be crowd surfed around the arena, which leaves Nova to get pummelled inside the ring. With Nova battered like a fillet of haddock down the chip shop on a Friday night, ring announcer Bob Artese comes in to take a 3-D as well, just for ships and giggles. We get more seemingly endless promo time from The Dudleyz, until something tantamount to a miracle takes place as Sid comes out to shut them up and I’m actually glad to see him for once!

Spike finally returns from his crowd surfing to assist Sid in fending off The Dudleyz, which ends with Spike delivering the Acid Drop to Buh Buh and picking up yet another improbable win over his half-brothers. When Spike came to the WWF in 2001 and started teaming with The Dudleyz it was a bit of a head fudge for me because I’d been fed a steady diet of them hating him for so long that it was really off putting to see them allied together, although it wouldn’t last long until they turned heel on him.

WINNERS: SPIKE AND NOVA
RATING: N/A

Not really a match, just a prolonged angle so that they could shoehorn Sid onto the pay per view. Sid attacks poor Spike after the match as well, which is baffling when Sid being another giant for Spike to kill would have probably been the best use of him in this run. They should have just televised the booking meeting where Paul E tried to convince Sid to put Spike over to be honest; it would have been top entertainment.

We get a video package to hype up the match of Justin Credible and Lance Storm taking on Shane Douglas and Tommy Dreamer. Sadly this means we don’t get to hear River of Deceit, which is a song that sums up Tommy Dreamer’s career better than anything else. For those not aware of the story, Shane Douglas tried to retire but had the moment gate crashed by Justin Credible and Lance Storm, who both declared that they would be the new Franchise of ECW. Douglas burst their bubble however, saying that Tommy Dreamer was his pick to be the new Franchise, which led to Credible and Storm laying out both Douglas and Dreamer to set this up.

Match Seven
Justin Credible and Lance Storm w/ Jason, Jazz and “Beulah Mcgillicutty” Vs Shane Douglas and Tommy Dreamer w/ Francine

Jazz wasn’t named as such yet and was just an unknown member of Justin’s entourage. The dubbed music for Douglas and Dreamer is awful here, as they don’t even bother using their knock off version of Perfect Strangers that they use sometimes. Heel miscommunication to begin with allows Dreamer to drop Storm with a neck breaker before bringing in Douglas for a rolling neck snap. Credible and Douglas go at it next, with Douglas getting the better of that with a trio of suplexes.

Douglas and Dreamer actually hit Credible with a version of Demolition Decapitation, but Credible is able to kick out at two. Douglas and Dreamer continue to control things, but a cheap shot from Storm allows Credible to cut Douglas off with a clothesline. Storm and Credible work Douglas over for a while and its fine solid heel tag work, but it doesn’t get much of a reaction from the crowd, who decide to spend their time chanting nasty things at the women in the heels entourage instead.

Eventually Justin misses a charge in the corner, which allows Douglas to crawl over and make the tag to Dreamer, who takes the fight outside with a Cactus Clothesline. Credible and Douglas fight outside whilst Dreamer gets a couple of near falls on Storm inside with a powerslam and Dreamer Driver respectively. However, heel antics by Credible allow Storm to cut off Dreamer with a super kick for our second heat segment.

To be honest, this is one of those occasions where it would probably be beneficial just to let the match break down into a brawl rather than go for an extended Rock N Roll Vs MX formula tag routine. Again, the work has been absolutely fine here, but the crowd just aren’t biting, probably because when you have countless table bumps and weapon shots throughout the rest of the card you’re always going to struggle to get a straight wrestling match over in the semi-main slot.

Credible and Storm suplex Dreamer onto the ramp, but he’s able to catch Storm with a neck breaker back inside. Credible tries to stop the tag, but Dreamer fights him off with an Ace Crusher and finally manages to tag in Douglas. Douglas teases that he’s going to go heel and team up with Storm and Credible ala Halloween Havoc 95, but it’s all a SWERVE as it turns out he’s going babyface for real and fends them off. Sadly this is all done so abruptly that the fans don’t clock on to what’s happening, meaning that the reaction to the SWERVE is pretty lacklustre.

Looks like the whole feud was building to that moment and they shat the bed with it. Well that’s a shame. Douglas does do a pretty nifty hot tag segment, hitting dropkicks and running wild, but it doesn’t get much of a reaction. However, Francine coming in to fight with “Beulah” does manage to finally get everyone standing, because ECW. Storm shoves Francine down, ala Honky Tonk Man and Elizabeth. Instead of coming back with Hulk Hogan however, Francine brings a ladder with her instead.

Credible goes face first into the ladder courtesy of Dreamer and Douglas comes off the top with a cross body onto Storm for two. Douglas is busting out the move set tonight! The faces seesaw the ladder into the heels faces, which finally wakes the crowd up, which leads to Dreamer DDT’ing Credible into Storm’s crotch. Douglas gets the Belly to Belly Suplex on Credible, but he kicks out at two. Credible tries to cane Douglas, but Francine stops him and Douglas hits the Pittsburgh Plunge on Credible for the win.

WINNERS: SHANE DOUGLAS AND TOMMY DREAMER
RATING: **1/2

The crowd heat was lacking in places but I thought the work was good and I enjoyed the finishing sequence. It was nice to see Francine involved in the finish as well to show that she’s a tough lady who can handle herself.

The babyfaces try to leave, but Don “Cyrus” Callis stops them, which allows the heels to lay the faces out once again, which Cyrus adding a head butt to Francine’s nether regions just to be a jerk.

Joey sends to a Steven Prazak interview with John Finnegan, who reffed the earlier match between Lynn and RVD. Finnegan says that he felt Lynn was the clear cut winner of the match and that people pay to see a winner, which is why he wanted to award Lynn the belt. Rob Van Dam interrupts the interview and says that he enjoys wrestling Lynn and wants a rematch at Hardcore Heaven 99. He also christens himself “Mr Pay Per View” for the first time as well.

Main Event
World Title Unification Match
FTW Champion: Sabu w/ Bill Alfonso Vs ECW Champion: Taz

We get to see footage of Taz injuring Sabu from a live event by clotheslining him right in the jaw. Yup, that’ll do it alright. As mentioned previously, FTW stands for “F— The World” and was a title that Taz created because he couldn’t challenge for the ECW Title. Taz threw a match to Sabu before winning the ECW Title from Shane Douglas, so the purpose of this match is to unify the belts once and for all, as well as hopefully bring an end to this bitter feud. Rumours that it was written into the contract that the match winner could steal the first smooch are currently unfounded.

Before the match starts, Taz says that seeing as the fans had to wait outside in the rain for three hours, they should make this match an Extreme Death Match, which Sabu is perfectly happy with because…

Thanks, Cenk.

Anyway, with both men agreeing to the new stipulations, the match can start. Taz is as good as his word and goes right for Sabu’s jaw with cross face punches, but Sabu fends him off. Taz manages to get it on a second attempt though, before adding a big Brooklyn Boot to the side of Sabu’s head. Sabu replies with a springboard Thump and a slingshot somersault leg drop. A chair finds its way into the ring, and Sabu launches himself off it with Air Sabu in the corner.

Outside we go, where Sabu throws Taz into the crowd and follows with a dive, but Taz sees him coming and holds up a chair. Both men brawl into the crowd and back down to the ramp way, where Sabu dives off the ramp onto Taz in the crowd for two. Taz responds by flinging Sabu off the ramp back into the crowd, before putting him back in the ring. Sabu dropkicks the knee back inside and tries to set up a table between the ring and railings, but Taz comes over to stop him.

Back inside, Taz flings Sabu over the top rope through his own table, taking out a camera in the process, before following it up by dropping Sabu jaw first onto the railing. Taz hammers away on Sabu whilst calling out Flair and Hogan, but this gives Sabu a chance to fight him off. Fonzie tries to throw in the towel for Sabu, but Sabu won’t let him, so Fonzie adds a chair shot to Taz before sprinting away to buy Sabu some time to recover.

Taz continues to batter Sabu in the ring, but when he goes up top Sabu is able to stop him and bring him down with a rana for two. When Sabu tries another rana though Taz counters it to a powerbomb. Both men kind of wander around aimlessly, trying to set spots up and not really doing much in between. Sabu lays Taz on a table outside and then dives from the top rope to put him through it for two. Taz is up a mere few seconds later though, kind of defeating the purpose of such a big spot.

I’ll be honest, this match isn’t enthusing me. Sabu hits a triple jump moonsault for two, at which point Taz gets straight back up and suplexes him. I’m not being funny lads, but would it kill you both to actually sell something in this match? This is literally like watching someone play a bad wrestling video game, whereby it’s just two people spamming moves with no real flow or structure. Taz finally seems to have it won with a Dragon Suplex through a table in the corner, but Sabu kicks out. Fonzie tries to throw in the towel again, but Sabu throws it back out, getting caught in the Tazmission in the process, which is enough for the choke out.

WINNER AND UNIFIED CHAMPION: TAZ
RATING: *

This match was a mess and they lost the crowd pretty early on and never got them back.

Taz whispers sweet nothings in Sabu’s ear post-match and demands a handshake, which Sabu eventually agrees to, although the big romantic snog we’ve all been waiting for seemingly has to wait for another day.

We get a video recap of what happened on the show and that’s that

In Conclusion

So yeah, this show kind of went off a cliff following the RVD Vs Lynn match. Up to that point is was a perfectly solid late 90’s ECW event that had potential to be even better if any of the latter matches had been on par with the TV Title match. As it is, this event is pretty much a one match show, although that one match is excellent and well worth a watch if you’ve never seen it.

I can’t say that this is a great show, but I can say that it’d be hard to watch that RVD Vs Lynn match and not at least be intrigued to see how the rematch would go, which saves this event from being one of the worst ECW pay per view events. The crowd were completely burnt out by the end and the main event wasn’t good enough to heat them back up, so the ending felt very flat.

The question is, with Sabu defeated so soundly, RVD still feuding with Jerry Lynn and Credible, Storm, Douglas and Dreamer all distracted with their soap opera, who could possibly be next in line as a challenger to Taz? I guess we’ll have to wait and see in the coming weeks. I’d personally just do Taz Vs Sid, provided that Sid was willing to be choked out, because Taz beating a guy that big would be an impressive feat if nothing else and he should get some form of rub from it. We’ll see anyway.

Thanks for reading and I’ll see you all soon for more Extreme action!