Mike Reviews: ECW Hardcore TV #313 – 24/04/1999

Back again with some more ECW action, as we continue the build to Hardcore Heaven on the 16th of May 1999. Last week we saw Justin Credible lose to Shane Douglas in the main event, only for he and partner Lance Storm to leave “The Franchise” lying when all was said and done.

However, despite laying the faces out more than once, Storm and Credible are yet to actually win a particularly big match yet, as they always seem to fail when the chips are down only to then do a beat down to “get their head back”.

Of course, it’s kind of hard to get your heat back if you never had any real heat to begin with, and that’s certainly the issue with Storm and Credible so far in this run. Despite getting plenty of TV time, they’ve yet to really gain any traction because they keep losing matches.

It could be that we’re building for the big win for them, but that’s a totally arse backwards way of booking. Usually you’d give the heel some wins at the START of a feud to heat them up and then maybe have the face win the blow off when the heel was all good and hot. However, we seem to be getting the opposite here, with the faces winning a lot, thus cooling the heels off with the intention of them winning the blow off to heat them up again, which is just….weird.

Anyway, let’s see what ECW has in store for us as we once again take things to The Extreme!!!

Today’s show is emanating from Buffalo, New York (With one match also coming from Philly)

Calling the action is Joey Styles

Paul Heyman does a voiceover to start us out, saying that the lives of Sabu, Rob Van Dam, Buh Buh Ray Dudley, Justin Credible and Lance Storm will change forever following tonight’s show

Show Intro (Which gives us a decidedly non-classy even for ECW line, where it says the show is “Coming from the place where OJ Simpson used to split the defence, like he was married to em”. Ever get the feeling ECW were trying just a tad too hard to be edgy once WWF started taking their shtick national with The Attitude Era?)

Joey opens up the show in front of the ECW banner, saying that the New York Athletic Commission has seized the footage of the main event for tonight’s show. Must have been New Jack Vs Sid in a 60 minute Iron Man match or something and they wanted to spare us the agony. Joey adds that the commission are thinking of suspending Sabu’s wrestling license.

Match One
Little Guido and Big Sal E. Graziano Vs Balls Mahoney and Axl Rotten

Poor Guido, he’s going to have to do the wrestling for four men (Actually, that’s not especially fair, Balls is at least passable as a worker when he can be bothered to take it seriously). It’s pretty funny watching Balls and Axl clearly singing along to “Big Balls” with the fans, only for it to get dubbed out with the WWE in-house cover of the actual song.

The only time I can remember Sal actually trying to work a normal match was when he was given an astonishing clean victory over Scott Hall in the dying days of the company, and it wasn’t pretty. Balls and Axl actually want to start out with Sal, but Guido decides he’ll start instead. Hopefully Sal’s role is reduced to little more than getting some stomps in the heat whilst Guido works the rest.

Guido stalls to start, which is probably the best approach in this one, before doing some actual chain wrestling with Axl. Axl soon turns it into a slug fest however by using the very scientific mule kick to counter a hammerlock. Ah yes, I believe Thesz himself used a similar counter in his battle with Korean wrestling sensation Ho Li Fuk up in the mountains of La Paz in 1942.

Fans want Balls, so Axl brings him in, where he promptly drops a leg to the back of Guido’s head, in a spot that The Dames from EWR would enjoy immensely. Guido scampers out to tag in Sal, as we might as well put up a big neon sign to notify the crowd that the wrestling portion of the show has come to a close.

Sal overpowers Balls for a bit, before a Guido cheap shot allows him to get a belly to belly suplex. Sal adds a slam next and then tags out to Guido before he sucks so much wind that he essentially turns into the final boss from Starwing on the Super Nintendo. We get heat on Balls for a while, where Guido thankfully takes the lion share of the work. Balls eventually manages to get a Saito Suplex and tags in Axl.

Axl does a reasonable hot tag segment, only to get clobbered by Sal. Balls however rallies to deliver the Nutcracker Suite to Guido, before kicking Sal right in his Parma Ham to prevent any more damage to Axl. Balls and Axl tee off on Sal with chair shots, and that’s enough for the win.

WINNERS: BALLS MAHONEY AND AXL ROTTEN
RATING: *1/2

This ended up being okay for a quick TV match, as Balls and Axl were able to get a win and put their names in the hat for a Tag Title shot. I doubt they’d be particularly great Champions to be honest, but they’ve been a solid mid card team for a while so maybe it’s time for them to have a quickie run with the belts for a bit?

COMMERCIAL

We get clips of Steve Corino begging off from Taz at Cyber Slam before introducing Chris Candido as a challenger for the ECW Champ. Candido did well in the match but ended up hurting his neck after a suplex through a table, causing the match to be stopped. However, Taz wasn’t done and threw Candido off a stretcher before choking him out.

We cut back to Joey in front of the banner again. Joey says Candido’s wrestling career is now in doubt, before reiterating that the State Athletic Commission has taken the tape from tonight’s main event. Seeing as we have footage missing due to this, Joey sends to footage of another match from Cyber Slam 99 at the ECW Arena.

Match Two
Papi Chulo Vs TAKA Michinoku

Chulo would go on to greater fame in the WWF as Essa Rios. His name translated quite literally means “Pimp Daddy”, though he hasn’t brought any senoritas with him ala Charles Wright. TAKA just has generic music here, even though he was using Great Sasuke’s theme at the time, which is left uncensored on the Canadian Stampede show on The Network last time I checked. If they had to cut it for legal reasons, why not just dub in the Kaientai theme?

TAKA gets a great reaction from the ECW crowd, as they happily welcome him back following his great performance at Barely Legal 1997. I assume TAKA was just on loan from the WWF here, seeing as he was back in the WWF the same time the following year to wrestle Triple H in that great match on Raw. We cut from intros to TAKA chopping away at Chulo. Chulo replies with an arm drag from the top rope, before heading up for a 450 splash.

TAKA dodges that however, but Chulo jams the ropes to stop him in his tracks, before firing off a rana. Cut to TAKA getting a tornado DDT, only to be back dropped over the top. Cut to Chulo countering another DDT attempt, before sending TAKA outside with a dropkick, where he follows with a dive. Cut to TAKA dropkicking Chulo in the back of the head. Cut to TAKA missing a moonsault, but he counters a rana with a powerbomb and hits the Michinoku Driver to win.

WINNER: TAKA MICHINOKU
RATING: N/A

It was chopped up too much for me to accurately rate it, but the finisher looked deadly and the crowd popped big for it.

COMMERCIAL

Back from the break, we get still images of Tommy Dreamer and Francine getting assaulted by Lance Storm, Justin Credible and “Beulah”. This led to Super Crazy and Jerry Lynn defeating Storm and Credible in an impromptu tag match. What is it with Storm and Credible seemingly losing EVERY match they have? They’ve done more jobs that Iron Mike Sharpe since this supposed big main event push. Crazy and Lynn get jumped by The Dudleyz following the match (Which kind of defeats the purpose of putting them over) which leads to a jaw session between Storm/Credible and The Dudleyz. This brings out Rob Van Dam, which leads to Van Dam defending the ECW Tag Titles against D-Von Dudley in a singles match because Sabu is not allowed to wrestle.

COMMERCIAL

Main Event
ECW Tag Team Titles
Champion: Rob Van Dam w/ Bill Alfonso Vs D-Von Dudley w/ The Dudley Family

This is joined in progress, with RVD firmly in control. I’m personally shocked that Paul Heyman didn’t indulge his “Tag Team Champions Who Hate Each Other” fetish and book this as RVD and Lynn against The Dudleyz, with the RVD and Lynn team winning the match and thus the belts. He wasn’t quick enough on the draw on this occasion I guess.

D-Von manages to counter an RVD rana into a powerbomb and then starts working the Champ over. D-Von gets a nice hangman’s neckbreaker from the corner, but it only gets him a count of two. The sound sweetener looks to be on again, as the crowd looks suspiciously still and quiet for one supposedly making so much noise.

RVD fights back and delivers the Rolling Thunder, but D-Von gets his foot on the rope at two.  D-Von goes for a suplex, but RVD counters it into a suplex of his own for two before heading up for a chair assisted split legged moonsault, which is a move that would clearly hurt RVD more than D-Von. RVD makes the cover, but Buh Buh has laid out the ref, so there’s no count.

D-Von gets the Scorpion Death Drop, as another referee runs down to count two. RVD gets a flying kick and heads up top for the Five Star Frogsplash, but Buh Buh pulls out the referee at two. This allows D-Von to hit RVD with a piledriver, which gets two from the third referee of the match. Fans are now openly chanting for Sabu (Although it could be piped in), as RVD gets a spin kick for a double down.

RVD sets up D-Von on the top rope and kicks a chair into his face with a little help from Fonzie, which leads to Buh Buh attacking ANOTHER ref! Might as well just call Buh Buh “The Zebra Hunter” at this stage. The Dudleyz double team RVD, but he manages to kick out of the resulting pin attempts. 3-D looks to end it, but RVD fights out of it and floors both Dudleyz, only to be foiled by Lance Storm and Justin Credible. This allows The Dudley Boyz to hit the 3-D to win the Titles.

WINNER AND NEW CHAMPION: D-VON DUDLEY (Along with Buh Buh)
RATING: **

Got a bit silly with all the ref bumps, but it was watchable enough.

The Dudleyz apparently promised to hand the Titles over to Storm and Credible if they won them. You know what would have been a better way of getting the belts onto Storm and Credible? ACTUALLY BOOKING THEM TO WIN THEM IN A MATCH! Booking them to win ANY match would be preferable at this stage! And after all that, The Dudleyz don’t even give the belts up either, thus making Storm and Credible look like even bigger chumps for believing them in the first place!

Final Thoughts

Bit of a meth episode really, with a messy main event that didn’t really do much for anyone involved. RVD did a job when he has a big match with Jerry Lynn at Hardcore Heaven, The Dudleyz didn’t look strong in victory at all and the noncommittal push of Storm and Credible rolled on as they failed once again to either win a match or succeed with one of their schemes that wasn’t “Hit the babyfaces with a weapon and run away”

For supposed top heels, they are pretty gosh darn ineffective in that role. Oh well, maybe they’ll start getting it together next week maybe? Hopefully you’ll all join me for that. Until then, have a gooden!