Mike Reviews: ECW Hardcore TV #324 – 10/07/1999

Hello You!

Last week on Hardcore TV, The Dudley Boyz once again retained their ECW Tag Titles against the makeshift team of Balls Mahoney and Spike Dudley, but the gutsy challengers ran them pretty close. Is it possible the scrappy duo of Spikey-Balls get another shot down the line?

In the other big match from last week, Rob Van Dam defeated Lance Storm to retain his ECW TV Title thanks to assistance from both Sabu and Jerry Lynn. Lynn especially seemed to play a key role in providing a chair so that RVD could hit his patented Van Daminator move, whilst Sabu was essentially there just to nullify Justin Credible.

We are now 8 days away from Heat Wave 99. It would be really nice if ECW could actually announce some matches on this show, but I’m not holding my breath in all honesty.

Anyway, let’s head down to Home Depot (Other stores are available) to pick up an assorted collection of warped weaponry so we’re nice a prepared for another journey to The Extreme!!!

This week’s matches are coming from the ECW Arena in Philly

Calling the action is Joey Styles

Joey Styles is in front of the Heat Wave banner and throws to the Swimsuit Showdown

Swimsuit Showdown
Dawn Marie Vs Francine

Dawn looks gorgeous merely in her robe, so heaven knows how great she’ll look when we get to see her in her swimsuit. She basks in the catcalls of the crowd as we go to the…

Show Intro – This week’s tagline, “From The World Famous ECW Arena, Philadelphia PA, Hostile City Showdown 99”

I like how they’re outright calling Philly a hostile city there, instead of the usual “City of Brotherly Love” stuff. Francine actually gets Rick Rude’s music, probably because I think her real music at the time was actually “The Stripper” from Morecambe and Wise fame. Steven Prazak is the MC and asks which lady wants to go first. Francine is happy for Dawn to go first but Dawn says she’s happy to defer the “senior” of the two.

So Francine does indeed go first and she is wearing more of a maroon set of bra and panties than an actual swimsuit. I don’t think the outfit is especially watertight in all honesty. To be fair, she looks okay, enough for *** anyway. I’m not really much of a Francine guy in all honesty, but she looks good here, although she ruins any slight veneer of classiness by doing a ludicrously slutty dance to show off her…assets.

Dawn is due to go next, but before she takes off her robe she waves to Tommy Dreamer who is watching from the balcony. This distraction allows Justin Credible to lay out Dreamer with his Singapore cane. With Francine preoccupied, Dawn jumps her and starts beating her up, before removing her gown to show she has a t-shirt and shorts on. So after all that we don’t even get to see Dawn looking lovely in her swimsuit?! Why even get my hopes up like that you monsters?!?!

Anyway, Francine starts getting the better of Dawn, which causes Lance Storm to run down and help his woman, along with Credible and Jason. Francine looks to be doomed, but the lights go out and, when they come back on, Sabu is in the ring. Sabu gets swarmed by The Impact Players as well until Jerry Lynn runs down with a chair to chase them off, which allows Sabu to hit a dive onto them in the entrance way.

COMMERICAL

We get a recap of a few weeks ago on Hardcore TV when Balls Mahoney ran in to help Rob Van Dam in a battle with The Dudley Boyz. RVD mouthed off to Balls as he wasn’t happy with his help, so Balls cracked him over the head with his steel chair. This all sets up the following match;

Opening Match
ECW World Television Title
Champion: Rob Van Dam w/ Bill Alfonso Vs Balls Mahoney

Both men actually wrestle for a bit in the early going, which sees Balls gain the advantage and going to a single leg crab. Before we can see if RVD will tap out (Not bloody likely) we take a break.

COMMERCIAL

Back from the break, Balls is hammering away at RVD in the corner, which is at least consistent with how we left things going into the break as Balls was in control. That’s actually some reasonably non-maddening continuity from Hardcore TV. RVD replies with a cross body block and then mugs for the crowd, as we get shown clips from the break where RVD was talking smack about Balls to the camera.

RVD sends Balls into the crowd and Van Daminates him out there, goes back into the ring to taunt and then follows with a flip dive to the floor on Balls. Slingshot leg drop gets two for RVD back inside but he then runs in to a powerslam from Balls, which allows Balls to head up for the New Jersey Jam for two. Balls snaps off a nice belly to belly suplex next before heading up top for an impressive looking frogsplash for two. Hey, say what you want about Balls but the guy had some decent looking moves in his locker, he just didn’t really know how to build matches that well.

Case in point, Balls goes to a chin lock for a while as he’s exhausted all his cool stuff and needs a breather, thus completely halting the momentum of the match. RVD manages to fight up from the chin lock but ends up getting slammed down again. Balls heads up to the second rope but misses the resulting leg drop, which allows RVD to dropkick a chair into his face for two. Balls counters a monkey flip onto a chair attempt by getting a big sit out powerbomb onto the chair instead.

The ref takes an errant kick from RVD, which means he isn’t around to count the pin when Balls splats RVD with the Ball Buster (Think D’Lo Browns “Sky High” move). Balls destroys RVD with his trademark stiff chair shot, which is the cue for The Dudley Boyz to run down, as they still have an issue with Balls. Balls fights back and lays them both out with sick unprotected chair shots before pulling a table and some barbed wire out from under the ring.

Balls tries to powerbomb Buh Buh Ray through the Table of Heck, but D-Von makes the save and The Dudleyz set the table ablaze before powerbombing Balls through it. How many times does poor Balls have to get incinerated in this feud? One flaming table bump was enough in all honesty; I’m not sure why we’ve had to see it three times. It’s almost overkill, quite literally in fact as going through flaming furniture is no picnic.

Anyway, RVD has recovered from his previous chair shot from Balls and rallies to lay out both Dudley Boyz. With The Dudleyz out of the way, RVD heads to the top rope for the Five Star Frogsplash on Balls and that’s enough to retain the Title.

WINNER AND STILL CHAMPION: ROB VAN DAM
RATING: **1/2

The problem with both Balls and RVD, especially in 1999, was that both of them were very much MOVEZ guys during this era, which meant that unless you had a super worker like Masato Tanaka or Jerry Lynn in with them their matches could kind of just be aimless spot fests. In some ways they were the absolute worst type of opponents for one another, as outside of the big spots this match didn’t really have much of a flow and it kind of became clear that both men were just killing time until they could hit the next big spot. Once The Dudleyz ran in it lost all pretence of being a normal match and just became a car crash. It was entertaining for what it was and was fine for a TV bout, but it wasn’t especially great either.

COMMERCIAL

Joey recaps what happened earlier in the Swimsuit Showdown and confirms that Lance Storm and Justin Credible have challenged Jerry Lynn and a partner to a Non-Sanctioned Tag Team Main Event.

Non-Sanctioned Main Event
The Impact Players of Justin Credible and Lance Storm w/ Jason and Dawn Marie Vs Jerry Lynn and The Dreaded Mystery Partner of Doom™

Before this match starts, we get some Taz promo time, where he recaps his issues with Steve Corino and challenges Corino to find someone to take him on at Heat Wave 99. He says that he doesn’t know why Corino is messing with him and he also doesn’t care either, because soon he’s going to get him. He says he’ll dedicate his successful Title defence at Heat Wave to Corino. Good promo. Joey muses that Corino soon has to run out of contenders for Taz and also mentions that Tommy Dreamer’s back is in a bad condition and tonight’s attack from Credible probably didn’t help.

COMMERCIAL

Back from the ads, Credible is on the mic and asks Lynn who his partner is. Lynn says that, because this is non-sanctioned, he can pick whoever he wants, so he decides to pick Sabu. I do like that WWE have retained the rights to Sabu’s ECW music, as it’s still one of my favourite entrance themes. Credible refuses to wrestle Sabu, but Fonzie reiterates that this is non-sanctioned, which means that Sabu’s ban from the commission won’t matter and the match can go ahead.

COMMERCIAL

That’s a lot of ads in a very short period of time. I’m hoping it’s so they can show most of the match without needing to take a break. Lynn and Credible are going at it, as I wonder why both teams are bothering with making tags when this match is non-sanctioned? Credible of course flees from Sabu when he gets tagged in, which leaves Lance to go at it with the madman. Storm gets worked over by the babyfaces for a bit until the fight spills outside, which allows Sabu to do a dive into the crowd.

All four men brawl around the building now, with Storm and Sabu pairing up to fight whilst Credible and Lynn fight over to the staging area, upon which Lynn flings Credible off it through a table. Meanwhile, Sabu puts Jason through a table at ringside to take him out of proceedings. Credible has recovered pretty quickly from going through that table and reverse DDT’s Lynn back in the ring. Why even bother with the table spot if it was going to be so inconsequential?

Sabu tries to put Credible through a table, but Credible pulls Fonzie in the way and Sabu ends up destroying his own manager by accident. Meanwhile back in the ring, Lynn hits a modified Osaka Street Cutter on Storm for two. Lynn looks to be close to finishing Storm off, but Credible hits him with his cane, which allows Storm to hit Lynn with his own Cradle Piledriver to put him away for the three count.

WINNERS: THE IMPACT PLAYERS
RATING: **

Messy, but entertaining in places. And hey, they actually let the Impact Players win a match for once!

The Impact Players celebrate as we are desperately out of time.

In Conclusion

This was a decent self-contained episode of the show, but we still have no matches confirmed for Heat Wave outside of Taz Vs Corino’s Challenger, which means they’re going to have just one more hour of television to try and get us hyped for seeing the show.

The hype for Heat Wave has been close to non-existent and none of the stories look like they have been written to peak on the show, which absolutely baffles me because building up TV to pay off at the pay per view event is bread and butter stuff that you’d think someone like Paul Heyman would be capable of, but he’s really screwed the pooch for this show.

How hard is it to just announce a few matches 3-4 weeks out? I mean, from what’s happened you can see that Balls still has an axe to grind with The Dudleyz, but there’s been nothing to confirm if that will lead to a match at Heat Wave, ditto for Lynn/RVD and their issues with The Impact Players. If this is the direction you’re going in, then why not book some matches for Heat Wave so that the TV is actually building to something tangible that people can look forward to?

Heat Wave ultimately deserves to bomb, as it’s been built up horribly and they are going to need a dynamite angle on that go home show to give people a reason to care about it. Again, this was fine as a self-contained 46 minutes of wrestling, but considering the wider picture the past month of television has been kind of a disaster.

Oh well, I’ll see you all next week to see if ECW can successfully hype an entire pay per view with just one episode of TV I guess.