Back again with some more Hardcore TV, as we continue the march onto the debut of ECW on TNN. If you haven’t yet then I strongly suggest you check out Scott Keith’s reviews of those shows. I believe he’s something like 4 shows in now and it’s not only proving popular with the Blog readers but Scott seems to be somewhat enjoying it to a certain degree as well!
Sadly Hardcore TV has now kind of slipped into cruise control and is readying itself to play second fiddle in the ECW television hierarchy. But hey, I used to enjoy WWE Velocity back in the day, so if Hardcore TV becomes mostly a recap show with the odd good match chucked in then I can live with that.
So without further ado, let’s adorn our barbed wire hoodies and take things to The Extreme!!!
Today’s matches (barring the opener) were taped from Toledo, Ohio
Calling the action is Joey Styles
We open up with clips of Uganda (Giant Kimala II from All Japan) beating up Spanish Angel. As the name suggests, he’s basically just a fat bloke doing a Kamala cosplay act. Uganda heads up top and flattens Angel with a splash before making the pin. The crowd actually seem to respond well to this for whatever reason. We get further clips of Uganda destroying Kid Kash at the ECW Arena as Joey Styles puts him over on commentary.
This leads us to this week’s Show Intro. This week’s tagline is “From The Entertainment Capital of the World, Toledo! At Least That’s What People In Ohio Think!” (Way to take a shot at your paying customers there Paul. If WWE pulled a similar stunt today they’d get roasted for it)
Joey is in front of the ECW Banner and hypes the TNN debut, as well as informing us that The Dudley Boyz have signed with the WWF.
ECW Tag Titles
Champs: Spikey-Balls Vs The Dudley Boyz w/ Sign Guy Dudley
Back from the break, we get ECW Fan Cam footage of The Dudley Boyz fighting Spikey-Balls in Cleveland. This is joined in progress, with Buh Buh Ray giving Spike Dudley a powerbomb onto the building’s bar and then dousing the baying crowd in beer. Both men brawl back into the arena, where Buh Buh tries to throw Spike off the balcony. We see that D-Von is controlling things with Balls Mahoney back in the ring, as Buh Buh drags Spike back down to the bar area. I’m sure you could buy this whole show from RF Video back in the day actually. I remember having both nights of the Hammerstein Summer double shot in 2000 on Fan Cam actually and it was pretty great.
Anyway, Buh Buh and Spike actually brawl out of the exit into the street, but the camera has no light so it’s just blackness. Joey actually mentions that it’s Gabe Sapolsky doing the Fan Camming. Buh Buh and Spike work their way back to ringside, where Spike delivers The Acid Drop onto a piece of guardrail. The camera then focuses on D-Von for a bit, which gives Spike time to climb up to one of the balconies and dive onto Buh Buh. Spike basically landed straight onto his feet there and he’s super lucky if he didn’t suffer some kind of injury to his ankles, knees or legs. The Dudleyz recover quickly from that though and would appear to have things well in hand, but they stop to manhandle the ref, which leads to him knocking them down with a double clothesline.
Yeah, that’s kind of the risk you take when you put shaky Fan Cam footage of a house show match on TV like this, as sometimes you’ll get house show spots that are done to pop the live crowd but perhaps aren’t what you want to show to your TV audience. Spikey-Balls get a two count from the ref’s double clothesline, and then follow up with their finishing moves for the apparent win, but Sign Guy clocks the ref before he can count three. This leads to Buh Buh flinging Spike out of the ring through a table, whilst D-Von drops Balls with a reverse DDT. Balls manages to grab his trusty chair though and clobbers both Dudleyz with sickening unprotected chair shots to the head before rolling outside for a table.
Balls sets the table up and sprinkles thumbtacks on it, but of course ends up going through it himself courtesy of a Buh Buh powerbomb. Spike comes back in, but his rescue attempt goes poorly as he gets pinned off 3-D to give the WWF bound Dudley Boyz the ECW Tag Team Titles.
WINNERS AND NEW CHAMPIONS: THE DUDLEY BOYZ
I never want to see this match ever again. I have genuinely lost count as to how many times I’ve seen it and literally every match in the feud t has been the same wild garbagy brawl, ending almost always in Balls being so stupid that he ends up getting put through a table that he usually brings into the ring himself. If you’re going to have the same teams work one another over and over again, at least try and mix it up a bit.
Joey is all solemn about The Dudleyz winning the belts and is worried that they’ll show up on Raw to hand the belts to The McMahon Family. Well Vince would go on to quite literally book himself to win the ECW Title in 2007, so things could always get worse.
The Dudleyz cut a promo in the toilet, where they talk about whether they’ll “pass the torch” and “do the right thing” on the way out. Buh Buh outright says that they aren’t doing a job. I mean, New Blood Rising 2000 regularly gets buried for its wanton breaking of the 4th wall, but this promo was just as bad. Are we still supposed to expect this to be a “shoot” from The Dudleyz? You don’t need the pseudo-shoot stuff; The Dudley Boyz leaving with the ECW Tag Titles is a perfectly good storyline on its own. You don’t need to muddy the waters.
Cyrus The Virus is backstage with The Impact Players of Justin Credible and Lance Storm, along with their respective Bytches Jason and Dawn Marie. Credible says that they are wanted men by the likes of Rob Van Dam, Jerry Lynn and Sabu. Storm states that they’ll play all their opponents off against one another.
Rhino Vs Tom Marquez
I get Scott being annoyed at the whole “Rookie Monster” tag, but Rhino was only 23 during this period and this was essentially the first time in his career that he’d got a proper push, so I think the nickname can be allowed to a certain extent. It also plays into Steve Corino’s pompous heel character that he has this big monster that isn’t that much younger than him, but is demeaning him by labelling him as a rookie. Overall I think it works, as Rhino kind of was a rookie in the ECW sense.
Rhino mows down Marquez right away and swears up a storm whilst doing it, leading to a string of bleeps. Marquez replies with a springboard missile dropkick, but Rhino is straight back up and drills Marquez with a sit out powerslam for two. Big piledriver follows next and that’s enough for the win.
Darn fine squash match there, as Rhino brushed Marquez aside and looked like an absolute beast in the process. Matches like this are good examples of why we need more squash matches on TV these days, as Rhino got more over in 90 seconds there than he had in the past two months or so of being on TV.
Following the match, Jason catches Rhino as he comes back from the curtain and puts him over. Steve Corino and Jack Victory come over, and Jason reveals that he wants to hire Rhino to take out Jazz in the main event. Corino laughs that off and says that he’ll do it, because he’d NEVER lose to a woman. Again, I know Scott isn’t a big fan of Steve Corino on these ECW shows but I find him to be an absolute riot when he’s doing stuff like this. Corino notices that the camera is on them and informs Victory, who instantly starts selling his “crippling” and completely genuine leg injury. In a funny touch, Jason completely plays along as well like the good heel he is, offering to help Victory into his wheelchair. I enjoyed that particular segment considerably!
We get a backstage promo from Rob Van Dam and Bill Alfonso. RVD puts over the fact that he’s been ECW TV Champ for nearly 16 months. That leads to an RVD music video, set to the rubbish WWE dub of his ECW Theme. Put to “Walk” by Kilgore/Pantera (Whichever version he was using at the time) this probably would have been a pretty great video though.
Joey puts over RVD’s ECW TV Title reign, saying it was the longest reign in wrestling at the time (Which it probably was when it came to the main companies, but I bet there was an indie promotion somewhere where the guy who ran the company had been the Champion for something like 10 years)
We now get a Lance Storm and Dawn Marie video package, which still works well because the WWE dub for Storm’s ECW Theme is actually rather good and not just generic noise like RVD’s is. Dawn Marie of course looks just wonderful throughout.
Steve Corino w/ Rhino and Jack Victory Vs Jazz
Corino takes Jazz down with a shoulder tackle to start and then muscles Jazz into the corner when she has a side headlock applied. Corino throws some chops in there, but Jazz replies with some of her own and actually gets Corino with a monkey flip, hip toss and a clothesline. Joey bangs on about “The T&A” Show in the other companies, which is a bit rich when just before the break there was video package that featured Dawn Marie wearing quite revealing outfits and then outright choking Tammy Sytch with her handbag. Something, something, glass houses and stones. Anyway, Corino teases that he’s going to walk out as we take another break.
Back from the ads, we see that Tommy Dreamer and Francine have come down to watch the match, whilst Corino drops Jazz with a powerbomb for two. Jazz cartwheels to avoid a clothesline and gets some more chops, only to run into a jumping calf kick from Corino. Corino keeps talking trash to Dreamer and Francine, which ties up the referee and allows Rhino to bring a table into the ring. Corino tries to put Jazz through the table, but Jazz counters that by going right for Corino’s Colby maker with the old Testicular Claw. A DDT comes next, which brings Victory into the ring. Francine takes him out with a low blow, and Jazz adss another to Corino which leads to Stereo Bronco Busters from the women. Francine DDT’s Victory and Jazz delivers the Jazz Stinger (X-Factor) to Corino, which is enough for a double pin.
You could just see poor Corino’s feud with Taz go up in a puff of smoke here, as there was no way fans would remotely buy Corino against the ECW Champ following this. The match itself was basic man vs woman comedy wrestling, which Corino did his best to make entertaining, but it left me feeling flat. Either Jazz is a legit competitor or she’s not; this halfway house they’re in where she gets dominated by someone like Corino but ekes out a win whilst doing the traditional “Diva” spots like the Bronco Buster helps no one. If you want her to be legit and not the usual eye candy woman than book her to be on the same level as the men. Pick a direction with her and stick with it.
Tajiri attacks Dreamer post-match and spits red mist at both Jazz and Francine. Dreamer gets hung in the Tree of Woe and dropkicked in the face by Tajiri, after which the heels drape the Japanese flag over him. Cue Taz, but we are desperately out of time and don’t see what happens next.
Pretty lacklustre effort this week if I’m being honest. The opener dragged for me and the main event did nothing for anyone involved. One to skip I feel.