So here we are, the first Hardcore TV following the woeful debut of ECW on TNN. You can read Scott Keith’s review of that show by clicking right HERE.
As you can see from reading that, the first TNN show ended up being more of a “Welcome to ECW” kind of episode, which not only proved to be rather dull but also angered the TNN execs, as they had made it clear that they wanted original programming from the very first episode.
Despite the shaky start, I’m sure today’s Hardcore TV will be chock full of TNN recaps and references, kind of like when the WWF wouldn’t shut up about the XFL in early 2001 on episodes of Raw and Smackdown.
Anyway, let’s waste no further time and dust off our flaming tables so we can take things to The Extreme!!!
Today’s matches were taped from Toledo, Ohio
Calling the action is Joey Styles
We open up with clips of last week’s main event, where Jazz defeated Steve Corino thanks to help from Tommy Dreamer and Francine. Corino’s heel squadron of Jack Victory, Rhino and Yoshihiro Tajiri left the faces laying afterwards however, which was ECW Champ Taz’s cue to storm down. Before anything can happen though we get…
Show Intro. This week’s tagline is “Tonight, A New Era in Television Begins, ECW Hardcore TV!”
Back from the intro, we see Taz come into the ring to go at it with Rhino, where he takes him down with a lariat and then suplexes “The Rookie Monster” through a table. Taz grabs a mic following that and says that next week on TNN he’s going to drop Tajiri on his head and choke him out. Taz then helps Dreamer up and gives him a look before leaving.
Back from the break, Joey Styles is in front of the ECW Banner and gives us a recap of Rhino squashing poor Tom Marquez as a way to put over how tough Taz is for being able to just demolish him like he did in the opening segment. I’ll just re-post what I wrote last week.
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.
After the ads, we get Danny Doring and Roadkill cutting a promo with Miss Congeniality. Congeniality is of course Amy Dumas, and she complains about the stench of Roadkill. Doring says that’s because he’s been plucking chickens, which leads to a running gag of Roadkill always hating Doring’s valets, both on screen and in real life.
Joey doesn’t know what to make of that, but says he’s happy that young guys like that are getting a chance to wrestle on TV for ECW at least. He then segues into saying that Tommy Dreamer is just 28 but now may not be able to wrestle again.
Next up we get a promo from Corino’s group, where Corino compares Jack Victory to Chris Reeve in a funny bit, choking back tears about how Jack is his Superman for surviving Tommy Dreamer’s constant attacks. He says that sooner or later Tajiri will be ECW Champion.
Yoshihiro and Tajiri Vs Super Crazy
Well, this is a wholly original match that we’ve certainly never seen before. Tajiri offers a handshake to start, but then takes Crazy down with a kick before delivering a flying head scissors. Crazy rolls outside following that, so Tajiri gets a baseball slide and then follows up with an Asai moonsault. Tajiri goes to the Tarantula back inside (Boston crab style move across the ropes). Crazy counters a rana into a powerbomb and then gets a moonsault off the second rope for two before getting a springboard missile dropkick. Tajiri bails, which gives Crazy a chance to dive onto him with a moonsault, as both men are going tit-for-tat here.
Crazy gets the ten punch back inside, but when he whips Tajiri into the ropes the Japanese Buzzsaw replies with a handspring back elbow and follows up with a German Suplex for two. Crazy slips out of a brain buster and gets the Michinoku Driver before delivering a trio of moonsaults out of the corner for two. Crazy blames Corino for that for some reason and stalks him outside. Heel miscommunication sees Victory take out Corino, but when Crazy gets back inside he finds green mist and a brain buster waiting for him, which is enough for Crazy to pick up the win.
WINNER: YOSHIHIRO TAJIRI
These two could probably wrestle one another in their sleep at this stage. The match did a decent job at making Tajiri look strong, but I don’t think anyone really buys that he can beat Taz for the Title.
ECW Tag Team Titles
Champs: The Dudley Boyz w/ Sign Guy Dudley Vs Spikey-Balls
Speaking of matches that have happened far too many times. The Dudleyz won the belts in Cleveland last week and have said that they’ll take them to the WWF with them so they can lay them at the feet of the McMahon Family. Joey tries hyping the ECW Magazine, but then sends back to the ring, as the challengers have rushed the ring. Spikey-Balls clear the ring and Balls then presses Spike onto the Champs before following with a dive of his own. Spike then follows with a huge leap off a ladder as we take a break.
With the ads now behind us, we come back to the action with Balls punching away on D-Von inside the ring. Balls misses a charges in the ring, which allows D-Von to get a seated tree slam for two. We see that Buh Buh Ray has busted Spike open outside the ring and is draping his blood over his face, whilst D-Von goes after Balls back insides with a cheese grater. Spike fights back with a chair however and Acid Drops Buh Buh over the guardrail, before dragging him into the crowd. Buh Buh’s selling has gotten incredibly over the top and zany here, which suggests that he’s stopped giving a crap and is just seeing out his notice.
D-Von and Balls brawl into the crowd as well, drawing an “EC-DUB” chant from the crowd. The brawl meanders on for a bit, as eventually D-Von and Balls make it back down to the ring. Spike and Bug Buh seemingly brawl over to the concessions stand, as they throw food at one another and hit each other with metal trays. Meanwhile, D-Von gets a superplex on Balls, but there isn’t a referee to count, so he follows with a diving head butt from the second rope. Balls fights back with a powerslam however and then heads up top for a frogsplash, but the referee is still distracted by Buh Buh and Spike’s battle outside the ring.
Balls grabs his trademark chair, but D-Von low blows him and delivers a reverse DDT, which gets two from the returned referee. Balls slams D-Von and heads up top for the New Jersey Jam (Guillotine leg drop) but D-Von moves and Buh Buh comes back inside for a double team neck breaker, that gets two from the referee. The Dudleyz argue with Jim Mollineaux, which allows Spikey-Balls to get stereo roll ups for two. Spikey-Balls follow up by hitting D-Von and Buh Buh with the Nutcracker Suite (Michinoku Powerslam) and Acid Drop respectively, but Sign Guy takes out the ref before the three can be counted.
Spikey-Balls whip Sign Guy into ther railings outside the ring and then pull out a pair of tables from under the ring. Spikey-Balls stack the tables on top of one another outside and try to throw Sign Guy through them, but The Dudleyz rescue before that can happen. Buh Buh heads up to the second rope, but he takes too long and that allows Balls to cut him off and try a rana from there. Buh Buh counters that into a powerbomb at all, but somehow ends up managing to spike himself on the mat in the process in a spot that looked all kinds of ugly. Buh Buh stumbles out onto the apron where the tables have been set up, which eventually leads to him fighting with Spike out there. Buh Buh stuns Spike and sets the tables ablaze, which leads to Spike getting powerbombed off the apron through the burning stack of wood.
Hot take: Spike Dudley was one HECK of a bump machine! D-Von gets some sickening chair shots to Balls’ heads, but ends up clocking Buh Buh by accident, which allows Balls to deliver the Nutcracker Suite to pick up the three count and the Titles.
WINNERS AND NEW CHAMPIONS: SPIKEY-BALLS
Decent enough wild brawl by the end, but I’m just so sick of this match by this stage and I’ve just got fatigue from seeing the two teams do the same spots over and over again. This match was very similar to the one they had last week for instance, at least RVD and Lynn could mix it up enough that none of their matches ever felt the same each time out.
Balls has to pretty much carry Spike to the back following that humongous flaming table bump. Fans sing the “goodbye” song to The Dudleyz post-match as Joey is happy that they have lost the belts but wishes them well up North.
Joey hypes up the ECW Arena show coming that weekend (Which I believe Scott has covered in his ECW on TNN recaps) and we’re out.
Outside of padding out the show with a squash match from the previous week, this week’s show was pretty good, with two decent matches and a gigantic wacky bump in the main to top everything off.