Mike Reviews: ECW Anarchy Rulz 1999 – 19/09/1999

Hello You!

Welcome to Anarchy Rulz 99, an event that is often looked upon fondly by fans of the now departed company. Certainly this show was one of my more treasured and regularly watched wrestling VHS’ back in the day, although I’m watching it on WWE Network this time just for the ease of being able to type everything up on the laptop. I’m not sure when this one was moved over to the Network, but it features some dubbed themes for the wrestlers that I’ve never heard before, some which suit them and others which don’t.

Scott sadly didn’t go back to recap this show as part of his revisit of ECW on TNN, but he did watch it back in the day and you can read what Scott from twenty years ago thought about it by clicking HERE. This review actually caused Scott some backlash from the ECW faithful back then, which led to possibly my favourite ever rant of his in the form of Netcop Vs The Mutants From Philly. This featured perhaps one of the most brain dead and hilarious emails that Scott has ever received from a reader, so I’ll post the link for it HERE.

Maybe if we all politely pester Scott he’ll go back to look at this one or again (or at least do a 2019 Scott Sez on his previous write up)? This show actually created quite a buzz online at the time as it was not only ECW’s first Pay-Per-View since getting national TV but it was also widely regarded as a good show with a big surprise appearance that got everyone talking? What was that big surprise? Well read on and you can find out!

So without further ado, let’s all recline in our favourite broken chair and nibble away on some shards of table as we take things to The Extreme!!!

The event is emanating from Villa Park (Most likely out back behind the Holte End), Illinois on the 19th of September 1999

Calling the action are Joey Styles and Cyrus The Virus

We open up the show with clips of Masato Tanaka, the man who will challenge for the ECW Title against Taz later on, arriving in his car. Steven Prazak attempts to interview him but Judge Jeff Jones interrupts. Tanaka takes care of him and enters the building, which leads to Jones saying that later tonight Tanaka will pay the price, and that price will be Awesome. (Ooo, foreshadowing!)

We cut to Joey and Cyrus in the ring, as Joey welcomes everyone to the show. Cyrus wearing a surgical glove in order to shake hands with Joey is always a funny touch. Cyrus says he’s going to make Joey a star, which Joey just shakes his head at and then states that tonight Anarchy will rule!

Show Intro. Today’s tagline is “Tonight, September 19th, ECW Presents Anarchy Rulz Live On Pay-Per-View”

Opening Match
Lance Storm w/ Dawn Marie Vs Jerry Lynn

This one came about due to Lance Storm trying to steal Jerry Lynn’s ECW TV Title bout with Rob Van Dam. Jerry injured his ribs as a result of Storm’s attack but he’s still here to compete tonight. Both men are over here and the crowd is super-hot for the start of the show. Dawn looks as lovely as ever in a classy white number, which does a good job of showing off her assets whilst still balancing on the right side of tastefulness. The fans ask for Dawn to show them her flowery baps that she brought with her from the bakery, but Storm makes it very clear that this will certainly not be happening.

We get some nice chain wrestling to start, which the Villa Park crowd appreciates. Storm tries going after the ribs, which leads to Lynn fighting back with some open hand chops before dropkicking Storm to the floor. The fight continues out there, where Lynn whips Storm into the railings and then throws him back in, only for Storm to cut him off and go to suplex him back in. Lynn lands on his feet however and gets a roll up for two before going back to a side headlock that he’d been using in the previous chain section of the match. Storm eventually manages to get a Stun Gun on Lynn and then follows with a nice dropkick. This leads to the ECW crowd actually chanting “USA”, which is a very non-ECW crowd thing to do in all honesty. Lynn gets the Booker T roll up out of the corner for two, but Storm replies with a mule kick to regain the advantage.

Storm works Lynn over now, as the commentators ponder if Lynn is too focused on facing Rob Van Dam again and not on the task at hand, which is some good storytelling on their part. Lynn manages to get an abdominal stretch on Storm, but sadly Gorilla Monsoon isn’t present to complain about how he has it applied incorrectly. Storm hip tosses Lynn onto the apron to counter that, but Lynn fights back by sending Storm to the floor again, where he follows with a plancha from the top rope. Lynn gets a missile dropkick back inside and makes the cover, but Storm kicks out at two. John Finnegan’s count has been a little on the quick side here and it’s hurt a bit of the drama from the two counts. Lynn gives Storm a receipt for the mule kick from earlier and the goes for the Cradle Piledriver. Storm back body drops out of that though, which leads to a fishtail pinning sequence, which then evolves into even more pinning combinations, each one getting closer to the three, until Lynn gets a German Suplex for another two.

Both men stay down for a moment following that one, which gives the crowd the chance to applaud both of them for the awesome wrestling they just saw. Storm manages to catch Lynn with a super kick when both men get up, which gets him a two as he was only able to drape a leg over Lynn for the cover. Lynn goes for a suplex in reply, but Storm lands behind and gets a reverse DDT for two, before demanding a pair of chairs from Dawn Marie. Storm sets one of the chairs up in the corner, but ends up going into it when he tries to Irish Whip Lynn. Storm fights back however and sets Lynn up top for a superplex, but Lynn turns that into a sunset flip for two when Dawn throws the other chair at the ref. In a nice touch, the ref isn’t bumped by this but rather more annoyed than anything, and because it’s ECW it can’t be a DQ.

Storm goes for a powerbomb on the chair but Lynn is able to counter it into a DDT, which would be the three count if not for Dawn draping Storm’s leg over the bottom rope. Storm flings Lynn ribs first into the ring post and then brings him back inside for a back breaker submission. Lynn fights out of that, but the damage appears to have been done, as when he hits a stunner on Storm he can’t make an immediate cover due to his ribs hurting and that allows Storm to kick out at two. Lynn gets a rana from the top, but Storm is once again able to kick out and then catches Lynn out of nowhere with a 3/4 Nelson on the mat to pick up a flash pin fall victory

WINNER: LANCE STORM
RATING: ***1/2

On one hand the stuff with the chair wasn’t really necessary, but at the same time I think ECW were expecting some new viwers here due to the TNN show, so they probably wanted to show that not only could they give the fans the sort of good technical wrestling that WCW provided but that they could also present it with a dash of the brawling that the WWF was doing as well, thus meaning they had something original they could give audiences that the other two companies couldn’t. I remember at the time loving the fact that they mixed in the technical wrestling with the hardcore aspect, just because you didn’t get that in WCW because they had rules and it you didn’t really get it in the WWF because their main event matches were more about brawling all over the place and dramatic story telling rather than solid technical wrestling. I loved the finish as well, as it showed that a finish could come from nowhere if someone got a good hold applied at the right time, which is a good message to send fans as it conditions them to think any pin could be a legitimate end to the match. A really good opener that gave Storm the sort of big PPV win he needed seeing as he’s supposedly one half of the top heel act in the company, whilst also protecting Lynn as it was strongly suggested that the only reason he didn’t win was because of Dawn’s interference.

Joey and Cyrus mention that the show is live in Canada tonight for the first time, which gives Cyrus a chance to say that “the office” is very happy with Joey, which leads to much befuddlement from Joey.

Meanwhile, Simon Diamond has joined us and grabs a mic from Bob Artese. Simon says that he has a problem and that he does not suck. The crowd vehemently disagrees of course. Simon says that he needs a tag team partner, which is the exact same bit he did on Hardcore TV a couple of weeks ago. It even has the same pay off, as he tells Tom Marquez to be his partner, only to then tell him to sit down because he didn’t say “Simon Says”. I know not everyone was watching Hardcore TV, but was this bit really so awesome that they had to do it almost word for word like they did on Hardcore TV? It just makes Marquez look like a moron that he would fall for it again. Simon eventually says that there is no man in the back who wants to tag with him, which brings down Jazz instead because she’s a woman. Okay, that was a cute punchline actually. Simon is less than pleased however and does the whole Andy Kaufman deal with her, which leads to Marquez coming in to fight her.

Match Two
Tom Marquez Vs Jazz

Marquez slams Jazz and taunts, which allows Jazz to apply the old testicular claw and then get the Jazz Stinger (X-Factor) for seemingly the three count.

WINNER: JAZZ
RATING: N/A

So that was a thing that happened…

Jazz doesn’t have much time to celebrate though, as Tony DeVito and Simon beat her down, with DeVito pulling out the ref just as his hand hit for three, which makes me think that previous match possibly ended in a DQ rather than a pin. Why ECW felt there was apparently a desperate need to protect Tom Marquez from doing a pin fall job is beyond me. Nova and Chris Chetti run down for the save however, which seemingly leads to another match.

Match Three
Nova and Chris Chetti Vs Simon Diamond and Tony DeVito

Tragedy sadly strikes immediately however, as Chetti gets a Quebrada on Diamond and seemingly injures himself as he has to roll into the corner. Nova keeps wrestling however, diving out onto the heels and throwing Diamond into the ring to work him over. Chetti remains lying on the apron during the rest of the match waiting for some medical assistance, which is probably the smart thing to do if he doesn’t feel capable of getting himself to the back under his own power.

Nova meanwhile gets cut off and worked over in the heel corner. DeVito and Diamond are clearly trying to make the most of being on PPV by hitting all their big moves, but sadly for DeVito he get overexcited and ends up botching a uranage slam, which in turn earns him some murmured boo’s from the crowd. Chetti is thankfully now down off the apron and is receiving some assistance, which leads to Jazz climbing up onto the apron, seemingly to stand in for him. However, the match is then interrupted by Danny Doring and Roadkill for the seeming no contest.

WINNER: NO CONTEST
RATING: N/A

Not much of a match to actually rate there, as Chetti’s injury clearly brought everything to a crashing halt. The ending is really annoying though, as one of the few things you could usually be assured to get from ECW was an actual pin fall or submission at the very least.

Doring and Roadkill lay all the men out, at which point Miss Congeniality demands that they destroy Jazz as well. Roadkill looks all set to squish her with a big splash from the top, which brings down CW Anderson, Bill Wiles, Big Vito, Rod Price and Spanish Angel to try and stop him. That descends into a brawl however, which is New Jack’s cue to come down to the ring with his usual assortment of weapons to destroy everyone with the exception of Nova, who he spares for whatever reason. Rod Price gets the worst of it, as he gets stapled with a staple gun and then cabonged with a guitar. Oh well, at least he got a payday I suppose and he certainly took his licks to earn it. That entire segment was a gigantic disaster, but the crowd popped for New Jack at the end I guess and it was preferable to watching him have a match.

Joey and Cyrus have another argument

Match Four
Little Guido w/ Big Sal Vs Yoshihiro Tajiri Vs Super Crazy

The wacky 70’s sitcom music for Guido is pretty funny but doesn’t really suit his gimmick. This is really the last combination you could do with all three of these guys on Pay-Per-View at this stage, seeing as on the last three shows alone we’ve had Crazy Vs Tajiri at Living Dangerously, Guido Vs Tajiri at Hardcore Heaven and Guido Vs Crazy at Heatwave. Normally if I was being generous I’d say that they have been building to this three way dance all along, but then again we’ve already seen it on Hardcore TV, so ultimately I think they decided to just throw this on the show because they knew it would be good. After that last segment we could definitely use a good match right about now.

Fans chant “where’s my pizza” at Guido right from the off, although being that he’s from New York and Villa Park is quite near Chicago there’s a chance they’d recoil in horror at the pizza he delivered them anyway. Guido gets quickly flung out onto the ramp by Tajiri in a big bump, but Crazy takes Tajiri down with a missile dropkick and Guido leaps in with a splash on Crazy. Gudio holds Crazy for a Tajiri kick, but Tajiri kicks him instead in a funny moment. Tajiri continues to dominate the match, getting a moonsault into the crowd onto both of his opponents. Sal has seen enough however and slams Tajiri back inside before powerbombing Crazy for good measure, which gives Guido a chance to come off the second rope with the Sicilian Slice on Tajiri.

Tajiri responds with a German Suplex on Guido for two, which causes Guido to bail outside. Tajiri follows him out and drops him over the railings before throwing him into the front row. This allows Crazy to follow with a moonsault of his own and then dropkicks Sal off the apron through a table to seemingly take him out of the equation. Sal barely hit the table and mostly grazed it, meaning that pretty much nothing broke his fall there besides the concrete. Tajiri goes to The Tarantula back inside on Crazy, which allows Guido to get a dropkick. Crazy fights back by going to a camel clutch on Tajiri, which then leads to a memorable spot where Guido also applies a Sicilian Crab at the same time. I remember seeing a picture of that in the wrestling magazines back during this time and they even added it to the ECW Anarchy Rulz video game on the PS1 and Dreamcast.

Tajiri doesn’t submit, which leads to Guido breaking the hold and going after Crazy with the Tomikaze for two. Tajiri hangs Guido in the Tree of Woe and dropkicks him in the face, which allows Crazy to moonsault Guido for the pin to eliminate him from the match, leaving us with Tajiri Vs Crazy. Crazy gets a Quebrada on Tajiri for two before going to the corner for the 10 punch en Española. Tajiri plays possum following that and then hits Crazy with a handspring back elbow. Crazy counters a brain buster into a sit out powerbomb for two and then goes for another, but Tajiri counters the second one into a DDT for a two of his own. Crazy counters the brain buster again into a Dragon Sleeper and then turns it into a reverse Tornado DDT for two. Sadly Crazy took too long to cover there, thus meaning the kick out didn’t have the pop you’d want. Tajiri gets his knees up on a moonsault and finally gets the brain buster, which is enough for the win.

WINNER: YOSHIHIRO TAJIRI
RATING: ***1/4

These three delivered the good match they usually deliver against each other, but familiarity can sometimes breed contempt and I’m genuinely just sick of watching these guy’s wrestle each other all the time. Why not get Tajiri in there with RVD whilst putting Guido in with Lynn just to freshen everything up? Even when Tajiri was feuding with Taz he was still working these two most weeks. Heck, get Crazy in there with a Sabu or Taz in an effort to elevate him up the card a bit, because right now this match is so stale that you could take it down the park to feed to the ducks.

Steve Corino cuts a backstage promo whilst flanked with Rhino and Jack Victory. Corino says that he wanted to bring Insane Clown Posse in to face Tommy Dreamer and Raven, but they chickened out so Corino and Rhino will be wrestling Dreamer and Raven instead. Well, at least they were upfront about it.

We see that Billy Corgan is in the crowd watching the show. Say, maybe he’ll consider getting into the wrestling business officially someday?

Joey recaps that, yes, Insane Clown Posse were due to come in and then essentially “outs” them on live Pay-Per-View for trying to leave WCW, implying that new WCW head honcho Bill Busch would be humiliating himself to now take them back. Bloody hell, that’s sleazy from ECW there. I know if I was thinking of jumping to ECW and saw them pull that stunt that I’d soon change my mind, because how can you trust them following that? This was probably Paul Heyman putting Styles up to doing this in all honesty, but it wasn’t a good look for ECW and made them come across as being super petty.

Match Five
Justin Credible w/ Jason Vs Sabu w/ Bill Alfonso

The story here was that Credible stooged off Sabu to the athletic commissions and got him suspended, but now the ban has been lifted and he’ll have to face the music. However, before the match can start Credible grabs a mic and states that he has a restraining order against Sabu, which means that the match can’t go ahead. Referee Jim Molineux throws a spanner in the works though by saying that because tonight is Anarchy Rulz the restraining order doesn’t count and the match will happen anyway. Err, I’m not sure he legally has the power to do that if I’m honest and Credible would have excellent grounds for a lawsuit as a result. Bob Artese tries to announce that the match is on, but Credible hits him with his cane, which kind of doesn’t make sense as all he was doing is announcing what Molineux had already said. If you wanted to stop the match you’d attack the ref, not the ring announcer. Anyway, the lights go out and when they come back n Sabu is in the ring and he attacks Credible to get the match rolling.

Sabu gets a split legged moonsault on Credible for two and then flings him outside the ring to inflict some more punishment. The fight heads up onto the ramp, where Sabu sets up a table. Credible fights Sabu off before he can use the table however and gives him a Russian Leg Sweep out on the ramp before splashing him through the table. Credible gets two from that back inside, but Sabu replies with a slingshot side kick and then baseball slides him into the crowd, where he follows with a flip dive from inside the ring. That looked pretty amazing actually, as Sabu executed it perfectly. Sabu and Fonzie set a table up between the ring and the railings and then goes to splash Credible through it, but he rolls off before it can happen, so Sabu lays him over the middle rope and leg drops him back inside instead.

Sabu lays Credible over the table face first, which Joey correctly points out could break Credible’s back because the spine isn’t supposed to bend that way, and then leg drops him over the top half of his back. The table doesn’t break however, so Sabu just puts himself through it for the craic, which makes no sense but pops the crowd I guess. Credible seemingly got busted open as a result of that and Sabu goes to the camel clutch back inside, which at least makes sense from a psychology standpoint as the table nonsense would have injured Credible’s back. Jason provides a distraction however, which allows Credible to get a super kick and then apply his own camel clutch. The crowd gets behind Sabu as he sells the hold and then manages to get his knees up when Credible tries to senton him. Sabu goes bac k to the camel clutch, which brings in Jason for the rescue. That ends badly for him and he gets laid on a table for a Sabu dive, but Credible rescues him in turn with a cane shot and Jason then puts the table into the ring.

Credible dropkicks a chair into Sabu’s face, which gets him a two count, but Sabu fights back with a springboard DDT for a two of his own. Jason throws in the Singapore cane and both men fight over it, which is a battle Credible wins and he hits Sabu with the cane for two. Credible tries to DDT Sabu through the table in the corner, but it looks more like he just leapt through it and no actual damage was done to Sabu. Sabu is up first from the table spot and gets a Triple Jump Moonsault followed by a Triple Jump Leg Drop, but the cover only gets him a two. Credible trips Sabu face first into the chair and then goes for That’s Incredible (Spinning Jumping Tombstone Pildriver) but Sabu reverses it to one of his own. Jason hits Sabu with a cane before he can complete the move, earning him a savate kick from Fonzie, and Credible reverses it back to his own That’s Incredible for two. Credible gets it again, this time onto a chair and that’s enough for the win.

WINNER: JUSTIN CREDIBLE
RATING: **1/2

Hey look, they finally had Justin Credible win a Pay-Per-View match for the first time since January. And they also put Storm over earlier in the night as well. You’d think these guys were actually top heels in the company or something! The match itself wasn’t too bad but the two table botches really dragged it down for me, as they both looked pretty terrible. The stuff around all of that was fine enough and this was the sort of big win that Credible has needed for months, so I’ll go easy on it. Dave Meltzer actually gave this a ***1/2 rating, whilst Scott Keith gave it *1/2, so it seems rather polarising.

Match Six
ECW Title
Champ: Taz Vs Masato Tanaka

Tanaka’s WWE Network Dub theme here is actually pretty great, as they go for an 80’s rock music styled theme rather than just generic Japanese music and it meshes with his actual FMW theme much better. News of Taz jumping to the WWF had seemingly become well known here as the crowd really seems to hate him. They do still throw streamers into the ring though, which is a nice touch. However, before the match can start Judge Jeff Jones shows up with Mike Awesome and demands that he get the Title shot instead. Taz is a fighting Champion and agrees to let him in on the action as well, thus turning this into a three way dance. Joey sells on commentary that Awesome was annoyed that they showed footage of Tanaka beating him as a way to hype him up on TV, which is actually a pretty good storyline reason for him to be here.

Tanaka immediately dives out onto Awesome and throws him in. They fire off some punches on each other but then decide to both go after Taz. Taz suplexes both of them but they fight back and Tanaka takes down Taz with a Roaring Elbow and Awesome follows up with a big splash from the top rope. Awesome and Tanaka then double pin Taz like you could do on the old Wrestle Fest arcade game and that’s enough to eliminate Taz. We see that the roster has come out onto the ramp to applaud Taz. Taz retreats to the ramp with them and then encourages Awesome and Tanaka to go at to crown the new Champion.

Both men oblige and Awesome quickly gets his crazy Undertaker-like big man plancha to the floor on Tanaka, which always looks amazing, and the fight continues out there. Awesome throws Tanaka back into the ring, where he gets a clothesline from the top rope for two and then gets a sit out powerbomb for another two. Finnegan’s super quick count rears its ugly head again, as it means the wrestlers have to kick out super quickly from these impressive big moves and it really eats into the drama. Awesome tries to powerbomb Tanaka out of the ring through a table, but Tanaka slips out and then takes Awesome out onto the ramp, where he sprints down with a big chair shot. Tanaka follows with a DDT onto the ramp, as they’re busting out all their big spots here. Missile dropkick from Tanaka follows back inside and he then DDT’s Awesome onto a pile of chairs for two.

Tanaka lays a chair over Awesomes face and then comes off the top with a chair in his hands in a modified elbow drop for yet another two, as Awesome is proving quite resilient. Tanaka tries to powerbomb Awesome out of the ring through a table, but Awesome slips out and delivers the move himself for a big pop from the Villa Park crowd. Awesome gets an Alabama Slam back inside the ring and heads up with a frogsplash, but Tanaka is able to kick out at two. Jones throws Awesome a chair, which leads to a series of sickening unprotected chair shots right to Tanaka’s skull. Amazingly I think Tanaka is actually relatively okay these days despite taking this kind of punishment. Tanaka manages to shrug the chair shots off and reply with a Diamond Dust (Kind of like a reverse Tornado DDT but instead of swinging around into a DDT you instead flip over and deliver a stunner to your opponent) but he’s still groggy from the chair shots and delays on making the cover, which means it only gets a two. Awesome replies with a release German Suplex and then follows up with a spear for two. Awesome heads up top with a chair next and hits Tanaka right on the bonce with it before setting up a table. Awesome lays Tanaka on the table and heads up top, but Tanaka rolls off and starts fighting with him up there. Tanaka tries to superplex Awesome through the table, but he fights him off and then powerbombs him off the top through the table, which is finally enough for the pin and the Title

WINNER AND NEW CHAMPION: MIKE AWESOME
RATING: ****

This was the usual great Awesome Vs Tanaka match but with the added extra spice of it being a Title match and also being a “bonus” bout that the crowd weren’t expecting. If you wanted to make Awesome a star in one night then this was probably the best job anyone could have done with it, as he looked like a beast and won clean as a sheet. Sadly the association with Jones and his horrible 80’s mullet didn’t really do him any favours, but this was a very strong start regardless.

Taz, in an effort to give as much rub to the new guy as possible, awards Awesome the belt personally and then raises his hand, which causes the crowd to mellow towards him a little bit. This was all masterful stuff from Heyman, as he took a situation that could have been a disaster with Taz being booed out of the building and ruining the Title match and turned it into a great Awesome/Tanaka match that actually gave Taz a somewhat happy ending. Sadly Taz wouldn’t just leave after this and would instead stick around for a few more months, as this would have been a perfect way for him to bow out.

We get a video promo from Raven in a playground, interspersed with clips of his rivalry with Tommy Dreamer. Raven ends the promo by saying that he will be Tommy Dreamer’s own personal demon.

Before the next match can start, Joel Gertner joins us for a dirty rhyme before introducing Francine and Tommy Dreamer for an in ring promo segment. Gertner asks Dreamer about his health and whether he’s going to be able to defend his half of the tag belts with Raven. Dreamer says he’s sick of listening to the doctors and that he’s going to bleed and innovate some violence. This brings down Steve Corino, Rhino and Jack Victory. In a funny line Steve Corino says “You want to bleed? Well I’m going to make you bleed! Rhino, go get him!”. Corino was just fantastic as a weasel heel that lucked into having this monster to do his bidding. Rhino does indeed run down and the match appears to be on.

Match Seven
ECW Tag Team Titles
Champs: Tommy Dreamer and Raven Vs Steve Corino and Rhino w/ Jack Victory

Dreamer manages to get a neck breaker out of the corner on Rhino, but sells his back following it before heading out to go after Corino. Corino flees, which allows Dreamer to wheel Victory into a Francine chair shot. Dreamer chairs Rhino and springboards in with a splash, but Rhino slips out of a Spicolli Driver and gets a spine buster for two. Corino returns with a ladder, but Dreamer whips Rhino into him and then goes for a DDT. Rhino blocks that however, which causes Francine to climb up to the apron to kick him. Rhino doesn’t appreciate that and drags Francine into the ring for a powerslam.

That’s finally enough for Raven to come down (As they’re subtly sowing the seeds that Raven couldn’t give a damn about Dreamer but he does care about Francine and doesn’t want her to get hurt). Raven does get tangled up in the ropes before he gets into the ring though, which is another Botchamania worthy clip. Has Maffew ever covered this show? If not, someone should make him aware of it because there’s plenty of material for him. Anyway, Raven drops Rhino with a DDT, but gets slugged down by Victory. Corino and Victory work over the Champs, but they rally to hit stereo DDT’s and that’s enough for the win.

WINNERS AND STILL CHAMPIONS: TOMMY DREAMER AND RAVEN
RATING: *

Both Dreamer and Raven were in no real condition to have long matches at this stage, which meant most of their Title defences followed this pattern. It wasn’t a disaster or anything, but it wasn’t really a Pay-Per-View calibre Title match either.

Mancow (A local DJ who would eventually work two matches with Jimmy Hart in WCW) comes down to leave with Raven (Although someone in the crowd does catch Mancow with a beer prior to that)

Joey and Cyrus continue to bicker as they recap what we’ve seen tonight. They are interrupted by Axl Rotten though, who comes down to the ring to challenge Mike Awesome to an ECW Title match. The Impact Players of Justin Credible, Lance Storm and Johnny Smith interrupt that challenge however, along with Jason and Dawn Marie. Storm says that the Impact Players have already won twice tonight and that Smith will make it three wins when he beats Rob Van Dam for the TV Title. Axl doesn’t back down, but he gets attacked 3 on 1 as a result. This brings down the team of Spikey-Balls for the rescue. Dawn Marie takes an Acid Drop from Spike Dudley and Balls Mahoney brains Smith a chair shot, seemingly to take him out of the main event. So with Smith taken out, Axl inserts Balls into the TV Title match instead, in a match that will be nowhere near as good.

Main Event
ECW TV Title
Champ: Rob Van Dam w/ Bill Alfonso Vs Balls Mahoney w/ Axl Rotten

Balls gets a back suplex right out of the gate, but RVD no sells it and gets some kicks, only to then run into a Balls clothesline. Balls works over RVD with some punches, but RVD responds with a flying kick and then gets a high cross body from the top rope for two. RVD sends Balls outside with a dropkick, but outside the ring is Balls’ domain and he sends RVD into the railings and then hits him with a beer. RVD responds by trying a moonsault off the railings, but Balls catches him. RVD slips out and pushes Balls into the crowd, where he tries a Van Daminator but Balls sees it coming and throws the chair back before hitting RVD with another beer.

Balls gets two from that back inside and then unloads with his usual array of punches for another two. Balls continues to work RVD over and sends him over the top rope to the floor with a spinning wheel kick. Balls sends RVD into the front row and follows him in with a chair, only to end up taking a Van Daminator out there. RVD follows with a dive into the crowd from the ring, a spot that was ruined somewhat by the camera catching Balls directing traffic outside before RVD dived essentially giving away the dive before it even happened. The visual of RVD diving into the crowd and disappearing amongst the throng of people out there was pretty cool though. Balls manages to get a powerslam back inside for two and heads up top, but RVD stops him, only to get shoved off and leg dropped for two.

Balls gets the Ball Breaker (sit out spine buster) and then heads up top for his own version of the frogsplash for two. You know, having three people in the company essentially doing that move was kind of too many if you ask me. Balls tries it again, but RVD stops him and is able to bring him down with a superplex, before drop kicking the chair into Balls’ face for two. RVD follows with the Rolling Thunder next, which gets him a two from the ref, and then he heads up top. Balls stops him however and tries to throw him off, but RVD counters that into a monkey flip, but when he tries it again Balls is able to counter it into a running Liger Bomb onto a chair for two. RVD tries to respond with a Northern Lights Suplex, but Balls is able to counter it in mid-air into a DDT for two.

This hasn’t been a bad bout at all, but it really has just been both men hitting a move, resting for a moment, and then hitting another one. There hasn’t been much in the way of transitions or storytelling. Balls brains RVD with a chair shot, which by this stage in the show is just overkill in all honesty, but when he makes the cover Fonzie comes in with a chair shot to break the count at two. Balls tries to destroy Fonzie with the chair, but he flees and that allows RVD to catch Balls with a Van Daminator for two. RVD heads up top with the Five Star Frogsplash and that’s the finish.

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

Closing with the TV Title made sense in that RVD is almost certainly the biggest star ECW has, but Balls is just not the sort of guy you’d want to close out a Pay-Per-View against him. Smith, though not as much of a regular with ECW, had experience working in All Japan and would have likely had the repertoire to deliver a more varied longer match than Balls could. RVD Vs Balls is always a styles clash but one you could get away with in a 8-10 minute TV match, but for a 20 minute Pay-Per-View main event you’d really needed two guys who could mesh better stylistically. RVD is all about hitting big flashy moves and carrying things with his charisma, whilst Balls is all about doing big wacky moves that a guy his size doesn’t normally do along with brawling. It was just never going to be the sort of match that you could put out there for this long and expect to get a main event level match from. As it was it wasn’t bad or anything and a shortened version would be perfectly fine as a main event for Hardcore TV or the TNN show, but for Pay-Per-View you really do expect more.

RVD and Balls make nice post-match and hug to a pop from the crowd.

In Conclusion

From reading the Wrestling Observer from this period, Heyman apparently didn’t want to put the ECW Title match on last in case the fans didn’t respond well to the Awesome surprise, whilst he knew that the fans would at least cheer at the end once RVD won and wanted to close on that just to be safe, as going off the show with fans angry wouldn’t have looked too good. Of course the ECW Title match ended up not only being a great match but also delivered a feel good moment at the end with Taz passing the torch to Awesome, so it probably should have closed out the show, but then everyone has 20/20 hindsight.

Outside of the messy and amateurish Simon Diamond portion of the show, pretty much everything on here was at least passable, with both the opener and the ECW Title match being excellent. Three matches at ***+ with an additional two at **1/2 is a more than decent return for an 1999 ECW Show when you consider that the roster was pretty thin on elite workers during this period. Though the main event wasn’t an especially strong match it did at least send the fans home happy and the show itself was pretty easy to watch outside of matches two and three, so it’s an easy recommendation for me and you could honestly put in in the top tier for ECW Pay-Per-View events.