So here we are again with another ECW pay per view event of 1999. It’s been a tad hit and miss for ECW on pay per view this year, with Anarchy Rulz being good whilst Heat Wave and Hardcore Heaven were kind of just there and Living Dangerously was pretty bad. Hopefully tonight ECW can knock this one out of the park, especially as this show is supposed to be the biggest one they do all year.
I actually bought the live American pay per view version of this show years back from the dearly departed Extreme Central UK store in Manchester, which was a fantastic place to buy ECW/CZW/ROH tapes without having to faff about with arranging things online. The picture is a bit fuzzy but I get the real entrance music at least, so I’m counting it as a win.
The event is emanating from Buffalo, New York on the 7th of November 1999
Calling the action are Joey Styles and Cyrus
We open up with the usual intro of Joey Styles in the ring with Cyrus as he welcomes everyone to the show. This Buffalo venue sadly doesn’t look anywhere near as good on TV as Villa Park did for Anarchy Rulz a couple of months back. Once again, the gag where Cyrus will only shake Joey’s hand whilst wearing a protective glove is great stuff. Cyrus calls Buffalo the bacteria capital of the world, which doesn’t endear him to the local crowd. Joey tries to close out the intro, but he is interrupted by Joel Gertner, who wants to do the commentary instead. Cyrus seems happy to let this happen, but it’s all a cunning ruse as Taz joins us in street clothes looking surlier than usual. The fans greet Taz with the “You Sold Out” chant they usually throw the way of someone who had the temerity to leave ECW so that they could earn enough money to eat. Taz asks Joey why he’s been avoiding him, and then takes him to task for suggesting that Taz attacked Rob Van Dam in a cowardly manner on TNN a couple of weeks ago. Taz says he doesn’t care what Joey thinks as he does what he wants when he wants to do it. Taz challenges Joey to a fight, but Joey isn’t stupid enough to accept (Although Joey did manage to beat up JBL in real life once) and apologises. Taz keeps bullying Joey and eventually allows him to leave. Gertner finds all of this hilarious of course, so Taz insults him too then chokes him out, before finally paying off the Cyrus story line from months ago by shaking his hand and thanking him.
Show Intro. Tagline “The Seventh Annual November to Remember”
Following the intro, Simon Diamond is in the ring with his Dick. Simon tells Buffalo that he has a problem and then goes into the usual routine of asking Dick to tell him good luck, which leads to Dick saying “Go get em tiger” and then patting Diamond on the bum. Simon responds that he didn’t tell him to do that, but he’ll let it slide. The crowd of course directs homophobic insults both men’s way but the joke was on them as Diamond was actually dating Dawn Marie in real life either during or not soon after this. Diamond does the whole “Look at my Dick” series of lines but he gets interrupted by Jazz. Jazz says she’s sick of Diamond always having a problem in every town they go to and lays him out with the Jazz Stinger (X-Factor). Jazz can’t handle Dick however and he lays her out with the Penile Implant, which leads to Little Spike Dudley running down and sticking Dick with the Acid Drop.
Simon Diamond Vs Little Spike Dudley
Simon catches Spike with a flapjack into the corner but Spike rallies and sends him outside for a dive before attacking him with a wooden chair. Simon replies with a back body drop on the floor, as we see that the chair shot has busted him open. Simon gets the Simon Series (Rolling snap suplexes into a gourd buster) back inside for two but Spike head butts him in the groin and then follows up with The Acid Drop for the win.
WINNER: LITTLE SPIKE DUDLEY
Too short to rate (No pun intended) but it popped the crowd and nothing was botched, so I enjoyed it for what it was.
Spike doesn’t have much time to celebrate as The Full Blooded Italians of Little Guido and Big Sal run down to attack him. Ah, it’s one of those Paul Heyman tropes of doing one long interconnected segment where multiple promo’s and matches all take place one after the other so that the fans don’t have a chance to get bored and you can squeeze extra people onto the card. Nova runs down for the rescue however and we have another match.
Nova Vs Little Guido w/ Big Sal
Oh well, at least Guido isn’t wrestling one of Tajiri or Super Crazy for the umpteenth time. Nova runs wild on Guido to start, sending him outside and following with a dive to pop the crowd. Sal cheap shots Nova as he puts Guido back inside however and that allows Guido to take control of things back inside the ring. Guido gets the Sicilian Slice (Second rope rocker dropper) for two and then gets a nice Rude Awakening for another two.
Guido was really blossoming into a very good wrestler by this stage but ECW wouldn’t get the best out of him until he started teaming with Tony Mamaluke in 2000. Guido taunts the crowd and that allows Nova to catch him with a Samoan Drop from the top before hurking Guido up into a powerbomb position before turning it into a cutter. That should be enough but Sal breaks up the pin, so Nova takes him out with a Tornado DDT. The distraction is enough however as Guido catches Nova with the Tomikaze (Killswitch/Unprettier) to pick up the three count.
WINNER: LITTLE GUIDO
Again, this was too short to be rated any higher but it was fast paced and featured some cool moves that popped the crowd, so I was fine with it. Given a few more minutes they could have told more of a story and it would have rated higher.
Guido and Sal continue to work over Nova following the match, which leads to Chris Chetti returning from injury to rescue his partner, only for Danny Doring and Roadkill to come down and attack him. Okay, that just got silly after a while. I get trying to start the show hot, but a six man tag of Doring, Roadkill and Guido Vs Nova, Spike and Jazz followed by Diamond Vs someone like Super Crazy would have done the trick just as well and you could have let both matches breathe a bit more.
Yoshihiro Tajiri w/ Steve Corino and Jack Victory Vs Super Crazy and Jerry Lynn
Corino has decided to bleach his hair blond for this, which was a look he’d keep for many years afterward. Corino calls Tajiri “The God of the Three Way Dance” and says Japanese wrestlers are the smartest wrestlers in the world. Interestingly enough there was a good conversation in one of the night threads a week ago about favourite wrestling shirts and I have to say that Crazy’s “Insano Luchador” one is pretty great and deserves a mention.
Lynn is still battling his severe case of DDPitus here as his ribs are taped up. So Crazy doesn’t really need to be in this match as the issue is between Lynn and Tajiri, but I guess it wouldn’t be an ECW pay per view with some combination of Guido/Crazy/Tajiri doing battle with one another so here he is. Again, it would have made much more sense to have him wrestle someone NEW during the wild beginning of the show, but there’s no point crying over misused Luchador I guess.
Crazy and Lynn do some nice wrestling to start and show some respect to one another, but Tajiri is having none of this sportsmanship nonsense and locks both men in the Tarantula one after the other. It’s not long until we get a series of dives, as Lynn leaps out onto Crazy and Tajiri follows both of them with an Asai moonsault. The fight between Tajiri and Crazy spills into the crowd, which leads to Lynn coming from off screen with a dive into the crowd.
We now get some crowd brawling, which seems pretty redundant in a match between three talented workers like this who don’t need to do that sort of thing, but it does give us Crazy moonsaulting off a balcony onto both of his opponents. The crowd popped for that so I guess it worked, but it really wasn’t necessary and will only take away from other matches that do it later in the night. We head back into the ring, where Lynn gets Crazy with the Cradle Piledriver, but Tajiri breaks up the pin so that he can brain buster Crazy and get the pin himself.
So with Crazy out of the way we can get the match that they should have done to begin with, which is Lynn Vs Tajiri. Tajiri turns up the sadism to 11 by targeting Lynn’s injured mid-section with kicks and then hanging Lynn in the Tree of Woe for a baseball slide to the face. Lynn responds with a German Suplex for two and goes for a Tombstone Piledriver, but Tajiri counters it into a back breaker and goes for a moonsault. Lynn dodges that and then follows up with an awesome Tornado DDT for two. The execution on that was brilliant.
Tajiri goes back to the ribs with a kick and gets his own German Suplex for two, as the crowd are with this match and digging it. Tajiri tries to end things with the brain buster but Lynn slips out and goes for a Cradle Piledriver. Lynn’s ribs give out and he’s unable to execute the move, so Tajiri throws even more kicks to his opponents’ ribs. This only fires Lynn up though as he defiantly fights back and manages to get the Cradle Piledriver this time for the three count.
WINNER: JERRY LYNN
You know what, I used to really quite like this match but that was before I’d sat down and watched all the Hardcore TV that I’ve watched this year. When I was only watching the pay per views it wasn’t as jarring to see Super Crazy and Tajiri wrestling one another all the time, but watching the TV week to week has really rammed home to me just how much they ran that match into the ground. Seeing Crazy crowbarred into this match for no reason actually made me resentful of him, especially as the only reason we got the completely unneeded crowd brawling segment in the match was so that he could do his moonsault. I was invested in the Tajiri/Lynn feud and Crazy showing up here kind of ruined everything because it robbed us of a proper Lynn Vs Tajiri match, which was really disappointing because their match on Hardcore TV a few weeks ago was excellent and I was excited at the prospect of the feud having a proper blow off. As it was, the wrestling here was fine and it got pretty good after Crazy had been eliminated, but it just made me want to see Lynn and Tajiri get the time to have a proper one on one feud ending bout. In some ways it reminded me a lot of Charlotte being involved with Becky and Ronda at WrestleMania. Yes, Charlotte had history with the two of them, but the issue people cared about was the Becky Vs Ronda one and Charlotte was an unnecessary addition that robbed us all of a satisfying conclusion to the feud we actually cared about. Tajiri Vs Crazy was done but Tajiri Vs Lynn still had some juice left and they squandered it.
Corino attacks Lynn post-match, but Lynn fights both him and Victory off before dropping Corino with a Cradle Piledriver to seemingly end the feud. Hopefully we get at least one more Tajiri Vs Lynn match on TV to blow things off properly.
Joey recaps New Jack getting stapled in the eye by Angel, which leads to Cyrus giving Joey a gigantic name badge.
Da Baldies (Angel, DeVito, Big Vito and PN Newz) Vs Balls Mahoney, Axl Rotten and New Jack
I love Da Baldies’ music and it’s an absolute bastard trying to find a clean full version of it. So this would be the first in many matches involving Angel and New Jack, a feud which saw New Jack destroy Angel every time they wrestled only for Angel to keep fluking wins over him. Of course the feud might have been more effective if New Jack had actually ever treated Angel like any kind of a threat, meaning that Angel might have actually gotten over in some manner and then been able to work with some of the top guys in the company instead of just being a mid-card tag team guy with Tony DeVito.
Anyway, Balls and Axl go it two on four to start and, despite a bright start, they are soon overwhelmed and beaten down by DeVito, Vito and Newz whilst Angel mocks New Jack. Those of you who have never watched a wrestling show before might be surprised by the next development, but the rest of you I’m sure will not be remotely surprised to learn that New Jack’s music hits and he comes down to the ring with his usual collection of weaponry. Thus we get a New Jack match, as everyone wanders around hitting people with weapons whilst “Natural Born Killaz” plays over the sound system.
As usual Angel gets absolutely battered by New Jack in every single interaction they have, including Jack hitting Angel right in the Staten Islands with a vacuum cleaner. Axl and Jack stupidly leave Balls alone in the ring with Newz and Vito whilst they brawl into the crowd with DeVito and Angel so that New Jack can do his finishing move of “jumping off something high to put someone through a table”, in this case a basketball backboard and Angel respectively. In a funny moment Joey and Cyrus steal the others catchphrase (“Oh My God” and “Tremendous”) to describe the big spot.
Newz nor Vito have actually tried to pin Balls whilst they’ve had a two on one advantage, showing themselves to not be especially bright, and that allows Axl and Jack to come back down and continue the brawl. Jack staples Vito in the eye (Which I think was how they wrote Vito out of the company so that he could go to WCW) but this allows Angel to get the first of many fluke victories over him by clocking him with a guitar and making a cover for the victory.
WINNERS: DA BALDIES
Hey if you ever want to see someone do a job but not put a single person over in the process then this is the match for you! Sadly for Angel and the rest of us we have many more months of this to come. The match itself was just weapon shots followed by the dive from New Jack. I’ll give it a * just because the dive looked cool and News did a senton off the top during the beat down of Balls, but that was about all the enjoyment I got out of this one.
New Jack gets the standing ovation post-match from the crowd.
Cyrus and Joey continue to bicker as Joey sends to a promo from Bill Alfonso and Sabu. This is a very solemn promo, as Alfonso says Sabu’s best friend Ticho recently passed away and that Sabu will be dedicating his match to him. That was rather nice actually, good on Sabu for doing that.
Chris Candido w/ Tammy Sytch Vs Sabu w/ Bill Alfonso
This feels pretty thrown together but it could have potential to be good if both guys are feeling motivated. Tammy isn’t close to her mid 90’s peak of hotness here but she still looks hotter than your average person on the street and, as they say, in the land of the blind the one eyed man is king. Actually I’m not sure that works but I’m going to keep it in as it’s almost kind of pithy, which is something I don’t normally manage to be when doing these ECW reviews.
Sabu dedicating the match to the memory of his friend would seem to telegraph the ending, but they’ve been trying to push Candido and Tammy a bit on TV since they came back after Anarchy Rulz, so you never know I guess. Sabu wastes no time taking the fight to the outside, but Candido fights back out there and manages to hold his own. Sabu manages to get a dive to the outside but Candido cuts him off back inside the ring and gets a nice hanging vertical suplex, followed by a leg drop from the second rope for two.
The fans make it clear that they want a table to be introduced to proceedings, as Candido works Sabu over inside the ring. Candido misses a diving head butt from the top rope and that allows Sabu to get a DDT for two before bringing in a chair for the Triple Jump Leg Drop, which gets another two. Sabu finally introduces the table the crowd wants so much by stacking it between the ring and railings, but Candido dives out onto Sabu to put a stop to whatever plans Sabu had before heading up top.
Sabu crotches Candido on the top rope however and then brings him down into the ring with a rana, which gets two from the ref. The fans continue to chant for the table more than anything else, so Alfonso puts it into the ring. That almost backfires as Candido gets to it first and lays Sabu on top of it before heading up for a leg drop. Sabu dodges the leg drop however and Candido goes through the table for two. After wanting to see a table so much, the pop for the table being broken was pretty lacklustre.
Sabu hits Candido with a chair and follows up with Air Sabu after that. Candido rolls outside to buy himself some time, but Sabu baseball slides him into the crowd and then follows with a dive out amongst the people for the biggest pop of the match so far. Both men brawl into the crowd, which is a fight Candido wins as he drags Sabu back to ringside for a body slam on the floor. Alfonso hands another chair to Sabu however, which allows him to clock Candido and then springboard in with a splash for two.
Sabu has been going after Candido’s back and neck area for most of the match, with the idea being that he wants a submission win with the camel clutch. I can appreciate the psychology but the camel clutch was a transition hold in 1999 and the fans have not been reacting to it. Another table gets put into the ring by Alfonso and Sabu leg drops Candido through it for two before going for a Triple Jump Moonsault. Candido manages to dodge that however and gets a lovely powerbomb for two. A piledriver comes next, as Candido is emptying his arsenal here, but Sabu is again out at two.
Candido manages to get a big superplex next, but Sabu is again out at two as I pine for the days that a move like that could be a finisher. Candido actually tries an Air Sabu of his own, but Sabu stops him mid attempt and follows with an Arabian Press for two. Sabu tries heading up, but Tammy trips him up and that allows Candido to bring him down with a rana and then heads up for the diving head butt, which gets two, much to Candido’s frustration.
I’m liking the story here of Candido throwing everything he can at Sabu in an effort to beat him, but it’s probably going on for a bit too long now and they’re overdoing it with the two counts. You could tell the same story just as well with a bit more restraint. Candido and Tammy put another table in the ring and look to finish Sabu off, but Sabu sets Candido up on it and heads up top. Tammy tries to stop him again, but this brings in Alfonso, who lays her on the table for Sabu. Candido leaps in to protect his woman, taking the table bump himself and Sabu leg drops a chair over Candido’s back and then goes back to the camel clutch for the submission win.
This wasn’t as epic as they wanted it to be as it was kind of a throwaway match and the crowd just wasn’t invested in it the way they needed to be for all the dramatic near falls to work, but it was fine mid-card fare and would have been a decent Hardcore TV main event. With a bit more of a build-up and story behind it the crowd might have cared more and it would have had more drama as consequence.
We see Masato Tanaka running on a treadmill ahead of his Title match with Mike Awesome. He stops to cut a brief promo in Japanese before saying in English that he will win the Title. We then head to comments from Judge Jeff Jones and Mike Awesome. Jones’ promo where he cites fake precedents and laws to explain why Awesome will win is just so cheesy and not something you want the manager of the World Champion to be saying. Awesome does his usual 80’s styled promo where he promises to break Tanaka’s back.
Joey and Cyrus hype up the match, with Joey pushing hard that no one has beaten Awesome more than Tanaka and that should make him favourite here. Cyrus makes Montreal references and then talks about “Dangerously” being out of control, which leads to footage from earlier as Lou E. Dangerously storms around backstage yelling at everyone and “firing” them. This leads to security dragging him off, although he does manage to yell “you’re fired…again” as Sandman walks by in a pretty funny gag.
Champ: Mike Awesome w/ Judge Jeff Jones Vs Masato Tanaka
This is one of the many battles the two have had over the years, with Tanaka getting a one on one shot at Awesome for the Title after losing to him in a Three Way Dance back at Anarchy Rulz. It’s a quick start, as Tanaka sends Awesome outside and then follows with a dive as both men are clearly starting as they mean to go on. Awesome doesn’t allow himself to be outdone, getting his crazy Undertaker WrestleMania dive, and then takes the fight into the crowd before following with another dive out there as these two heavyweights are working like the guys in the Tajiri/Crazy/Lynn match from earlier.
In some ways that’s not the best thing as, impressive though this sort of thing is, it kind of takes away from the uniqueness of the smaller guys when the near 300 pound World Champion is flying around like that. I get the appeal of course, but I also can’t help but think that Awesome rationing his dives a bit more would not only be better for his own personal health but would also not overshadow the smaller guys on the roster whose forte is to do those kind of moves. Anyway, Awesome puts Tanaka back inside and comes off the top rope with a sickening unprotected chair shot to the head before following with another. Serious question how is Masato Tanaka even alive these days after taking that sort of punishment?
Tanaka hits Awesome with a chair shot of his own and then lays a chair over Awesome’s face before dropping a chair assisted elbow from the top for two. Tornado DDT onto the pair of chairs gets another two count for Tanaka, as the crowd chants for him to do it again. Tanaka tries to oblige, but Awesome manages to counter it mid move into a spine buster on the chairs for a double down. Awesome turns Tanaka inside out with a clothesline and follows with an Alabama Slam before heading out to grab a table. Awesome tries to powerbomb Tanaka out of the ring through the table, but Tanaka fights him off with a German Suplex and drags Awesome out onto the apron. Awesome fights back as well however and then gets a sit out powerbomb off the apron through the table.
Amazingly Tanaka kicks out at two back in the ring following that, so Jones slides in another table for his monstrous client to use. Awesome sets that up and then lays Tanaka upon it before heading up top. Tanaka gets off the table however and goes to superplex Awesome through the table. Awesome tries to block it but Tanaka won’t be denied and finally gets the move for two, as the crowd is going nuts. Tanaka goes for the Diamond Dust next (Natural Selection out of the corner) and gets it before going for the Rolling Elbow. Awesome counters that with a German Suplex followed by a clothesline and then heads up top for a big frogsplash for two. Fans were totally buying that as the finish and erupt into applause when Tanaka kicks out. Awesome gets a powerbomb from the top rope next however, and that’s enough to finally finish things.
WINNER AND STILL CHAMPION: MIKE AWESOME
It’s Mike Awesome Vs Masato Tanaka, so you know it’s going to be good. It perhaps wasn’t quite as good as Anarchy Rulz or their famous bout at Heat Wave 98, but it was still a fantastic match that featured some crazy bumps and consistent good heat from the crowd. It was a bit of a sprint compared to other matches they’ve had, which hurt it a little for me, but it was still an exhilarating bout with some amazing moments.
Joey and Cyrus hype up Rob Van Dam Vs Taz next, with Joey calling it one of the most anticipated matches in ECW history. Sadly everyone pretty much knew was Taz off to the WWF at this stage, which kind of gives away the finish of this one (Although we thought that when The Dudleyz took on Spikey-Balls for the Tag Titles when everyone knew the former team was leaving and they changed the belts on that occasion, so who knows?)
ECW Television Title
Champ: Rob Van Dam w/ Bill Alfonso Vs Taz
One of the signs in the crowd simply says “Taz = Gay”, which I think we can all agree is a stunning display of acerbic wit from the absolute weapon who made it. RVD actually does Joey’s job for him by yelling into the camera during his entrance that he defeated Bam Bam Bigelow in this very building to win the TV Title way back in April 1998. Taz gets the big intro, with the ring announcer listing all of his ECW achievements to really push this as a big match, which is exactly what they need to do here so that the passing of the torch means something.
There’s some slight awkwardness in the opening exchanges here, as these guys don’t really have styles that mesh that well and I don’t think they’d had many chances to work together prior to this. The big issue with this one is that it feels like a house show match as opposed to a semi-main on a pay per view event, with everything being done at a rather deliberate pace and Taz in particular seeming to really lack zest in his performance. Eventually Taz back body drops RVD to the floor and follows him out for a brawl, which leads to RVD crotching him on the railing and going for a Van Daminator.
Taz blocks that by grabbing Alfonso, but RVD still manages to get a cross body to send Taz into the crowd. RVD makes the mistake of taunting too much back in the ring though, which allows Taz to chop block him and then start working him over. RVD bumps well for all of Taz’s throws and suplexes, but the match has meandered so far and it just seems like Taz’s heart isn’t in it to the level it needs to be. Taz brings a table in, but RVD manages to fight back with a spin kick and then follows up with a somersault splash and a Rolling Thunder for two. In one of the better spots in the match, Taz counters an RVD monkey flip attempt by just lariating him right out of the air.
Alfonso throws in a chair for the Van Daminator, but Taz ducks the kick and then capture suplexes RVD through the table he brought in earlier for two. Alfonso comes into the ring to try and help RVD again and actually slaps his former charge. Taz stalks him with a chair but Alfonso bails and that allows RVD to come off the top with a Van Daminator for two. RVD heads up top next, but Taz cuts him off and tries to bring him down with a head and arm suplex. RVD fights that off however and then comes off the ropes with a split legged moonsault for two. Fans thought that was a botch but I think it was the plan to be honest. RVD lands on his feet from a German Suplex attempt and then gets a kick before heading up top for the Five Star Frogplash to pick up the win.
WINNER AND STILL CHAMPION: ROB VAN DAM
This was sadly a meandering bout between two people who did not seem even remotely on the same page and ended up being a waste of Rob Van Dam. I get that they wanted RVD to pin Taz so that he could take his place as the top star in the company, but honestly it would have made more sense to do this on TV and then have RVD tear the house down with someone like Super Crazy to best display his abilities. It also would have been a fresh match that would have elevated Crazy.
Taz is bleeding from the nose following that and shakes RVD’s hand before quickly leaving. This felt like it existed so that they could show clips of the finish and post-match afterwards to give RVD the rub, which would probably work if you didn’t see the match itself.
Rhino and The Impact Players of Justin Credible and Lance Storm w/ Jason and Dawn Marie Vs Raven, Tommy Dreamer and The Sandman w/ Francine
Interestingly Rhino doesn’t have Corino with him here and is going it alone for once. Storm actually gets to come out last for the heel team, and Dawn Marie is resplendent in a revealing pink dress. It’s funny how Dawn can wear these revealing outfits but still maintain a veneer of style and class about it whilst Francine, wearing basically a white swimsuit with a white skirt, can’t for whatever reason. Everyone very quickly makes their way down to the ring here, possibly so that Sandman can get the lion’s share of the entrance time. It kind of feels like they’re rushing things here, which I don’t really understand as we’ve had 2 hours and 20 minutes and you’d think they could at least have another 15-20 minutes on top of that if they wanted?
So the story here is that The Sandman returned to ECW to rescue Raven and Dreamer when they were being assaulted by the heel trio and that set up this match. Sandman and Dreamer both hate Raven of course due to previous feuds, so they are a dysfunctional unit to say the least. I’m surprised they’re not just going for the big crazy pier six brawl here rather than working an actual match, especially as it’s the best use of the three guys on the babyface side (Raven might disagree with that assessment, but he was hardly in amazing shape during this period of his career and walking around the building brawling would probably be more entertaining than watching him struggle to do tackle drop downs).
The faces shine briefly in the early going but eventually Sandman gets cut off and worked over in the heel corner, taking an impressive hand spring splash in the corner from Storm and a big super bomb from Rhino. Storm looks great in this match actually, as he’s moving lightning fast but also executing everything smoothly and demonstrably showing himself to be the best worker in the ring. Raven eventually knocks Dreamer off the apron so that he can get the hot tag from Sandman and runs wild on the heel team, bumping them all over the place but then nearly killing Credible on a back body drop. Thankfully Credible looks to be okay and we then go into finisher madness a mere 4 minutes or so into the bout, as everyone comes in with big moves.
Raven manages to get the Evenflow DDT on Credible, but Storm breaks up the count at two. In a funny spot, Raven actually works with Dreamer to lay Rhino on a table and then brings in a chair so that Dreamer can do the Air Sabu dive and put Rhino through the table, only to then SWERVE him and do the drop toe hold onto the chair. Normally I’d be annoyed by that but they’ve already established that Raven hates Dreamer and couldn’t care less about winning or losing if the tag belts aren’t up for grabs, so it makes sense that he’d betray Dreamer like that just for his own personal amusement. Raven decides that he wants to put Rhino through the table and dives out, only for Rhino to move and Raven to crash through the table.
Rhino tries to deliver the GORE to The Sandman back inside, but Sandman moves and he gets Storm instead. This allows Sandman to hammer away at Rhino with his Singapore cane, which is Dawn Marie’s cue to come in and try to attack him. Francine is not going to sanction this buffoonery however and comes in for our contractually mandated cat fight with Dawn. Sandman actually lays a smooch on Dawn to break up the fight and looks to finally get some revenge on Credible with a cane shot, but Credible ducks at the same time Raven is also trying to get him, which leads to Raven catching Sandman with the cane. Raven reacts like this was an accident (But was it?) and Credible promptly Tombstone Piledrives Sandman for the win whilst Storm preoccupies Raven and stops the save being made.
WINNERS: RHINO, CREDIBLE AND STORM
That was an outrageously rushed main event where they should have just given up on trying to do the tag stuff at the start and just gone for a big wild brawl to make the most of the allotted time they had.
Joey puts over that Credible has now beaten Sabu and Sandman on consecutive pay per views, although this one was far less impressive due to the rushed nature of the match whereas his win over Sabu did a lot more for him. Raven slouches to the back, looking somewhat dejected but it could all be just an act. Sandman looks to have already shrugged off the defeat and is grabbing a beer, so the production crew quickly cuts to a video package of the night’s action instead.
This pay per view felt pretty flat in all honesty, with the abrupt and rushed ending only adding to that feeling. It’s nice that they gave guys like Diamond, Spike, Nova and Guido some time to have matches in the opening sections of the show, but the way it was done ate up a lot of time and the eventual main events all felt like they’d had considerable time chopped off them as a result.
Awesome Vs Tanaka was great, the Lynn/Tajiri/Crazy match was good and the New Jack dive off the basketball backboard was an amazing “OMG” moment, but aside from that this show just felt kind of throwaway, which is bizarre when you consider that they were hyping November to Remember up as their WrestleMania styled event. If this was their WrestleMania then it was WrestleMania XI sadly.
Taz leaving for the WWF might have messed with the plans, but at the end of the day just a few tweaks could have made this a better show I think. Taking Crazy out of the three way and putting him with RVD would have given us a proper blow off to the Lynn/Tajiri feud whilst also giving us a fresh and potentially very exciting match between Crazy and RVD. You could have combined all the nonsense in the opening two matches into one multi-person match. Cut some time out of Sabu/Candido so there was more to give the top matches or, better still, how about you throw Guido in to make THAT the three way dance so he gets a bit of a rub? Heck, let him eliminate Candido only to then get beaten by Sabu if you’re really interested in pushing him.
That would leave us with a card of;
Diamond, Doring and Roadkill Vs Spike, Nova and Jazz
Tajiri Vs Jerry Lynn
Da Baldies Vs Balls, Axl and New Jack
Sabu Vs Candido Vs Guido
Awesome Vs Tanaka
RVD Vs Crazy
You could even have RVD close the show again in a wacky spot fest with Crazy so that Crazy gets the most rub you can possibly give him. With that card you either get fresh matches or matches with actual stories behind them so that people have a reason to care, and you don’t have to mess around with all the quick fire nonsense in the opening part of the show that didn’t really do much for any of the people involved. Cut out some of the Joey and Cyrus bits as well maybe, along with the copious plugs for live events etc and actually give us more time for what we actually tuned in to see, the wrestling!
Overall I’d struggle to recommend this. I wouldn’t even suggest going wildly out of your way to watch Awesome Vs Tanaka unless you’re an absolute completest as they’ve had better matches as well. It’s a shame because Anarchy Rulz was a good show that should have perhaps built up some momentum for the company but November to Remember just wasn’t the right show to follow it with and I could honestly see it putting those who had decided to give ECW a second look based on enjoying Anarchy Rulz pause for thought on whether they should buy a third event from the company.