Mike Reviews: ECW Hardcore TV #346 – 11/12/1999

Hello You!

Last week Steve Corino crashed a Limp Bizkit concert and ended up getting busted open courtesy of a Balls Mahoney chair shot. Meanwhile, Rob Van Dam defended his TV Title against the monstrous Uganda and ended up enraging his former tag partner Sabu with an inflammatory promo.

Let’s have a look to see how these stories develop in this week’s Hardcore TV!

This week’s matches were taped from Atlanta, Georgia

Calling the action is Joey Styles

We open up with New Jack jumping off a balcony again to put someone through a table, as he is want to do. I’m not exactly sure who it was as Joey didn’t say.

Show Intro: This week’s tagline is “Tonight, From The Home Off…, Terrible Ted And Hanoi Jane, ECW Invades Hotlanta!”

Joey Styles is in front of the ECW Banner. He says that the locker room is full of WCW guys wanting to jump to ECW. Sure Joey, of course they are…

We go down to the ring, where Raven is destroying Tom Marquez and Ikuto Hidaka before having a full on nervous breakdown over losing to Sandman on a previous episode of ECW on TNN.

COMMERCIAL

We get a recap of Steve Corino getting beaten up at the Limp Bizkit concert.

Opening Match
Super Calo Vs Super Crazy

Joey is treating Super Calo jumping ship as a major coupe here. I appreciate the effort Joey, but it’s Super Calo. He’s good and all, but it’s not like Sting just jumped to ECW y’know? Calo and Crazy do some nice Lucha styled chain wrestling to start us out. Calo gets a pair of tilt-a-whirl back breakers to gain some control and then sends Crazy outside for a rolling senton. The crowd pops big for that, as you’d imagine, and in a nice touch both men stay down and sell it for a bit to make it seem impactful.

Calo gets a head butt off the top to a standing Crazy back inside for two and then adds a side slam for another two. This feels like an abbreviated version of Calo Vs Rey Mysterio at WCW Fall Brawl 96 actually, which is a very good match where Calo takes most of it but Rey hits some hot moves at the end to restore parity going into the finish. Case in point, Crazy gets a big powerbomb to Calo and then follows up with a Quebrada for two.

We get the Spanish Ten Punch in the corner from Crazy next, which he follows up by dropkicking Calo out into the crowd and then following with an Asai moonsault. This has been pretty gosh darn exhilarating, and the live crowd seems to agree! Crazy put Calo back into the ring and then goes for a diving head butt off the top, but Calo dodges it and then gets a roll up for two. Calo gets a nice sit out powerbomb next for another two, as they are just busting out big move after big move.

Calo sets Crazy up top and brings him down with a rana for another two, as it feels like they’ve gone a near fall or two too far. As if hearing me, Crazy replies with a springboard spinning wheel kick before getting his own powerbomb and following up with a trifecta of moonsaults to pick up the win. And I should say so!

WINNER: SUPER CRAZY
RATING: ***1/4

This was mostly just a conveyor belt of hot moves, but the hot moves were very hot, so it worked for me. It almost felt a bit like a passing of the torch here in some ways, with Calo being the representative of the traditional WCW Luchadores falling to the more Americanised extreme Luchadores in the form of Crazy. The win gave Crazy some extra credibility in my eyes, as they brought in a Luchadore who had featured on WCW TV and had him do the clean job to give Crazy a bit of a rub.

Bill Alfonso is backstage where he’s trying to work out what to do with Rob Van Dam and Sabu considering the fact he manages them both. Francine comes out of a door behind him though freaking out and calling for Tommy Dreamer. Tommy dutifully arrives and heads in to the room, where we see that Raven is continuing his breakdown from earlier. Tommy tries to get Raven to calm down, telling him that he did the right thing and he’s proud of him.

COMMERCIAL

We get an ECW on TNN recap, where Little Spike Dudley killed another giant by beating Uganda. Too Cold Scorpio returned to ECW to put over Mike Awesome. Justin Credible and The Sandman had a match, which featured Rhino attacking both of them. Eventually Lance Storm helped Credible win. And finally Steve Corino got into a jaw fest with Dusty Rhodes.

Jason, Dawn Marie, Lance Storm and Justin Credible do a promo backstage. Jason really had fully used up his usefulness by this point and I think they were keeping him around almost to be nice. In a funny moment, Credible says that there’s no chance in heck that they’d jump to WCW. Storm would prove that wrong in about 6 months. The target of the promo is Dreamer and Raven, as The Impact Players want the Tag Titles.

COMMERCIAL

Joey is back in front of the ECW Banner where he hypes up ECW’s next pay per view Guilty As Charged in January.

Main Event
ECW TV Title
Champ: Rob Van Dam w/ Bill Alfonso Vs Tracy Smothers w/ Tommy Rich

This would be Smothers’ return to ECW following the breakup of The Full Blooded Italians earlier in the year. He’s going for your standard redneck gimmick here, wearing a ring jacket emblazoned with the confederate flag. Before the match starts, we get pre-recorded comments from RVD, where he says he never liked sharing the spotlight with Sabu and that Sabu is not going to take the TV Title from him. He adds again that he’s The Sheiks favourite wrestler. Bill Alfonso isn’t happy about this.

COMMERCIAL

This would seem like a bit of a styles clash, but you never know. We get a little bit of mat wrestling in the early going, as I doubt Smothers is going to work the traditional RVD match of doing lots of high spots. RVD eventually tires of Smothers’ trash talk and throws some kicks, but Smothers pulls him into the corner before stomping away to take over for a bit. RVD gets tripped by Rich when he tries to mount a comeback, so he kicks him in the face and then low bridges Smothers out of the ring before diving out onto both heels.

RVD continues to control things back inside, but Rich pulls him out of the ring and then works him over whilst Smothers distracts the ref. Its ECW guys, I think you can cheat pretty openly if you want to. Smothers now gets his licks in outside the ring before putting RVD back into the ring for two. Rich continues to get cheap shots in when he can as Smothers gets some heat on RVD back in the ring. It’s just basic stomps and punches, but it works for what they’re going for. Rich even grabs a mic to tell the fans to shut up, just to make sure they really draw the ire of the fans.

RVD eventually manages to catch Smothers with a spinning wheel kick to get himself back into the match, and the crowd are with him. I love it, they’ve just gone in there and worked a traditional southern face/heel match and the ECW crowd have reacted exactly how they’ve wanted them to. Just goes to show that even the basics can still work if you do them good enough. RVD gets the Rolling Thunder on Smothers for two and then follows with a  karate kick off the top for another two.

Smothers ducks the Van Daminator, but RVD sweeps his legs and then dropkicks the chair into his face for two. Smothers manages to block a vertical suplex and deliver as suplex of his own before getting a peach of a piledriver for two. Smothers follows with a jumping side kick and then hits RVD with the chair a couple of times, drawing some great heat in the process. I’m loving this! Smothers tries heading up, but RVD cuts him off and tries for a superplex. Smothers fights that off, but RVD is able to crotch him on the top rope before getting a Van Daminator. Rich takes one as well and the Five Star Frogsplash brings home the bacon for RVD.

WINNER AND STILL CHAMPION: ROB VAN DAM
RATING: ***

I really dug that, as they told a good story and actually built up to RVD’s big moves so that they would mean more. Smothers had zero apprehension about keeping his stuff basic so that it would anger the crowd and then letting RVD do all the flashy stuff, and the result was a well worked match with a responsive crowd.

Sabu is on the entrance ramp with a crutch and slowly limps down to the ring as we take a break for some promotional considerations paid for by the following. When we come back we see that Sabu is putting RVD on a table before leg dropping him through it. I’m guessing he wasn’t really hurt and it was all a ruse?

In Conclusion

Good episode this week. I enjoyed both of the matches and the angle advancement was none too shabby either. Thumbs up!