Date: December 10, 2019
Location: Melrose Ballroom, New York City, New York
Commentators: Don Callis, Josh Matthews
We are about a month away from Hard To Kill and Tessa Blanchard is still #1 contender. That being said, tonight is about ECW, with an “Old School” rules match between Rob Van Dam and Rhino. I’m not sure how interesting that is going to be but it should make the live crowd happy. Let’s get to it.
Rhino vs. Rob Van Dam
Old School rules with Tommy Dreamer as guest referee and Katie Forbes gyrates a lot during Rob’s entrance. Rhino shoulders him to the floor to start and Rob gets dropped onto the apron for his troubles. A chair to the ribs keeps Rob down but he’s fine enough to pop back up with the Cannonball off the apron.
Back in and Rob’s spinning legdrop gets two so Rhino starts choking with a mop. Rhino sends him face first into an open chair but gets crotched against the chair to stop him cold. Rob teases Rolling Thunder but isn’t giving the fans what they want. Instead he tries the monkey flip onto the chair but gets powerbombed onto it for two instead.
Rob kicks him down instead and the apron legdrop connects. A trashcan and a table are brought in with the can and a chair being wedged into corners. Some kicks set up the missed split legged moonsault and Rhino Gores him through the table. Katie pulls the referee though and Rhino goes head first into the trashcan in the corner. The Five Star finishes Rhino at 11:01.
Rating: C-. They hit each other with weapons and they looked old but they didn’t embarrass themselves, which is more than some people would have done in a match like this. Rob is actually working for me as a heel and Rhino is Rhino, but Dreamer could have been any given human here. Assuming there’s no post match deal, this was a rather unnecessary spot.
Post match Katie dances and Rob kicks Dreamer low.
Sami Callihan announces the Crists for the Tag Team Open. As for Tessa Blanchard, she can fight Mad Man Fulton tonight. Sami can deal with Ken Shamrock himself because Shamrock is old.
ODB is now in the Knockouts Title match at Hard To Kill.
Moose vs. Acey Romero
Moose’s running shoulders bounce off the big man, who drops Moose with a single shoulder of his own. Romero throws him around like he’s not even there and it’s time for a breather on the floor. A dive from Romero sends Moose into the barricade and we take a break. Back with Moose hammering away at the head but Romero scores with some chops. A big crossbody crushes Moose and a spinebuster gets two more.
Moose hits a running dropkick in the corner though and for some reason Romero tries to go to the middle rope. That earns him the swinging chokebomb for two and they chop it out again. The discus lariat is cut off and Romero nails a Pounce to put them both down. A clothesline gives Romero two more but he misses a charge into the corner, setting up No Jackhammer Needed to give Moose the pin at 12:48.
Rating: C. Romero is a great example of someone who shouldn’t be able to do some of these things and then just does them. He’s still relatively limited in what he can do in the ring but he knows how to move his weight around and that can make for some entertaining matches. Not great, but a lot of fun with Moose having to break a sweat to get the win.
James Mitchell shows Susie the building but she wanders off and touches a noose, which gives her flashbacks to Jessika Havok hanging her. Mitchell warns her about Rosemary and makes it clear that she can only trust him.
Michael Elgin is tired of smashing through roadblocks and wants his match with Eddie Edwards to be for Eddie’s title shot.
Raj Singh vs. Fallah Bahh
Oh boy. Bahh runs over both Singh and Rohit Raju at the same time before hitting a running splash to crush Singh. A Gama Singh distraction lets Raj hit a jumping Downward Spiral for two and a running backsplash is good for the same. Raj grabs a Hennig necksnap as he is going above his pay grade. For some reason he tries to headbutt Bahh and staggers away in pain so Bahh chops him down. The big crossbody gets two on Raj (not as impressive after we saw Romero do the same big man crossbody in the previous match) and Bahh sends him into the interfering Raju. The Banzai Drop gives Bahh the pin at 4:54.
Rating: D+. Yeah this didn’t work and I don’t know why it was supposed to. The Hit Squad stopped meaning anything a long time ago and while Bahh has improved by leaps and bounds, he still isn’t going to be able to carry something like this. Not a terrible match, but give me something else to get my interest up.
Post match the beatdown is on until TJP makes the save, likely setting up a tag match.
Joey Ryan is told to go see Impact Management, which happens to be in the men’s room. He goes in and finds…..Tommy Dreamer, who sentences him to WRESTLER’S COURT. Ryan is charged with breaking kayfabe, exposing the business and killing towns. Johnny Swinger, the plaintiff, also accuses him of stealing rizzats and wants compensation of two pay envelopes and a handful of pizzills.
The sound guys and camera crew come out of the stalls as Joey points out how ridiculous this whole thing is. Ryan asks about an attorney but since Joseph Park is dead, that’s a no. They move to a different room because of the AXS money and it’s time for the first witness: D’Lo Brown, which also gives us the fact that D’Lo is short for Dee Lorean. Brown was sworn in earlier on a PWI 500 and goes on a rant about how this couldn’t be done in a Fortune 500 company.
We get rapid fire testimonies from Madison Rayne, Brutal Bob Evans (He works here?), Kiera Hogan (“It’s that mustache!”) and Gama Singh, as someone in a weird shirt is dragged out. Joey’s closing statement talks about how old guys with tennis rackets have already gone off on him and he knows wrestling should be fun. Maybe the good old days weren’t so good. Swinger: “BULLS***!” Dreamer: “GUILTY!” Ryan is sentenced to….face Acey Romero next week. Joey: “I don’t even know why I signed with this company.”
I’m sure this was a lot of fun to shoot and the people had a blast putting it together. I’m also not sure why it aired but I guess I’m not young enough to get why Tommy Dreamer and Joey Ryan taking shots at WWE and Jim Cornette and having cameos from career midcarders is funny. I chuckled a few times, but this is the kind of thing that was designed to entertain the locker room, not the fans.
Tag Team Open: Rascalz vs. OVE vs. Rich Swann/Willie Mack vs. Reno Scum
Tornado rules, one fall to a finish, and the winners get the title shot at Hard To Kill. It’s a big brawl to start with the Rascalz (Wentz and Dez here) hitting dives but Mack and Swann clear the ring. A bulldog puts Luster down and the assisted middle rope flip neckbreaker gets two on Thornstowe.
Jake comes back in so Mack can hit the standing moonsault for two more and it’s Dave being backdropped over the top onto various people. Mack comes up with a bad knee and things come to a halt as referees and trainers come out to check on him. Back from a break with Rich getting double teamed by Scum but managing to hit a double Lethal Injection on them anyway.
A kick to the face cuts Swann off and a spike Tombstone gets two as Wentz makes the save. Scum is back in to take over with a German suplex into a double stomp for two on Dave, who is tied into the Tree of Woe. A running Razor’s Edge sends Swann flying into Dave but it’s time for the Rascalz to hit rapid fire kicks on Luster. The Crists come back in and shrug off Swann’s kicks. The All Seeing Eye is loaded up but Swann reverses into a victory roll for the fast pin at 13:43.
Rating: B-. This is the kind of match that you would expect from something like this and it was rather entertaining. I could have gone with something a little more structured but that’s how tag team wrestling tends to go these days. Swann and Mack were the only choice to go forward here though as they have been chasing the titles for months now and need to win the things. The other teams looked good, but this was how it needed to go.
The North is watching from the balcony and doesn’t seem worried.
Taya Valkyrie thinks everyone is against her, which is the only reason the title match is now a triple threat. But it doesn’t matter because she’s Taya.
Flashback Moment of the Week: Gail Kim vs. Brooke vs. ODB from Bound For Glory 2013.
Brian Cage talks about having an up and down year but he’ll be waiting on whoever comes out of Hard To Kill as World Champion. Cage is ready to fight anyone around here but Rob Van Dam and Katie Forbes fall onto the couch with Katie all over him. Rob realizes the cameras are on and says that Cage stole a bunch of his moves. I think you know where this is going.
Tessa Blanchard vs. Mad Man Fulton
We get the ridiculous staredown with Tessa’s forearm having no effect. Fulton takes her into the corner and rams her head into the buckle over and over. He pulls her up and face first into the bottom of the middle buckle but Tessa slugs away anyway. An attempt at a slingshot powerbomb is countered into a hurricanrana to send Fulton outside. The suicide dive works but a middle rope crossbody is pulled out of the air. Back in and Tessa grabs a tornado DDT but here are the Crist Brothers to break up Magnum for the DQ at 3:10.
Rating: D+. They didn’t have time to do anything here but Tessa got in enough offense to make it better than it could have been. It’s one thing to book Tessa against a normal sized guy like Callihan but this was a bit too much to believe. They didn’t go too far with it, but if they hadn’t cut it off when they had, it would have been too much to believe.
Post match Tessa takes the All Seeing Eye but Ken Shamrock comes out for the save. That sets up the (scheduled) main event.
Sami Callihan vs. Ken Shamrock
Non-title. Sami slaps him in the face so Shamrock glares him down into the corner. After begging off a bit, Sami spits at Shamrock and gets kneed in the face for his efforts. That sends Sami outside, with Sami telling Shamrock to give him everything he has. A few shots to the face send Sami staggering into the barricade, but he’s fine enough for the spit chop.
Shamrock is even more annoyed than he was before and he kicks a charging Callihan down. Back in and Callihan gets two off a Death Valley Driver but runs into a powerslam to cut him right back off. Callihan pulls the referee into a charge though, only to get ankle locked a second later. Sami taps to no referee so here’s Fulton again to take out Shamrock. The ankle lock to the unconscious Shamrock gives Sami the win at 5:41.
Rating: C-. I’m not sure how smart it is to have the ancient Shamrock beating up your World Champion for most of the match and then needing help to give the champ the win. That being said, Shamrock has looked WAY better than I would have expected him to since his return. I mean, save for the whole Joey Ryan deal but everyone has to be tormented by something like that.
Post match Fulton stays on Shamrock and sends him outside, where Shamrock seems to hurt his knee. Even Sami tells Fulton to back off to end the show.
Overall Rating: C-. This was one of those shows that moved things forward only a little bit while also setting up some of the other things that needed to be done for Hard To Kill. Sami is already feeling like a lame duck champion though and that isn’t a good sign for the next month. Tessa getting the title could be a special moment, but it isn’t looking like a great story on the way there. The rest of the show was hit and miss, but that tends to be the case around here. Not too bad of a show, but one or two things going badly could have made it a horrible one.
Rob Van Dam b. Rhino – Five Star Frog Splash
Moose b. Acey Romero – No Jackhammer Needed
Fallah Bahh b. Raj Singh – Banzai Drop
Rich Swann/Willie Mack b. Rascalz, OVE and Reno Scum – Victory roll to Dave
Tessa Blanchard b. Mad Man Fulton via DQ when the Crist Brothers interfered
Sami Callihan b. Ken Shamrock – Ankle lock
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