Mike Reviews: ECW Hardcore TV #348 – 25/12/1999

Hello You!

Before we go any further I’d like to wish everyone a very Happy Hardcore Holidays!

Last week’s Hardcore TV was mostly clips from the TNN Show and the most recent pay per view event (Which this one will probably also be because it’s the holiday edition) but hopefully there’ll be some interesting and fun stuff on it.

I already got what I wanted for Christmas with Carlo Ancelotti somehow being coerced into taking the Everton job. Hopefully there isn’t some kind of a Vince Russo “you didn’t read the fine print of the contract bro” swerve and Carlo is able to bail once he sees Oumar Niasse and Cuco Martina rocking up to training on his first day.

Anyway, let’s have some turkey/ham/nut roast (depending on your location and eating habits) and watch some chuffing wrestling eh?

This week’s matches were taped from Nashville, Tennessee

Calling the action is Joey Styles

We open up with Da Baldies brawling with Tommy Dreamer and Raven, which leads to The Impact Players of Justin Credible and Lance Storm running down to attack Raven whilst Da Baldies keep Dreamer at bay. Raven ends up getting crucified on the entrance way and pummelled with Justin Credible’s Singapore cane, in a reversal of what Raven did to The Sandman back in 1996. Thankfully Kurt Angle isn’t in the building to complain about it this time. So yeah, I’m agnostic at the very most, so this stuff doesn’t really offend me but I could totally understand why it would if you were religious. Sadly the footage of Raven rolling a boulder out of the way so he can leave the locker room later was omitted from this broadcast.

Show Intro: This week’s tagline is “Tonight, ECW Takes Nashville, To The Extreme!”. We get the ECW theme with the Paul Heyman lyrics again on The Network. I definitely remember one of the pay per views used this as well one time. The original is better, obviously. I do like how TNN thought it sounded too “demonic” though and Heyman had to fight for them to let ECW use it on the TV show.

Joey Styles is in front of the ECW Banner, where he sends to clips from ECW on TNN. Mike Awesome threw Little Spike Dudley onto Masato Tanaka whilst he was sitting in the crowd, so Tanaka wanted a fight then and there. Paul Heyman tried to split everything up, but Cyrus instead convinced him to book a match between both men for the ECW Title. Tanaka had to work the match in his gym pants (although he found time to tape his wrists) and ended up dethroning Awesome as Champion. We just get clips of it here, but the full match is great and well worth a watch if you’ve never seen it. You could possibly make an argument for it being the best match between the two on American soil. The crowd goes absolutely nuts for the Title change, as you would imagine. Awesome is a poor sport and beats Tanaka up post-match.

COMMERCIAL

Masato Tanaka, now adorned with the ECW Title belt around his waist, cuts a promo in the dressing room in Japanese.

We head backstage to see that Rhino, Jack Victory (High Spot!) and Steve Corino have laid a whupping on Balls Mahoney and Axl Rotten in their locker room. Balls drags himself out of the locker room muttering that he’ll kill them.

Corino, Victory and Rhino come down to the ring for some promo time. Joey says it’s a “Christmas Miracle” that Jack Victory no longer needs his wheelchair. Corino now has more of a serious edge to him, as he brags about Rhino taking out Balls Mahoney and Axl Rotten for what they did to him at the Limp Bizkit concert a couple of weeks back. Seeing as Balls and Axl aren’t there, Corino demands the referee count them out, but Balls’ music hits before the ref reaches ten and he stumbles down to the ring a bloody mess looking to fight. Corino chastises Balls for coming down to the ring and then tells Rhino that he’s got this.

Opening Match
Balls Mahoney Vs Steve Corino

Corino still makes sure that Rhino cheap shots Balls before he leaves, because he’s a HEEL and a cowardly one at that. Balls mounts a bit of a comeback with some punches, but then runs into a calf kick from Corino. Corino works on Balls’ cut with punches, but Balls fights back again, only to get caught with the Edge-O-Matic for two. Balls keeps coming, but walks into a super kick. Corino decides to request two tables from Victory rather than going for the pin and props them both up in the same corner.

Balls fights off Corino’s table attempt though and super kicks Corino before punching Victory. Balls grabs a chair and preps to squish Corino’s noggin with it, but Rhino runs back down to attack him as we take a break.

COMMERCIAL

Back from the ads, The Sandman is making his way down to the ring through the crowd. Sandman eventually gets in the ring and hits everyone with his Singapore cane. Rhino ends that rally by giving him a GORE through the two tables however, but the distraction is enough for Balls to get a chair shot on Corino to pick up the three count.

WINNER: BALLS MAHONEY
RATING: *

They didn’t have a chance to have much of a match there due to the time constraints, but Corino was good as the cocky heel whilst Balls did well as the gutsy face fighting from underneath. You could really see Corino’s heel act getting more rounded here and that would continue throughout his feud with Dusty Rhodes in the early part of 2000. He would eventually ditch the singlet look and go to trunks as well, which helped with making him look more like a star.

Balls doesn’t get much chance to celebrate, as Rhino demands a chair duel. Balls wins the duel but a Victory distraction allows Rhino to floor Balls with a GORE.

We head backstage to see that Danny Doring, Roadkill and Elektra are giving out gifts. Super Crazy gets given a red card, but he actually wanted a green card, so he’s annoyed.

COMMERCIAL

Back from the break, Francine doesn’t like her gift either, so she taunts Danny by saying he’ll never be a Tag Champ and then gives Roadkill a bra, because he has boobs. Francine even goes as far to turn to face the camera and say “boobs”, just in case we didn’t get the joke I guess. Roadkill seems perfectly happy to have a pair of Frannie’s bap holders and grins at the camera whilst saying “Chickens”. What an odd segment.

Main Event
ECW Television Title
Champ: Rob Van Dam w/ Bill Alfonso Vs Mikey Whipwreck

Before this one starts, Joel Gertner wants a night with Elektra from Roadkill-claus, but Danny says that isn’t happening and instead has Roadkill hand over Francine’s bra. Gertner seems pretty happy about this as Doring tries to keep a straight face.

COMMERCIAL

In a nice touch, Mikey won a match on Hardcore TV recently, so it actually makes sense that he would be in Title contention. Little things like that are so much more rewarding for an audience, as it actually makes you think that wins and losses matter. RVD dominates in the early going and sends Mikey outside, where he continues to batter him. RVD flings Mikey into the crowd and then pulls him over the guardrail before following with a leg drop. I don’t think Mikey has got in one offensive manoeuvre yet. This has basically been a complete squash.

COMMERCIAL

Back from the break, Mikey is now in control of the match somehow, even though he was getting absolutely wellied before the ads. Seriously ECW, can you at the very least show a reply of how Mikey cut RVD off rather than just magically having him in control with no explanation? It just makes me feel like we’ve missed an entire chunk of the match. It all turns out not to matter anyway, as RVD quickly regains control again and sets Mikey up top for a superplex. Mikey manages to fight that off however and gets a Tornado DDT onto a chair for two.

Some people in the crowd can audibly be heard to chanting “boring”, so other people chant at them to shut up in one of the occasions where the ECW crowd would actually police itself. Mikey continues to get some near falls on RVD as we see that the mid card has emptied to watch from the aisle. This is all revealed to be for the purpose of a particular spot however, as RVD back body drops Mikey over the top rope onto the throng of wrestlers outside the ring.

This leads to Tracy Smothers and Tommy Rich attacking RVD however, as revenge for RVD defeating Smothers a couple of weeks back. The lights go out however and Sabu attacks all three men in the ring before putting RVD through a table propped up between the railing and the ring with a leg drop from the top rope. Rich and Smothers put RVD’s remains into the ring, which allows Mikey to get The Whippersnapper (stunner) for two.

Thank goodness the match is still going, I thought we were going to get a no contest and in ECW you could usually be assured of a pin fall or submission at the very least. Smothers and Rich try to get involved again by grabbing RVD, but Alfonso fends them off with a steel chair, which allows RVD to nail Mikey with Five Star Frogsplash for the three count.

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

This started out as an RVD squash and ended up being a total Dog and Pony Show. It was entertaining enough for what it was. ECW wins points for at least giving us a finish rather than throwing the match out, so I’ll be generous.

Da Baldies of Tony DeVito, Vic Grimes and Spanish Angel cut a promo on New Jack. They reference his mother. I mean, “your momma” jokes are pretty lame at the best of times, but at least with New Jack you believe that he could possibly try and kill you for one.

And now it’s time for a PULP FICTION MONTAGE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Featured are Danny Doring, Elektra, Roadkill, Rhino, Justin Credible, Lance Storm, Jason, Dawn Marie and Raven. Raven promises vengeance for his crucifixion earlier.

In Conclusion

Not much to write home about match wise this week but the stories for the pay per view on the 9th of January are getting some decent attention at least as ECW seems to be taking the show seriously. Hey, it’s the first American wrestling pay per view of 2000, so I can see why. I’d suggest just watching the TNN show from the previous day, as you get the full Awesome/Tanaka match that way.

Happy Holidays to you all regardless of your religious persuasion (or lack thereof) and I look forward to seeing you all in again next week when ECW moves into the year 2000!