Mike Reviews: ECW Hardcore TV #354 – 05/02/2000

Hello You!

Last week was more a holdover show, where all the moving parts were kept whirring ahead of the next major storyline development. Things are going to chance a lot for ECW during this episode in fact, and sadly it’s not for the better

But anyway, less chatter, watch some chuffing wrestling!

This week’s matches were taped from New Orleans, Louisiana

Calling the action is Joey Styles

We open up with clips from a match on TNN where Mike Awesome powerbombs Little Spike Dudley through a table in the corner for the pin before powerbombing the ref as well, just to be a jerk. Awesome follows that up by calling out Rob Van Dam, which brings the ECW TV Champ down to the ringside for a fight. Sabu jumps RVD from behind though which means…

Yes, thank you Admiral. RVD fights back however and dives out onto both men from the top rope.

We cut to Joey in front of the ECW Banner, who gets interrupted by an urgent Late Breaking News update from Paul Heyman, where he says that Rob Van Dam has broken his leg in Orlando. Needless to say, this threw ECW into disarray, as they now couldn’t deliver the big RVD Vs Awesome Title for Title match, thus killing off their best storyline and feud. This hurt them hugely, and probably indirectly led to some of the upcoming departures that we’ll see as ECW was banking on that feud being a big money earner.

Show Intro: Although this week we sadly don’t get any taglines. Boo-urns!

Opening Match
New Orleans Street Fight
Spanish Angel and Vic Grimes Vs Balls Mahoney and New Jack

Angel’s “King of the Streets” Title is apparently on the line here, even though it’s a tag match. Actually it turns out that this is supposed to just be a singles match between Angel and Grimes, but they jump New Jack 2 on 1, which leads to Balls running down to help him out, thus turning this into the tag match.

COMMERCIAL

Balls brings a fork with him and opens up Grimes with it, but the match gets interrupted with the Late Breaking News from earlier. Heyman does add to it a bit more this time, saying that RVD could be out for as little as 3 weeks and as long as 4 months. ECW were clearly hoping for the former, as it would mean they could get him in the ring in-time for the Living Dangerously pay per view in March. That sadly wasn’t on the cards however.

Back to the match, where Balls and Grimes fight in the ring whilst New Jack and Angel fight in the crowd. Eventually both pairings switch terrain, which leads to New Jack battering Angel in the ring. Angel actually manages to finally get some semblance of offence on New Jack after months of looking like an ineffective goober, but New Jack quickly returns us to our normally scheduled programming by cutting him off. Still, it was something at least.

Meanwhile, Grimes puts Balls on a table outside the ring before doing an impressive flip dive over the top rope to the floor, putting Balls through the table. Grimes lacked the charisma and ring psychology of Mick Foley, but he certainly could match him when it came to “crazy high spots that men in the 300 pound range shouldn’t be capable of doing” category. Grimes holds New Jack so that Angel can clobber him with a chair, and that’s enough for the pin.

WINNER AND STILL KING OF THE STREETS: SPANISH ANGEL
RATING: *

Bit of a meandering brawl with some missed spots, but that was a cool dive by Grimes that also actually looked relatively safe as well, so I’ll be generous.

COMMERCIAL

Match Two
The Dupps (Bo and Jack) Vs Nova and Kid Kash Vs Danny Doring and Roadkill w/ Elektra

Elektra may as well just be naked in a robe here, wearing the skimpiest bra and panties that you could possibly imagine. Well, you can’t say Paul Heyman didn’t know his audience eh? This is a wild spot fest to start, with everyone not named The Dupps doing dives. Even Roadkill gets involved by giving The Dupps a double springboard clothesline.

Everyone eventually teams up on The Dupps and Stan gets pinned following a Kash leg drop from the top rope whilst Doring and Nova hold Stan in place. We get another Late Breaking News report, with more added to the story. RVD has apparently revealed that his leg has been broken in two places, which does not sound good.

Back in the match, Elektra attacks Nova in the ring, which leads to Chris Chetti coming down and taking her out with a body slam before carrying her to back (making sure we all get a good look at her arse crack as he does it. However, Doring and Roadkill quickly get over their manager getting boobnapped, as Roadkill splashes Kash from the top rope (seemingly reinjuring Kash’s recently broken jaw) for the three count.

WINNERS: DORING AND ROADKILL
RATING: N/A

This was all spots and little actual structure or substance. A lot of it got cut out as well due to the news report by the looks of things, so I wouldn’t be fair to rate it I think.

COMMERCIAL

Joey hypes up RVD and Mike Awesome’s feud and mentions that RVD will tonight face the man who knows Awesome better than anyone.

COMMERCIAL

Main Event
ECW Television Title
Champ: Rob Van Dam w/ Bill Alfonso Vs Masato Tanaka

This is apparently the first ever meeting between the two. You know, I probably would have saved that for a pay per view if it’s true, as you could have potentially gotten people to pay to see it. Tanaka actually gets the better of RVD in the early going and sends him outside, where he sits him on the railing and hits him with a chair. Tanaka goes to grab a table next and puts it in the ring. Tanaka gets a nice DDT back inside, almost like a Tornado DDT except RVD is the one swinging. It’s hard to describe, but it looked cool.

Tanaka gets a Super DDT off the top rope through the table next, but RVD is able to kick out at two. Tanaka has been kind of battering RVD here, which isn’t what I was expecting. I kind of thought it would be the other way round. Tanaka eventually misses an elbow drop from the top rope, which allows RVD to make the comeback with a flying side kick from the top. Somersault splash gets two for RVD, as does the Rolling Thunder, as Tanaka usual resiliency shows itself.

Tanaka responds by DDT’ing RVD on the chair (with RVD taking an awesome bump off it) but RVD is able to kick out at two. Roaring Elbow looks to end it for Tanaka, but RVD is once again able to kick out. Styles covers for RVD kicking out of Tanaka’s finisher, by saying that Tanaka probably didn’t get all he wanted on his rotation. Tanaka tries to finish RVD off with a Tornado DDT onto a stack of chairs, but RVD blocks it and gets a Northern Lights Suplex for two.

Tanaka is able to duck the Van Daminator and clatters RVD with a  chair shot to the head (although he pulled it a little bit) which gets two.  Tanaka busts out a crazy scoop slam into a Diamond Cutter like move, which looks fantastic, but it only gets two. Man, Masato Tanaka is the guy they should have been calling “The Innovator of Violence”! Diamond Dust (Front flipping cutter out of the corner) looks to finally end things, but RVD once again is able to kick out.

Tanaka misses a chair shot, which allows RVD to catch him with Van Daminator before heading up top with the Five Star Frogsplash, which is enough to put Tanaka away and retain the Title. This would I think prove to be his last officially televised defence of the belt.

WINNER AND STILL CHAMPION: ROB VAN DAM
RATING: ***1/4

All kinds of cool stuff in this one. It was mostly a collection of spots with some tight near falls, but it was entertaining and probably would have been a very good pay per view main event with a little bit more time and a more gradual build to all the big spots. As it was, it was almost a sprint, but it was good for what it was.

RVD barely has any time to celebrate as we’re out pretty much straight after the winning pin.

In Conclusion

Rob Van Dam’s injury could not have come at a worse time, as he was clearly the companies top star by this stage and Mike Awesome had been built so well as the World Champ that people were clearly into the idea of the two singles Champs clashing in a big match. In many ways, it was a huge body blow that the company never quite recovered from.

The show itself was hit and miss, with a good main event but not much else worth recommending. Watch the TV Title match, skip the rest.