Last week’s show was heavily affected by the news that ECW TV Champ Rob Van Dam had broken his leg. We should probably be getting further updates on that this week. The injury is bad news for ECW, as they were hoping that a feud between Rob Van Dam and Mike Awesome would be a key area of promotion for them in the coming months. Here’s hoping that they can recover somehow and get the show back on track.
But anyway, less chatter, more chuffing wrestling!
This week’s matches were taped from Jacksonville, Florida (Perhaps a young Tony Khan was in the crowd watching?)
Calling the action is Joey Styles
We start out with Late Breaking News, where Paul Heyman tells us that we’ll get some info on Rob Van Dam and his injury tonight.
Show Intro: This week’s tagline is “Tonight, Jacksonville Goes Extreme, It’s ECW Hardcore TV”
Joey Styles is in front of the ECW Banner and tells us that New Jack was attacked by Da Baldies earlier, meaning that the upcoming tag match will now have to be a handicap match.
Spanish Angel and Vic Grimes Vs Balls Mahoney
Angel looks like he’s going to get some promo time before the match starts, but we cut to the advert break before we can hear it.
Back from the ads, Balls grabs a mic to announce to the crowd that ECW is not going to allow New Jack to compete and that he’s going to have to go it alone, but that he doesn’t care and he’s going to fight. Balls get a bit of a flurry but Da Baldies eventually overwhelm him and start working him over. However, this leads to Masato Tanaka running down for the rescue and we have a tag match after all!
Being that Balls and Tanaka used to be ECW Tag Team Champs, they run wild on the heels and everyone brawls. During the commotion New Jack limps down and hits Grimes with a chair, which allows Tanaka to get the Roaring Elbow for the pin.
WINNERS: BALLS MAHONEY AND MASATO TANAKA
This was more of an extended angle than an actual match. Still, it gave Tanaka another win, as it seems like he’s going to be sticking around for a bit.
Back from the break, Joey sends to a video hyping up ECW Hardcore Revolution, which was a Video Game for the Fifth Gen consoles, Gameboy Colour and SEGA Dreamcast. It was basically just WWF Attitude reskinned to include ECW guys, thus making it immediately outdated, especially as the Smackdown series was on its way for the PlayStation, No Mercy was scheduled for the N64 and even WCW Mayhem was doing more interesting things with its gameplay and presentation. Definitely one you won’t need in your collection.
Japanese Death Match
Yoshihiro Tajiri Vs Super Crazy
I’m not sure what makes this particular “Death Match” especially Japanese? Does the loser have to buy the winner Unadon when it’s all over or something? Anyway, this would probably the 50ish or 60ish match between these two in the past year or so, and I’m honestly only half-joking with that comment too. They start this one out quick and waste no time taking it outside for a brawl. They are definitely presenting this one as more of a fight than the standard technical high flying bout between the two, which at least makes it feel different somewhat.
Tajiri back body drops Crazy into the front row whilst the fight goes on outside the ring before putting him inside the ring where he baseball slides three chairs into Crazy’s face whilst the Insane Luchadore hangs upside down in the Tree of Woe. This not only gets a big “EC-Dub” chant from the crowd but Crazy even blades from it, which is the first time I think I’ve ever seen him do a blade job. Tajiri adds a Tarantula for good measure and then even wears some of Crazy’s blood like war paint for our gross out spot of the night.
This match is at least delivering the implied violence and brutality that a stipulation like this would bring. Crazy makes a fired up comeback and heads outside for a table. After setting it up he puts Tajiri on it and then puts him through it with a leg drop from the top rope as we take a break. That’s a great ad break actually as after seeing that you certainly want to know what happens next.
Crazy is filling the ring with chairs as we come back. Tajiri spits some green mist in Crazy’s face to stop his momentum however and then adds a Brain Buster before bringing a table into the ring. Tajiri looks to rana Crazy through the table from the second rope, but Crazy fights him off and follows with a missile dropkick. Crazy puts Tajiri onto the table and heads up with a moonsault, but the resulting pin only gets two.
A third table gets put into the ring, but it looks pretty beat up and can barely stand. Crazy tries to powerbomb Tajiri through it anyway, but Tajiri counters that into a DDT. Tajiri buries a downed Crazy under a pile of chairs, as well as the table, and then leaps off the top rope with a vicious double stomp before pinning Crazy under the wreckage for the three count.
WINNER: YOSHIHIRO TAJIRI
This was a fine hate filled bloody brawl, with all kinds of weapon spots and plenty of nastiness on both sides. This would in many ways be the perfect way to finally tie everything up and move both men FINALLY onto some new feuds, but sadly this feud refuses to die and more is incoming. Still, this match was great and well worth a watch if you aren’t burnt out on this feud like I am.
We get an update saying that Rob Van Dam will be appearing at live events next week, although he won’t be wrestling for obvious reasons.
Joey complains about an ongoing legal battle between ECW and WCW. They had so many legal battles over the years that I honestly don’t know what this one would be about, but the way Joey talks about it suggests that it might involve Sabu. I guess WCW were trying to poach him and ECW weren’t having it?
Jacksonville Street Fight
Steve Corino and Jack Victory (HIGH SPOT) Vs Tommy Dreamer and Dusty Rhodes w/ Francine
Joel Gertner does the ring announcing here, as I ponder why WWE doesn’t have the rights for Steve Corino’s “Old School Style” entrance music? You’d have to think that it was an in-house theme done expressly for ECW? Mike Awesome and Sabu’s themes have remained intact for instance. I guess it’s another music rights rabbit hole that WWE are afraid of going down so they just don’t bother. Corino interestingly tells Gertner off and says that he prefers the commentary stylings of Cyrus, which plants a seed for something that comes on later shows.
Corino says that he will get revenge on Dusty tonight due to Dusty making him bleed in Fort Lauderdale the previous night. Francine has deigned to actually wear clothes here, and she looks better for it in all honesty. Sometimes it’s bit more titillating to leave something to the imagination. This is your typical arena wide brawl, with the fight going all over the place. It’s good anarchic fun, even if the actual wrestling is in short supply.
Eventually all four men head back to the ring, where things bizarrely turn into a standard tag match. This makes no sense in a street fight but it’s clearly done so that Dusty can grab himself a breather on the apron whilst Tommy takes the heat. Corino and Victory work well as a heel tandem getting heat on Dreamer, but Dreamer eventually manages to throw Corino into a ladder before making the hot tag to Dusty. The heels pin ball for Big Dust, which leads to the babyfaces getting stereo DDT’s followed by stereo Bionic Elbows to pick up the win.
WINNERS: DUSTY RHODES AND TOMMY DREAMER
Though it made no sense for this to just devolve into a normal tag team match when the bout had a Street Fight stipulation, I actually had fun with this. It all went exactly how you would expect but the crowd was into it and classic tag formula normally works, so if you can ignore the silliness with the rules this was an enjoyable exhibition.
Rhino runs out to attack the faces post-match, which leads to Sandman sauntering down to the ring for the rescue as the show fades out.
Thumbs up this week for that Japanese Death Match alone. The main event might not be to everyone’s taste, but I got a kick out of it and I was satisfied once the show was over. They need to start thinking of a way to salvage Living Dangerously though, as right now Mike Awesome doesn’t have a challenger for his ECW Title and he really needs one.