So last week ECW looked to start a Main Event feud between ECW Champ Mike Awesome and Tommy Dreamer, whilst The Impact Players were set to feud with Nova and Chris Chetti. However, things have taken a bit of a wild turn, which we’ll get into today.
Let’s watch some chuffing wrestling!
This week’s matches were taped from Buffalo, New York
Calling the action is Joey Styles
So WCW attempted to “reboot” the company on the 10th of April 2000 by bringing back Vince Russo and Eric Bischoff as a creative tandem. One of the things they decided to do was poach Awesome from ECW, seemingly just because they could then say they poached someone I guess as it’s not like they had any ready-made feuds for him and he ended up losing to Scott Steiner less than a week later on pay per view.
Obviously this was an issue for ECW, as Awesome was not only the World Champ but also had a contract with them, leading to much deliberation and legal challenges from both sides. Eventually they brokered an agreement where Awesome wouldn’t bring the belt onto TV and WCW would hype up his next Title defence (where he’d promptly lose the belt). WCW managed to not show the belt on TV but they also did a terrible job of mentioning the match, so it looked like the deal was off and Awesome was staying in ECW.
Both sides managed to get around the table again though and it was agreed that Awesome would come back for one night to drop the belt, at which point he’d be free to go to WCW. Thus, Awesome will be defending the belt on this week’s show, at which point he’s done with the company until One Night Stand 2005.
The opening intro gets interrupted by Late Breaking News about how Taz will shock the wrestling world later.
Steve Corino and Jack Victory Vs Danny Doring and Roadkill
This one is joined in progress, with Corino and Victory (HIGH SPOT!) getting the heat on Doring. Corino mocks Dusty Rhodes by dropping his own version of the Bionic Elbow, but Doring is able to kick out at two. Doring eventually manages to catch Corino with a sit out jaw breaker and makes the hot tag to Roadkill, who runs wild on the heels, even managing to scoop slam Victory.
Roadkill gets a cool springboard clothesline to both of the heels, which leads to stereo ten punches in the corner. Victory is able to shove Roadkill off, sending him crashing through a table, but heel miscommunication sees Corino hit Victory with a cowbell, which allows Roadkill to come back in with a splash from the top for the win whilst Doring takes care of Corino.
WINNERS: DORING AND ROADKILL
Too short for me to really rate, but the action we got to see was good. It’s strange that they’d have Corino on the losing end to a team who aren’t really getting a big push right now, but they had Victory take the fall at least. Doring and Roadkill are really starting to cook as a team now and they usually have decent matches as a result. It would just be nice to see them get some more time to really put a proper match together.
Joey is in front of the ECW Banner, where he hypes up that Tommy Dreamer and the dreaded mystery partner will be taking on Da Baldies later in a 2 on 3 handicap bout, but first he sends us to clips from TNN, as The Network tried to put Little Guido and Yoshihiro Tajiri in the ring with Super Crazy to try and get the TV Title off the Insane Luchador
ECW TV Title
Champ: Super Crazy Vs Little Guido w/ Big Sal Vs Yoshihiro Tajiri
Man, I’m so sick of this match. Is the roster honestly that thin that they can’t find ANYONE else for these three guys to wrestle? This is all clipped, so it’s kind of hard to do a proper recap of it. The crowd seems hot for it at least, and there’s a lot of good action by the looks of things, but it’s getting like the WCW Cruiserweights with these three now, as they almost only seem to wrestle one another and it really doesn’t seem like any of them can advance up the card because they’re all still stuck working one another.
What differentiates this one from previous battles between the three men is that all three guys get some colour and there’s a greater use of weaponry than usual. Eventually Guido gets eliminated when Tajiri double stomps him through a table, leading to the other two men piling on him like they’re playing the Wrestle Fest arcade game.
With Guido gone, Corino and Victory come down to help their stablemate Tajiri. The fans are massively into Super Crazy, which is no surprise as he’s been booked strong for a month or two now and you can really see that it’s paying off. Crazy gets a moonsault on Tajiri, but the ref has been bumped, which leads to Rhino rushing down and delivering the GORE before following up with a piledriver off the apron through a table. The crowd chants for Rob Van Dam to rescue Crazy, but there is no rescue on the cards and Tajiri gets the pin for the Title.
WINNER AND NEW CHAMPION: YOSHIHIRO TAJIRI
I can’t rate a clip show, but this looked like it was a great match. I believe Crazy was having visa issues at the time, which meant they had to get the belt off him. He’s gone for quite a while after this actually, and doesn’t become a regular roster member again until later in the year.
Cyrus comes down to celebrate and declares that Tajiri will now hand the belt over to The Network, so that Rhino can have it, and he’ll do it at Cyber Slam. Before we can get a follow up on those comments, The Sandman joins us and unloads on Rhino with some Singapore cane shots. Rhino finally takes a bump after a number of shots, and Sandman adds even more shots once he goes down. They tease that Cyrus is going to get caned next, but The Network rescues him and Rhino then GORES both Sandman and HC Loc through a table in the corner. Fans keep chanting for Rob Van Dam, which eventually leads to RVD, Scotty Anton and Bill Alfonso coming down to the ring. RVD is all up for a fight, despite the numbers disadvantage, but Cyrus warns him not to. Rhino doesn’t want to avoid the fight though and demands the RVD get inside the ring to fight him. RVD skips around to show that his leg is now healed, but we cut away before we can see them go at it.
Falls Count Anywhere
Spanish Angel, Tony DeVito and Vic Grimes Vs Tommy Dreamer and New Jack
This seems prescient, seeing as VICE recently did a Dark Side of the Ring on New Jack, and they mentioned the incident between Jack and Grimes on that very show. Dreamer is wearing a tank top here with the sleeves cut off to make him look “Gangsta”, and all it really does is highlight why he was wrestling in a t-shirt at the time. Dreamer goes it alone for a bit, and fares pretty well, but eventually the numbers prove too much and he gets cut off as we take a break.
Back from the break, Da Baldies are taunting Dreamer over having no partner, which leads to New Jack finally making his entrance. After what happened to him at Living Dangerously it’s a miracle he’s even walking, let alone wrestling. Grimes quite smartly gets out of dodge, leaving it as a 2 on 2 match now. This is your typical New Jack match, as he hits people with weapons whilst his music plays. Weapons include a metal bin, a crutch and a toaster.
Dreamer and DeVito actually brawl into the streets, where it’s snowing. Wow, I didn’t know you’d get snow in Buffalo in April, but then again you can sometimes get snow at unusual times in the UK as well, especially if you live up north like I do (After writing this I messaged a friend of mine who lives in New York and he confirmed that snow in April isn’t outside of the norm for a place like Buffalo. I feel like I’ve learnt something, it’s a good day!)
Dreamer and DeVito brawl on top of some snow covered cars in a cool visual. This match has got much more entertaining since they’ve switched the focus to those two instead of the usual Angel/New Jack shenanigans that are going on in the ring. Dreamer and DeVito brawl back into the lobby of the building, where DeVito suplexes Dreamer onto a table, which doesn’t even bend in a rough looking bump. What is it with Dreamer taking silly bumps in this venue? This is the one where Louie Spicolli kicked him down some bleachers.
DeVito eventually manages to knock Dreamer off the stairs through a table, but Dreamer is able to kick out at two. If anyone has any memories of going to ECW shows at this venue then please feel free to share them in the comments. According to Wikipedia it’s got a 3000 seater gym and an Olympic sized swimming pool in it. That feels like a miss opportunity to be honest, but I’m guessing they made sure the pool was all locked up whenever the wrestling show came to town so as to avoid some ridiculous brawling in there? The last thing you’d probably want is big burly sweaty bleeding men fighting in your Olympic sized swimming pool!
Meanwhile, back in the ring New Jack is assaulting Angel with a golf club. Why he doesn’t actually try and win the match when he’s done nothing but destroy him and Angel has zero people to come and save him is beyond him. This is what New Jack has been waiting for, he’s been trying to get Angel all to himself for months so he could finish him off, and now Grimes has bolted whilst Dreamer has kept DeVito occupied, and he hasn’t even once tried to pin him. He makes his own problems really doesn’t he? Eventually he seems to realise this and decides to pin Angel with a weapon shot whilst Dreamer gives DeVito a Spicolli Driver through a table on the floor.
WINNERS: TOMMY DREAMER AND NEW JACK
I enjoyed the stuff with Dreamer and DeVito. That was some fun hardcore brawling!
Paul E hypes that Taz will shock the world following the break.
Back from the ads, Mike Awesome and Judge Jeff Jones are antagonising a crowd in Indianapolis after Awesome showed up on Nitro a few days prior. This leads to Taz returning from the WWF to challenge Awesome for the Title. This was done because Paul Heyman liked the idea of a WWF wrestler taking on a WCW wrestler in an ECW ring. I mean, it’s not the worst idea in theory, but it ended up biting him.
ECW World Title
Champ: Mike Awesome w/ Judge Jeff Jones Vs Taz
This is some neat symmetry actually, as Awesome originally won the belt from Taz and Taz made a big show of passing the torch to him, so it makes sense that he’d be annoyed about Awesome letting ECW down like this. This is a pretty quick match, as Dreamer gives Awesome a DDT and Taz locks in the Tazmission to win the Title.
WINNER AND NEW CHAMPION: TAZ
More of an angle than a match, but it popped the crowd. Paul E would go on to regret the decision to give the belt to Taz when the WWF made Taz do a job to WWF Champ Triple H on an episode of Smackdown not too long after this.
Mike Awesome quickly runs away following his loss, which kind of makes the match seem like it didn’t matter. This was more about ensuring the lineage of the Title though, as Heyman was generally against vacating a belt if he could avoid it.
We get a video detailing the history of the ECW Title to close us out.
Well, this was certainly a newsworthy episode wasn’t it? The whole saga with the ECW Title isn’t resolved yet, as Cyber Slam 2000 is on the horizon and even more crazy stuff happens on that one. I’ll look forward to covering all the fallout of this situation over the next couple of weeks on Hardcore TV. Make sure you join me for it!