Mike Reviews – ECW Hardcore Heaven 2000 (14/05/2000)

Hello You!

It’s time for another ECW pay per view, one of which I thankfully have the official Laser Light Digital version of so I can enjoy it with all the real music and whatnot. If I recall there is a really random edit in one of the matches that never made any sense to me, but we’ll cross that bridge when we get to it.

This event hasn’t been promoted all that great, with a paltry three matches officially announced on the go-home show. I’ve not bothered to go back and check what the buy rate was, but I imagine few outside of the ECW diehards were going to bother buying a show where more than half the card hadn’t been confirmed in advance. That might still mean that the show defeats WCW Slamboree 2000 though, as when it comes to having barely any of the card announced or a full card with David Arquette defending his World Title in the Main Event, the former is likely to do better than the latter.

The event is emanating from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Calling the action are Joey Styles and Joel Gertner

Joey and Joel are in the ring to do the usual intro. Amazingly Gertner gets through this one without Cyrus coming down to try and oust him as colour commentator. At this stage, Joey and Joel are supposed to react to Tommy Dreamer stumbling into the building with blood on his face, but the cameraman sadly misses it so they instead just stand awkwardly in the ring before walking off. The camera pans around the building for a bit and then Balls Mahoney comes down to the ring, basically getting through his entire song. This is probably the cleanest and best version that you can find of the Boner version of his entrance music by the way. Well, that’s an auspicious way to start us out isn’t it?

Opening Match
Balls Mahoney Vs Masato Tanaka

Balls and Tanaka were ECW Tag Team Champions at one stage, and this is about as much of a good spirited violent brawl that it’s possible for two people to have. However, before the match can start, Cyrus shows up and has W*ing Kanemura choke out Gertner so that he can take over colour commentary duties. They had me going there for a second I have to admit.

Both men actually do some wrestling to start, and the crowd responds well to it. Things eventually turn into a slugfest though, which Balls gets the better off with some devastating jabs before getting a nice lariat for two. Balls misses a spin wheel kick and ends up taking a spill to the floor, which leads to Tanaka following up with a dive. Balls catches the dive though and douses Tanaka with some beer, which is a spot you probably wouldn’t see in a post COVID-19 world.

We head over to the ramp, which is going right up to the ring tonight in classic WCW style, where Tanaka gets a big running chair shot before adding a Tornado DDT for good measure. Back inside we go, where it’s time for the dreaded chair duel. That ends up going Balls’ way and he brains Tanaka with some horrific unprotected chair shots. Seriously, how is Masato Tanaka even alive, let alone wrestling?!?!

Tanaka somehow recovers from chair shots that would hospitalise most human beings, only to then have a chair super kicked into his face for good measure. Balls makes a pile of chairs in the ring, but that ends with him taking a DDT onto them all for two. The crowd is loving this is should add. I’m glad Masato Tanaka losing brain cells is giving them such a good time. Balls gets the Nutracker Suite (Kind of a Michinoku Driver) but Tanaka kicks out at two.

Balls misses a charge in the corner and that allows Tanaka to get the coolest move in wrestling in the form of the Diamond Dust for two. Seriously, Google it, it’s amazing. Balls keeps coming though and gets another Nutcracker Suite onto the mountain of chairs, which Tanaka somehow kicks out of to a giant pop from the crowd. This has been one heck of an opener I must say. Balls misses a leg drop from the second rope and eats a Roaring Elbow for two straight after.

Tanaka comes off the top rope with a disgusting chair shot to Balls before following up with another Roaring Elbow, which is finally enough to put Balls out for a count of three after an absolute war. As Joey says on commentary “There’s only so much trauma a human being can stand”. Well quite.

WINNER: MASATO TANAKA
RATING: ***1/4

Heck of a wild opener there. I must say that my 2020 eyes find all the chair shots pretty gross to watch, especially as, despite what people in wrestling like to pretend, it was well known even back in the year 2000 that taking ludicrous chair shots to the head unprotected like that was probably not a safe thing to be doing. I can’t deny that the match was super exciting though, because it was, and the crowd loved it.

Both men get rapturous applause from the crowd following that and shake hands to show that all the horrific damage they just did to one another was all in good clean fun.

Lance Storm and Dawn Marie do a promo backstage. Storm says that The Clique looked out for Justin Credible in ECW, but he has no one to watch his back tonight and it’s over.

Joey and Cyrus recap the situation between Credible and Storm. Credible threw down the tag belts to win the World Title and now Storm wants revenge.

Match Two
Simon Diamond w/ The Prodigy Tom Marquez, The Prodigette, The Musketeer and Mitch
Vs
Little Guido w/ Big Sal
Vs
Mikey Whipwreck w/ The Sinister Minister

Quite the random collection of people for this one. Listening to Diamond’s Drain STH entrance theme fills me with all kinds of nostalgia, as does Mikey’s wacky evil music with the Minister laughing in the background. Guido actually gets something bordering on a star reaction from the crowd, which is a testament to how good a job they’ve done over the past year or so of pushing him as a credible wrestler rather than just being comedy enhancement talent.

Sal has an eye patch on here, courtesy of a fireball from the Minster. And for a second I thought it meant he’d formed some kind of alliance with Quebecer Pierre. That one must have happened on the TNN show, because it certainly didn’t happen on Hardcore TV. Diamond tries to form an alliance with Guido, but Guido quickly betrays him and we go straight into some quick paced action. It’s strange to me that they’d have a thrown together Three Way Dance like this when the Main Event is supposed to be a Three Way Dance too.

Some of the camerawork is pretty good here, as they get right into the action sometimes with some good angles. No one really dominates the action and everyone is given a chance to hit some big moves. It’s a bit Indyriffic, but it’s also fun to watch and Diamond gets some good character work in by being a duplicitous cheat. Sadly there are some technical issues and the lights go out on the building, meaning we have to get the spotlight for the rest of it. That clearly throws everyone off, but we still get a big dive spot where Mikey takes out all the managers.

Sal decides he’s had enough of this mother loving Simon Diamond menagerie on this Monday to Friday pay per view event and takes them out, whilst all three guys trade near falls inside the ring. Mikey eventually takes Diamond out with a Whippersnapper (Stunner) leaving us with Mikey Vs Guido. Mikey actually busts out a prototypical version of the Colt 45, which pops the crowd big time and looks awesome, but sadly Guido immediately kicks out of it to kill it as a finisher.

Man, that would have blown the roof off if that had been the finish. Less is more sometimes guys. That being said, I’m sure the older and wiser Mikey and Guido would agree. Guido tries leaping off Sal’s shoulder with an elbow drop, but Mikey moves and then throws fire in Sal’s good eye. This allows Guido to get the Tomikaze though and that’s enough for the pin.

WINNER: LITTLE GUIDO
RATING: **1/2

This was pretty sloppy in places, but it was generally quite fun to watch. It’s just a shame they had the issue with the lights going out. Joey didn’t blame it on the competition at least.

Justin Credible and Francine cut a promo backstage. Credible brags about everyone wanting to kick his butt because he threw down the tag belts. He says that tonight he’s going to be making an impact.

Match Three
CW Anderson w/ Lou E. Dangerously, Beautiful Billy and Elektra Vs Kid Kash

Lou E does his usual cheap heat promo, which always works despite how corny it is every time. We once again get the tease of Elektra getting her kit off, with Lou E laying it on thick saying that her body is all natural and she never has to wear makeup. He makes the mistake of saying that Elektra is the toughest woman in wrestling though, which leads to the obvious pay off of Jazz coming down to beat her up. Jazz removes Elektra’s jacket, only to reveal that she’s wearing a Mike Awesome T-Shirt under it to once again deny the crowd some skin.

Jazz rips the shirt off as well to reveal an extremely skimpy outfit, but this earns her a spine buster from CW. Kash sprints down after that and the match is on. The New DA have a fluorescent yellow and pink coloured gear tonight, which makes them look like a pack of Belmont Iced Rings (OSW you can have that one for free). Kash does a big dive to the outside on the heels and then shines on CW back inside before taking out Billy with a rana on the floor. The crowd is into Kash’s stuff and pop big for all his high spots.

CW counters a rana into a sit out power bomb back inside though, which allows him to work a heat segment. CW’s stuff looks nice and vicious, suiting his enforcer gimmick. Billy and Lou E get their cheap shots in when they can as well, with Kash getting the occasional hope spot, including a fantastic springboard cross body. One of my favourite moves CW used to do was the Ferris wheel suplex, which was kind of a combination T-Bone/Snap suplex that usually always looked great.

I know some here on the Blog don’t have much time for CW, but I think he was a solid mid card act. Heel miscommunication sees Lou E clock Billy with his mobile phone by accident, taking him out of the match. Kash quickly follows up with a rana from the top rope to pick up the three count.

WINNER: KID KASH
RATING: **3/4

Little bit too short to be any higher, but it was another fun outing that allowed both men to show what they were capable of, with Kash hitting his hot moves and CW being a gruff fighter. Good stuff.

Rob Van Dam is backstage in the locker room with Bill Alfonso and Scotty Anton. Fonzie asks RVD if his ankle is taped up enough, and RVD tells him to relax on focus on just blowing his whistle. RVD says he isn’t over confident and drops an F-Bomb because they are on pay per view. Scotty says he’s excited to see the match.

Joey recaps what should have happened in the opening segment, by confirming that Dreamer came into the building a bloody mess as a result of a Justin Credible attack. Cyrus uses this as a chance to big up TNN, bragging that the WWF will soon be on The Network. Dreamer has apparently been told to take the night off, but he’s refused and will still compete.

Match Four
Da Baldies (Spanish Angel and Tony DeVito) Vs Nova and Chris Chetti Vs Danny Doring and Roadkill

Intergalactic is such great music for Nova and Chetti, it’s a real shame that the generic dubbed theme they use on the WWE Network just doesn’t suit them at all. Nova has either symbiote Spiderman or straight up Venom themed gear on tonight, which looks really cool. This is a big brawl right from the off, with no one really bothering with tags and just going at it. As a result it’s dives and action galore, and like the previous Three Way Dance it’s mostly good chaotic fun with a few sloppy moments. I can live with that in this sort of match though, it’s not like I’m expecting DragonGate smoothness.

Every team gets some near falls and a chance to hit their big double team maneuverers, and everything looks good for the most part. Da Baldies and Roadkill keep up pretty well with the nippier other guys, and all three teams bring something a little different to the table. Nova does get a fantastic move where he Stunners one Baldy whilst DDT’ing the other, which leads to Vic Grimes coming down to help his Baldy brethren. In the confusion, Angel hits Doring with a guitar that Grimes brought with him to get the three count and eliminate Doring and Roadkill.

Roadkill decides to be a poor sport about it and gives Grimes an incredible splash through a table to take him out of things. That was amazing, as Grimes was on the table outside the ring and Roadkill did a springboard splash from the top rope inside the ring to the outside. Mental! I’m amazed he didn’t break his knees or something. Meanwhile, Nova pulls off another wacky move when Da Baldies put him in the Tree of Woe, as he bridges up to catch a charging Angel with a Diamond Cutter in a fantastic spot. That looked awesome. Nova and Chetti follow up with The Tidal Wave (Leg drop/splash combo from the top rope) on DeVito and that’s enough for the three count.

WINNERS: NOVA AND CHRIS CHETTI
RATING: ***

This show has been hot action packed match after hot action packed match so far and it’s been a blast. This was a total spot fest, but it was a wonderfully exciting one with all kinds of wacky dives and double teams. How Roadkill and Grimes both survived that table spot is beyond me, but it looked absolutely wild. Nova and Chetti were really getting into a grove as a team by this stage, with Nova in particular really starting to up his game, and this was a big win for them that made them look like Champions in waiting. Great fun!

Da Baldies attack Nova and Chetti following the match, which leads to the inevitable battle between New Jack and Angel when he comes down for the rescue.

Match Five
King of the Streets
Spanish Angel Vs New Jack

This is the usual Baldies Vs New Jack match, as he comes down to the ring with a collection of weapons and proceeds to pulverise them from pillar to post. The weapons tonight include a computer key board and a fork. DeVito blades big off the fork shot, as you’d imagine. Luckily for Grimes he’s already been taken out, so he doesn’t need to worry about New Jack getting revenge on him for what happened at Living Dangerously 2000…yet.

A bloody DeVito is dragged into the crowd, which eventually leads to New Jack putting him on a table and then leaping off a balcony to put him through it. This one is done safely at least, as New Jack catches him cleanly. It shows you can do those sorts of spots safely I guess, but most of the time it’s a risk that isn’t really worth taking. It always amazes me that WWE are still doing those wacky bumps off the Hell in a Cell these days, although I suppose if you want to do it then there’s probably no safer environment to do it in owing to the WWE’s insane level of micro-management.

Nova and Chetti get some revenge on Angel by stopping him from escaping, which allows New Jack to smash a guitar over his head. This Nova and New Jack friendship is something I really had no memory of but they definitely seemed to have each other’s’ backs on more than one occasion. New Jack follows with a chair assisted splash from the top rope, and that’s enough for the win.

WINNER AND KING OF THE STREETS: NEW JACK
RATING: N/A

I really have no idea how to rate these New Jack brawls, so I don’t think I will. It was entertaining for what it was though and the crowd seemed to like it. A New Jack match where no one gets seriously hurt is something to be happy about most of the time.

We get a few angles of that New Jack dive and I have to admit that it looked spectacular.

Match Six
Steve Corino w/ Jack Victory (High Spot!) Vs Yoshihiro Tajiri

The story here is that Tajiri was in The Network with Corino, but got kicked out when he refused to give up the TV Title to Rhino. Corino gives Tajiri one last chance to re-join the faction, but makes the mistake of calling Tajiri a (And please bear in mind I am only repeating what he said) “slant eyed bastard”, which of course leads to Tajiri kicking him in the head to start the match. You know, when you have to resort to straight up racism in order to get booed you probably don’t have the strongest heel act to begin with. This was an issue Corino was having at the time, as he was trying to go for a harder heel edge and hadn’t quite gotten it right yet.

This is good action right from the off, as Tajiri kicks and chops away at Corino before giving him a brain buster on the entrance ramp, which leads to Corino doing the mega blade job, which was quickly becoming a big part of his act. Tajiri gnaws on the cut back inside the ring, going pure 100% evil Tajiri in the way only he can. Tajiri continues to welly poor Corino, who is certainly taking his licks in this one. Blood is quite literally oozing out of Corino’s head, even going onto the camera lens at one stage.

Victory provides a distraction however, which allows Corino to catch him with a super kick. Tajiri keeps coming however and kicks a chair into Corino’s face before heading outside for a table. Tajiri sets the table up inside the ring and then dropkicks that into Corino’s face, sending Corino tumbling down the entrance ramp in a fantastic spot. That was some fantastic bumping from Corino there. Tajiri dives out onto both heels on the ramp, but when he runs at Corino he ends up taking a back body drop over the ropes into the ring through the table for two.

Corino has bled so much that his face is literally glistening. I mean, we’re talking Venom Snake at the end of Metal Gear Solid V here. This is one of the gnarliest blade jobs I’ve ever seen. It’s up there with Great Muta in 1992 and Eddie Guerrero in 2004. Corino works over Tajiri for a bit, but Tajiri goes to the Cobra Twist on him and then spits green mist in Victory’s face. Corino manages to snap off a power slam on Tajiri for two, but that’s it for his offence in the match, as Tajiri unloads with kicks and punches before setting Corino up on a table and double stomping him through it for the win.

However, on the Laser Light Digital DVD release we cut from Tajiri setting Corino up on the table to getting his hand raised whilst Corino lies in the wreckage. To this day I have no idea why that finish got cut from the DVD and VHS releases of this show (As I’ve seen both). Back when I was younger I thought it was because the finish was so violent they couldn’t show it, but I’ve since seen it and it’s just a double stomp through a table. It’s certainly no worse than Corino using outright racist language in the pre-match promo, yet that made the final cut. Part of me thinks that Laser Light cut it by accident and just didn’t bother recalling the tape because not enough people complained or something, but it’s bugged me for twenty years.

WINNER: YOSHIHIRO TAJIRI
RATING: ***3/4

Use of blood in wrestling is a divisive subject, with some really disliking it and others really loving it. I’m kind of in the middle, as I don’t like blood for bloods sake, but when you use it right it can really add to a match or angle. This is a case where the blood really added to the presentation, as it helped make the match feel like a hate filled war and really added to the drama. It also helped make Corino look good in defeat, as he bled an absolute gusher but kept coming despite it, so he gained something even though he eventually got beaten pretty decisively. A really great match and definitely one worth seeking out on The Network if you’ve never seen it, especially as you’ll actually get to see the finish that way. I have no idea if the RF Video cut of the show includes the finish or not. Something tells me it was just a screw up at Laser Light Digitals end and the North American release should hopefully not be affected.

W*ing Kanemura attacks Tajiri following the match, which leads to Dusty Rhodes of all people coming down to make the rescue. Rhino comes down to attack Dusty however, which leads to Sandman sauntering down to the ring to “make the save”. It’s not really much of a save if you take forever to come out and allow the heels to batter the other babyfaces before you get there Jim. You may as well not have bothered.

Match Seven
ECW TV Title
Champ: Rhino Vs The Sandman

Rhino attacked Sandman’s wife at Living Dangerously to get him all good and riled up for this one. Sandman is going for the ECW Triple Crown here, as he had previously held the World and Tag Titles. This match had been promised but not delivered on for the previous two events, so it had quite a bit to live up to here considering all the months of build-up. Sadly Sandman had gotten back into “Sandman Shape” as opposed to “Hardcore Hak Shape” by the time this one came along, so it’s mostly just him stumbling through a brawl whilst Rhino tries to hold things together.

To be honest I’m being a tad harsh. This isn’t a terrible brawl or anything, and they do some good inventive spots, such as Rhino setting a table up vertically against the ropes and then trying to get a running GORE off a chair, only for Sandman to move and send him crashing through the table. Sandman follows up with a piledriver following that, which gets two. I’m not so sure I’d want an intoxicated man doing such a potentially dangerous move like that to me to be honest.

Steve Corino and Jack Victory (High Spot!) run down to try and help Rhino, which leads to Sandman’s wife Lori running down to try and help out her husband. In the confusion, Rhino gives Sandman a piledriver on the ramp and then drags Lori onto the apron, where he piledrives her through a table in a genuine holy-poop moment. That was a ridiculous bump for someone like Lori to take, but she took it like a hero. Rhino tries to GORE her through a table next, but Sandman rescues her with his Singapore cane. He’s distracted by trying to help her however, which allows Rhino to GORE them both through the table for the three count.

WINNER AND STILL CHAMPION: RHINO
RATING: **

That was better than I thought it was going to be to be honest. Still not really at the level that I’d expect a big hyped pay per view match to be, but it certainly wasn’t a disaster or anything. They smartly decided to keep it pretty short and just kept it mostly to brawling, which didn’t expose Sandman too much and still allowed Rhino to do some impressive big moves to get him over. I’d consider it a tentative success, although I’d bet on us getting at least one rematch due to Sandman having Rhino on the ropes until Corino and Victory made their presence known.

Rhino wishes Lori a “happy f’n mothers day” whilst she lies in the wreckage. Classy.

Match Eight
Jerry Lynn Vs Rob Van Dam w/ Bill Alfonso and Scotty Anton

RVD broke his leg a few months before this and got a big hyped up return, which annoyed Lynn seeing as he got injured and was pretty much forgotten about. Thus Lynn has a bit of a meaner edge to him for this one, with a side story being that The Network are trying to recruit him by using his dislike of RVD as a motivating factor. True story, when I first heard RVD’s music I’d never listened to Pantera before, so I mistook the lyrics for “Grief. Sweat. War!” instead of “Re. Spect. Walk”. I made a similar mistake with “How Bizarre” by OMC, and thought the singer was saying “How was that?”. Why not share your own favourite misheard song lyric in the comments below?

The fans chant “Welcome back” to RVD before the match starts as well, which only serves to annoy Lynn further. Both these men had their chemistry down by this stage, so they open up the bout with some fantastic chain wrestling, with an added touch of speed and flair due to their wrestling styles. Eventually it all ends in a Central American standoff and the crowd gives them a deserved round of applause. I can’t even do that segment justice, it was outstanding. These two really were the first time I ever got to see this level of counter wrestling, because the WWF was mostly big guys brawling until The Radicalz jumped ship in 2000 and I didn’t see WCW until it was on Channel 5 in the UK, which wasn’t until 1999.

They tell a good story following that, as RVD gets the better of a few exchanges but always stops to hotdog, which leads to Lynn losing his cool and sending RVD outside for a flipping dive to the floor. RVD gains control outside the ring however and kicks Lynn into the front row before leg dropping him whilst he leans over the railings. Lynn is able to dodge an Asai moonsault off the railing however and RVD thuds down onto the wooden floor, which Lynn gets a two count from back inside. Lynn controls things inside the ring for a bit, getting some nice stuff. It’s not really a heat segment though as Lynn isn’t cheating or anything and isn’t trying to draw heel heat.

Eventually RVD manages to block a Tornado DDT and that leads to a double clothesline for a double down. Fonzie passes a recovering RVD a chair, and he throws it at Lynn for the Van Daminator, only for Lynn to cut the Gordian Knot by just flinging the chair back at him. I think Stranger Lewis did a similar counter during his 173 minute classic with Custard La Crème in Dortmund back in the 1920’s. RVD comes back with a spinning wheel kick though and then follows with a Rolling Thunder for two. Interestingly it’s clear that Lynn has his supporters in the crowd, which means RVD gets the odd scattered boo when he running dropkicks a chair into Lynn’s face for another two count.

Lynn responds by power bombing RVD onto a chair, which gets him a near fall. RVD folded himself up following that and it looked incredible. We get a big superplex from the top rope next, but RVD is once again able to kick out. As Joey says on commentary, both men are emptying their arsenals here in a quest to win. RVD’s fans become a tad more vocal now that Lynn has him on the run. A table gets involved next (Because of course it does) as both fight over putting the other through it, which eventually leads to Lynn bulldogging RVD off the apron to send both men through the table. Not the smartest move on Lynn’s part there, as it likely hurt him just as much.

Lynn tries to follow up with a cannonball dive off the apron, but RVD moves and he ends up taking out Anton instead. Lynn’s back appears to be bleeding following that bulldog, which hopefully doesn’t lead to him catching something from the blood stained dirty ring mat. Fonzie gets involved to help his man, which leads to RVD getting a Van Daminator and a chair enhanced Five Star Frogsplash. However, this is the cue for Steve Corino and Jack Victory (High Spot!) running down to attack RVD. Lynn actually helps RVD fight them off as he wants to win fairly, but whilst he fights with them Rhino runs down to attack both men.

Cyrus leaves the commentary booth to egg Rhino on, but RVD fights back and manages to take Rhino out with a flying kick before giving Cyrus the Van Daminator. RVD tries to throw the chair at Lynn next, but Lynn ducks and Fonzie catches it instead, leading to Lynn giving him a Van Daminator. RVD Van Daminates him though and heads up top for another Frogsplash, which leads to Anton shoving RVD off the top rope onto the ramp in a gnarly looking bump to go heel. To be honest, they’d been teasing that one for a couple of weeks on Hardcore TV, with Anton looking annoyed at RVD’s antics. Lynn pounces with a Cradle Piledriver (What happened to wanting to win it fairly?) but RVD kicks out at two, so he follows with another onto a chair to FINALLY defeat Rob Van Dam after over a year of trying.

WINNER: JERRY LYNN
RATING: ***1/2

This was tootling along just fine but then got pretty overbooked and a tad sloppy in the closing exchanges. What annoyed me is that they really didn’t need The Network run-in. Anton going heel was a big enough SWERVE on its own and would have been fine as an ending (especially if they followed the logical route of having Lynn miss it, which would have made his actions at the end seem less snide). Adding The Network into things just made it convoluted and took away from the two big story points of Anton betraying his friend and Lynn finally defeating RVD. Plus, it made this match feel too similar to the previous one. I will concede that it was nice to finally see Lynn defeat RVD though. That one was a long time coming.

Lynn shows little concern for RVD following the match, as Joey tries to push that Lynn didn’t see Anton interfere. I don’t know Joey, it seemed pretty clear that he knew, especially as he clearly saw Anton throw an injured RVD back into the ring. Unless he was under the mistaken belief that RVD’s pre-match space cake had repeated on him badly and Anton was just giving him a helping hand, it was pretty obvious that foul play was at hand.

Main Event
ECW Title
Champ: Justin Credible w/ Francine Vs Lance Storm w/ Dawn Marie Vs Thomas Dreamer w/out a pot to piss in

I decided to have a read of the Wrestling Observer recap of this one, and apparently there were plans earlier in the day to add Raven to this one (As he was apparently at the show) but they eventually decided not to. Because Raven isn’t going to be in the match anymore to distract from the fact that Dreamer isn’t going to win, they decide to instead just turn this into a singles match between Credible and Storm so that Dreamer doesn’t have to eat a pin and can challenge for the Title at Heatwave.

The storyline reason they give is that Credible demands for this to become a singles match with Storm, otherwise he’ll vacate the belt and throw it down. Dreamer is all up for a fight, but officials (including Paul Heyman) run down to talk him out of it, thus taking the wind out of the crowd and leaving us with a singles match of Credible and Storm. Storm was WCW bound and had gone to the trouble of saying goodbye to everyone at the show, so they decided to make the most of his last show by having him put Credible over. Dreamer shakes Storm’s hand before the match starts in an effort to turn Storm face and get the crowd behind him.

Dawn looks resplendent in a navy blue outfit, as I ponder what will happen to her now that Storm is jumping ship. I’m surprised WCW didn’t try to bring in Dawn too, as she really adds to Storm’s act and Vince Russo would have been in hog heaven having a gorgeous gal like that to get into mud matches and the like. Storm is working this one as a clear babyface here, as he bumps Credible around and sends him outside for a dive. Credible manages to catch him on the way down with a shot from his Singapore cane though, which leads to both men trading chops on the floor. Storm actually blades from the cane shot, which is one of the rare occasions I can remember him bleeding.

Credible works on the cut back inside, although no one is topping the blade job Corino did earlier in the night. The fans chant for Dreamer, which was always going to happen when they were bait and switched like that, which is a shame as the work in this one has been good for the most part, as you’d imagine it would be with guys who’d been working with one another as a team for as long as these two had. Storm makes a comeback with some impressive looking dropkicks before countering a Tombstone Piledriver attempt into a Northern Lights Suplex for a near fall. Credible replies with a super kick after that for a two of his own, as Dawn tries to get the crowd into it.

The heat for this has been disappointing, especially as I think it’s been a decent match. I’ll be honest and say that it doesn’t really feel like a big pay per view Main Event, but it’s certainly a solid bout that delivers on what you’d want from The Impact Players EXPLODING. Storm at one stage hip tosses Credible out of the ring through a table on the entrance ramp, but the pin back inside the ring gets barely any reaction. Storm goes to the Canadian Maple Leaf next, but Francine comes in to break that up, which leads to our contractually mandated catfight between her and Dawn.

Credible gives Dawn a Tombstone to take her out, but that allows Storm to get a cane shot and a piledriver for two. Again, that should have been a hot near fall, but the crowd barely cared. Credible manages to catch Storm with a Tombstone next, but Storm kicks out, again to a disappointing reaction. These are some good near falls but the crowd is pretty much giving them nothing, which is sad to see. After some counters, Credible finally manages to get Storm with another Tombstone, which is enough for the three count.

WINNER AND STILL CHAMPION: JUSTIN CREDIBLE
RATING: **1/2

This is where the alarms bell would have been going off for me if I were Paul Heyman, as Credible went out there and had a decent match but the crowd just were not playing ball and cared more about seeing Dreamer or the girl’s catfight. That’s not a good sign for the guy who is supposed to be your World Champion.

Tommy Dreamer runs down post-match and canes Credible before delivering a Spicolli Driver to Francine, which finally wakes the crowd up. Ah, ECW fans, they’ll sit on their hands for a good wrestling match but will absolutely lose their tiny little minds when a broad gets pulverised. They’re a truly classy bunch aren’t they?

In Conclusion

Flat ending aside, this was one heck of a pay per view, with great energy in the first half especially and nothing I’d really consider bad. Definitely one of the best pay per view events ECW ever put on and it’s an easy recommendation. If you have the WWE Network or fancy picking up the DVD then I sincerely believe that you’ll be satisfied.