ECW have done a decent 6 weeks or so of hype for this show so I’m actually looking forward to it. Hopefully the show delivers. There are certainly some matches here that have the potential for being good provided they get enough time and everyone’s performances are on point.
Let’s see whether ECW’s big event of the summer will be a sizzling success or a blasé burnout.
The show is emanating from Los Angeles, California on the 16th of July 2000
Calling the action are Joey Styles and Joel Gertner (Pfft, yeah RIGHT!)
We open up with a bikini clad Jasmine St Clare on the beach with The Blue Boy (The new slimmed down Blue Meanie). Meanie did one heck of a job losing all that weight. Blue Boy targets a clearly not overweight person and makes fun of him for being “fat” whilst Jasmine “acts” by laughing along. Jasmine low blows the guy when he gets angry at this. We pan over to the Sinister Minister, who says that tonight isn’t the “City of Angels” but rather a “Devil’s Playground”, and then does a great job hyping up the show before closing with a trademark cackle whilst Mikey Whipwreck is buried up to his neck in the sand.
From that we head to the ring, where Joey Styles and Joel Gertner look to do the usual show intro. However, before we can get to it Cyrus comes down to the ring to try and take over colour commentary duties as per usual. Gertner chews him out but then decides to leave because Cyrus isn’t worth it. Cyrus crows about how Gertner is gutless, so Joel returns and attacks him. This is the same opening stuff we’ve seen for months and it still hasn’t had a real payoff of any kind. It’s always funny to me as well that WWE lifted the whole “Excuse Me” Vicky Guerrero gag from Don Callis. Joel gets carried away by security, which leads to Full Blooded Italian members Tony Mamaluke and Big Sal coming down to attack some referees for some reason, which also leads to Balls Mahoney coming down for the opener.
Big Sal w/ Tony Mamaluke Vs Balls Mahoney
Sal no sells a sickening Balls chair shot and then drops an elbow before following up with a spine buster for the three count.
WINNER: BIG SAL
Not an auspicious choice for an opener. I really don’t get why they didn’t just have Balls win either, especially as Sal is just a bodyguard at the end of the day and Balls is an actual wrestler that they can do stuff with.
Rob Van Dam and Bill Alfonso cut a promo backstage. Tonight RVD debuts the Van Terminator.
We get clips from the ECW arena on the 8th of July, as Bobby Eaton comes down to attack Simon Diamond, Johnny Swinger and CW Anderson. Bobby does well for himself for a while but the numbers prove too much and he gets overwhelmed. This is to put heat on the CW Anderson and Kid Kash feud, due to Eaton being an idol of Kash.
Simon Diamond, Johnny Swinger and CW Anderson Vs Danny Doring, Roadkill and Kid Kash
Elektra and Lou E. Dangerously try to manage CW, but he’s having none of it and sends them away. Simon and Kash do a nice opening section before closing with a Central American standoff for a pop from the crowd. That was all very nice and they don’t really give Simon that much of a chance to show off his technical skills normally. Doring, Roadkill and Kash shine on the heels in the early going, which leads to everyone fighting outside. Starting the show with this match would have improved things tenfold, as it’s a perfect hot opener, with a good combination of impressive moves and character work. Eventually CW is able to catch Kash with a suplex and that leads to Kash getting worked over in the heel half of the ring.
Kash manages to catch CW with a moonsault press before tagging in Doring, who runs wild on the heels with some nice stuff, but he stops to mug for the camera and that allows Swinger to cut him off with a Russian Leg Sweep for our second heat segment. All three guys on the heel team are solid workers, with Simon and Swinger having some good cocky charisma whilst CW brings the heel intensity, so the heat on Doring is worked well in an entertaining fashion. They don’t overdo it and Doring eventually catches CW with a Rocker Dropper before making the hot tag to Roadkill, which gets a great pop from the crowd.
Roadkill runs wild on the heels with big impact moves and clotheslines, which all look good and get a great reaction from the crowd. Things breakdown with all the faces doing dives out onto the floor, with Roadkill’s getting the biggest reaction of them all. This is like the prototype for a great opening match, all it needs is a ten punch or something. Following the dives we move into the ring for some near falls, with Simon and Swinger managing to catch Roadkill with a double superples, which gets two when Kash makes the save. Simon and Swinger try The Problem Solver on Doring, but Kash makes the save and then catches Swinger with a double under hook piledriver for the 3 count.
WINNERS: DORING, ROADKILL & KASH
This was a darn good six man tag; with hot moves to pop the crowd and some good heel work from the losers so that they gained something in defeat. It might have been a tad too early to have the heels do a job due to them still being a new act together, but putting the faces over in the way they did felt like the right call to me, as the live crowd loved it and it finally got the show going after a lousy start.
Rhino cuts a promo on The Sandman, where he brags about putting Sandman’s wife Lori in the hospital. He invites Sandman to bring all he can tonight, because the TV Title is his life and Sandman will not be taking it.
Steve Corino w/ Jack Victory (HIGH SPOT) Vs Jerry Lynn
Corino is representing The Network here whilst Jerry Lynn is here to defend the honour of ECW after refusing to join the same heel stable. Lynn runs wild on Corino in the early going, showing some good fire as Corino bumps around for him. Lynn has really been upping the intensity since coming back from the injury he suffered in the winter, and it’s been giving his matches a different edge. In the early going Lynn DDT’s Corino on the floor and Corino comes up bleeding an absolute gusher with one of his now customary big pay per view blade jobs.
Lynn shows off his new more aggressive side by working the cut back inside, as Corino to continues to sell everything really well before gutting it out and countering a ten punch into a sit out power bomb. Seeing Corino evolve from being a cowardly heel akin to WCW Era Chris Jericho into a more Tully Blanchard like despicable heel who still has guts despite being a jerk has been one of the more entertaining elements of doing these ECW reviews. They’re probably trying to move him up a tad too quickly, but needs must considering the fact heels like Mike Awesome and Lance Storm have jumped ship to WCW. They need some new stars and Corino makes as good a choice as any due to his promo ability and the fact he can have good matches.
Corino works some heat on Lynn, giving the crowd some backchat in the process, but he can’t put Lynn away. His face is utterly caked in blood, with all of his hair dyed red as a result, which is a super gory visual. The only downside to the match is that Lynn’s eventual comeback just doesn’t get the reaction you’d expect it to, as he makes a nice fired up fight back and then DDT’s Corino onto a chair for a great near fall, but the crowd doesn’t pop like you’d think they would. Lynn ups the gore factor by writing “DIE” on his own mid-section in Corino’s blood, in a disgusting moment that you probably wouldn’t get today due to all the issues with Abdullah The Butcher bleeding on people and giving them blood diseases.
Maybe I’m looking at it all wrong though? Lynn could have just been trying to write “The Corino The” in German but ran out of space? I think even the usual bloodthirsty ECW crowd is a bit freaked out by that one, as it gets more of a surprise reaction than a big cheer. Corino keeps coming though and super kicks Lynn for two before heading up top for something. Lynn prevents whatever he had in mind though and then gets a reverse DDT from the second rope for two. The near falls have been done well here, but again the match is lacking some heat, especially considering how hot the crowd was for that six man tag.
Jack Victory fails using powder, so ends up clocking both Lynn and the referee with punches, which allows Corino to hit Lynn with one of his wrestling boots. Lynn gets an O’Connor Roll but there’s no ref to count, which allows Victory to hit Lynn with a cow bell, which gets two for Corino from the revived ref in another good near fall. They’ve worked this one really well and the closing stretch has been a lot of fun. We get the fishtail sequence with both men going for pins, which finally gets them a nice reaction from the crowd, and Lynn is eventually able to put Corino away with the Cradle Piledriver after a WAR.
WINNER: JERRY LYNN
Corino actually gets some applause from the crowd following the bout due to his gutsy bloody effort.
We get clips from Hardcore Heaven 2000, where Rhino defeats The Sandman and piledrives his wife Lori through a table off the apron.
Following those clips we get a promo from The Sandman and Lori, where The Sandman says his kids have been asking him when their mum is coming home from the hospital. Rhino interrupts the promo and tries to shove Lori’s head down the toilet, but security breaks it up.
Joey then welcomes Dawn Marie to the commentary table, and she’s looking resplendent in a fury green outfit. Cyrus of course drools all over her whilst Joey looks on embarrassed.
Hometown hero New Jack comes down to the ring on crutches due to having a broken leg. He’s super over, as you’d imagine. Da Baldies of Spanish Angel and Tony DeVito run down to attack him, which leads to Nova and Chris Chetti running down for the save to give us an impromptu match.
Da Baldies Vs Nova and Chetti
Nova has Flash inspired gear on here, as he continues to deliver some great super hero themed wrestling attire on these pay per views. I still think his symbiote Spider-Man outfit on the last show was better though. Nova and Chetti run wild in the early going with some nicely executed high spots before things settle into more of a normal tag match as Da Baldies work some heat on Nova. Nova sells it well and the crowd gets behind him.
The heat doesn’t go on for too long and Chetti soon gets a hot tag before running wild on the heels with some big kicks and slams. Things break down with everyone going at it in the ring, which leads to DeVito trying to moonsault Chetti. Chetti dodges that and Nova punishes DeVito with two rolling piledrivers into a sit out power bomb for a big pop. That looked outstanding! If you’re going to do a shedload of spots and big moves then make sure you do them well at least. With DeVito taken out, The Tidal Wave follows on Angel for the three count.
WINNERS: NOVA & CHETTI
This was on the short side but it was a fun rush of energy whilst it happened.
Tommy Dreamer cuts a very good promo about how much he loves wrestling, even though it has taken a lot from him including friends and women. He did it all for the big payoff of being the Champion, but Justin Credible and Francine took it from him. Dreamer adds that he doesn’t do it the easy way like they do, and he symbolises that by head butting a locker until he bleeds. Sadly the ring announcer cuts in just before the dramatic final line, which ruins it somewhat, but it was still a great promo that has stuck with me all these years.
Guido Maritato Vs Psicosis Vs Yoshihiro Tajiri
This is an “International Three Way Dance”, which I guess means Psi is playing the role of Super Crazy tonight after leaving WCW earlier in the year. Before the match can officially start Mikey Whipwreck and The Sinister Minister join us, and he attacks everyone which leads to him getting added to the match to make this a Four Way Dance. Mikey is over with the crowd and him being involved freshens things up considerably. Tony Mamaluke and Big Sal come down to the ring, which leads to Mikey getting rammed into the ring post and then eliminated by Guido. Booooooooooooo, I was enjoying Mikey’s antics and his elimination takes the air out of the crowd a bit.
Tajiri is super over with the crowd also and they pop big when he moonsaults out onto the remaining two opponents. This is a great showcase for him actually, as his offence looks good and he radiates a real star aura. Psi doesn’t last much longer and is soon eliminated via two big impact moves from the other two competitors. You know, if you’d shaved off some of the bull shine in the opening sections of the show you could possibly have given this one more time so that Mikey and Psi could have had more to do.
That leaves us with yet another match between Guido and Tajiri, which we’ve seen many times before at this stage, but there at least hasn’t been that many bouts between them on Hardcore TV recently, so I’ll let it slide somewhat, especially as both men do some nice work together and the crowd are into it. Guido sells all of Tajiri’s offence well and goes for the Tomikaze on a chair in reply, but Tajiri spits the mist in his eyes and then follows up with a Brain Buster for the three count.
This was a good but felt like a bit of a missed opportunity due to how short it was. I’d be fine with seeing it again on TV if they were given more time so that Mikey and Psi could get more of a showcase.
Guido gets a show of appreciation following the match but tells the fans to stick it so that they boo him again. Ah that Guido, always a heel to the end.
Justin Credible and Francine cut a promo backstage, where Credible says he doesn’t like barbed wire but that he’ll put up with it if that’s what he needs to do to defeat Tommy Dreamer later on tonight.
ECW TV Title
Champ: Rhino Vs The Sandman
This one is a brawl right from the early going, as Sandman wears Rhino out with his Singapore cane, only for Rhino to shrug it off and stomp away. Rhino was possibly the last great ECW example of Paul Heyman’s incredible penchant for taking unlikely guys and making them come across as big stars, as he just kept having Rhino no sell big moves and win matches until he got him over as a monster heel, even though Rhino was a bit lacking in height when it came to playing that sort of role. Sandman does eventually manage to get some sustained offence in, getting a nice rana from the top rope onto a guardrail for a near fall.
Sandman just has that weird charisma that makes you interested in what he’s doing, even if his actual wrestling ability leaves a bit to be desired. The fact he kind of got over in WWE in 2007 highlights that, even though he seemed totally unsuited to that company in almost every way. This actually isn’t a bad brawl at all, and they give Sandman a lot of offence, only for Rhino to keep kicking out so as to maintain his indestructible image. Steve Corino and Jack Victory (HIGH SPOT) come down to help out their fellow Network stablemate Rhino, but Little Spike Dudley makes his return to ECW to help out his fellow alumni and they combine for a 3-D on Corino.
Rhino fights back however and gives Spike a vicious GORE in the corner before piledriving him off the apron through a table to take him out of proceedings. Sandman wears out another cane on Rhino, but Rhino manages to fight off a Russian Leg Sweep attempt and then delivers a piledriver onto the guardrail to pick up another win.
WINNER AND STILL CHAMPION: RHINO
This wasn’t amazing or anything but it was fine for what it was and it gave Rhino yet another win over the established ECW guy to put some more steam on him.
Cyrus gets Dawn Marie to jump for joy at Rhino winning, because of course he does. This leads to Joey hyping up the Credible/Dreamer match whilst Dawn and Cyrus trade innuendo. Dawn is actually really funny as the ditsy woman who doesn’t realise that Cyrus is being such a filthy man. It’s a shame that WWE just turned her into a generic evil man-eating woman when she got there, as she was a million times more entertaining as the Valley Girl and they could have done something with her. I think Maria ended up getting a gimmick like that but they ended up WWEizing it by removing all trace of subtlety and just making her a straight up idiot.
Scotty Anton Vs Rob Van Dam w/ Bill Alfonso
Anton cost RVD his match with Jerry Lynn at Hardcore Heaven and this is RVD’s chance at revenge against his former friend. Anton gives everyone the clap during his entrance, by which I mean he claps his hands whilst his music plays. I can’t see how that statement could be in anyway misconstrued. RVD is over like Rover, Lassie and Beethoven all rolled into one here, especially as the LA crowd hadn’t had an ECW event prior to this. Having the Sandman and RVD entrances back to back really highlights what ECW brought to the table as far as bringing the big rock concert feel to a wrestling event.
RVD gets an extended shine on Anton, which gives the crowd a chance to pop for all his cool looking moves. Anton sells it well enough but he could really be anyone here, as he’s mostly just existing as a crash test dummy for RVD to deliver all his offence to so that the crowd can enjoy themselves. Eventually Anton is able to get some offence of his own by flinging a chair at RVD to send him tumbling off the top rope down to the floor. Anton adds a chair shot on top of that and then bulldogs RVD off the apron onto the guardrail. I think RVD bit his tongue doing that, which anyone who has had that happen to them can attest is no picnic. It certainly works as a cut off though.
I don’t think Anton is a bad wrestler or anything, and I felt he was fine as a lower mid card heel as part of The Flock in WCW, but he doesn’t really have the psychology, charisma or stage presence to really work as a top level guy, and that kind of becomes clear as the heat starts to drag after a certain point and the crowd starts to die down a bit. Anton’s execution is fine, but asking him to carry his end in the semi-main slot when his opponent is kind of spotty isn’t the best use of him. There is a funny moment where Anton has RVD in a surfboard and then forces him to clap whilst holding onto his arms though.
We get some psychology with Anton trying to target RVD’s leg and back areas in preparation for his Sharpshooter like finisher called “The Clapper”, but RVD manages to fight back and gets a spinning wheel kick for the double down. RVD is up first and controls things by dropkicking a chair into Anton’s face whilst he slumps in the corner for two before following up with a split-legged moonsault for another two count. Cyrus and Joey’s sniping at one another gets a bit annoying as the match wears on, which thankfully would taper off a bit on these things when the whole Network story started getting put to bed.
Anton puts a stop to RVD’s comeback by hitting him in the leg with a chair before locking in The Clapper, but he stupidly goes after Alfonso and locks him in the move instead, which of course frees up RVD to clock him with a Van Daminator. Five Star Frogsplash follows, but RVD doesn’t want to end it yet and delivers on the Van Terminator as promised, by going coast to coast to dropkick a chair into Anton’s face for the three count. Hang on, that’s Shane McMahon’s move! How dare RVD lift it for himself!! I am shocked and/or appalled!!! Shocked and/or appalled I say!!!!
WINNER: ROB VAN DAM
This was fine but felt very much like a TV match rather than a major bout on a pay per view, due to a combination of RVD needing someone to elevate him to a higher tier and Anton not being really capable of doing so. RVD looked good and got a big decisive clean win, along with a big super-duper finisher for his arsenal, but the match dragged a bit once the heat started and it brought things down a little. Not bad but easily one you can just skip to finish for so that you can see the big spot at the end.
We get a video package hyping up the Main Event. Tommy Dreamer won the ECW Title at Cyber Slam 2000, but Justin Credible ran down to challenge him for an immediate Title shot, which ended with him winning the belt due to help from Francine. Both men have gone after one another with barbed wire in the months since, so tonight it’s a ladder match with barbed wire hanging from the ceiling. Climb the ladder and you can use the wire.
Stairway to Hell
Champ: Justin Credible w/ Francine Vs Tommy Dreamer w/ Jazz and George
Before we can start the match we have some bother in the crowd, courtesy of some wrestlers from the Xtreme Pro Wrestling company in the front row. They essentially saw the west coast as their territory, so weren’t happy that ECW were running a show there. Smelling the chance to get some publicity, they decided to buy tickets and then try to reveal the XPW logos on their shirts before the Main Event started. However, Francine doesn’t take kindly to this and the shizzle hits the fan, with the XPW wrestlers getting a bit rowdy, which leads to the ECW locker room emptying to chase them away and give them a good hiding outside the building. This was probably the incident that most were talking about following the event, with The Observer and The Torch both covering it. XPW would eventually run this building down the line and named the event “Scene of the Crime” in a cheeky bit of advertising on their part.
With the XPW “invasion” getting dealt with by the likes of Big Sal, Mikey Whipwreck and New Jack out on the warm concrete outside the building, everyone realises that we still have a pay per view Main Event to be getting on with, and thus the match begins. George (Stephanie Bellars) was known as Gorgeous George in WCW and was Randy Savage’s valet and real life girlfriend. Both men actually do some technical wrestling to start us out, which is not what you’d expect in a match like this. You go guys, subvert those expectations! The expected brawl does eventually break out, with both men going into the crowd, which they’ve smartly rationed tonight for the most part so the spot doesn’t feel too played out.
We get a frankly ridiculous spot where they brawl over to the merchandise area where Dreamer stacks a ladder on the tables and tries to suplex Credible off it through them, but Credible fends him off and then shoves him mostly to the floor, with Dreamer grazing a table at best. Dreamer of course gets dropped crotch first on the railings at one stage. In other news, water is still wet. They are definitely rushing here to try and get everything done and dusted before the pay per view window closes, which means that they pop up pretty quickly from the big weapon spots so that they can move onto the next one, which hurts the drama somewhat.
Dreamer is the first to go for the wire but Francine hits him right in the Loughlin’s, causing him to tumble onto her. Jazz and George come in to deal with her, but George turns on Jazz in a SWERVE. Jazz doesn’t stay down though and batters both women until Credible takes her out with a Tombstone Piledriver. Dreamer gets a TKO straight after on Credible though, which gets him a two before he heads up to unhook the wire. Dreamer wraps the ropes in the wire and then knocks Credible so that he lands Aldo first on the top rope in a spot that has all kind of potential pitfalls to it. It gets a great shocked reaction from the crowd though.
Credible responds with a Tombstone onto the wire for two and then heel miscommunication between Credible and Francine allows Dreamer to get a DDT for a two of his own. Credible keeps coming though and gets another Tombstone, which is enough to hold Dreamer down for three.
WINNER AND STILL CHAMPION: JUSTIN CREDIBLE
These two have had some good matches in the past, but they weren’t rushed to all heck like this one clearly was. For what it was it was fine as a garbagy brawl, but it definitely could have been better with some more time so that both men didn’t have to pop up from these big bumps and weapon shots almost instantly after taking them so that they could be ready to do the next one.
The fans are not happy at that finish and pelt the ring with garbage as we get a plug for Anarchy Rulz on the 1st of October.
This was well on its way to being one of the best ECW pay per views ever with the first half of the card, but for varying reasons the last two matches didn’t really deliver and it marked the event as a whole down.
Still, there was some good stuff here and I’d probably give the show a thumbs up overall, but I’d still say that Hardcore Heaven 2000 was the better of the two shows.
I think I’ve covered my thoughts on Credible as the Champion before, but he is just not working in this role for me and the two pay per view Title defences haven’t helped on that front. Honestly I’d consider taking it off him on TV if the right situation presents itself, but the question is who should beat him for it? Maybe we’ll find out over the next month or so when we see who ECW tries to use in the challenger role?