It’s time for some more ECW pay per view action, as we reach their October 2000 offering in the form of Anarchy Rulz. They’ve actually built this one up reasonably well, with a decent chunk of TV time being dedicated to the top two matches of Rhino Vs Rob Van Dam and Justin Credible Vs Jerry Lynn.
Both of those matches have the potential to be good, so let’s settle in and watch some chuffing wrestling!
This event is emanating from St. Paul, Minnesota on the 1st of October 2000
Calling the action are Joey Styles and Joel Gertner
Joey and Joel do the in ring welcome to the show, and Joel actually gets to survive and call some matches for once!
Christian York and Joey Matthews Vs Danny Doring and Roadkill
The arena looks great and they’ve lit it well. It’s probably the best one of these buildings has looked since they taped at Centre Stage earlier in the year. Doring and Roadkill are pretty over with the crowd, with Roadkill especially getting some good reactions, and they stick with the mostly clean wrestling from the two babyface teams in the opening section. I say “mostly” clean, because Doring does get a mule kick on Matthews at one stage, although they play it more for comedy rather than an attempt at genuine heel heat. Joey and Joel actually have some decent banter going with one another and it’s good for Joey to have someone to play off.
There’s the odd sloppy moment here and there, with York and Roadkill in particular struggling with one another at one stage, but the crowd stays with the match and pops when both teams start upping the ante with double team moves and dives. Roadkill continues to be way over, and gets a big reaction for a double springboard clothesline to the youngsters. York and Matthews work some mild heat on Doring, playing subtle heels, and it all builds to letting Roadkill get the big tag. When he eventually does, he runs wild and looks like a star in the process. York and Matthews sell it well and they don’t hang around either, taking it home at the peak with a Buggy Bang to York.
WINNERS: DORING & ROADKILL
Good opener with some fun action and it warmed the crowd up suitably
Simon & Swinger attack both teams following that match to set up future feuds.
Joey and Joel talk about Joel’s match with Cyrus at the commentary table. Joel is eating some Lucky Charms as part of his pre-match diet and says it’s a clue as to the identity of the wrestler who has been training him for the match.
Cyrus (He’s Got Pop) joins us in the ring and calls Joel out, as we seem to be getting the match right now. Joel is up for it and gets a pep talk from Joey, but as soon as he’s out of earshot Joey turns to the camera and says Joel has no chance. That was pretty funny. Cyrus throws a spanner in the works by telling Joel that he will have to defeat EZ Money first before the match can happen. However, acting commissioner Spike E. Dangerously joins us to say that he will change that match to Money Vs Kid Kash instead, with Joel getting Cyrus if Kash wins. This was a decent enough segment that explains why we’re getting the impromptu match between the high flyers.
If Kash wins then Joel Gertner gets a match with Cyrus
EZ Money w/ Cyrus, Julio Dinero, Chris Hamrick and Elektra Vs Kid Kash w/ Joel Gertner
This is really good action to start, with both men doing some very nice high tempo counter wrestling. It does occasionally border on looking a tad rehearsed, but they execute it well and the crowd digs it. Kash gets a thrilling flip dive out onto all of the heels in the aisle and the crowd reacts big to it. This is on par with pretty much anything the best WCW Cruiserweights were doing at the same time, and Money would even move onto WCW for a brief run in its dying days.
Money gets the Buckshot Lariat and the old Lucha Libre Rocking Horse Hold at one stage, fulfilling his role as the heel that does MOVEZ. The crowd sticks with Kash and enjoys the hot moves and dives, popping huge for a Kash rana and swinging DDT. Money’s buddies of course get involved, with Hamrick tripping Kash, but Kash keeps coming with the Whisper in the Wind for a two count. Elektra distracts the ref and that allows the heels to attack 3 on 1, but Kash kicks out of the resulting pin attempt for a big pop. This match is heaps of fun! The finish is the same as one they had on Hardcore TV a while back, as Money tries a Super Powerbomb from the top rope, but Kash turns it into a rana in mid-air and picks up the three.
WINNER: KID KASH
The heels attack Kash post-match, but Spike and eventually Sandman come down to the make the save and ensure the next match takes place.
Cyrus Vs Joel Gertner
Joel reveals that it was Kamala of all people who had been training him, as he takes off his jacket to reveal some stars and a moon on his chest, which causes Joey proclaim him the “Ugandan Stud-Muffin” in a funny line. Joel gets a bit of a shine on Cyrus, but when he goes for the Stud-Muffin Elbow he gets tripped up and worked over by Cyrus. Cyrus used to wrestle, so his stuff looks fine and Joel sells it well for a guy with his limited in-ring experience. Cyrus makes the mistake of getting cocky and mouthing off at Sandman though, which leads to Sandman spitting beer in his face and Joel getting a cheeky roll up for three, which gets a big pop from the crowd.
WINNER: JOEL GERTNER
From purely a work standpoint it wasn’t much, but it had great heat and they told a decent story with it. It was also good to finally see Gertner get a measure of revenge after months of feuding between the two.
The faces all enjoy a pint together post-match
Da Baldies (Spanish Angel and Tony DeVito) Vs Meat and Two Veg (Chilly Willy and Balls Mahoney)
This one came about due to Da Baldies attacking Balls on an episode of Hardcore TV. Balls and Frosty Todger make kind of a natural pairing actually. So this one is our first proper brawl of the evening after mostly straight wrestling thus far, with Balls forking both of the heels. It’s not long before blood is flowing and both teams are fighting outside of the ring. It’s not a bad brawl and DeVito in particular takes all kinds of bumps and weapon shots in an attempt to get it over.
At one stage DeVito even Asai moonsault’s off the announce area, which is impressive for a guy his size. Chilly gets powerbombed on some chairs in the crowd too, which looks pretty darn unpleasant and gets a big reaction from the audience. If brawls aren’t your thing then this won’t convert you, but it’s watchable and everyone is working hard. The finish is pretty gruesome, as Balls gets stapled in the eye by Angel and Da Baldies then tee off on the faces with multiple ugly stiff chair shots to pick up the win.
WINNERS: DA BALDIES
I hated the finish just for the fact it contained six unprotected chair shots to the head, when a mere two would have probably made the same point, but I will confess that it made the faces look tough for needing that many to keep them down. Balls getting stapled heats the feud up a bit as well and probably means we’re getting more matches between the two teams.
Lou E. Dangerously attacks Joel at the announce desk for some reason and Joey attacks him in reply, which leads to an angry Paul E throwing to a Justin Credible and Francine promo. Credible is wearing a Green Bay jersey just to annoy the Minnesotans this evening. Credible says Lynn will fail in front of his family tonight. We then get a retort from Lynn, where he says he’s sick of being the star maker and that he’s taking the ECW Title tonight.
#1 Contender Match for the ECW Title
CW Anderson Vs Steve Corino w/ Dawn Marie and Jack Victory (HIGH SPOT)
CW has started using the instrumental of “Deepest Bluest” by this stage and I think it’s still his entrance music all these years later. Cyrus has now taken over from Joel and Joey tells him he stinks of beer to annoy him. CW and Corino are good friends in real life, so I’m hopeful that will translate into them having some decent chemistry as opponents with one another. They do a nice counter sequence in the early going, although there’s the odd moment where their timing is off a tad, and that leads to them trading chops as the crowd “Woooo” along.
CW introduces a chair to proceedings, but then throws it away to annoy the crowd, which leads to Corino getting it instead and bloodying CW up with it. Corino is in great shape here and looks so much more like a star than when he first entered ECW. His transition from being a weedy cowardly manager to a genuine contender has been impressive and one of the last great story arcs that ECW has had in my opinion. Corino misses a baseball slide and CW just outright flings a chair at his head, which leads to Corino doing his customary blade job for the evening. CW of course works that over back inside, with Corino selling it well.
It may have been a mistake to put this one on straight after the previous brawl, as that had a load of blood in it too and following it up one bloody fight with another usually always dampens the effect the second one has because we’ve already seen it. CW is great as a gruff, ugly looking dude who will just punish you. Someone with that sort of character and look has a ceiling of course, but it works well for the gatekeeper role CW has here. Corino is now wearing the famed “crimson mask” but manages to make use of a chair by dropping CW’s lower extremities onto it before making the classic Dusty Rhodes inspired comeback.
Simon & Swinger try to help out their fellow stablemate CW, but Victory fends them off to leave the match one on one going into the closing stretch. In a cool spot, CW sets up a chair in a sitting position with plans to throw Corino onto it, but Corino super kicks him and he’s going tumbling back onto it before tipping it over and falling back onto the match like a staggering drunk in a bar fight. He tries to reply to this with an Anderson spine buster, but Corino slips out of that and gets the Old School Expulsion (modified Twist of Fate) to pick up the three count.
WINNER AND NEW #1 CONTENDER: STEVE CORINO
The work was good but the heat wasn’t consistent, possibly due to the fact it was one bloody brawl followed by another in quick succession. It was a hard fought clean win for Corino against a guy they’ve been protecting, which is just what he needed if they want to have him challenge for the Title again.
The Unholy Alliance and Sinister Minister cut a promo on The FBI. A book that Mikey is reading sets ablaze, which leads to Mikey and Minister laughing whilst Tajiri looks on scared. Tajiri as the exasperated straight man in this trio works really well.
Rhino cuts his usual snarling promo on Rob Van Dam.
ECW Tag Titles
The FBI (Guido and Mamaluke) w/ Big Sal Vs The Unholy Alliance of Mikey Whipwreck and Yoshihiro Tajiri w/ The Sinister Minster
The Alliance won the ECW Tag Title Tournament on the 25th of August but then lost the belts to The FBI the next night thanks to the interference of Sal. The crowd digs The UA, with Tajiri in particular being super over. This feels a lot like the reign The FBI had in 1997 when it was Guido and Tracey Smothers, where they are clearly a good team who can work but there are more over acts that could carry the belts instead. The Alliance get the big shine, with The FBI bumping and selling it all fantastically, with even Sal taking his licks at one stage when he tries to get involved.
Eventually a Mamaluke low blow leads to Mikey getting cut off and worked over. Mikey sells that well and manages to get the hot tag to Tajiri who has the crowd in the palm of his hands with everything he does. I think it’s a testament to just how good Tajiri is and was that even the WWF kept him around for a long time and gave him a run with both singles and tag belts despite his lack of size. Mikey and Tajiri have the match won but Sal drags out the referee and then squishes the Minister against the railings at ringside. Tajiri takes him out with an Asai moonsault but gets trapped under him in the process, which allows The FBI to finish Mikey with a strange kind of double team powerbomb back inside for three.
WINNERS AND STILL CHAMPIONS: THE FBI
Good match, but it also felt like there was another gear that they could kick into that they never did for whatever reason
Despite losing, The Unholy Alliance gets applause from the crowd as they leave.
ECW TV Title
Champ: Rhino Vs Rob Van Dam w/ Bill Alfonso
This is finally the payoff to a long feud between the two, which started when RVD had to forfeit the Title due to breaking his leg (An injury that they blamed on Rhino in storyline) and Rhino would go on to win the belt in his absence. Rhino tries to jumpstart this one but RVD sees it coming and we immediately head outside for some brawling. It’s a decent brawl, but we’ve already seen this tonight so it doesn’t have quite the same impact it would normally, even though the action itself is fun.
It’s good to see RVD doing more of a hate filled fight as opposed to his usual match though. It makes it clear that this issue is important due to RVD not bothering with trying to do his usual thing of just having the best match on the show and instead actually go out of his way to give his opponent a good kicking. Rhino is on the defensive quite a lot in the first half of the match but does eventually manage to cut RVD off by clotheslining him out of the air, which not only looks cool but also adds to the idea that Rhino is a big athletic monster who should be feared.
A chin lock slows things down a bit, as Rhino has always tended to be a bit rest hold happy when it comes to working longer matches as a heel. RVD fights out of that and actually gets the Five Star Frogsplash, but Rhino kicks out at two. The crowd actually goes super quiet after that kick out, like they can’t believe it wasn’t the finish. It’s kind of eerie actually. The GORE follows from Rhino and he then ups the ante by piledriving RVD off the apron through a table. RVD looks out after that, but manages to kick out of the follow up pin back inside at two, which strangely gets very little reaction from crowd. On paper you’d read that exchange of moves and think the crowd would be on their feet at RVD surviving what would normally be a match ending flurry, but they weren’t for whatever reason.
Fonzie helps RVD out by distracting Rhino, which allows the challenger to get the Van Daminator. The Van Terminator looks to follow that, but Justin Credible provides a distraction. RVD deals with him and prepares to leap, but the delay has given Rhino time to recover and he pulls Fonzie in the way so that he takes the brunt of it. Rhino pops up and delivers a GORE through a table in the corner to RVD and then follows up with a Piledriver that gets a supposed quick count from heel ref Danny Daniels.
WINNER AND STILL CHAMP: RHINO
The fans did NOT like that finish. The match itself was fine but the spotty crowd reactions hurt it
Fonzie does the big injury sell following that to get the Van Terminator over.
ECW World Title
Champ: Justin Credible w/ Francine Vs Jerry Lynn
Francine has taped ribs here, apparently as a result of an attack from Lynn. Lynn pinned Credible in the Tag Title Tournament to earn himself a Title shot and has an ongoing issue with heel ref Daniels, where Daniels has been cheating him out of matches ever since. HC Loc is the referee here, although it was originally supposed to be New Jack until Credible caned him on the TNN show. They tell the story of Lynn being the superior technician of the two, whilst Credible is possibly getting psyched out by the pro-Jerry hometown crowd. Both men play their allotted roles well.
Credible gets a Boss Man Slam of all things and then throws Jerry face first into a chair to take over. Lynn sells the heat well and the crowd sticks with him during it, whilst Credible tries to rile them up at every opportunity. At one stage Credible even grabs a mic and stomps away on Lynn whilst also talking smack to the crowd. Hey, you can’t accuse them of not trying to make the most of this special atmosphere. It feels a tad house show special at times, but they’d be foolish not to play up the story of hometown hero Lynn going for the belt.
Lynn eventually manages to catch Credible with a DDT onto the same chair from earlier and makes the comeback. It’s a good comeback too and it leads to Lynn bringing in a table, which the crowd approves of. Francine gets involved though and that allows Credible to fling Lynn from the second rope through the table for two. We get some more near falls following that and they are executed well, with Credible getting a sunset flip powerbomb and Lynn getting his Cradle Piledriver. We get the Tombstone Piledriver from Credible, which usually is an automatic finish during this Title reign, but Lynn kicks out and the crowd pops big.
HC Loc ends up catching a stray super kick, which leads to Danny Daniels coming down to try and cheat Lynn once again. He and Credible work together and Credible has Lynn pinned, with the idea being that Daniels will get to two and then New Jack’s music will hit for him to come down and assume his reffing duties. Sadly the sound guy is late on the cue, so Daniels has to stall by flipping Lynn off and doing the big bug eyed sell for the music. That sell was great from Daniels, but the timing faux-pas was pretty glaring. New Jack of course destroys Daniels, but Credible canes him once again. However, Lynn has had time to recover during all of that and puts Credible away with a Cradle Tombstone to pick up the win.
WINNER AND NEW CHAMPION: JERRY LYNN
Great Main Event that paid off the Daniels storyline and finally brought an end to Credible’s reign of terror as the babyface finally survived all the shenanigans to defeat him. The music botch was a shame, but the match itself was worked to a high level and told a good story. The atmosphere from the crowd helped too, as they were consistently into Lynn and were going nuts for the near falls and ref antics at the end.
The crowd of course loves that Lynn won and he is joined in the ring by the babyface roster to celebrate. Sadly Lynn wants to cut a victory promo, but the mic doesn’t work, which leads to the hilarious visual of a drunken Sandman trying to fix it.
Heatwave 98 and Anarchy Rulz 99 probably have a higher ceiling when it comes to their best matches, but Anarchy Rulz 2000 has great consistency throughout and is a sleeper candidate for the best pay per view that ECW ever did. There was good stuff up and down the card, with a strong Main Even to top it off. They also did some pretty ballsy booking with the Rhino win, as they could have just put the belt back on RVD and fans would have loved it, but they instead kept Rhino strong by giving him the win and now RVD is free to feud with Credible over who gets a shot at Lynn, which is a more interesting direction to take him in rather than just rewinding the clock and making him the TV Champ again.
Thumbs up for this one and an easy recommendation!