Mike Reviews: ECW Hardcore TV #396 (25/11/2000)

Hello You!

This week we’ve got Steve Corino defending the ECW Title against Jerry Lynn in what should hopefully be a good match. Let’s find out if it is!

This week’s matches were taped from Poughkeepsie, New York

Calling the action are Joey Styles and Joel Gertner

We open up with clips from last week where Steve Corino cut a promo on Jerry Lynn, which led to Francine coming on to him. Justin Credible then stormed in, which led to Corino putting ideas in Credible’s head that Lynn will not give him any Title shots if he wins the belt tonight. Corino was hilarious there, but the World Champ probably shouldn’t be doing comedy like that.

Joey and Joel do their intro in front of the ECW Banner, where Joel does his usual dirty poem.

Last week, The FBI attacked Danny Doring and Roadkill, cutting their hair and beard respectively in the process.

Also last week, Mikey, Tajiri and Crazy were a team, but they lost due to babyface miscommunication, which led to Crazy and Tajiri having match #1007 in their feud, with Mikey being the difference maker and helping Tajiri to win.

Opening Match
Tony DeVito Vs Chilly Willy

DeVito seems to be on his own here, as is Inclement Schlong. I would have personally kept these guys far apart after they had the big Flaming Table blow off at November to Remember, but I guess the roster was pretty thin at the time and they were light on possible combinations. The music they dub in for Chilly is nothing like “Up In Here” but it actually suits him, in a rare case where the dubbed music doesn’t feel massively out of place.

DeVito is actually a really solid member of the mid-card roster and Chilly has some decent charisma to draw on, so they have a watchable TV match that ends with Chilly getting a Falcon Arrow for the three count.

WINNER: CHILLY WILLY
RATING: *1/2

Perfectly Cromulent Wrestling

Spanish Angel runs down to attack Chilly post-match as revenge for getting flaming tablised at N2R, but Balls Mahoney makes the save.

The FBI and Big Sal make fun of Sinister Minister, as it was them who injured him in storyline. Guido says they’ll do whatever they have to in order to retain their ECW Tag Titles.

Cyrus is still trying to get on Jerry Lynn’s good side, and once again he’s a great weasel heel.

Dawn Marie is in a charming pink outfit and promises to show us something hardcore later on.

Rhino cuts an angry promo backstage, where he yells about how he’s addicted to violence. I’ve seen about every angry Rhino promo I can stomach to be honest and it’s something I certainly won’t miss when these reviews finally end.

Main Event
ECW Title
Champ: Steve Corino w/ Jack Victory (HIGH SPOT) Vs Jerry Lynn

Before the match we’re joined by Corino’s ex-manager Dawn Marie, who turned on him at N2R by clocking him right in the Old School. She just circles the ring and leaves though, which allows Lynn to clock a distracted Corino and tear into him in a vicious manner. They’ve been teasing a Lynn heel turn since he came back from injury in the spring and it looks like they are finally getting there by having him adopt this more violent wrestling style.

Cyrus joins us as Lynn continues to clobber Corino, but then leaves again pretty quickly. Corino sells this all well, as I’m genuinely confused as to whom I’m supposed to cheer for here. Corino definitely seems to be a heel based on his promo’s and character work, but Lynn is utterly unlikable in the role of embittered former Champion, and that’s before you take the whole Cyrus situation into account. This could either be a really long babyface shine or it could be the heel heat segment and they’ve decided to forego the shine entirely.

Corino manages to catch Lynn with a power slam and then starts taunting, which makes me think that’s the cut off, but it could be the comeback. Referee HC Loc ends up taking a bump whilst Corino fights back, which leads to heel ref Danny Daniels running down. Corino super kicks him, but ends up taking a DDT on a chair from Lynn for two from Jim Molyneux. Molyneux gets bumped as well though, which leads to Justin Credible running down to hit both men with his Singapore cane, which could possibly be a babyface turn at this point when the heel/face alignment is so terribly all over the place. Lynn sells that he got caned in the eye and that means the match has to be called off.

WINNER BY REFEREE STOPPAGE AND STILL CHAMPION: STEVE CORINO
RATING: **

This was a bit of a confusing mess and the non-finish was annoying but it at least had a precedent from the early days of ECW when they did it with Sandman and Tommy Dreamer.

Corino cuts a promo following the match saying he doesn’t fear anyone, which leads to Sandman coming down to test that theory and challenge for the belt in an impromptu match. Corino actually does some really interesting character work here by almost doing a bi-polar thing where he cowers from Sandman at first like his old weasel heel character, only to then get angry and say he wants the match after Sandman spits beer in his face. That was actually great and if he’d just do that rather than all the comedy Diet-WCW Jericho stuff then he’d be much better in this role.

Main Event II
ECW Title
Champ: Steve Corino w/ Jack Victory (HIGH SPOT) Vs The Sandman

At least in this one we have a clear heel/face divide, with Sandman being the babyface the fans all want to win. Sandman batters Corino, even bringing down a metal guardrail to the ring that he suplexes Corino onto for two. Corino sells all of this well of course, and it’s a decent bit of brawling from Sandman, as he introduces a ladder into the match as well. Sandman gets some more near falls, including one from a bulldog onto the ladder.

Corino does manage to fight back and get some near falls of his own, with the timing on some of them being really good. This is actually a genuinely interesting way to book Corino as a World Champ, as he’s pretty much a cowardly heel but he’s not a weakling who can’t hold his own either. So long as they keep finding babyfaces for him to fight and book him as a clear heel then this might work out. He manages to survive all of Sandman’s big moves and gets a last gasp Old School Expulsion onto the railing to pick up an improbable clean win after getting battered for a large portion of the match.

WINNER AND STILL CHAMPION: STEVE CORINO
RATING: **1/2

If you have a heel Champ whose main character trait is that he isn’t as pro-actively tough as the babyfaces, then these last gasp clean wins are the best way to book them most of the time as it shows them to be a deserving Champion due to their resourcefulness, even if they perhaps aren’t the actual toughest guy in the company. It’s really how WWE should have booked The Miz when he was Champion actually. Have him get killed for the majority of the match but then use his smarts to snap off a Skull Crushing Finale at the death to sneak the win. In-ring Corino is making this work so far when he works heel, but they probably need to tone down the comedy because right now he’s a mid-card character working in the Main Event and they had that same problem with Credible earlier in the year.

Jasmine St Claire has her promo interrupted by Little Spike Dudley trying to attack Rhino, which goes about as well for him as you’d expect. Well, Spike kind of asked for that.

In Conclusion

The show was all over the place today, with them really needing to clarify some of the face/heel alignments at the top of the card because right now it’s all “shades of grey” bullshit, and not the kind that’s intriguing or makes you want to keep watching. Sandman is the only clear babyface, with the other three either full-on heels or pretty much heel in all but name. 1997 WWF this ain’t.

I can’t wait until I don’t have to watch this show anymore sometimes.

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