Mike Reviews: ECW Hardcore TV #400 (23/12/2000)

Hello You!

This week we have the penultimate episode of Hardcore TV, with ECW very much on the ropes financially. The WWF have been nice enough to lend them The Dudley Boyz for a one shot deal, but that’s going to plug just one hole in sieve.

ECW actually has a pay per view scheduled for the 7th of January 2001 called Guilty As Charged, so we’ll see if they use this taping to officially set any matches up. They’ve been teasing another CW Anderson and Tommy Dreamer match under I Quit rules, so we’ll see if they make that official tonight or not.

This week’s matches were taped from Queens, New York (With its always awesome Fire Pro Wrestling styled hard cam that shows the ring from a diagonal viewpoint)

Calling the action are Joey Styles and Joel Gertner

Joey and Joel do the in-ring show intro, with the crowd being jazzed for the event. I think I might have enjoyed seeing an ECW event in this venue more than I would have done even at the ECW Arena. Christian York and Joey Matthews join them, with Matthews having his left arm in a sling following an injury he suffered at the December pay per view. Before they can do their promo though they are interrupted by Simon, Swinger, CW and Dawn Marie, with Dawn sporting a Sexy Santa attire that looks just as good as you’d imagine. Simon has a problem, as do York and Matthews judging by the numbers disadvantage and the fact Matthews has an injury. York and Matthews try to fight the three heels off, but that goes about as well as you’d expect. Tommy Dreamer tries making the save and gets beaten down too, which leads to The Dudley Boyz running down to make the save for real. I actually didn’t think they’d show The Dudley Boyz on TV and that it would just be for the live crowd, but it looks like the WWF was feeling generous.

Opening Match
ECW TV Title
Champ: Rhino Vs Little Spike Dudley

This is a rematch from the December pay per view, where Rhino choked Spike out with some athletic tape to win. Spike gets a nice little shine (No pun intended) in the early going, doing arm drags and the like and getting some quick roll up attempts for two. This is far more of a normal match than I was expecting actually and it’s good for both of these guys to show they can do that and still have an entertaining outing. Rhino gets the mix right between selling for Spike’s offence but not overdoing it, because he’s still a Man Beast at the end of the day and Spike is a Junior Heavyweight. It’s more like he acknowledges Spike’s offence rather than outright selling it, which works for what they are doing.

Rhino does eventually take over and works some heat on Spike, whilst the crowd seems more interested in taunting a fan who has been kicked out of the venue by doing the “Goodbye” song. Watching this you can kind of see why the WWF took a punt on both of these guys when ECW finally folded, as Rhino was a Paul Heyman favourite and was put together despite his lack of height, whilst Spike was excellent at playing a plucky underdog and could get away with working a normal match despite how small he was. I think Lance Storm said it best once in that to get a WWF gig Spike had to be talented, because they’d never hire and push a guy his size otherwise.

Rhino goes for the Bam Bam Bigelow trick of flinging Spike into the crowd, but Spike slips out of that, only to get GORED for two. We do finally see Spike getting flung into the crowd for the body surfing spot, but the fans decide to just put him down instead, so Rhino follows him out for the crowd brawl. In a funny spot, there’s a piano set up near the exit and Spike flings Rhino onto it before diving off it for good measure. I remember going to watch Future Shock Wrestling in its early days at the Stockport Guildhall and seeing Jody Fleisch do a spot like that with Hade Vansen. They got in legit trouble with the venue over it I think, although I can’t say whether that happened to ECW.

Spike hits Rhino with numerous chairs outside the ring, which makes sense as a way to give him some sustained offence in a brawl situation against a much bigger man, but when he tries to give Rhino the Acid Drop off the apron it gets blocked and Rhino piledrives him off the apron through a table. Amazingly Spike kicks out of that back inside, but he’s pretty much dead weight and Rhino adds another piledriver for the three count. At least they gave Spike the big kick out spot.

WINNER AND STILL CHAMPION: RHINO
RATING: ***

I dug that, as they had a good normal formula Big Heel Vs Underdog Face match and then cranked it up a notch by going to the brawl segment

Joey plugs a compilation DVD.

Match Two
Mike Bell Vs Chilly Willy

Bell’s claim to fame was that Perry Saturn battered him an unprofessional manner at a WWF TV Taping, which led to him getting punished with the whole “Moppy” gimmick as a result. Bell gets some token offence in, but he’s here to do the job and gets pinned off a Falcon Arrow.

WINNER: CHILLY WILLY
RATING: SQUASH

Willy was over with the crowd, so the segment worked

New ECW Tag Champs Danny Doring and Roadkill have a promo backstage. Doring talks about how they had to set up the rings when they were breaking in, and whenever they got a match they were thrown to the wolves, including Roadkill getting battered in his hometown. They persevered though and were there for one another, which led to them winning the belts. The belts are a symbol of how hard they worked. They thank Saturn and Tazz for beating the man into both of them. This was an excellent promo from Doring, as he’s not doing the cocky heel gimmick anymore and is just being a serious babyface. Sadly he states in the promo that his mum didn’t get to see him win the belts due to having a stroke a couple of years before.

Main Event
The FBI w/ Big Sal Vs The Unholy Alliance of Yoshihiro Tajiri and Mikey Whipwreck w/ The Sinister Minister

I’m actually writing this all the way back in October, where I recently watched the Rosemary/John E Bravo wedding angle from Impact Wrestling, and I have to say that Minister has aged exceedingly well. It must be all those souls he’s been consuming or something. Mikey and Mamaluke do a nice opening segment, with Mikey doing some interesting holds and counters. It’s always nice to be reminded that Mikey could actually work a bit by this stage in his career. Tajiri does an equally nice segment with Guido, as this has been the usual good match between these two teams.

After a really fun babyface shine segment, including Minister going to the old testicular claw on Mamaluke, The FBI finally manage to cut Mikey off when Mamaluke catches him with a Tornado DDT and Big Sal gets some cheap shots in from the outside for good measure. Mikey sells that well and the crowd sticks with him whilst he gets worked over. Mikey manages to fight off an FBI double team attempt and its hot tag Tajiri, who runs wild with his usual array of vicious kicks.

The finishing stretch is done well, with Tajiri’s work looking really good and the crowd being into the idea of him giving the heels a good pasting. We get some good near falls, with Sal breaking up a pin on Guido following a double Brain Buster and then tripping Mikey up whilst he’s on the apron. That allows Guido to catch Tajiri with a Tomikaze and The FBI picks up the win.

WINNERS: THE FBI
RATING: ***1/4

I’ve yet to see a bad match between these two teams

The ECW copyright image comes up on the screen before the ref’s hand even slaps the mat for three, which makes me think they only just managed to squeeze everything in this week.

In Conclusion

We still don’t have any official matches for the pay per view. That being said, does it really matter at this stage? The show itself was a fun watch with two good matches and a fun angle with The Dudley Boyz. Easy thumbs up and worth a watch.