Mike Reviews – ECW International Invasion 1999

Happy New Year Everyone!

I was going to do ECW Guilty As Charged 99 this week, but I couldn’t find my cut of the show anywhere and I don’t want to watch the WWE Network version with all the music dubbed out, so I’ll keep digging in an effort to find it.

This was a comp tape I had back in the day focusing mostly on Super Crazy and Tajiri, who had both come in to ECW that year and really gotten themselves over. Other international talent such as Masato Tanka, TAKA Michinoku and Antifaz Del Norte will be showing up over the course of the tape as well. It’s actually still available for purchase HERE. The dates for each match aren’t included on the match list annoyingly, but I’ll try and shout up when I recognise what show a particular match is from.

They’ve also stuck a few bonus non-ECW matches on at the end, meaning we’ll get to see Jushin Liger later on, which is nice. In the days before YouTube that was probably a genuine bonus to anyone who was considering picking up the tape.

Super Crazy Vs TAKA Michinoku – Detroit

This match was from episode #319 of Hardcore TV, which I’ve already reviewed, so I’ll just reuse the write up form that. I should point out that the video quality is pretty bad here, but this is a near 20 year old VHS that I’m watching it on so it might have been cleaned up a bit if you buy it today. This one is a rematch from a match they had at the Hardcore Heaven 99 pay per view.

Nuts to think that TAKA is still going today when you consider all the wild stuff he used to do back in the 90’s. This couldn’t have been long way from TAKA heading back to the WWF as I remember he had that famous Raw match with Triple H in 2000. Anyway, TAKA stomps away on Crazy to start, adding a Shouda in the corner for good measure.

Crazy fights back however and sends TAKA outside, where he follows with an Asai Moonsault.  Back inside, Crazy unloads with the ten punches, although the Detroit fans aren’t as hot on their Spanish as other crowds we’ve seen lately and count along in English. TAKA responds by knocking Crazy down and delivering a running back senton splash for two.

Crazy responds with a swinging DDT for a two of his own and then unloads with some chops to his Japanese foe. Crazy fires off a Quebrada, but TAKA is able to kick out of it at two. TAKA hits a Tornado DDT and then delivers another one, but he goes for a cocky cover and it only gets him a two as consequence. Crazy fights off the Michinoku Driver and drops TAKA with a brain buster.

TAKA replies with a rana, but misses a moonsault, which allows Crazy to hit a trifecta of his own moonsaults. TAKA gets a big spin kick from the top and goes for The Driver, but Crazy counters it into a DDT and hits a big sit out powerbomb for the win.

WINNER: SUPER CRAZY
RATING: **

These two just didn’t have especially great chemistry together for whatever reason. Their match at Hardcore Heaven was better because they had more time to tell a story and actually work some psychology in. This was just a parade of moves which, though mostly everything looked good, didn’t present much of an emotional hook

Yoshihiro Tajiri Vs El Mosco de la Merced – Hartford

This one is fan cam footage and would look to be from a non-televised event. Mosco might have a song from the menu of FIFA 98: Road To World Cup as his entrance music, although I can’t clearly make it out. Tajiri was already starting to get quite over by this stage in his ECW career, as the big crowd pop for his entrance music would suggest.

This one has a fun dynamic, with Tajiri mostly trying to kick and slap the life out of Mosco, whilst Mosco tries to use speed and high-flying as a way to get a foothold in the match, including an impressive moonsault off the metal railings onto Tajiri whilst he’s in the crowd. Mosco continues to use high-flying and Lucha styled stuff back inside, including a twisting senton off the top for two. Tajiri eventually manages to get his feet up on a moonsault attempt though and quickly puts Mosco away with a Brain Buster for three.

WINNER: TAJIRI
RATING: **

This was too short to be any more, but it was fun whilst it lasted and Tajiri got over strong in the end due to absorbing all of Mosco’s moves and still putting him away clean

Super Crazy and Jerry Lynn Vs The Impact Players of Justin Credible and Lance Storm w/ Jason, Jazz and Dawn Marie – Buffalo

This one is fan cam also, with Lynn seemingly accepting the impromptu challenge. They start it fast, with Lynn and Crazy doing stereo dives out onto the Heels. They do a nice shine following that, with Credible, Storm and Jason all bumping around to make Lynn look good. Lynn fights outside with the two Heels and that gives Crazy to moonsault out onto them out there in order to pop the crowd.

Eventually the women are able to distract Lynn though and that leads to him getting worked over in the Heel corner for a bit, which he of course sells really well because he’s Jerry Lynn. Lynn eventually manages to catch Credible with a DDT and it’s hot tag Crazy, who runs wild on the Heels and looks good. Credit should go to the Heels for bumping and feeding for all of Crazy’s Lucha offence really well. Things break down and Lynn ends up rolling up Credible for the three count.

WINNER: LYNN & CRAZY
RATING: ***

Fun impromptu tag match with a crowd pleasing babyface win

Pablo Marquez Vs Yoshihiro Tajiri – Queens

We get the awesome Fire Pro Wrestling styled hard cam for this one, as this would appear to be a Hardcore TV taping due to it having commentary from Joey Styles. It could have been a home release as well though. Tajiri mostly wellies Marquez early on, destroying him with kicks, dives and submission holds, and the crowd loves it.

Marquez does eventually get I some offence of his own, including a dive out to the floor, leading to them dubbing in some crowd noise for him because they don’t really care about him and are just here to see Tajiri kill him. Marquez makes the mistake of spitting on Tajiri though and that fires him up, leading to some more snug kicks and slaps. Brain Buster ends it soon after.

WINNER: TAJIRI
RATING: *1/2

This was a short TV match that did it’s job of getting Tajiri over. The crowd sweetening was pretty distracting though and it always annoyed me when ECW did that as they were supposed to be presenting a more authentic product that what the “Big Two” were doing

Antifaz Del Norte Vs Super Crazy – Queens

This looks to have been from the same taping, as they’re building to Tajiri Vs Crazy on pay per view. Antifaz gets one of the more insane things I’ve ever seen, with a reverse cannonball dive to the floor. That was outrageous. Sadly we don’t get the full match and instead it’s just clips of all the big moves. The moves and dives do look fantastic though. Crazy ends up winning it with a sit out powerbomb. Ironically it was Antifaz who came across as the bigger star of the two in that one but it was Crazy who ended up becoming a regular when all was said and done.

WINNER:
RATING: N/A

I can’t rate a clip show sadly, but the action we got to see was a lot of fun

Yoshihiro Tajiri Vs Jerry Lynn – ECW Arena

This one is from Cyber Slam 99 and I’ve reviewed before, so I’ll re-post that.

This match is actually quite notable for something that happens in it, and it usually found its way onto quite a lot of comp tapes during this era. There’s some nice wrestling to start, with Lynn using his technical skills to avoid giving Tajiri an opening to deliver some of his trademark vicious kicks. Lynn even busts out the old Gory Guerrero Special at one point, but Tajiri is able to slip out. Lynn sends Tajiri outside with a back elbow and then follows with a crossbody from the top onto the floor.

Back inside the ring, Tajiri manages to catch Lynn in the Tarantula and then follows up with the handspring back elbow. Oh yes, it’s a Tajiri match now! Outside we go, where Tajiri sends Lynn into the crowd and then follows with an Asai moonsault. Back inside, Lynn goes for a rana, but Tajiri bridges out of the resulting pin attempt and gets one of his own for two. Lynn replies with a nice reverse DDT, but he can’t take advantage of things following it, which gives Tajiri an opening to start kicking the crap out of him.

Lynn shows guts however and fights through the pain to throw some open hand chops Tajiri’s way. Tajiri fires back with some of his own before hanging Lynn in the Tree of Woe and cracking him in the face with a running dropkick for two. Lynn isn’t done yet however, and replies with a running Liger Bomb for two, as the fans are on their feet and deeply into the action on display.

Tajiri kicks Lynn’s leg out from under his, err, leg grabs a La Magistral for two. Lynn fires off a desperation lariat, before making a bit of history by delivering the Cradle Piledriver for the first time in his career to pick up the win. I’m sure it had been done elsewhere before this, but this represented the moment it became Lynn’s MDK finisher.

WINNER: JERRY LYNN
RATING: ***3/4

This was a great match for so many reasons. It was fought at a high tempo, the work was crisp, Tajiri looked impressive despite losing and Lynn got a clean win with a devastating new finishing move to build him up as the guy who could potentially finally end Rob Van Dam’s TV Title reign

Masato Tanaka Vs Rhino w/ Steve Corino – Buffalo

We’re back to fan cam for this one. They do some stuff on the mat to start and Rhino gives a decent account of himself before snapping off a spine buster and working some heat. This was before they really started pushing Rhino as anything more than a promising youngster in the mid-card, so Tanaka is the star of the two, although he does sell quite a bit for Rhino during the heat.

Rhino tries to brain Tanaka with a chair, but Tanaka elbows it back into his face and makes a comeback, clobbering Rhino with a chair and then giving him a Tornado DDT onto it. The coolest move in all of wrestling follows, as Tanaka gets a Diamond Dust and that’s enough for three.

WINNER: MASATO TANAKA
RATING: *1/2

Not really long enough to be any more, as it was basically Rhino working a little bit of heat until it was time for Tanaka to hit all his big moves and win. Not much of a match, but it was fun whilst it lasted

Yoshihiro Tajiri & TAKA Michinoku Vs Super Crazy & Super Nova – ECW Arena

This is another match from Hardcore TV, episode #316 I believe, so I’ll just re-post my previous review

Well that’s two pretty random pairings I must say, although Tajiri and TAKA share the same nationality at least. We get a cut in promo from Bill Alfonso and Rob Van Dam prior to the match starting. Alfonso threatens that Sabu will indeed be at Hardcore Heaven (Ha! Called it!) whilst RVD targets Jerry Lynn with some comments.

Back in the ring, we see that Guido and Sal have assaulted Nova as revenge for Nova beating Guido in Queens a couple of weeks ago. Sal drops an elbow off the apron to put Nova through a table, which angers Tajiri as he doesn’t like Guido interrupting his match. TAKA tries to get Tajiri refocused, whilst Guido and Sal retreat to the back.

TAKA finally succeeds in getting Tajiri back onside, and they double team Crazy with some nice stuff, which is Spike Dudley’s cue to come down and take Nova’s place as Crazy’s partner. Dives galore follow, with Spike getting flung out onto TAKA and Tajiri by Crazy, followed by Crazy adding a big dive of his own for the “EC-DUB” chant from the crowd.

Say, remember when the Crazy Vs Tajiri feud supposedly ended at Living Dangerously? Kind of surprising that they’re wrestling again so soon isn’t it? I’m sure it’ll be a one off though and they won’t wrestle each other roughly 1,253 more times between now and the closure of ECW. Nope, I think that’s particularly unlikely…

Anyway, TAKA and Tajiri fight their way back into things and actually hit stereo Asai moonsaults into the crowd for a big pop. Back inside, Crazy gets a ten punch on TAKA, but TAKA powerbombs him out of the corner and then gets a Tajiri assisted Michinoku Driver to pick up the win, complete with cocky cover.

WINNERS: TAJIRI AND TAKA
RATING: *

This was a bit of a mess with a good finishing sequence. Spike didn’t look out of place in this company but he wasn’t given much time to really shine.

Super Crazy Vs Little Guido w/ Big Sal Vs Yoshihiro Tajiri – Dalton, Georgia

Back to fan cam for this one. It’s really good action to start, with all three guys going at it with one another. They thankfully keep the “two guys wrestle whilst the third sells” formula to a minimum, which can sometimes make these three way matches feel samey. We of course get some fighting in the crowd at one stage, because this is ECW after all, and Sal makes sure to get involved at certain points when it looks like his client is on the ropes.

Crazy gets a big moonsault out onto the other two guys + Sal at one stage, and it’s fun to see how they’re busting out all the big moves for a non-televised event like this, especially as a lot of guys usually used shows like this as a chance to take it easy in WCW and the WWF. Eventually Crazy and Tajiri team up to eliminate Guido, leaving it as a one on one between match between them.

The action continues to be good in the Crazy/Tajiri section, with both men working each other a bunch by this stage and having some good chemistry as a result. We get some near falls, with Tajiri getting to kick out of Crazy’s big sit out powerbomb finisher at one stage and Crazy getting to kick out of a swinging DDT. Tajiri follows that up with a Brain Buster though and that’s enough for three.

WINNER: YOSHIHIRO TAJIRI
RATING: ***

This was fun stuff, as they worked pretty hard for a house show event and the crowd responded. It could have perhaps benefitted from a longer run time, but what we got was good and I liked it

El Mosco de la Merced Vs Super Crazy – ECW Arena

This one is from Cyber Slam 99 as well, so I’ll once again attach my previous review

Crazy has finally got a hometown that isn’t just “Mexico” after months of being in the company. Joey mentions on commentary that these two have history together in Mexico both as partners and opponents. We get some Lucha themed chain wrestling to start, complete with them working the right side instead of the left, which ends up in a Mexi……err…Central American standoff.

Mosco dodges Crazy to send him tumbling outside and then follows with a flip dive to the floor. Crazy fights back on the outside and sends Mosco into the crowd, where he follows with an outstanding moonsault. Man, Crazy really was an elite high flyer back in the day!

Crazy gets a quebrada back inside for two, before deciding to go route one by simply dropping a knee to Mosco’s face for another two. Ten punches en Español in the corner come next, as Crazy has dominated most of this match thus far. As I type that however, Mosco rana’s Crazy to the outside and follows with another big dive, which he gets a two from back inside.

A top rope rana back inside gets another two for Mosco, which leads to Crazy bailing outside the ring to regroup. Mosco isn’t going to let up whilst he’s building momentum however, as he follows Crazy to the floor, only for Crazy to fling Mosco back into the crowd, where he gets another moonsault, this time off the guardrail.

COMMERCIAL

As we return from the break, we see that Mosco and Crazy are back in the ring, where Mosco hits a twisting splash from the top rope for two. Mosco heads up again, this time for a moonsault, but Crazy gets his feet up to block it and Mosco goes face first into them in a vicious looking counter, before Crazy hits a sit out powerbomb for two. That should have probably been the finish, they’re not topping that.

Crazy goes for a moonsault, but Mosco stops him on the second rope and brings him down with a sunset flip powerbomb for two. However, Crazy decides he’s had enough of this nonsense now and drops Mosco with a tilt-a-whirl before heading up top for a D’Lo Brown styled frogsplash for the win.

WINNER: SUPER CRAZY
RATING: **1/2

They should have ended that with the powerbomb really, but this was a pretty exhilarating collection of wild spots. It was certainly fun to watch, even if it was kind of short on psychology

Yoshihiro Tajiri Vs Little Guido w/ Big Sal and Tracy Smothers – ECW Arena

This happened on episode #309 of Hardcore TV, which I’ve already reviewed

I believe this might be the first ever televised match between these two wrestlers. It sure as fudge wouldn’t be the last! Guido goes for some UWFi styled mat work to start, but Tajiri is able to fend him off and then shows that he too has some keen mat skills. Guido makes the mistake of slapping Tajiri though, which earns him some stiff kicks for his troubles.

Guido counters a Tajiri rana attempt into a powerbomb, but misses when he tries following up with a dive to the outside. Tajiri dives onto both Guido and Smothers for an ECW chant from the crowd, before bringing Guido back in for a superplex as we take a break.

COMMERCIAL

Back from the ads, it’s Guido who is on top of things as he stomps on Tajiri. How he managed to get back into the ascension when he was getting battered before the break isn’t explained. You’d think they’d at least update us with a replay or something surely? Anyway, Tajiri fires back with more kicks and then dropkicks Guido into Smothers, who has climbed up onto the apron.

The collision sends Smothers flying off the apron through a conveniently placed table (Fancy that!), leaving Guido wide open for some more kicks from Tajiri. Tajiri adds a big running front dropkick to a helpless kneeling Guido, and that not surprisingly is enough for Tajiri to pick up the three count and get his hand raised

WINNER: YOSHIHIRO TAJIRI
RATING: **1/2

Fun TV match, just a bit on the short side

Super Crazy and El Mosco de la Merced Vs TAKA Michinoku and Yoshihiro Tajiri – South Amboy, New Jersey

We’re back to fan cam footage again for this one, in what looks to be a High School gymnasium. This show was from April 99 I believe and you can still buy it, although the card doesn’t look amazing. There’s some very nice high speed counter wrestling in this one in the early going, with Mosco and Tajiri having some strong chemistry together when doing the Luca styled arm drags and whatnot. Crazy and TAKA do a nice bit together too and the crowd gets into the action.

This match wouldn’t look out of place on a TV taping, which is another example of the ECW crew working hard and delivering on the house shows. I bet attending an ECW show live would have been entertaining just because of how hard everyone was working, even if the wrestling itself wasn’t always great. Crazy and Mosco do work well as a team and I’m surprised they didn’t get booked more like that in ECW actually, especially as they didn’t really have a Lucha team in the tag division and in ECW the stylistic difference wouldn’t have mattered as much due to their fans being more open to different types of wrestling.

Crazy and Mosco actually work a bit of heat on Tajiri, which is interesting as I felt for sure they’d have the Japanese team as de facto Heels here due to how good TAKA is in that role. That leads into a parade of dives, and they all look good and the crowd gets into it. This has been a little light on psychology at points, but the wrestling itself has been fun action outside of the odd bit of sloppiness and the crowd has responded. Things eventually break down into the near falls, with saves and kick outs aplenty, leading to Mosco coming off the top with a twisting senton on Tajiri for three.

WINNERS: CRAZY & MOSCO
RATING: ***

Mostly a spot fest overall, but one where the majority of the spots all hit and the crowd got into the match, so it worked overall. I’m again surprised they didn’t have Crazy and Mosco team more because it seems like it would have been an act that would have gotten over, but I don’t know the ins and outs of why Mosco eventually didn’t get booked that much anymore after a certain point

TAKA Michinoku Vs Papi Chulo – ECW Arena

This is also from Cyber Slam 99 and was shown on Hardcore TV

Chulo would go on to greater fame in the WWF as Essa Rios. His name translated quite literally means “Pimp Daddy”, though he hasn’t brought any senoritas with him ala Charles Wright. TAKA actually has Great Sasuke’s theme here. I wonder why they didn’t use Yamamoto Suite for him? This was of course a match back at WrestleMania XIV, which I seem to recall was just a bunch of spots in front of a crowd that didn’t really care whilst Jerry Lawler buried both guys on commentary.

TAKA gets a great reaction from the ECW crowd, as they happily welcome him back following his great performance at Barely Legal 1997. I assume TAKA was just on loan from the WWF here, seeing as he was back in the WWF the same time the following year to wrestle Triple H in that great match on Raw. We cut from intros to TAKA chopping away at Chulo. Chulo replies with an arm drag from the top rope, before heading up for a 450 splash.

TAKA dodges that however, but Chulo jams the ropes to stop him in his tracks, before firing off a rana. Cut to TAKA getting a tornado DDT, only to be back dropped over the top. Cut to Chulo countering another DDT attempt, before sending TAKA outside with a dropkick, where he follows with a dive. Cut to TAKA dropkicking Chulo in the back of the head. Cut to TAKA missing a moonsault, but he counters a rana with a powerbomb and hits the Michinoku Driver to win.

WINNER: TAKA MICHINOKU
RATING: N/A

It was chopped up too much for me to accurately rate it, but the finisher looked deadly and the crowd popped big for it

Super Crazy Vs Yoshihiro Tajiri – Queens

This is from ECW Hardcore TV #305, which I have already reviewed

This I believe is either the third or fourth match in the rivalry between these two, with the first one being contested at Guilty As Charged 99. The high flying and hard hitting Japanese influenced Lucha style of both men was really starting to get them over and the crowd are well up for this. We have introductions and then take a break.

COMMERCIAL

We return from the break just as bell rings, with Tajiri kicking Crazy’s head off before sending him into the crowd for a big Asai moonsault. Its Tarantula time back inside, but Crazy fights back by countering a tilt a whirl attempt and hitting a powerbomb for two. Crazy goes to a Mexican surfboard hold on Tajiri, which actually gets a great reaction from the crowd and a “Lucha Libre” chant.

Tajiri doesn’t quit, so Crazy lets him out, only to send him into the crowd for a big moonsault of his own. Back inside, Crazy hits La Quebrada for two and then heads up top. Tajiri cuts him off however and hangs him in the Tree of Woe before delivering a big dropkick. Tajiri throws some kicks and then delivers a German suplex for two. Tajiri tries a Dragon Suplex next, but Crazy mule kicks his way out of that one, only to spill outside and end up on the receiving end of a Tajiri dive.

Crazy catches Tajiri with a DDT back inside, but when he tries a powerbomb Tajiri is able to counter it with a DDT of his own. Crazy won’t be denied however and hits a trifecta of missile dropkicks before delivering an impressive springboard 450 splash to finally put Tajiri away.

WINNER: SUPER CRAZY
RATING: ***1/4

This was a cracking match in a series of them between the two. It just a tad too short and spotty to pick up a higher rating, but it was certainly a lot of fun and a good example of why both men were getting over at the time

TAKA Michinoku Vs El Mosco de la Merced – Columbus, Georgia

TAKA has Yamamoto Suite as his theme for this one, as we’re back to fan cam footage from a house show. TAKA is definitely working Heel here, feigning a handshake and then slapping Mosco. Heel TAKA was always the best TAKA, especially when he was in M-Pro and was allowed to be as big of a jerk as possible when fighting the babyfaces there.

TAKA takes most of the match here, working Mosco over and just generally being unlikable. Mosco does eventually get to fight back though and sends TAKA into the front row before following him out there with a moonsault, which the crowd loves. This event appears to be from June 1999 and this was the opening match, which makes sense considering Mosco’s ability to fly and pop the crowd.

We get some near falls in the ring, with TAKA now bumping all over the place to make Mosco look good after beating him up in the early stages. The crowd continues to be into the match and the action is exciting stuff, although there’s not really much in the way of selling now. They’re mostly just hitting moves, but the moves look good at least. TAKA eventually counters a rana attempt into a powerbomb and gets the Michinoku Driver for three.

WINNER: TAKA MICHINOKU
RATING: **1/2

Fine as an opening match, with TAKA doing his character work and Mosco doing his fun dives and moves to fire up the crowd for the evening of wrestling ahead

Yoshihiro Tajiri Vs Antifaz Del Norte – ECW Arena

This one is from Hardcore TV and I don’t believe I’ve reviewed this episode before. Joey hypes both guys up huge before this one takes place, comparing the match to Eddy Guerrero Vs Dean Malenko, which seems like he’s giving them an impossibly high bar to reach but you can’t fault him for trying to get new guys over I guess.

The match itself is edited down to the highlights, with both guys trading strikes and quick counters, with the crowd going nuts for the action and really enjoying it. By the end both men are way over with the crowd, but whilst Tajiri was able to turn this into a full time role with the company, Antifaz was basically gone by the summer.

We get to see big moves like Tajiri’s moonsault to the floor and Antifaz’s corkscrew plancha, with all of the dives getting big pops. It’s a shame we couldn’t see all of it, but it could be that there were points where it didn’t work so they’re just showing the best bits to cover for that. Eventually Tajiri spikes Antifaz with a Brain Buster and then follows up with a Dragon Suplex for three.

WINNER: TAJIRI
RATING: N/A

Sadly I can’t rate it because it was clipped a lot, but the action we got to see was really good and Joey’s hard sell certainly helped with trying to make both guys look like stars. It was a good example of how ECW knew how to make the most of guys delivering good matches in order to get them over, a skill WCW seemed almost incapable of doing most of the time by comparison when it came to their talented high-flyer’s outside of a few notable exceptions like Rey Mysterio Jr and, to a lesser extent, Kidman

Jerry Lynn Vs TAKA Michinoku – Queens

This is from ECW Hardcore TV #314, which I’ve already reviewed

We join this match in progress, with both men fighting outside the ring. TAKA sends Lynn into the guardrails and then gets a ridiculous dive from inside the ring to the outside. Lynn fights back with a baseball slide however and drops TAKA crotch first on the guardrails (TAKA has been watching his Tommy Dreamer tapes clearly) before following with a dropkick off the apron.

Not content with that however, Lynn then dives from the ring into the crowd, as they are just going all out here with the big spots. Lynn goes after TAKA’s leg back inside the ring, going all Muta with dropkicks and Dragon Screws. TAKA is able to counter one of the Dragon Screw attempts with an enziguiri however, but his resulting Tornado DDT attempt is easily blocked by Lynn.

TAKA lands on his feet from a German Suplex attempt, but his follow up rana is turned into a powerbomb from Lynn for two. Lynn goes to the Gory Guerrero Special, but TAKA slips out, only to run into a tilt a whirl back breaker. Wow, Lynn has been beasting TAKA for most of this match. As I type that, TAKA finally finds some joy with a top rope rana, but Lynn is out at two.

TAKA gets a brain buster and heads up top for a moonsault, but Lynn rolls out of the way and delivers a Tornado DDT for two. Wasn’t that his finisher in the WWF actually when he went there in 2001? I seem to recall that he did it on Smackdown: Just Bring It. TAKA fights back with a knee in the corner and a springboard missile dropkick, but Lynn fights off a Michinoku Driver attempt and hits his new devastating Cradle Piledriver finisher to pick up the three count.

WINNER: JERRY LYNN
RATING: ***

That was quite the high energy spot fest, with countless big moves and a healthy assortment of dives. They kept Lynn strong there and gave him yet another clean win, as they are doing everything in their power to make you think that Lynn has a chance at the pay per view against Rob Van Dam

Super Crazy Vs Yoshihiro Tajiri Vs Little Gudio w/ Big Sal – Columbia, South Carolina

This match is from ECW Hardcore TV #321, which I’ve already reviewed. The match was supposed to be another round of Crazy Vs Tajiri, but Guido and Big Sal have laid Tajiri out and Guido has forced his way into a match with Crazy, with Tajiri seemingly now out of the picture.

Super Crazy Vs Little Guido w/ Big Sal E. Graziano

The fight goes straight into the crowd, where Crazy slams Guido on the floor and leaps off the balcony with a moonsault onto both Guido and Sal. Guido manages to drag himself back into the ring and dodges a Crazy attack in the corner to hit a Sicilian Slice for two. Guido goes to a Fujiwara arm bar, but Crazy is able to make the ropes, go Guido slams him and jaws with the crowd. This allows Crazy to recover and hit him with a sit out powerbomb for two.

Guido distracts the referee, which allows Sal to come in with a big elbow drop onto Crazy, which allows Guido to get a cover for two. Guido works Crazy over but Crazy is able to fight back and hits a Quebrada for two. Big DDT gets another two for Crazy, as Guido is proving to be quite resilient. Crazy tries to get a springboard styled move but Guido hammers him down and then locks in the Sicilian Crab.

However, Tajiri now recovers from his previous beat down to assault Guido with kicks. This leads to Jim Mollineaux making the match an ad-hoc 3 way dance. Crazy pins Guido with three moonsaults whilst Tajiri works over Sal, but when Crazy turns around Tajiri hits him with an immediate brain buster and pins him to win the match.

WINNER: TAJIRI
RATING: **1/2

Good little match between Crazy and Guido that got a bit silly once Tajiri came in but the live crowd seemed to enjoy it

ECW World Title
Falls Count Anywhere
Champ: Taz Vs Yoshihiro Tajiri – Hartford

This one is a brawl right from the off, as they head into the crowd and duke it out, which the fans love of course. It’s a fun brawl for the most part, although they is quite a bit of “grabbing your opponents head and dragging them all over the place” going on, which can sometimes stretch believability a bit. I generally prefer it when one guy will take a shot and stumble to the next part of the arena, as it feels a bit more organic and natural to me for whatever reason.

We eventually head back in following that, with Taz mostly dominating but Tajiri getting the odd flurry here and there so that it’s still competitive. A lot of this feud was based around Taz getting even with Tajiri for a prior attack, so a lot of the matches came down to Taz extracting revenge by taking a lot of the match, which perhaps wasn’t the best use of Tajiri but was normally effective in front of a crowd that liked seeing Taz clobber someone.

That’s mostly what happens here, with Taz battering Tajiri and throwing him around with a tonne of suplexes, whilst Tajiri fights back with things like low blows and kicks. Tajiri does get one more flurry at the end, but Taz is able to quickly counter him into the Tazmission for the clean win.

WINNER AND STILL CHAMPION: TAZ
RATING: **1/2

Tajiri didn’t get given a lot in this one, but he sold well and the crowd enjoyed watching Taz dish out the punishment, so it was an entertaining watch for the most part

Super Crazy Vs Justin Credible w/ Jason – Orlando

This looks to be a in a nightclub of some kind. Credible and Jason spend most of the match trying to team up on Crazy, with Crazy valiantly fighting them off. Both men work together pretty well here for the most part, with Crazy doing more strike trading and selling than usual due to Credible working more of a story based match with his Heel antics. The crowd mostly wants Sabu to show up and even the odds as he was feuding with Credible at the time.

Crazy gets the better of the Heels more than once, including hip tossing Credible into a table in the corner that Jason put in for his man to use. The ref ends up taking a bump on an O’Connor Roll, just when it looks like Crazy might get the three count. This leads to Jason coming into the ring to help once again, but Crazy continues to fight them off and gets over with the crowd as a result. It’s a simple story they’re telling, but it’s an effective one and crazy is rising to the challenge. Sadly for Crazy, he focuses too much on fighting Jason and that allows Credible to hit him right in his Loco Pelotas before following up with a Tombstone Piledriver for three.

WINNER: JUSTIN CREDIBLE
RATING: **3/4

Decent outing there. Crazy may have lost but Credible sold a lot for him in the match and he was running wild on both Heels for a while there until Credible was able to hit him low and pick up the win

Super Crazy Vs Yoshihiro Tajiri – Kissimmee, Florida

This looks to be still relatively early in both men’s ECW careers, but they’ve already got the chemistry and formula down, leading to a really good match as a result. The problem was that ECW just did WAY too many of these matches to the point that I never wanted to see it again. Despite that the matches were almost always good as these two just clicked.

We get the usual counters and whatnot to start, leading into Tajiri getting a moonsault into the crowd and then controlling things back inside by baseball sliding Crazy in the face whilst he hangs in the Tree of Woe. Crazy fights back though, leading to the Spanish ten punches in the corner before Tajiri gets sent into the crowd and Crazy follows with a moonsault of his own.

The smoothness with which these guys got at it is super impressive at points, especially when Tajiri tries a sunset flip and then seamlessly turns it into the Tarantula. It’s no wonder you could sell a compilation tape filled with these matches when it was still a pretty fresh combination, as you weren’t getting action like this in the WWF for the most part and the guys that could work like this in WCW were never going to be allowed to be pushed like these two were. Crazy eventually destroys Tajiri with a series of moonsaults and picks up the win.

WINNER: SUPER CRAZY
RATING: ***1/4

This was very good, with both men having the pattern down by this stage, meaning the action was exactly what it needed to be. They also benefited from a hot crowd who clearly wanted to see them go at it

Super Crazy Vs El Mosco de la Merced – Tokyo

This is apparently from Federacion Universal De Lucha Libre, a Lucha company that seemingly operated out of Japan from 1990 to 1998. They waste no time going to the wacky high spots and dives, with the crowd really digging it. It’s basically all action all the time, with some the high-flying being very impressive. If you’re not into this style of match then you might not like it, but I don’t mind a wild spot fest now and then if it’s done right, so I’m having fun with this.

Crazy brings a chair into the ring and flings it at Mosco, which doesn’t appear to be a DQ so I’m guessing they don’t have those in FULL? If you were a more regular viewer of the promotion then please feel free to let me know in the comments when it comes to that. Mosco ends up dropkicking the chair into Crazy’s face in order to fight back and that leads to series of swinging rana’s from him, with one eventually being done outside of the ring.

Selling and psychology have kind of been at a premium here, but I can’t deny that the match has had a lot of very exciting high octane action in it. These two certainly trust one another when it comes to all of the big moves and it’s meant the action has had fluidity to it, which is pretty much essential when you’re doing one of these matches. If you’re going to build the match around spots then the spots have to land otherwise the whole thing collapses, and the spots have landed here.

We eventually get some near falls, with the crowd getting into the kick outs, which leads to Crazy bringing a table into the ring. He tries to moonsault Mosco through it, but the table doesn’t break, which means I’m contractually mandated to post the following…

Crazy gets the sit out powerbomb following that and that’s enough for the three count, with the match clocking in at just under 10 minutes of spots.

WINNER: SUPER CRAZY
RATING: ***3/4

An exciting spot fest, with lots of big moves in front of a crowd that was up for seeing it. The run time was probably perfect too, as they didn’t really need to do more and pretty much took it home at the peak following the table spot

Yoshihiro Tajiri and Shinjiro Otani Vs Jushin Liger and El Samurai – Yokohama

The pre-match interviews for this have the Macarena playing in the background for some reason. This would appear to be from Big Japan Pro Wrestling, a company which has two distinct divisions within it. One group of guys work the deathmatch style and guys like this work the more traditional Japanese style. It’s a bit like CZW in that regard.

Tajiri and Otani strike me as a natural paring actually. Liger and Samurai had good runs both as partners and opponents, with Liger being the flashy star of the team whilst Samurai was the more toned down work horse of the team. Samurai was very much a Dennis Irwin styled wrestler in my mind, in that he rarely stole the show but he was usually a dependable 7/8 out of 10 who could be relied upon to have a solid match with basically anyone.

This match is a lot of fun with the momentum ebbing and flowing between the two teams. Tajiri has the occasional issue with the New Japan team trying to gobble him up a bit, although they seem to still be working their strikes safely. They just keep Tajiri penned down quite a bit and are clearly happier to give Otani more due to him being from their company whilst Tajiri is a Big Japan guy.

It’s somewhat understandable because New Japan was leagues above Big Japan in status, so it makes sense that two of the top guys in the New Japan junior division wouldn’t want to give the Big Japan guy too much offence on them. It might make him come up to their level in the fans eyes but it could also conceivably bring them down to his, so I can understand why they would be careful, even if I’d rather them be a little more giving.

The wrestling here is very good, with lots of nice snug kicks and dropkicks from the Otani/Tajiri pairing, whilst Liger and Samurai bust out some of their big trademark moves. The Big Japan fans are clearly into the idea of their guy taking it to the New Japan guys, so they enjoy it whenever Tajiri is able to get some offence in.

Things eventually break down, with the Otani/Tajiri tandem getting dives out onto the New Japan guys, leading into some near falls back inside the ring. The near falls are executed well and the crowd gets into them. Tajiri gets to kick out of some big moves, which gets the crowd to chant for him, and he gets a pretty great desperation rana on Samurai at one stage for a close two that the crowd bites on. Ultimately though he is the lesser star of the four and eventually ends up taking the Saving Grace from Samurai for the three count.

WINNERS: LIGER & SAMURAI
RATING: ***1/2

Yoshihiro Tajiri Vs Dr. Wagner Jr – Big Japan Pro Wrestling

I’m not sure where we are for this one as these two had quite a few singles matches with one another back in 96/97 and this match doesn’t have a date on it. It’s clipped in places, but what we do get to see is good, with Tajiri and Wagner both getting dives out to the floor at certain points. A large chunk of the match is missing, so I don’t really feel comfortable fully reviewing the match, but what we do get to see is good. Tajiri eventually manages to win it with an inside cradle.

WINNER: TAJIRI
RATING: N/A

And with that we reach the end of the tape!

In Conclusion

For $12 you’re getting close to four hours of wrestling, most of which is at least decent. If you have the WWE Network though then it’s very easy to hunt the TV matches down as they have the complete Hardcore TV for 1999 uploaded there and it’s not like the house show matches include any incredible hidden gems that you need to go out of your way to find.

You can seemingly only get the show on VHS too which, though not a problem for me because I still have a working VCR, might be too much of a barrier if you’re not a retro wrestling tape lover like me who bothered to make sure they still have an obsolete bit of tech. I can imagine the very notion of paying for a comp tape in the world of YouTube and other streaming services to be beyond antiquated for my younger viewers too.

I can’t really in good conscience recommend this, but if you like the wrestlers included and have a VCR that still works, then I suppose there are worse things you could blow $12 on. For everyone else though I would struggle to recommend you going to the trouble of getting this.