Back in the early 2000’s when Pioneer Entertainment was releasing a bunch of ECW shows, I snagged up every single release except for a Best of Cactus Jack and a Best of Dudley Boys compilation. Over time, though, my copies were lost or given away, including this show. I remember being really excited to watch this DVD when I bought it and then, when it was over, I was left thinking “man, that sucked.” Recently, though this show has resurfaced courtesy of a long lost box of tapes Jessie found a few weeks back. I’m hoping this won’t be as bad as I remember it being.
1) Shane Douglas vs. Chris Chetti – 3
2) Tracy Smothers/Little Guido vs. The Pitbulls – 2
Douglas works the stick like always to get his pre-match heel heat. Chetti’s nickname is “The Rookie” and if that just doesn’t scream the fact that he just came fresh from training camp then I don’t know what does. Match was pretty basic. Chetti working the arm early on was a nice touch. Following tag match was pretty rancid. I always thought the Pitbulls were a pretty awful team, using the basic big man offense of slams and clotheslines. Their punches were pretty awful as well, almost like they took boxing lessons with Hercules. Best part of the match was Guido’s selling of the top rope powerbomb at the end.
3) The Dudley Boys vs. The Sandman/Balls Mahoney – 2
4) Terry Funk vs. Chris Candido – 4
Our first Dudleys match of the night was a meandering brawl that went pretty much nowhere. Sandman didn’t give a shit, just laying into people with the kendo stick. There was one wild spot where he jumped off the top rope to the floor and was supposed to hit D-Von but ended up cracking his own partner right in the head. Balls took about 3-4 hard chair shots much to nobody’s delight. The pace of the Funk match was slower than the tortise in the famous “The Tortise and the Hare” fable from Aesop. Candido’s piledrivers were just flat out nasty. Big botch though with Candido attempting a piledriver through a table and the table just collapsing with Funk almost breaking his neck. Funk was on defense for damn near the whole match and I didn’t buy the quick roll-up finish one bit.
5) Raven vs. Tommy Dreamer – 6
6) Taz vs. Sabu – 4
7) Taz vs. Shane Douglas – 2
Dreamer and Raven had probably one of the most overlooked matches of their neverending series and was billed as the “final battle” between the two as Raven was heading off to WCW. Match was a big wild brawl from the get-go and never really let up. Dreamer took some nasty bumps during the crowd brawl including one off the top of a vending machine and a table spot up on the giant platform. A really nutty spot near the beginning featured both guys spilling over the back of the bleachers and crashing through a table below! The final segment featured a ref bump, which I though wasn’t needed in the least and so many great nearfalls and Dreamer finally beating Raven. Finish led into a giant brawl with Sabu, Rob Van Dam, Bill Alfonso, and Jerry Lawler just destroying literally everyone in the locker room until Taz came out which led into Taz vs. Sabu. Heyman is famous for this style of booking. Doing one thing that led into another that led into another. Sabu looked just completely sloppy and neither guy seemed to bust out of the lower gears. Sabu failed miserably on a triple jump moonsault attempt. Looking back now on this series, I think their matches are somewhat overrated and this is a prime example of that and they didn’t gel at all. I dug the finish though with Taz locking in the choke and Sabu doing a float over into a bridge for the pin. All this eventually led into Taz and Shane Douglas shouting at each other which led into a three minute challenge where Taz ended up choking out Douglas to win the TV title. When I first watched this show ten years ago, this was the part of the show I always enjoyed the most. Now, looking back on it, the only thing worth watching is Dreamer vs. Raven.
8) The Dudley Boys vs. The Eliminators – 2
Saturn was too injured to even wrestle so this ended up being a handicap match with Kronus going 1-on-2 with the Dudleys. Kronus hit a nice 450 splash on D-Von. Saturn dropped a wild elbow top rope elbow to get the win even though he wasn’t even a legal participant in the match. Overall, a pretty poor offering from ECW here with only one recommended match, which I believe is available for viewing on WWEclassics.com.