Continuing my ongoing look at the ECW pay-per-views. Beginning with this show, at the end of the review, I’m going to start ranking the shows from best to worst.
1) Chris Candido vs. Taz – 4
2) Spike Dudley vs. Bam Bam Bigelow – 5
Our first bout was billed as “one-third of the triple main event”. I don’t know about you but I wouldn’t really consider Taz vs. Candido a main event, especially when it’s the opener. I used to like Candido but he’s started to wear on me lately and I’m not sure why. The punt he got in the nuts wasn’t really necessary. Taz probably though it’d be a cool spot to do. Candido hit a few nice moves including a really good looking powerbomb and an equally good top-rope frankensteiner. Taz’s suplex looked really dangerous, especially the ones that almost broke Candido’s neck on two different occasions. I really enjoyed watching Bigelow throw Spike around the ring even though the match itself amounted to nothing more than a mega-squash. If there is one thing that Spike Dudley does great, it’s bumping, especially when wrestling bigger guys like Bigelow, Mike Awesome, Uganda, etc. There was one really ugly spot where Spike got dropped ribs first across the bar that holds the buckle and fell face first to the floor cracking his skull open. Of course, this also had the required spot of Spike getting thrown into the crowd.
3) Monday Night Rules Match: Rob Van Dam vs. Al Snow – 3
4) The Dudley Boys vs. PG-13 - 3
It was never explained exactly what a “Monday night rules” match was but whatever the rules were, they were never enforced. Snow had this expression on his face like he was more concerned about whether or not his VCR was going to record the episodes of Nash Bridges he was missing than getting through this match. The match drug on for what seemed like an eternity. Think I’d rather watch episodes of lame stand-up on Comedy Central than this. RVD was on cruise control but still got all his shit in and looked like shit doing it. Mercifully, after about twenty minutes, RVD hit a Van Daminator to put an end to this charade.
I just recently watched some WCW Saturday Night from the year 2000 and PG-13 was surprisingly on there. They just seem to pop up in the most random of places and the most random times. This was a pretty bland tag match, something that would fit better on TV than on pay-per-view. PG-13 seem really out of their element in ECW. It’d probably be a better idea if they just stuck to working Memphis. Crowd wasn’t into this at all as they were more interested in trying to get Jenna Jameson, who had accompanied The Dudleys and Joel Gertner at ringside, to take her top off (which didn’t happen by the way). PG-13 had couple dives to the floor on to D-Von that were about the only good things they did the whole match.
5) Jerry Lawler vs. Tommy Dreamer – 5
I was liking this up until the finish. Lawler was doing some fantastic selling throughout the whole match and I felt like I was watching him during his prime in Memphis. Dreamer took some really nasty bumps including one off the top rope onto an open chair. Lawler hit this really, really sick looking piledriver. Dreamer looked about as good as you could possibly look wrestling in a t-shirt and workout pants. The finish is what killed this though. Not only was there interference from Rick Rude who absolutely destroyed Dreamer with a trash can, there was also interference from Sunny and Jake the Snake, not even five minutes after the Rude interference. Aside from that, this was some good stuff with some good heat on the nearfalls.
6) Three Way Elimination Match: Shane Douglas vs. Terry Funk vs. Sabu – 4
I almost called that last match an overbooked mess but then I realized that I still needed to discuss this match. Sabu looked like he was just trying to get all his usual spots in regardless of anything else that was happening in the match. He almost broke Shane’s neck on a German suplex (which I would have loved had that actually happened) and just killed himself by springboarding into the crowd and just barely touching Douglas. Just when I thought that he might have learned his lesson after doing that, minutes later has a glorious botch were he slips on a chair and crashes into the ropes trying to do his triple jump moonsault. Probably the best spot he had was jumping off a chair that was positioned on the top turnbuckle and putting Fonzie and Tod Gordon through a table. Why was Gordon there and why did he interfere in the match? Who the hell knows. This all led up to Sandman returning to the arena and doing a lame somersault leg drop on a ladder to eliminate Sabu. Where was the Sandman you ask? Well apparently he spent three hours trying to find the arena after hijacking the ambulance that took him to the hospital before the show started. Lost in all the chaos unfortunately was Funk. When the action was focused on him, his selling was fantastic as usual. I also liked the spot he did with Douglas dropping Sabu back first across two chairs that were set up. Once the match boiled down to Funk and Douglas after Sabu was eliminated, things became a lot less frantic and slowed down quite a bit. There was a good nearfall off a roll-up after Dory Funk Jr. showed up and chased off Francine. I laughed quite a bit at the awful table spot they tried that culminated in Shane taking an ass bump through it. If I haven’t said it before, I’ll say it now, I don’t for one second think Douglas’ belly-to-belly suplex is an effective finisher. This claim is further backed up as earlier in the match, both Sabu and Funk took said suplex and both popped up within seconds as if it was any other regular move. Funk kicked out of a bunch of them near the end here until Douglas finally got the fall. The post match antics were just as mind boggling with The Dudleys coming out and laying waste to Funk while the entire locker room just stood there and looked on until Candido and Bigelow ran out leading to a huge brawl that accomplished nothing.
ECW PPV Rankings:
1. Barely Legal
2. Hardcore Heaven ‘97