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CIRCA
ECW Living Dangerously 1998
May 20, 2005

by Denny Burkholder
Courtesy of WrestleLine.com

 

-- Live from the Convention Hall in Asbury Park, New Jersey.
 
 
-- Just a little disclosure to start: I think the theme songs used by ECW wrestlers were a very cool part of the show, so I will be noting most (or all) of the theme songs here as they pop up.

-- We open cold with a shot of Taz walking into the empty arena last night, with the lights down. He's got on a leather jacket and has the ECW TV

title belt draped over one shoulder. He looks at the ring in silence for a moment, and then says "I'm ready."

-- Cut to the live scene. The place is packed, and the fans are insane. Literally. No, seriously, try them.

-- Joey Styles welcomes everyone to ECW's fourth PPV from the ring. "This is Extreme" by Harry Slash & The Slashtones (a.k.a. the ECW Theme) plays over the usual video package of ECW highlights, including (but not limited to) Taz destroying Anthony Durante with a t-bone Taz-plex, Tommy Dreamer gettin' extreme on Raven with a chair, and John Kronus doing a 450 splash.

-- The Full-Blooded Italians are on their way to the ring as the N-Trance dance mix of "Stayin' Alive" blares. This incarnation of the FBI is Little Guido (now known as Nunzio), Tracey Smothers, and manager "The Big Don" Tommy Rich.

THE FULL-BLOODED ITALIANS (TRACEY SMOTHERS & LITTLE GUIDO) vs. JERRY LYNN & CHRIS CHETTI.

Chris Chetti, of course, is Taz' cousin in real life, and was a very good wrestler when he wanted to be. ECW pushed him as one of its young up-and-comers for years. Jerry Lynn is sans facial hair at this stage of his career, and is introduced as "Dynamic" Jerry Lynn. He had yet to wrestle RVD in the classic match that earned him the nickname "The New F'n Show." Joey Styles goes over Lynn's extensive resume of WWF & WCW work, including the Mr. JL stint.

Lots of fun to start as Guido and Smothers dance around and jaw with the crowd. Things pick up as Lynn gets a plancha to the outside and Chetti nails a springboard double clothesline. Rich helps the FBI regain control. Guido gets the paizan elbow on Chetti. Tag in to Smothers, vertical suplex drop onto Chetti. Quick-tag sequence as the FBI works over Chetti in their corner. Smothers with a small package but referee John Finnegan is too busy getting Jerry Lynn out of the ring. Odd to see that spot work in favor of the babyface team for a change. Chetti plays Ricky Morton for a while until the hot tag to Jerry Lynn, who cleans house. The finish comes as all four men brawl in the ring. The Big Don gets in the ring with the Italian flag but accidentally hits Smothers with the pole, setting up Jerry Lynn with the rollup... "one... two... HE GOT EMMM!!" A decent enough opener, and they tease a breakup of the FBI afterwards as Smothers shoves Tommy Rich in frustration.

-- Video package hypes the ECW debut of Japanese superstars Masato Tanaka and W*ING Kanemura from FMW, with Paul Heyman voicing over footage from Japan. Heyman says Tanaka has won every title in FMW in that past three years.

-- Doug Furnas comes out with Mr. (Lance) Wright, and Joey Styles is confused. Lance Wright was playing a gimmick where he was acting on behalf of the WWF and Vince McMahon. That's where the Doug Furnas connection comes in, as he introduces Doug Furnas from Stamford, Connecticut. He says W*ING Kanemura won't be there because he wanted to have Doug Furnas take out Masato Tanaka himself.

MASATO TANAKA vs. DOUG FURNAS (w/Lance Wright).

Back and forth to start. Tanaka gets a dragonscrew leg whip and works the leg. Figure four by Tanaka gets a big "WHOO!" from the ECW audience. They're back up and Tanaka gets a running forearm and a clothesline, followed by a swinging DDT for two. Running Spicolli driver gets two (for newbies, the Spicolli driver is the move also known as the death valley driver, or the F-U, which ECW renamed in honor of the late Louie Spicolli.) Furnas misses with a knee but connects with a powerbomb onto the back of the neck for two. Standing switch sequence and Furnas hits Tanaka with a head-over-heels release German suplex. Furnas covers, but Mr. Wright demands more punishment. Frankensteiner and cover, but Mr. Wright again orders Furnas to dish out more punishment instead of winning the match. Masato catches Furnas in the standing position with a rolling elbow for the win. Very awkward finish that looked slightly botched. So-so match. Mr. Wright ("Mr. McMahon's personal valet") berates Furnas for losing, telling him when he talks to Jim Ross, Bruce Pritchard and God almighty himself, Vince McMahon, Furnas will never work on Monday Night Raw again. Furnas clotheslines Mr. Wright to a decent pop. ECW fans loved anything at all that mocked the WWF or WCW. Furnas to the lifeless Mr. Wright: "Hey errand boy, I got somethin' for you to take back to Vince. Tell him to kiss my ass." ECW fans rejoice with the "E-C-DUB! E-C-DUB! E-C-DUB!" chant.

-- Paul Heyman plugs the ECW hotline, and the teaser is to find out what, or who, porn star Jenna Jameson was "doing" to prepare for ECW. A plug for Wrestlepalooza '98 tickets follows.

-- Joey Styles says that they're scheduled to show a dueling canes match between Sandman and Sabu tonight, which was taped earlier. But the PPV companies told them that due to the graphic nature of the match, they can't show it on PPV. Styles says they'll make up for it by releasing the match on ECW video and showing as much of it as they'll be allowed on their syndicated show. "The World's Sexiest Man" Jason interrupts Styles with Nicole Bass, and they order him to play the tape of Tommy Dreamer arriving at the arena earlier today. They show Tommy entering the building with an Oakland Raiders jacket on, a metal briefcase, and a walking a bulldog... no Beulah McGillicutty. Jason says this proves that Beulah left Tommy Dreamer for them (and Justin Credible).

-- The opening riff of "Walk" by Pantera can mean the arrival of only one man... well, two men. Rob Van Dam and manager Bill Alfonso walk down the aisle to a nice ovation. RVD is wearing a tank top that says "Louie 90210" on the front with a photo of Louie Spicolli on the back. His opponent's music hits, and it's "Jungle Boogie" by Kool & The Gang. You-know-who dances down the aisle.

"Mr. Monday Night" ROB VAN DAM (w/Bill Alfonso) vs. 2 COLD SCORPIO.

Fonzie blows the damn whistle to get on everyone's nerves, and RVD adds to it by whistling himself. Arm wringer and single-leg takedown sequence to start. Scorpio does a snap mare but RVD lands on his feet, and the crowd cheers. They run the ropes and it ends with Scorpio dropkicking RVD out of the ring. Back in, they lock hands and do a monkey flip reversal sequence. Scorpio gets a sidekick to RVD which sends him back out. Scorpio sends Van Dam to the guardrail twice and then to the side of the ramp (in lieu of an aisle, they walk down a ramp connected to the ring). RVD misses a jumping sidekick off the guardrail. Scorpio with a body press to RVD against the guardrail, but RVD throws a chair at Scorpio's head to regain the advantage. RVD puts Scorpio to the guardrail, and they go back in. Springboard legdrop by RVD for two. Scorpio finds some fire and tackles RVD to the corner. Irish whip, but Scorpio eats a boot on the follow through. RVD with a reverse kick off the top rope followed by a rolling thunder for two. Scorpio regains the advantage and goes for a reverse kick to the back of RVD's head, but RVD catches the leg and throws him down for a corkscrew legdrop. Arrogant cover by RVD gets two. Irish whip by RVD but he misses the splash in the corner. Release powerbomb by Scorpio, which gets a big reaction from the crowd.

Scorpio with a somersault legdrop for two. Slingshot 360 splash by Scorpio, and the crowd is calling for his trademark 450. Scorpio mocks Mr. Monday Night with the thumbs. Belly-to-back suplex by Scorpio, but he doesn't go for the cover. Scorpio goes up top, splashes RVD and gets two. Now Scorpio signals for the 450 splash. Wierdly, he gives RVD a moonsault instead for two. Scorpio puts RVD on the ropes but RVD punches him off. Five-star frog splash, but Scorpio gets the knees up to block. Scoop slam by Scorpio. Somersault legdrop from the second turnbuckle gets two. RVD just won't die.

Irish whip by Scorpio but he misses the Stinger Splash. Leaping sidekick off the ropes by RVD drops Scorpio. Bodyslam & split-legged moonsault by RVD gets two. Hurricanrana by RVD gets two. They're back to the floor now, and RVD takes Scorpio onto the ramp. RVD gets a chair and delivers a Van Daminator to Scorpio. RVD whips Scorpio to the ropes (still on the ramp), but Scorpio counters with two piledrivers on the ramp. Scorpio drags RVD to the ring like a rag doll. RVD wakes up and starts beating Scorpio in the head, so referee John Finnegan pulls him off for not breaking on the five count. RVD falls backward onto Finnegan and moves out of the way while Scorpio accidentally splashes the ref. Front kick to the face drops Scorpio. RVD attempts Scorpio's 450 splash but misses. Scorpio powerbombs RVD and nails the 450 splash for the cover. The ref's still out.

Sabu comes out and gives Scorpio an Arabian facebuster (leg drop with a steel chair) off the ropes, and puts RVD on top of Scorpio for the cover. The ref wakes up... one... two... NO! RVD starts punching Scorpio in the head again, and now shit's busting loose at ringside, as the Sandman is chasing Sabu around ringside with a Singapore cane. Scorpio with a rolling scissor kick to RVD. Off the ropes, and RVD counters Scorpio with a rolling body scissors for the pinfall. Really good match, but I can't help but think how much better the slow parts would have been if both guys had spent the down time selling each other's moves instead of just pausing before their next sequence.

RVD gets on the mic and says it was a good experience for both guys, but a better experience for Rob Van Dam. He offers Scorpio the chance to shake Mr. Monday Night's hand, but then pulls it away. Scorpio has the mic now, and says he's more of a man than RVD will ever be. RVD may have been the better man tonight, and he said he'll shake RVD's hand even if RVD won't shake his. O-kay. They shake, and RVD tells Scorpio to tell the fans RVD was the better man tonight, which he does... right before he clotheslines RVD and stomps his ass. The crowd cheers. Sabu comes back to help RVD, and gets a table into the ring. RVD & Sabu put Scorpio on the table and they each mount a top turnbuckle, but before they can kill Scorpio dead, the Sandman is back to cane Sabu. Scorpio wakes up and kicks RVD out of the ring. Sandman tries to hurricanrana Sabu off the top rope through the table, but the table's too far away, so Sabu's legs break off the end of the table. The fans give an "E-C-DUB! E-C-DUB!" chant for the effort. Scorpio gets back on the mic and thanks the ECW fans, says he's been all over the world, but there's nothing like kicking butt in ECW. He also says the one guy who has always been there to watch his back is Sandman. "Jungle Boogie" blares from the speakers as Sandman and Scorpio share a couple of beers, and they dance. Sandman dancing to Kool & The Gang... now THAT'S amusing. Just one of the little things that made ECW seem like such a fun time.

-- A video package explains the strange (but highly entertaining) feud between ECW World Tag Team Champions Chris Candido and Lance Storm. I must mention the background music - "Perfect Strangers" by Deep Purple, which is/was Shane Douglas' theme song, and is used here due to Candido being a member of the Triple Threat with Douglas and Bigelow, and Storm being a "former Triple Threat prospect." "Perfect Strangers" is one of those awesome theme songs that always reminds me instantly of the best work of the wrestler who uses the music. In this case, not just Shane Douglas, but the Triple Threat at their best. Anyway, Candido and Storm won the ECW tag team titles and were a phenomenal duo, but when Tammy "Sunny" Sytch came to ECW, the story was that Candido got so jealous of Lance Storm around Tammy that he turned on his partner, and piledrove him onto the title belt. For this PPV, Candido and Storm - still tag team champions, mind you - each get to choose a partner to square off against each other in tag action.

-- Bubba Ray and D-Von Dudley are in the arena. D-Von says it's time to testify. Joel Gertner (with suit jacket and bowtie neck brace, but without a shirt) introduces them, and Gertner is such an ECW classic that I'm going to transcribe his entire intro for the Dudley Boys (with Sign Guy Dudley & Big Dick Dudley):

"Well, well, well... welfare recipients and homeless vagabonds of Asbury Park, New Jersey, and to the THOUSANDS UPON THOUSANDS watching me coast to coast on pay per view. At this time, allow me to introduce - as if you could possibly STOP me - the contingent, the masters of the three-way dance. In the ring at this time, he is the most outspoken commodity in ECW. The voice of a generation, and the SILENCE behind the VIOLENCE... SIGN GUY DUDLEYYY!" [Sign Guy brandishes a sign reading "We Own You"]

"Also in the ring at this time, standing before me and intimidating the masses... from the Twisted Steel section of Dudleyville, 25 and 3/8 inches of the largest arms in the world, attached to the man that, last night, took such liberties with YOUR MOTHER [points at kid in front row], that he is now recognized as your father in 17 states, THE GARGANTUAN known as BIG DICK DUDLEYYY!!! And then, there's me. I'm like milk; I do a body good. The quintessential stud muffin, and a DAMN handsome man... the man whose wit is more tongue-in-cheek than a lesbian orgy... JOEL "Your girlfriend Has Me On Her Speed Dial Because She Loves the Way I *69 Her" GERTNER."

"Competing tonight for your viewing pleasure, first - currently GETTING JIGGY WITH IT at my left - straight out of the south side of Dudleyville, LIKE POPCORN BUTTA... he weighs in at a SLIM, TRIM, BUFF, CUT, RIPPED, CHISELED, and JAAAACKKKED - I'm so good! - TWO HUNDRED a... [The Dudley Brothers stop him in mid-word] ONE HUNDRED and SIXTY-NINE POUNDS... the ECW SUPER-CRUISERWEIGHT Champion of the Woooooorld... raise the roof for the man who's keepin' it real in the '9-8, MY BROTHER from ANOTHER MOTHER... D-VON DUDLEYYYY!!!"

"His half-brother and tag team partner hails from the Dudleyville Shore. He weighs in at a ROUGH, READY and RAMBUNCTIOUS three hundred and fifty pounds, and he is Pamela Lee's BRAND NEW MAN. Take it from me; I've seen the videotape. The Dudleyville Icon, BUBBA RAY DUDLEYYY!!! At this time, sound man, please cue up the music for tonight's enhancement talent."

...and THAT is how to introduce a tag team.

"Big Balls" by AC/DC blares, which sparks the usual "WE'VE GOT THE BIGGEST BALLS OF ALL!" chant from the gleeful ECW crowd. Axl Rotten and Balls Mahoney enter as the second team of a three-way dance... and the bell rings to start the match. The mere absence of the third team (which is not even slightly wondered about by Joey Styles on commentary) can only mean that New Jack is one of the people on the team. And if you know ECW, you know that New Jack NEVER shows up for the beginning of the match. He waits until shit gets interesting first, and then the shotgun blast erupts, and New Jack (with some vast and varied hardcore weaponry) gets Medieval on everyone's ass.

THE DUDLEY BOYS vs. AXL ROTTEN & BALLS MAHONEY vs. NEW JACK & SPIKE DUDLEY.

Balls has the custom-painted steel chair with the Living Dangerously PPV logo on it as he & Axl enter the ring. New sign from Sign Guy Dudley at ringside: "YOU'RE A BONEHEAD." Bubba and D-Von slug it out with Balls & Axl to start. Balls throws a haymaker and Bubba ducks, back-bodydropping him over the top rope. In the ring, D-Von & Axl do a crisscross sequence that ends with Axl hiptossing D-Von. Arm drag into an armbar by Axl. They run the ropes again and this time D-Von hiptosses Axl, as we see Bubba pummeling Balls on the outside. D-Von & Axl go outside, and Bubba brings Balls back in. Balls reverses an Irish whip and follows up with a superkick. Balls goes to the tope rope and misses a leg drop. Bubba gets Ball's steel chair and cracks him in he head with it. Meanwhile, D-Von whips Axl to the guard rail on the outside, and tosses him back in. Big Dick Dudley (RIP) joins the fracas to chokeslam Axl.

With both Balls & Axl down, Bubba, D-Von and Big Dick all do New Jack's pose to mock him, and brotha, that's all the motivation we needed for...

*GUN SHOT* [Cue "Natural Born Killaz" by Dr. Dre & Ice Cube]. Joey Styles: "BIG MISTAKE! BIG MISTAKE! BIG MISTAKE!" Journey with me into the mind of a maniac...

New Jack and Spike Dudley hit the ring with a big garbage can full of hardcore plunder, and it's the heavy-duty plastic trash can instead of the usual flimsy aluminum ones that make big noise. Spike hits Bubba with some kind of cookie sheet. New Jack breaks a crutch over D-Von's back. Spike crotches Bubba with part of a crutch. New Jack gets a computer keyboard, dances for a bit while pretending to type on it, then nails D-Von in the head with it. New Jack gives D-Von a hubcap to the skull and another keyboard shot - in that order - before D-Von bails out of the ring. In the corner, Spike Dudley chokes out Bubba Ray, stands on Bubba's chest and converts it to a hurricanrana. Balls Mahoney rises just in time for a frying pan to the forehead by New Jack. D-Von's back in, so New Jack nails him with the trash can lid. Bubba sends Spike flying over the top rope with a back bodydrop. Everybody leaves the ring. Axl's busted open now. Balls whips Bubba to the guardrail, then tosses him back into the ring. D-Von tries to hit Balls with a chair, but Balls blocks it and takes the chair, LEVELING D-Von in the back with it. Axl likes that idea, so he does the same to Bubba Ray. Axl & Balls tee off on Bubba & D-Von's heads with chairs.

New Jack re-enters the ring to break another crutch on D-Von, this time with a shot to the crotch. "Natural Born Killaz" is still playing. Big Dick gets chair shots from Axl & Balls. Everyone is back outside, this time over the guardrail and walking through the crowd. Everyone's busted open except Bubba Ray as they fight in the concession stand. Axl & Balls put Bubba & D-Von on the concession tables, as we see New Jack dragging Spike Dudley to the balcony above the concession stand. DOUBLE SWAN DIVE as New Jack & Spike jump from the balcony to put Bubba & D-Von through the tables. Styles: "OH MY GOD! OH MY GOD! IN STEREO!" Random sign in the crowd: "I AM MENTALLY ILL."

They fight their way back to the ring and Balls brings a table in. Spike knows what's coming, so he tries to fight it off, but Balls stops his offensive flurry with a SWEET belly to back suplex. Spike on the table, and Balls tries to go to the turnbuckle, but Spike is up. Acid drop attempt through the table, which wound up more like Balls slamming Spike through it. Bubba and D-Von rejoin us as Bubba press slams Spike over the top rope onto Axl. 3-D for Balls Mahoney, and Bubba pins him to eliminate Balls & Axl from the match. Like morons, the Dudleys mock New Jack's pose one more time, and turn right around into double guitar shots from Spike & New Jack. Acid drop for D-Von, and New Jack follows with a chair shot from the top rope to pin D-Von and win the match for himself & Spike.

These matches really can't be fairly held against a real wrestling match. They're all about the shock factor and the high spots. Judging it by THAT criteria, I'd call it average by ECW standards. I always did love "Natural Born Killaz" playing through New Jack's entire match, because it added a lot to the atmosphere of general chaos. I also get a kick out New Jack being the only guy - not just in ECW - who was ever enough of a bad ass to have the luxury of his theme playing for the duration of the match, no matter who his opponent was. It's just so unusual and creative.

-- Paul Heyman voices over a video package of Justin Credible's recent career highlights, against The Great Sasuke, Mikey Whipwreck, and pinning Gran Hamada while wearing Sasuke's mask. ECW did such a great job turning Justin Credible into a dickhead heel. Of course, I give P.J. Walker credit for the performance, too. Now, he fights ECW favorite "The Innovator of Violence," Tommy Dreamer. But will Beulah be there?

-- Porn star extraordinaire Jenna Jameson comes to the ramp, and the fans cheer loudly for her, as she's falling out of her one-piece body suit and dressed like a total skank. Well, this IS ECW, and she IS Jenna Jameson. If not her, who? And if not here, where? Jenna brings out Justin Credible for an interview on the ramp. Credible comes out with Jason and Nicole Bass, and tells Jenna that normally he'd give her the time of day, but since he's got Beulah McGillicutty on his jock, who in the hell needs Jenna? Credible's wearing jean shorts and a black T-shirt that reads "THIS IS NOT A COSTUME." Heh... O-kay, Aldo. Jason and Nicole diss Jenna too, and Jenna's all "What-ever," saying that she only tried to interview him because ECW asked her to. Now she's gonna interview who SHE wants to interview. Another kick-ass theme song as "Man in the Box" by Alice in Chains hits, and Tommy Dreamer enters. Jenna Jameson: "Oh Tommy! I LOVE you!" Dreamer plants a big wet one on Jenna and continues walking to the ring. That's hardcore. He better check for cold sores tomorrow morning.

TOMMY DREAMER (w/o Beulah McGillicutty) vs. JUSTIN CREDIBLE (w/Jason & Nicole Bass).

They brawl to start. Justin gets sent to the outside, and Dreamer nails Credible & Jason with a pescado to the floor. Tommy whips Credible to the guardrail. They fight through the crowd and back again. To the ramp, where Dreamer slingshots Credible onto a steel chair. Dreamer goes for a DDT but Credible shoves him off the ramp, as Tommy crotches on the guardrail.  Credible takes it back to the ring, attempts a body press but takes a fallaway slam from Dreamer instead. Dreamer ties Credible to the tree of woe. Running dropkick to the face with a steel chair. Powerslam by Dreamer. Dreamer misses a frog splash from the top rope. Jason gives Credible a steel chair, which he sets up for Raven's drop toe hold spot, except Dreamer ate the BACK of the chair instead. OUCH. Credible chops Dreamer in the corner and Dreamer reverses. Side Russian leg sweep by Dreamer. Credible regains control with a boot, and throws Dreamer head first into a chair in the corner. Inverted DDT onto the chair by Credible. Credible comes off the top with a chair but Dreamer gets the boot up. Dreamer crotches Credible on the rope. Airplane spin into a Spicolli driver by Dreamer. He covers Credible, but Jason distracts him so he breaks the cover to swing at him. Credible's up again ... That's Incredible (corkscrew tombstone piledriver) by Credible, but now BEULAH McGILLICUTTY is coming out.

Credible thinks it's for him, and he stops to pose. Beulah swerves him and punches Credible in the sack to a big crowd reaction. Jason tries to clothesline Beulah but she ducks, kicks him in the nuts and DDTs him. Nicole Bass saves Jason and puts Beulah in the crushing bearhug of death, but MIKEY WHIPWRECK limps out (with a huge leg brace and crutches, limping heavily). Credible had injured Mikey in storylines, you see (but Mikey really was injured). Nicole drops Beulah and confronts Mikey Whipwreck. Whipreck gives Nicole Bass the He-Bitch Man-Slap of Doom and a Stone Cold Stunner for the road. Credible breaks Mikey's crutch across his bad leg, then goes after Dreamer with a piece of the crutch. Dreamer blocks it, sends Credible to the corner, kicks him in the gut, and DDTs him for the pinfall victory. Not a bad match, but a little on the short side.

-- Joey Styles asks who the toughest man in ECW really is: "The Beast from the East" Bam Bam Bigelow, or the ECW Television Champion Taz?

-- Paul Heyman pimps the ECW Hotline and the ECW merchandise catalog.

-- Styles pimps ECW's next PPV event, Wrestlepalooza on May 3, 1998.

-- Video package on the feud between Taz and the Triple Threat faction of Shane Douglas, Chris Candido and Bam Bam Bigelow. Bigelow lost a match to Rob Van Dam due to interference from Douglas. Bigelow asked Taz to be his partner and help him out. Taz tells Bigelow he'll be his partner, and then afterward, he'll give him a shot at the ECW TV title. Bigelow says thanks. Taz slaps his hand away... "Thanks, my ass." Bigelow: "You're gonna be my partner, right?" Taz: "No, brotha. I'm gonna be your SAVIOR." Fast-forward to January 1998, Taz & Bigelow vs. Douglas & Candido: Taz belly-to-belly's Douglas over the top rope onto Candido, and grabs his TV belt (which Taz calls the World Title, because in his eyes, he is the real top dog in ECW, not ECW World Champion Douglas). Taz throws down the belt and yells at Douglas from the ring, and Bigelow picks up the belt to double-cross Taz with it.

TAZ (C) vs. BAM BAM BIGELOW.
ECW World Television Championship Match

Bigelow enters without the Triple Threat, looking like he's all business. His theme: "Welcome to the Jungle" by Guns 'N Roses. Taz enters to his original theme that's a takeoff on "War Machine" by KISS, with the shredded towel over his head & face. Taz puffs out his chest and folds his arms in the corner, assuming the "Taz pose" for the introductions. Taz gets a heel reaction from Asbury Park, because that's Bigelow's hometown.

Taz takes down Bigelow with an armbar. Bigelow makes the ropes for the break. Bigelow charges at Taz and gets taken over with a hip throw, and clotheslined over the top rope to the floor. Taz follows him out, but gets driven to the ring post by Bigelow. Bam Bam sends Taz to the rail, then face-first to the apron. Back in the ring, Bigelow lays on the boots and follows with a high-angle release powerbomb. Irish whip and big splash in the corner by Bigelow. He runs back in for another and gets clotheslined by Taz. The crowd: "FUCK 'EM UP, TAZ, FUCK 'EM UP! [clap clap]" Bigelow reverses a belly to back suplex into a body press for two. Bigelow runs at Taz and gets back bodydropped onto the ramp. T-BONE TAZPLEX off the ramp to the floor below by Taz, who knocks the back of his own head on the rail in the process. SHIT. Taz gets up a little slower than Bigelow. In the crowd, Bigelow hits Taz with a chair and clotheslines him over the rail. They re-enter the ring. DDT by Bigelow. Bigelow to the top rope for a moonsault, but misses Taz completely. Cover gets two.

Bigelow grabs a table from under the ring... it's the same table Sabu and the Sandman broke the end off of earlier. Bigelow sets up the fucked-up table in the ring. Bigelow tries to powerbomb Taz through it, but Taz counters and double-leg facedrops Bigelow through the table. Cover gets two for Taz. The crowd chants for Bam Bam. Back outside the ring, and Bigelow tries to hit Taz with a part of the table. Taz punches it and breaks it. Bigelow hits Taz with a chair. They're back in the crowd again as Taz counters a chair shot with one of his own. They fight back over the rail. Bigelow hits Taz with a street sign that just happened to be lying around. That's hardcore. Bigelow unloads on Taz, but Taz is pissed and asks for more.

Back in the ring, Bigelow goes for the Greetings from Asbury Park. Taz counters it into the kata hajime "Tazmission." Taz has it locked in and jumps on Bigelow's back. Fighting to break free, Bigelow falls backward onto Taz, and they crash THROUGH THE RING in one of the most classic ECW highlight reel moments of all time. The referee sells it like both guys must be dead, and the crowd reacts with the mightiest of all "HOLY SHIT!" chants. At the time, that was a really cool spot to see. Remember, it would be years before Brock Lesnar's superplex of the Big Show on WWE Smackdown IMPLODED the ring in a much cooler-looking spot, but this was pretty exciting stuff in 1998. And yes, it was worked.

After an extended period of everyone staring at the hole in the ring in disbelief, Bigelow emerges from the hole and pulls Taz up from the floor to pin him for the ECW TV Title. Douglas, Candido and Francine come out to celebrate with Bigelow. Very good match, and one of ECW's most memorable.

-- Paul Heyman is panicking and telling Joey Styles to buy him some time, so they can try to fix the ring before the main event. A big shouting match ensues between Styles and Heyman, as Heyman orders Styles to roll the footage of the Sandman vs. Sabu match taped earlier in the evening that was allegedly so extreme that the PPV company told ECW not to air it. Since Heyman is the boss, Styles finally gives in and tells the truck to roll the videotape.

SANDMAN (w/BILL ALFONSO) vs. SABU.
Dueling Canes Match

Sabu runs to the ring with his red genie pants and white turban on, and immediately catches a cane shot from the Sandman. Sabu recovers and canes Sandman to the mat. Sandman recovers and drops Sabu across the top rope neck-first. The turban comes off, and we see that it's not Sabu, but Rob Van Dam in Sabu's ring gear. The real Sabu runs out and attacks Sandman from behind (same outfit, but blue instead of red).

RVD with a spin kick to Sandman. Sabu canes Sandman between the eyes. Fonzie gets on the microphone and thanks RVD for his help, and sends him back to the dressing room so he can prepare for his own match.

Sabu chokes Sandman with the cane and then throws him out of the ring. Double-jump springboard plancha to the ramp by Sabu. Sandman rolls off the ramp and Sabu hits him with another plancha to the floor. Sabu sends Sandman to the steel rail. Sabu sets up a table on the corner of the steel rail, and as Fonzie holds Sandman in place, Sabu splashes him through the table from the top rope. "E-C-DUB! E-C-DUB! E-C-DUB!" Sabu tosses Sandman in and covers for two. Arabian face buster gets two. ATOMIC Arabian face buster (off the top rope) misses as Sandman rolls out of the way. Sabu regains control, chokes Sandman and tosses him out onto the ramp. Snap suplex by Sabu on the ramp. Triple-jump moonsault on the ramp by Sabu. Sandman's up before Sabu and sets a table against the ropes. Sabu tries to whip Sandman into the table but Sandman reverses. Referee John "Pee Wee" Moore is taken out in the process. Sandman suplexes the table onto Sabu. Sandman lays Sabu on the table. In a crazy bit of interference, Rob Van Dam comes out of nowhere with a leaping sidekick to Sandman from behind, but overshoots his target, flies OVER Sandman AND Sabu on the table, knocks Sandman into Sabu and the table breaks. RVD looked about a half-inch away from breaking his leg on that landing.

Back in the ring, Sabu with a slingshot legdrop to Sandman. RVD wth a leaping sidekick from the top rope to Sandman. Heel referee Jeff Jones comes out to ref the match. Sabu puts a chair on Sandman's face and RVD gives him the five star frog splash onto it. Back to the ramp, where there's another table set up. They put Sandman on it... DOUBLE LEG DROP from Sabu & RVD puts Sandman through the table and earns Sabu a pinfall win. Interesting and entertaining, which is about all you can ask from Sandman vs. Sabu.

-- We're live again, and Joey Styles is still freaking out on Paul Heyman for showing that match on TV. Funny, it was a lot less bloody than the three-way dance tag team match was, and they had no problem whatsoever showing THAT. Styles explains that we don't have time for the scheduled match between Al Snow and John Kronus, so we're going to the ring for the main event.

-- Rather than fix the hole in the ring from the Bigelow/Taz match, they taped off that corner of the ring with police tape. They'll have to wrestle the main event around that hole. Nice touch.

"No Gimmicks Needed" CHRIS CANDIDO & PARTNER OF HIS CHOICE vs. "No Nickname or Gimmick" LANCE STORM & PARTNER OF HIS CHOICE.

Candido comes out to "Back in Black" by AC/DC. Although in hindsight, Candido's personal demons were possibly at their worst during this time, this is the Chris Candido that I like to remember: at the peak of his wrestling ability, finally getting the appreciation from fans that he deserved, and working the main event in a promotion he loved.

EVERYBODY in the live audience now has those styrofoam heads for Al Snow, so maybe that's some kind of clue as to one of the participants...

"Perfect Strangers" by Deep Purple plays in the arena, and Francine leads ECW World Heavyweight Champion "The Franchise" Shane Douglas to the ring. There's Candido's partner. Francine, by the way, is wearing practically nothing.

Douglas says "Cut the music!" and hands the mic to Candido. Candido says he's curious who Lance Storm's mystery partner could be, because there are only three people who could ever beat Candido up: his grandfather "Popeye" Richards, The Sandman and Bam Bam Bigelow, who is a Triple Threat member. Oh, and his honey back at home, but he likes that. Candido says whoever Storm's partner is, Douglas will take him out.

Lance Storm comes out with Tammy "Sunny" Sytch as his manager, to AC/DC's "Thunderstruck." Sunny has the microphone and tells Candido it's not his grandpa, or Bigelow, but his honey pie DOES beat his ass at home, and he KNOWS he likes it. And she's gonna do it again tonight, because the mystery partner is... Sunny?

CHRIS CANDIDO & "The Franchise" SHANE DOUGLAS (w/FRANCINE) vs. LANCE STORM & TAMMY "Sunny" SYTCH.

Um... okay. Lance Storm starts the action by diving over the top rope into the ring to double-clothesline Candido & Douglas. Storm spin-kicks Candido and he bails. Storm chops away at Douglas and follows with a dropkick. Joey Styles actually makes some sense of Lance Storm picking Sunny as his tag team partner, saying it's brilliant because Candido will never put his hands on her, and he'd never let Douglas put his hands on her. I guess that's a pretty good point, but Storm still essentially chose to wrestle a two-on-one match, which seems to negate that other advantage.

Storm superplexes Candido. Cover gets two. Storm drapes Douglas on the top rope and kicks him to the floor, then gives Candido a belly to back suplex. Sunny tags in and Candido begs for mercy. Francine enters the ring to defend Candido from his own woman. Candido grabs Sunny by the hair to keep her from fighting Francine. Storm holds Candido as Sunny prepares to hit him with a cookie sheet, but Douglas low blows Storm from behind... and Sunny chooses to bash Storm instead. SWERVE~! Candido & Sunny: reunited, and it feels so good. Sunny, wearing high-heeled boots, accidentally walks backward into the hole in the ring. Candido recovers her and the Triple Threat work over Storm. The crowd chants "WE WANT HEAD" in favor of Al Snow, who has not yet appeared. Sunny and Francine take turns cookie-sheeting Lance Storm, then they hug, which gets a big cheer from the pervs in the crowd. Douglas puts Storm in a camel clutch.

Candido gets on the mic and taunts Storm, thumping him in the head with the microphone, Tully Blanchard-style. He asks Storm what he's gonna give him for a mystery partner. Storm say's he's gonna give Candido "HEAD." And right on cue, the camera angle turns upside-down, and Al Snow makes his unusual entrance, to the tune of Prodigy's "Breathe," and the crowd goes nuts headbanging with a bunch of styrofoam. They use the fuzzy camera effect to irritating lengths.

CHRIS CANDIDO (w/TAMMY "Sunny" SYTCH) & SHANE DOUGLAS (w/FRANCINE) vs. LANCE STORM (w/ blowjob references) & AL SNOW (w/HEAD).

Snow cleans house by hitting everyone with Head. The camera guys alternate between showing the action right side up and upside down. Snow does a sit-down slam on Douglas as Candido and Storm chop away at each other in the corner. Fans are now throwing their styrofoam heads into the ring while the match is in progress. Storm sends Candido to the outside and hits a springboard plancha. Douglas dukes it out with Snow in the ring, and Snow whips him into the corner with the hole. Douglas falls into the hole. Storm fetches Douglas and tosses him back in the ring, where Snow hits the snowplow for the pin and the main-event victory.

Well, that was really short, but fun. I guess it would have to be short, since Douglas was in perpetual injury mode at this stage of his career, and the fact that there was a giant, gaping hole in the ring for the wrestlers to possibly get injured in. You know ECW's motto: safety first!

The ring fills up with styrofoam heads as Al Snow goes up through the crowd and celebrates with the fans. Snow was another guy that ECW completely revived with a new gimmick and an appreciative fan base. The show closes with the VERY ECW scene of all the fans celebrating and throwing shit into the ring.

Not a bad PPV from Heyman and company... and as I said before, it's nice to look back on Candido on top of his game, working a main event with Tammy and his good friends Storm & Douglas, and presumably having a great time.

Let's see how much of the ECW vibe WWE's reunion PPV on June 12th can recapture.

See you next time.

 
E-MAIL DENNY
BROWSE THE CIRCA ARCHIVES


  
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