Extreme Championship Wrestling
A Matter Of Respect
May 11th 1996
A Matter Of Respect
May 11th 1996
Alright, so I was a little underwhelmed by our last show. I thought it was a good show, but not one of the best. This show on the other hand is one of the highly acclaimed ECW shows that I believe deserves every bit of love that it gets. This show takes place about 3 weeks after Hostile City Showdown 96. Not much has happened in ECW in between shows. They had a house show in Jim Thorpe, Maryland, and Reading Pennsylvania. Other than a rare meeting between Shane Douglas and Rob Van Dam, we didn't miss much from these 3 house shows. Also going on during this time in 1996 was the WWF In Your House: Beware of Dog pay per view, which takes place about a week after this show. Beware of Dog was the first live PPV I ever got to see, since it was given away for free due to a thunderstorm induced blackout during the original airing. Much like 1995, I have a lot of fond memories of being a WWF mark during this time in 1996. The Mankind vs Taker feud was one of the greatest things ever done in wrestling history, and was growing to involve Goldust around this time.
More importantly, this show takes place about a week before a very pivotal weekend in the history of pro wrestling. May 19th was the final appearance of Kevin Nash and Scot Hall in the WWF. Razor, Diesel, HBK, Triple H, and the 123 Kid all broke kayfabe during Hall & Nash's final show at Madison Square Garden for a group hug in the center of the ring as a final farewell, "The Curtain Call". That same weekend WCW put on their Slamboree pay per view which featured an uneventful 10 minute main event with The Giant vs Sting, as well as the ill fated "Battlebowl Tournament", which was won by DDP. A week after Slamboree Scot Hall made his WCW debut and declared that if WCW wanted a war, they got one. I remember these days well. I hadn't found out about ECW yet, but this was still a very exciting time to be a pro wrestling fan. I remember when Hall debuted 2 of my wrestling nerd friends from school were ringing my phone off the hook with the obligatory "ARE YOU FUCKING WATCHING THIS!?" call. No tweets or texts, or internet party threads back then, just a good ole fashion land line call.
I remember we thought a full on WWF vs WCW war was about to legit go down. We referred to Hall and Nash as Diesel and Razor for several weeks before the "Hall & Nash" monikers finally sank in. Good times.
So lets fire up this ECW masterpiece shall we? We got some pretty good ECW gems here, as well as the continuation of the Rob Van Dam vs Sabu series. Lets dig into this thing and see how it's held up over time, and how it compares to what else was going on in pro wrestling in May of 1996.
The show opens up with some lovely classical music with a graphic on the screen that resembles a wedding invitation. It says "Extreme Championship Wrestling cordially invites you to The ECW Arena on the eleventh evening of May. Nineteen hundred and Ninety six for an evening titled A Matter of Respect".
El Puerto Ricano vs Damien 666
The show then begins with this match already in progress. Joey says that the match has been like a tribute to Sabu as apparently these guys have been imitating him. Damien 666 did use a few Sabu moves in his match against Raven at a past show. We don't get to see much of this before Sabu comes running in. Sabu lands a nice splash out of the ring onto both men on the outside. Sabu tosses a chair into both of their faces, and this fucking crowd is white HOT!
Really loud SABU! chants as he sets both guys up on a single table on the outside, gets in the ring, and lands an awesome catapult legdrop. The crowd explodes with E! C! DUB! chants.
Really awesome opener. It wasn't a match, but Sabu fucking rules. Especially at this stage of his career. This crowd is fucking pumped!
Devon Storm & Damien Kane vs The Dudleys
Joel Gertner is our ring announcer still. I don't know what happened to Bob Artese, but he was with the promotion going back to the TSWA days, and he just kind of disappeared at the end of 95. Gertner was actually a really good announcer(who was also fluent in Spanish) though. Definitely better than the current WWE announcer who sounds like he's having a bowel movement everytime he says WWE.
Damien Kane is billed from Badstreet USA for some unholy reason. D-Von and Buh Buh are accompanied by several of the "non-Dudleys", Chubby, DW(in a wheelchair), Sign Guy. Big Dick is not here for this one. The crowd chants "WHAT'S YOUR NAME!?" at Buh Buh to get him to do his stuttering bit, which was surprisingly over. Buh Buh stutters his name and makes a remark about Damien Kane's valet's(Lady Alexandria) tits. Kane freaks out and tries to get at him. Lady Alexander distracts Buh Buh by pulling his glasses off and trying to seduce him. Damien Kane attacks him from behind.
This kicks off a really stiff brawl. These guys beat the shit out of each other in one of the stiffest matches I've seen so far into this project. Really hard chair shots from everyone. Devon Storm lands a very stiff dropkick on D-Von from the top rope that looks like it hurts him for real. The crowd is just crazy hot all through this match. This is got to be one of the hottest crowds yet so far into this show. Buh Buh Ray beats the shit out of Damien Kane on the outside of the ring with chairs and a slam through a table. Buh Buh's character has really gotten a lot more serious since D-Von came around. He's just really brutal here in this match. Buh Buh and D-Von work together in the ring on Devon Storm. Buh Buh hits him with a nice splash in the corner that is followed up by a stiff as hell elbow from D-Von that might have been payback for the botched dropkick earlier in the match. The match cuts away to a later part where all four men appear to be working a standard, traditional tag match.
HOLY FUCK! D-Von backdrops Devon Storm out of the ring onto DW in the wheelchair for a really nasty bump. Holy shit.
All hell breaks loose again in the ring and the crowd just eats it up. They respond loudly to every bump, every chair shot, everything so far in this match gets a really loud reaction. One pretty cool spot happens when all four men are in the ring, and all simultaneously make a mad dash at a single chair that lays in the center of the ring. D-Von gets the chair and destroys Devon Storm and Damien Kane with sick chair shots to the head. 2 a piece. D-Von then blasts Buh Buh with another really, really hard chair shot. The ref gets dropped next, which brings an end to the match. Devon Storm and Damien Kane get the win by DQ after 14 minutes.
The non Dudleyz pull Buh Buh and D-Von apart as this one cuts away.
Not a really bad brawl at all. Some really stiff stuff here, and some wild bumps. The chair shots were just brutal in this match. There was some stuff cut out, but I don't know how much. It's hard to grade the match with stuff missing, but I'll grade what I saw here. They did have some moments where everyone was gassed out tired and wondering what to do next, but really this wasn't as bad as it could have been. The crowd for this show is probably more hyped up than any ECW crowd in any of the shows I've reviewed up to this point. This crowd is just insane.
The FBI(JT Smith & Little Guido) vs Axl Rotten & Hack Myers
Guido and Smith are shown in the ring first with Joel Gertner. Guido wraps Gertner up with his Italian Flag. The crowd is booing these guys pretty hard. JT Smith gets the mic and starts singing Fly Me To The Moon by Sinatra. He gives his cousin Guido a kiss like Italian mobsters, and out comes Axl and Hack. Myers and Rotten come out to an old school Marilyn Manson song from his first album. Pretty cool looking tag team actually.
Axl is billed from New Castle England, and gets a surprisingly good reaction from the fans considering how he's been jobbed out all through 1996 so far. The bell rings and we get A BUNCH of stalling from Guido and Smith. They really draw this thing out, even doing the whole "Fuck this, we're leaving" skit. They stall this thing out for several minutes to open this up. Axl and JT Smith finally tie up, and we have a weird moment in the match where JT Smith smacks Axl on the ass. Guido reaches into the ring and smacks him when he's got his back turned to him. I'm getting the vibes that they were trying to get some Gay heat for the FBI here. It was subtle, but you could see it. Not sure I like Gay heat, unless it's just over the top like what Goldust was.
Hack Myers gets the hot tag in, and we have more stalling from Guido and Smith. They take it out to the isle and taunt the fans. Smith takes a swing at several fans, even knocking Straw Hat Guy's hat off of his head. That's like the ultimate heel thing to do.
The match cuts ahead, thank god, and we see Hack Myers fighting Guido. Myers lands his trademark legdrop on the apron, then goes up top. JT Smith pushes him off the top, but he rolls onto Guido with a Victory Roll pinfall attempt. Guido falls down to sit on Myers' chest for the pin. JT reaches in and holds Guido's arms for extra leverage to get the 1, 2, 3 at 10:55.
Another edited match, but as for what made the tape I wasn't impressed with anything. Nothing really terribly unwatchable, but I've never been a big fan of stalling like this from heels. It's a pretty cheap way to get heat. Not a real bad match though, especially considering it's just mid-card filler.
ECW World Championship 3 Way Dance: Raven(C) vs The Sandman vs Pitbull 2
Supposedly the setup for this match was that there was an online fan voting poll to decide who Raven's next challenger would be. Sandman and Pitbull 2 tied, so Commissioner Todd Gordon setup the three way dance. Raven comes out first with his crew of lackeys, The Fabulous Ones, as their billed here, Stevie Richards and The Blue Meanie(with his girlfriend, who is really hot, whoever she is?). The Meanie dances around with his girl acting like a clown. He is wearing HBK style chaps on his legs. He does an HBK dance and removes them, then removes his pants with Stevie Richards, showing everyone their red and blue Underoo's. Raven just sits in the corner with a strait face through it all.
The Pitbulls come out next to the always awesome White Zombie Thunderkiss '65 tune. MAN! Francine is HOOOOOOT!!! It's a damn shame I can't find any of these pics online to add to this review because she absolutely has to be seen in this outfit. She's not wearing her "Beastmaster" leathers, but a very revealing bra and panties outfit that is to die for.
Pitbull 2 comes to the ring wearing a bandage around his head. Pitbull 1 is wearing a sling on his arm from an attack from The Eliminators at one of the previously mentioned house shows. I can't stress enough how hot Francine looks here. If anybody knows how to capture still images from a DVD let me know how to do it. Metallica's Enter Sandman comes on next and the fans all clap along with it as The Sandman comes out with Scorpio and Missy Hyatt. The three walk around the ring posing for the entire duration of the song as everyone just stands around awkwardly waiting in the ring. Gertner goes through and does the intros for everyone with Raven getting one of the better reactions from everyone. Pitbull 2 and Sandman were massively over, and got great reactions, but Raven's reaction from the fans was the loudest, which is interesting considering how he was booked to be one of the slimiest chicken shit heels in wrestling history.
I love the way this match starts off. All three men tie up in a 3 way clinch, with Pitbull 2 pushing both men to the ground a couple of times to look like a strong beast. Pitbull 2 really looks good early on kicking both guys asses. Pitbull misses a clothesline and goes to the outside. Raven drops Sandman early for a DDT, but Sandman kicks out of the pin. This fucking crowd is awesome. Sandman and Raven take turns hitting Pitbull 2 with a Singapore Cane and a steel chair. Pitbull 2 takes several shots, but won't go down. Raven and Sandman turn to each other with the Cand and Chair, and go back and forth between each other and Pitbull 2. Pretty awesome moment with Pitbull staying up while Sandman and Raven go back and forth. Pitbull 2 hulks up and the crowd goes WILD! He lands a double clothesline on both Raven and Sandman over the top. Pitbull slams Raven into the railing before landing a pretty awesome flying leg drop from the apron onto him as he teeters the rail. I just can't stress enough how hot this crowd is here. Man this is awesome.
All three men brawl with a chair on the outside. The crowd pops loudly for everything. Deep, loud "OHH!"'s for every little strike. I love it. Sandman canes the shit out of both guys, with each of them breaking up a nearfall. Sandman blasts Raven with the cane before doing his plancha cane shot over the top to hit Pitbull 2 on the outside. This match is awesome!
Raven follows Sandman and does a surprisingly good looking plancha onto both men that gets a great pop from the crowd. This crowd is intense, and you can tell the performers are really feeding off of it. All three men lay sprawled out on the floor as the fans start chanting for the Pitbulls. They bash each other into the railing before Raven and Sandman double backbody drop Pitbull 2 over the railing into the crowd. Raven takes The Sandman to the ring to land a few suplexes.
Pitbull 2 comes into the ring and give Raven a dangerous as fuck looking Tiger Driver. All three guys go through one of those hectic series where they keep hitting each other with devastating moves and breaking each other's pinfalls up. Pretty nice, frantic action. I'm seriously loving this match right now. They get a little sloppy as you can see them visibly winded from the pace of the match so far. Sandman lands a super rana on Pitbull 2, with Raven breaking up the pin. Raven goes for a double DDT, but Sandman and Pitbull 2 counter it with a double Gordbuster. Reallly scary landing that looked like it could have almost paralyzed him. Shit! Sandman and Pitbull 2 sandwich Raven with a simultaneous clothesline. They go after each other with a clothesline, but they sandwich the referee on accident. The ref is down and out. 2 Cold Scorpio comes in and drops a knee on Pitbull 2. Pitbull 1 comes in and fights with Scorpio, pulling him out of the ring. Stevie Richards comes in and drags Raven over The Sandman's body, but the ref is still out. Pitbull 2 sets a table up on the top rope. He tries to put The Sandman up top for a Superbomb, but the table falls out of balance and teeters over, dumping The Sandman to the floor in an inadvertently awesome spot. More sloppiness ensues with the referee still out. Sandman botches a flying cane shot from the top rope and looks to have legitimately injured his knee. NO WAY he can sell that good. This has to be real.
Raven manipulates Pitbull 2 to help him fight Sandman. The two men work together to Superbomb The Sandman, but Raven breaks up the pinfall by kicking Pitbull 2 with a loaded boot. Raven pins Pitbull 2 to eliminate him first, but I'll be god damned if he didn't look like a strait up monster in this match.
From here the shit hits the fan. Francine comes in and attacks Raven. The Blue Meanie's girlfriend comes in and attacks Francine and we have THE HOTTEST MOTHERFUCKING CATFIGHT EVER! Holy shit.
Missy Hyatt comes in and canes both women out of the ring. This crowd is WHITE HOT! Sandman rolls Raven up for a surprise rollup, and the crowd loses it when Raven kicks out. Sandman rolls Raven up again, and the crowd counts along and gasps again when Raven barely kicks out. Sandman lands a DDT and the crowd pops. They are so sure we have a new champ, but Raven kicks out again. Outstanding crowd with some excellent nearfalls here. So tense and dramatic. I love this shit.
Stevie comes in and accidentally kicks Raven. The crowd explodes with one of the loudest pops I've ever heard. Sandman chases Stevie down on the outside and tears the railing apart. The crowd goes insane as Sandman throws the railing into the ring. Raven attacks Sandman, but he get's slammed down face first into the railing as it's propped up on the ropes. The crowd goes ape shit with the E! C! DUB! chants. Sandman backdrops the railing on Raven, but Raven catches him a bit later with a well timed DDT on the railing to put The Sandman away at 18:20.
I love the crowd reaction after the pinfall. It's a nice mixture of cheers and gasps of disappointment. The crowd loved the match, they were happy to see Raven retain, but Sandman was so close they couldn't help but sympathize for him.
Raven leaves with his belt as The Pitbulls come back out and fuck up the Blue Meanie. The Sandman canes the shit out of him. The Pitbulls and The Sandman work together to Superbomb the Blue Meanie's fat ass. An air horn goes off as he slams into the canvas, and it just adds to the insanity. The crowd just goes ape shit. The Pitbulls give The Sandman a beer and have a beer bash afterwards. Sandman guzzles the beer with one swig before smashing the can over Pitbull 2's head. Sandman shakes hands and hugs with the Pitbulls as the crowd cheers them all on. Sandman gets a mic and tells The Pitbulls they earned his respect. He gives them Missy Hyatt, who starts kissing on them. . Francine comes back out pissed off. She pulls Missy away from her Pitbulls and another cat fight breaks out. The Pitbulls and Sandman pull their women apart and shake hands out of respect before going their separate ways.
Man this was an incredible match. The crowd had a lot to do with it, as it's definitely the hottest ECW crowd I've seen for any match since the epic 911 chokeslam on Fonzie at Gangstas Paradise 95. The nearfalls at the end were just amazing. I know I may get lynched here for this next comparison, but I couldn't help but be reminded of the similar psychology used in the recent three way matches in the WWE between John Cena(Sandman) vs Ryback(Pitbull 2) vs CM Punk(Raven). Some truly masterful booking in this match that really had the crowd eating out of the performers hands. It was beautiful. There were a couple of sloppy moments where things almost unraveled due to fatigue, but they rebounded well. I love how strong Pitbull 2 looked in defeat, even though he was the first one to be eliminated. Raven escapes town with his title again by the skin of his fucking teeth this time. Some great stuff.
Chris Jericho vs Mikey Whipreck
Right off the bat we get the heel and face established for this match with two simple tie ups. The first tie up see's Whipreck force Jericho into the ropes. The referee orders the break, and Mikey breaks clean. They tie up again, and this time Jericho forces Mikey into the ropes. The ref demands a break, and Jericho complies....followed by a smack in the face.
Jericho then shines with a really nice grappling sequence starting with a waist lock from behind, into a German Suplex, into a leg grapevine, and ending with Jericho locking Mikey into a really nice looking Bow and Arrow submission. Jericho then worked his kicks. He lands a kick to Mikey's face and midsection, then snap mares him over to a seated position for his kick to the back. Jericho continues to play the role of the heel in the match with more kicks, punches, and some really hard chops. Mikey reverses a whip into the corner and lands a dropkick. Mikey then snap mares Jericho down and immediately grapevines his leg to put him in the "Muta Lock".
Joey Styles commentary in this show has been phenomenal. Love the way he calls the holds.
Mikey's Muta Lock gets a nice applause from the fans. The crowd is nowhere near as into this match as they were the previous one. Mikey continues to work Jericho's legs with a submission. Jericho pulls Mikey's hair trying to escape the hold. Jericho finally scoots to the ropes and Mikey breaks clean. Chris Jericho lands another kick to the body and works his way back into the match. He lands a delayed vertical suplex, a spinning heel kick, and a slingshot splash. There appears to be a small group of Canadian fans in attendance there to support Jericho, holding up a Canadian flag. Jericho lands another spinning heel kick followed by a powerbomb, and then a Tombstone attempt. Mikey reverses the Tombstone and spikes Jericho. Mikey tries to go up for a move from the top, but Jericho follows him up and dropkicks him to the outside railing. Jericho then follows Mikey and tosses him into the crowd. Jericho piles a bunch of chairs on top of Mikey and hits him as he's piled up. Jericho just continues to play the heel, with no respect for Mikey.
Mikey teases a comeback by landing a Rocker Droper(Famasser). Jericho reverses a whip and hits Mikey with a couple of splashes in the corners. Mikey moves out of the way of the third splash, causing Jericho to crash into the post. Mikey shoves Jericho into the audience and gets back into the ring to land a somersault from the top rope. Not a bad spot. Mikey takes it back to the ring and hits his Super Rana. Jericho takes Mikey's back in a clinch, and spins him around for a Fisherman Suplex, followed up with the Lionsault for 2. They go back and forth with an exchange of nearfalls and some really nice chain sequences. Mikey goes up top for a move, but Jericho drops him to his groin with punches. Jericho climbs up and drops him off the top with a Double Underhook Suplex to put him away with a clean pinfall after 14:21.
Chris Jericho offers Mikey a handshake after the match. Mikey accepts. They shake hands and hug it out before Jericho raises Mikey's hand.
Pretty good match. I wasn't blown away by anything, but the selling was solid, and the psychology was there. The crowd was really not into the match at all, but it was solid. One of the better Chris Jericho ECW matches for sure. I liked how he played the heel role for the match, and the way it worked out with the respectful aftermath. So far I'm really, really liking the overall theme of the show being respect, with each match tying into that somehow.
End of tape 1. For best storage rewind tape and store in a cool dry place.
Television Championship: 2 Cold Scorpio(C) vs Shane Douglas
This match was set up at the last show when Douglas cut a really good, emotional promo about how much the ECW World Title was the only thing that mattered to him(right after being cheated by Raven and his goons). 2 Cold Scorpio, the TV champ(in his 4th reign, arguably one of the best TV champs in ECW history) came out and challenged Douglas to a TV title match, feeling disrespected by Douglas' comments, saying that the TV title was something he worked hard to elevate, and meant more to him than the World title. Douglas told Scorpio that he didn't care about the TV title, and didn't want the match. Douglas then attacked Scorpio from behind and gave him a piledriver on the belt.
Douglas is in the best shape of his life without a doubt. He's swole and ripped up here for sure. They stand face to face before the bell rings jaw jacking at each other. Douglas gets a mixed reaction from the fans during the intros. Scorpio scolds Joel Gertner for fucking up his weight. Joel announces his correct weight, "A Slim, Trim, Buff, Cut, and....Bolo, 238 and one half pounds".
The ref shows Shane the TV belt before the match starts. Shane grabs the belt and disrespects it by tossing it out of the ring. This all plays into the story that this match tells. Scorpio grabs a WWF t-shirt from someone in the crowd and taunts Douglas with it. Shane grabs the shirt, wipes his ass, and rips the shirt up.
The bell rings and Douglas starts it off with a low shot for a takedown that is evaded by Scorpio. The match opens up with a sequence that ultimately leads to these two guys finding out that they are on equal playing fields as far as skill level. They go back and forth with some really solid sequences and exchanges that I'd put up against the Malenko's vs Guerrero's and RVD's vs Jerry Lynn's. Scorpio gets in a slap to Douglas' face in between the chain sequences. Shane laughs it off with his trademark sinister laugh. Scorpio target's Shane's leg with a few submissions briefly before they go through a sequence of Arm Wringer holds where they take turns cartwheeling, flipping, and kipping up out of them with some nice selling and some great facial expressions from both. The crowd is really digging this match. Scorpio backflips out of a leverage type of hammerlock armbar and hits him with a quick arm drag, but Douglas immediately fires back with a fast hiptoss followed by a really nice looking dropkick. Scorpio rolls to the outside for the timeout.
Scorpio comes back into the ring and challenges for a test of strength. He catches Douglas in another Arm Wringer with Douglas doing some really nice selling, even screaming out loud in pain "OH GOD DAMN!". Shane pulls Scorpio in and drops him with a short arm clothesline. They grapple with each other before eventually landing into an awesome little position where they both fight for backslides. Scorpio almost gets it. Both guys with more great facial expressions as they fight to get the backslide. Shane screams "NO!". Shane overpowers Scorpio, but Scorpio just backflips out, rolling off of Shane's back to break free. Shane blocks a kick and goes for a Belly To Back suplex, but Scorpio flips through and lands on his feet again. They tie up with another nice series of reversals before Shane ducks a kick and catches Scorpio with a Butterfly Suplex. Scorpio escapes to the outside for another time out, and that was another pretty awesome little series. So far this match is great.
Scorpio stalls for a bit before tossing a chair into the ring at Douglas. Shane opens the chair up, takes a seat and taunts Scorpio. Scorpio gets back in the ring after Shane acts as if he doesn't want to use the chair. Scorpio enters the ring and eats the chair. Shane eventually backdrops Scorpio out of the ring and baseball slides him into the railing. Shane follows it up with a pretty sloppy plancha over the top. Shane then slams Scorpio into the railing and concrete with one of the sicker bumps of the show. He pulls Scorpio up into the vertical suplex position while standing on the floor, bounces Scorpio's body off of the rope, and then slams him forward into the steel railing. Scorpio's knees smash into the guard rail, and his head slams into the concrete. SHIT!
Shane gets up into the ring and orders the referee to count Scorpio down. Fuck the TV Title, Shane doesn't care about it, he just wants to finish this dude off and get out of town.
Scorpio foils his plan and climbs back to the ring to break the count.
Scorpio pulls Douglas over out of the ring and sends him into the steel railing. Shane backdrops Scorpio up about 8 feet into the air before crashing down into the front row of the unsuspecting crowd. We then get our first bit of awkward downtime of the match as Shane fumbles around with a cooler trying to open it up and get a bottle of water out to hit Scorpio over the head with.
They then proceed to brawl through the crowd, and it's one of the better moments of ECW crowd brawling I've seen. It's brisk, and quick. They make their way from one end of the Arena to the other in about 15 seconds. Scorpio smashes a crutch on Douglas' back when they make it back around to the entrance isle. They brawl their way back to the ringside area as things start getting a bit sloppy. Shane then drops Scorpio with a FUCKING SICK powerbomb down to the concrete, dropping him from pretty high up. Really stiff bump. Good god almighty. The crowd breaks out with the E! C! DUB! chants. Scorpio sells it by going into convulsions and rolling his eyes into the back of his head. Shane gets back in the ring and orders the countout, continuing the story that this match is telling.
Scorpio breaks the count and rolls in. Douglas chokes him out of frustration. Scorpio catches Shane with some knees to the face as he runs in for a splash, and begins to work his way back into the match with some nice moves. He lands a fucking beautiful handspring backflip kick that Douglas sells beautifully as he falls back down from the apron to the concrete. Scorpio follows it up with a Moonsault Press off of the apron down to Douglas on the floor. Scorpio then sets up a table and puts Shane on it. He goes up top for a splash, but when he goes to leap he notices that Shane is gone. Shane is nowhere to be found. He comes out from under the other end of the ring and attacks Scorpio from behind. Scorpio catches Shane with a nice Thrustkick before going up top for a dive, but he wastes too much time. We have a pretty sloppy moment in the match here when Shane goes up and knocks Scorpio down to the table on the outside. The table doesn't break,and they go through another spot where Shane knocks him down from the apron to the table. The table breaks awkwardly, and the match would have been much better without all of this. Shane pulls Scorpio into the ring and lands a pretty nice Delayed Corkscrew Vertical Suplex. Scorpio kicks out of another pinfall attempt and Shane is even more frustrated.
Shane goes up top and misses a splash, allowing Scorpio to work his way back into the match. Scorpio lands a fucking perfect moonsault off of the top rope followed by an AMAZING 450 splash. Scorpio had one of the best 450's ever. That was where Hayabusa learned how to do the move. Scorpio gets a nice reaction from the fans, but it's kind of stupid how he decides not to go for a pinfall here. He just wastes time walking around the ring. He lands a tip up into twisting leg drop(thanks Joey). Shane continues to sell everything very well with the way he grimaces and grunts. Scorpio whips Shane into the corner, and Shane does a tip up to take his back after he charges in. Shane lands a belly to back suplex with a bridge for 2. Douglas then lands his Fisherman Suplex, but Scorpio kicks out again. Shane tries to put it away with his Belly To Belly, but Scorpio counters it with a nice little sequence, ending with him dropping Shane with a Rock Bottom. The Rock needs to watch this and use it at this years Wrestlemania.
Joel Gertner all of a sudden announces that there are only 5 minutes left in the match, 25 minutes have flown by. Scorpio puts Shane up top and goes for a Super Rana, but Shane counters it with a Super Bomb. The crowd starts really getting into the match. Scorpio kicks out of another desperate pin attempt. Shane gets caught with a third Thrustkick from Scorpio. Scorpio taunts the fans for another flip, then decides not to, then changes his mind and goes up. Shane lands a low blow, and drops 2 Cold with a Belly To Belly from the top rope for the win after 26:31.
Before anything else happens, I would give this match on it's own an 8.9, and I'll say why at the conclusion.
We get a nice highlight replay of the match, which is one of the first I've seen on any of these ECW tapes. We're moving on up baby. After the clip of the match we have Joey Styles in the ring with Shane and 2 Cold after the match. Shane says:
"God how great it is to feel gold. I have wrestled and beaten the best this sport has to offer.(crowd cheers).
Hear me out please... please............ please.
I had a six month vacation to hell last year, and tonight, I can stand here before god and you know my father above(looks up and points up to the heavens)...
I have been in the ring with the Ricky steamboats(crowd cheers)....
I've been in the ring with a fifty year old legend Terry Funk.massive pop)...
I've stood alongside all the greats that ECW had to offer, the Malenko's, the Guerrero's, the Benoit's....(Shane gets emotional with tears running down his face)
I have had the gods good fortune of sitting in the dressing room with motherfuckers that now what hardcore wrestling is all about.
I've had the good fortune to work with a good booker like Paul Heyman, people like Todd Gordon, and to wrestle in the BEST FUCKING BUILDING IN THE FACE OF THE PLANET!
E! C! W!
E! C! W!
E! C! W!
Scorpio I would love to shake your hand because all of those people that I mentioned before may rank second to the franchise, and at one time I thought I was the greatest in the world, but tonight, I can say without reservation you are a step above even me. There have been a long lineage of great tv champions in ECW history. The Malenko's, the Guerrero's. Tonight it starts with The Franchise, but atop that list is 2 Cold Scorpio(standing ovation as he shakes Scorpio's hand).
I started on a long trek two and a half years ago to take the cartoon out of the sport and make it back into a sport, and you my man have been an example. You have shown the WWF and WCW that it ain't about cartoon shit, it's about wrestling, and your the best there is."
Shane tells Scorpio to show everyone what respect is and strap the belt around his waist. From the best champ to the new champ. Scorp holds the belt up and gets a great standing ovation. Scorpio hits Douglas in back of the head with the belt. The crowd loves it. Scorpio lands a piledriver, then sets the belt over Shane's body for a legdrop off the top rope to bring an end to it.
First of all this was a great match. Selling, psychology, storytelling, incredible action, sick bumps, it's all here. It was far from perfect with a couple of things that kind of irked me. Scorpio costing himself victories because he's a showboat, I guess that works for his character, but I'm kind of on the fence with it. The ways he keeps costing himself matches just kind of makes him look like somebody that is just not very intelligent at all. With that, and a small handful of sloppy moments, it will keep the match itself from hitting the 10/10 on my scale. With that said though I'd still put this match high up on my greatest ECW matches of all time. Scorpio's moves were awesome, and the overall story of the match with Shane Douglas gaining respect for the TV title through the course of the match by being pushed to his limit by it's best champion ever, I really liked that. On top of all that you had a fantastic promo from Shane Douglas. I really liked the promo because you could feel the sincerity and emotion. It all felt real and from the heart. The promo was like a sequel to Shane's epic shoot promo when he threw down the NWA title in 94. It's like a mirror of that promo with Douglas giving props and respect to some of those same names that he disrespected in the beginning of Extreme Championship Wrestling that night. The promo is symbolic of how far ECW had evolved up to this point. Really great stuff that makes this one of my favorite ECW shows.
Rob Van Dam vs Sabu II
The background with this match goes back to Sabu's match with Mikey Whipreck a few shows back. Whipreck chose not to use a chair against him in a match because he noticed Sabu was "hurt". It cost Mikey the win, but he earned Sabu's respect after the match. At the very next show Sabu faced a young gun named RVD that pushed him to his limits and matched his crazy arsenal move for move. This earned RVD Sabu's respect, but it wasn't reciprocated by RVD. Van Dam refused a handshake and disrespectfully walked out on Sabu. The first match was a highlight reel in itself. While it had some really cool moments and a lot of action, it still had a few things that I thought brought it down a bit. Lets see how the sequel stands up.
RVD comes out to some strait up WCW style stock theme music. Sabu's music is some rare obscure grunge song from some band that I've always heard of but never got into, The Melvins, or something. Sabu's entrance is pretty boss. He runs in as the song gets heavy, and just slides into the ring directly into his trademark pose. Pretty cool.
Gertner announces this as a "Respect Match", where the loser must shake the winner's hand and tell him that he respects him. Also, no time limit.
They take it outside pretty soon after opening it up much like the last match, with RVD evading Sabu takedown attempts. Sabu hits RVD on the outside with his Air Sabu leg lariat from a chair as Van Dam's propped up on the railing. Van Dam strikes back with a nice little kick where he jumps from a chair to the railing before coming down with a sidekick to Sabu's face. He tries another move off of the chair, but it gives in under his weight. I thought he covered it up well by turning it into a splash, but the crowd still hit him with the YOU FUCKED UP! chants. Van Dam was still pretty green here. I almost kind of felt like Sabu carried him through that first match.
Van Dam goes back to the ring with the chair and sets it up to do his Somersault Plancha, but Sabu moves out of the way at the last second. Van Dam notices him and stops himself at the last second. This is pretty cool because it's something that occurs throughout the match. They're really playing off of their first match with each man anticipating the same moves that he got hit with in the last match. They both make it to the apron where Van Dam kicks Sabu into the ring. Sabu fires back and pulls Van Dam halfway into the ring teetering on the middle rope. He sets the chair up under Van Dam's head and hits him with his Guillotine Legdrop, smashing RVD's head into the chair. Pretty cool spot, and we're seeing a pretty awesome "Sequel" story unfolding here with Sabu busting out something out something we haven't seen him do. They both anticipate each other's moves in this match, and try to one up each other with stuff that isn't normally in their arsenal in order to get the win.
They grapple with each other briefly before Sabu sets Van Dam up on the top rope. He does a nice move where he leaps from the chair to the top rope, then up into the air to Van Dam's shoulders for a Super Rana. Awesome. Something else we haven't really seen Sabu do. He's breaking out new shit for this young punk. The regular old Sabu moves aren't going to cut it.
Van Dam kicks out of a pinfall attempt, and Sabu goes to the mat to target his arm with some holds. Van Dam bridges up and flips out, transitioning into a hammerlock on Sabu. RVD continues to outgrapple Sabu on the mat by transitioning around to take his back. Pretty good. Sabu flips out, goes to the apron, and slingshots himself up to the top rope. He leaps off the top rope and drops RVD with a DDT. RVD rolls to the outside and eats a baseball slide that sends him into the crowd. Sabu goes to hit RVD with the Triple Jump splash out into the crowd, but Van Dam one ups him and tosses the chair at him on his way down. Van Dam takes it back to the ring with two chairs set up side by side. He runs into the ropes and does his Somersault Plancha to the outside, clearing both chairs. I think I like this spot better when he doesn't bother with the chairs and just does it, but it kind of works here with the heel character he is playing. He's a bit of a showoff.
It's all Van Dam from there for a while with some really good selling from Sabu to make the kid look good. Van Dam lands a springboard splash, a suplex, and a few punches before locking Sabu into his cringeworthy surfboard. It's not so bad here. He manages to drop him down into a pinfall attempt that doesn't look that bad. The pace has slowed down quite a bit by this point. Van Dam hits Sabu with his trademark succession of kicks that remind me of something Glacier in WCW would do. Sabu makes it all look good with the selling. Things get a bit sloppy as Sabu makes his first comeback. He lands his springboard leg lariat before going after Van Dam's arm with a submission. Sabu breaks the hold and lands a springboard moonsault press for 2, followed immediately by his Slingshot moonsault where he just drops on the ropes with his thighs and rolls back into the moonsault with the momentum. Van Dam kicks out at 2 again. Van Dam works his way back into the match with a powerbomb for 2 followed by his Rolling Thunder into a frogsplash landing for another 2. Then we get a really awesome spot that ties into their last match. Van Dam goes up top, but Sabu tosses a chair into his face. Sabu sets the chair up to springboard off of, but Van Dam tries to leap over him like he did in the last match. Sabu tricks him by not springing off of the chair. Van Dam leaps into the air with the splits, only to come down and eat a chair shot.
Van Dam continues to shine after Sabu botches a spring up to the ropes, falling and racking himself. Van Dam lands a Rana as he straddles the ropes, then lands a dropkick, and a guillotine legdrop with a chair drapped over Sabu. Van Dam goes for the Split Legged Moonsault, but Sabu counters it by kicking him into the turnbuckles just as he leaps up. Nice. Sabu lands a sunset flip out of the ring to the concrete, then puts Van Dam through a table with a fucking nice splash from the ring to the audience with his triple jump from the chair to the ropes. Loud E! C! DUB! chants. Loudest of the night in fact.
^These types of shots are my favorite. Motherfucking Gumby. If you ain't down with ECW you just need to suck it.
Sabu shows some frustration in his face with the persistence of this young buck. Joey's commentary has not been very good for this match. He's just really quiet through a lot of it. Sabu goes up top, but Van Dam hits him with a few punches and a Brainbuster from the second rope. Sabu kicks out at 2. Van Dam goes up top for a move, but Sabu hits him and knocks him down to a seated position. He then drops Van Dam with a Cutter that looked really devastating. Van Dam is folded in half backwards on his landing. Sabu then hits Van Dam with a fucking AMAZING Triple Jump Moonsault. Sabu sells the shit out of the moonsault on his ribs. Van Dam doesn't sell it worth a fuck. He just looks up with this goofy look on his face.
Sabu fails to make the cover. He goes up top again and Van Dam drops him with another brainbuster from the second rope. Van Dam finishes the Extreme icon with the clean win after a Split Legged Moonsault at 18:47.
Both men stay down after the match. The crowd gives both of them a standing ovation. The Ref holds the mic in Sabu's face for him to tell RVD that he respects him. Sabu stumbles away without saying it. It cut's ahead to a bit later with Heyman and Styles in the ring with Sabu. Heyman gets very serious as if this was all a shoot, and cuts a great promo calling Van Dam back to the ring to give respect to Sabu. RVD comes back out. Sabu extends his hand for a handshake, and says "Respect". Van Dam gets a mic and tells Sabu that "Not only do I not respect you, you're a piece of shit!". Heyman screams WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU DOING.?!
All of a sudden I hear Fonzie's whistle in the background. Sure enough, we see Bill Alphonso outside the ring as Van Dam makes his exit. RVD says he does respect Fonzie. Fonzie points to his team Taz shirt as the crowd chants Sabu. RVD walks past Taz as he looks up at Sabu in the ring from a distance. Great moment, Taz looks into camera and says theres a time and place for everything. Sabu is taken care of by EMT's as we cut away.
Lets get a few facts out on the table before we get to the opinions. First of all this was Sabu's first loss in ECW since making his return from WCW at the 95 November to Remember. That's a pretty big deal. Not only did Sabu put RVD over here, he made him look really good in both matches. Second of all, the storyline behind this victory was that Rob Van Dam was being tipped off and given advice on Sabu's weaknesses by Taz and Bill Alphonso. The Sabu vs Taz storyline just got really interesting. Overall there were still some sloppy moments, but this was better than the first. I liked how it played off of their first match and was more or less just a great sequel. Some great action, and some surprisingly good selling from Sabu. His selling really put Van Dam over in this match. He knew he would have to make the kid look good in order for the crowd to buy into Van Dam upsetting Sabu clean.
Tommy Dreamer & The Gangstas vs Brian Lee & The Eliminators
There is no respect here in this match. The storylines leading up to this is Brian Lee being a hired gun for Raven, sent to eliminate Dreamer. The Eliminators and Gangstas have been chomping at the bit to get at each other with multiple attacks. Lee smashes a cinder block over Dreamer's nuts at the last show, and The Eliminators are being pushed to the moon as the tag champs.
This is full on fucking mayhem right from the start. The Gangstas and Dreamer storm the ring with two trashcans full of shit and Mustapha brings a tire to the party. Dreamer and The Gangstas storm the ring and make a huge mess with garbage and shit everywhere. Really chaotic scene here in the opening seconds of this one. Ice Cube's "Natural Born Killaz" plays in the background as all of this goes down.
There's not a lot to say about this match. It's really long clocking in over 22 minutes. It's really sloppy with trash, chairs, and debri all over the place. They completely make a huge mess of the ECW Arena during the course of this match. There's not story or anything to this, it's just strait up "Call it as you go" brawling around the Arena. There are some cool moments in the match though. New Jack hanging Kronus with his noose is an interesting sight. Kronus lands a nice Handspring Flying Tiger Driver(Moonsault out of the ring) later on. Really good looking move for a heavyweight like him to be pulling off like that. In between all of the sloppy brawling there are just a small handful of cool spots. Saturn lands a nice Asai Moonsault at one point for example. Brian Lee takes Dreamer for a brawl through the crowd towards the front door. All six men split up with separate 1 on 1 brawls and we hit a lot of moments where it feels like nothing is going on. Brian Lee and Dreamer eventually brawl up to the Eagles Nest where Dreamer attacks Lee with an old school landline phone. Lee then suplexes Dreamer through one of the tables up on the balcony before taking it back to the ring. Dreamer gets thrown from the Nest and makes the fall look pretty good.
Quite a bit of food used in this match so far. I've already seen a dozen eggs smashed over someone's head, and now Kronus is going full on retard by pouring milk all over himself and acting goofy. He slips in the milk he poured out and falls.
Not much else to talk about from here on out. Saturn and Dreamer hook up one on one for a few minutes, and it's the best actual wrestling of the match. Saturn lands a nice rope walk arm twist into hurricanrana. The Eliminators set Dreamer up for Total Elimination, but The Gangstas break it up. Tommy drops Brian Lee with a DDT, but Stevie Richards comes running out in his red underwear. Stevie drops Dreamer with a kick to the back of the head, then spits on his lifeless body. Beulah and Kimona come out with a cinder block. They grab Stevie by the balls and drag him to the back. Dreamer sets the cinder block up on Lee's balls for an Extreme Reciept with a chair. Saturn breaks up the pinfall and we have more awkward standing around and half assed brawling where it just feels like nothing at all is going on.
Saturn sets up a table and DDT's Dreamer through it from the top rope. Pretty nice table spot. New Jack takes out Kronus and drops the 187 elbow drop on Saturn to end it with a pinfall after 22:26.
Whew, man. This was ugly, and really long and drawn out. I'm kind of glad it's over with. It had some cool spots, and it got off to a crazy start with the full on blitz on the ring by Dreamer and The Gangstas, but overall this was not a good match. The Eliminators vs Gangstas rivalry continues with The Gangstas picking up a pinfall here to gain some momentum. Dreamer also getting his revenge has always been money in all of these tapes. Some great storylines for sure. They booked it to where you really felt great for this character when he would get a small victory like this.
So far I've handed out 3 10/10's for full shows. Hostile City Showdown 95, November to Remember 95, and Big Ass Extreme Bash. This one I felt was better than all of those. This was quite possibly my personal all time favorite ECW show depending on what mood you catch me in. I just really, really like the overall concept with the way respect tied into most of the matches. It gave the show a great overall atmosphere. A lot of the complaints from the critics of ECW are just not on this show. We had good workrate matches that told stories and carried on feuds while at the same time most of the matches ended with a clean pinfall and a decisive winner. The crowd was white hot for the earlier part of the show, but you can tell the Three Way Dance took a lot out of them. Even though the show is far from perfect, I really feel like this is one of the best ECW shows out there, and a good place to start if your curious about the promotion. This was hands down better than anything ECW ever did on PPV, and I would even put this show up against most of the pro wrestling PPV's from 1996.