A co-worker of mine arrived with this on Thursday, and asked if I wanted to borrow it? Hell yeah! The only problem was with working on both Friday and Saturday, I wasn’t sure I could get through a full review in just one day. However, I had no plans to do anything throughout the course of the day - and as luck would have it, I had the motivation to tackle this bad boy and get through 6+ hours in one sitting. This is the first and last time I pull THAT stunt.
So, here you go, the Rise and Fall of ECW.
Todd Gordon was the original owner of ECW, when it was called Eastern Championship Wrestling in the early 90’s. Eddie Gilbert was the head booker, but they were undergoing problems. Gordon went to Paul Heyman and asked for help. Heyman felt that like hair-bands in the 80’s, wrestling was stale - and it needed to re-invent the wheel, like Nirvana did to the music industry at the time. Todd told Heyman to go ahead and do it, so he opened up his first show with...The Public Enemy.
Heyman called up Tazz, and asked him if he’d be willing to come in and wrestle with Sabu. Tazz was just looking to get booked, so happily said they’d have a great match - and wound up having such a great brawl he landed a job and stayed for 7 years.
We get a look at Sabu, who Tommy Dreamer just gushes over as being innovative and amazing.
Heyman also brought in Terry Funk, because Funk was one of the few veterans from the era who was not only perceived as being legitimately tough and hardcore, but he was more than willing to put over the younger guys and help make stars.
We take a short look at the overrated 1 hour draw between Funk, Sabu, and Shane Douglas from The Night The Line Was Crossed - but admittedly the ECW marks ate it up with a spoon, so it worked.
Shane Douglas and Paul Heyman were both pissed off at WCW, and looking to get revenge. Dreamer feels that Heyman was just waiting for Paul E. Dangerously to get picked up by the WWF, but when it didn’t happen - he ran with the ECW idea.
A brief look at Tommy Dreamer as the suspender wearing loser is inserted.
The Sandman was the epitome of ECW. He was a chain smoking, cane wielding, beer drinking tough guy looking for a fight. The Singapore cane was brought in during the incident involving the boy who was caned in Singapore in retaliation for graffiti. Dreamer, the pretty boy, lost a match against The Sandman where the stipulation was the loser was to get caned. Dreamer sat there and took it like a man, bleeding from his back, and the fans totally warmed up to him.
Heyman recalls an angle that saw Dreamer throw Sandman’s cigarette into one of his eyes, and then hit him with the cane in the other. They did a blind angle for awhile, and to Sandman’s credit, he stayed in his home for a month - not going out at all, completely selling it. He was going to retire due to the blindness, came out with the sunglasses, and then caned Dreamer from behind.
Mick Foley came to ECW as part of a talent exchange with WCW to wrestle Sabu. We get a clip of Cactus Jack spitting on the WCW world tag-team title, to sell the idea that his pride was more important than the title. He got a LOT of heat from the booking committee in WCW for that stunt.
Mikey Whipwreck used to set up the ring in ECW, in exchange for being allowed to bump around in it for awhile. They noticed he was doing a good job, so they had him trained, and put him in the ring. His character was a scared 19-year old kid who would just go out and get the shit kicked out of him.
Heyman was looking to break apart from the old school and really establish their mark. In 1994, they found Shane Douglas, who was their top singles wrestler at the time, wrestling in the finals of the NWA world title tournament. However, the NWA was the last thing ECW wanted to be tied in with. So when Douglas won the belt, he threw it down - refusing to accept the torch, and decided to ignite his own.
Heyman absolutely cackles about that stunt. Stevie Richards, who was watching, says it was one of the most historical things he ever saw.
We get the clip of Todd Gordon breaking away from the NWA Eastern Championship Wrestling, and introducing Extreme Championship Wrestling.
Towards the end of 1994 and beginning of 1995, guys like Chris Benoit, Dean Malenko, and Eddie Guerrero started filtering in. 2 Cold Scorpio and Ron Simmons were already around. Heyman adored these guys, because they were pure wrestlers. So now they had the violence, but they had the wrestling as well.
They didn’t have the budget for the pyro, the lights, and the production. So they refused to bother focusing on it - rather choosing to be all about the presentation and the product. Paul decided to include the fans, which turned the whole product into something of a cult.
Heyman loved the character of Raven, because he had himself a character he could be as creative as he wanted with - and the performer behind the character would be willing to do whatever. The feud was built around the idea that Tommy had been a well liked jock at summer camp, while Raven had been the social outcast. Raven was back for revenge, and the reason it worked was because Tommy could never beat him. A ton of characters and angles were born from their feud.
Tazz and Sabu became tag-team partners, and they hated eachother. When Sabu no-showed one night and went to Japan, Heyman publicly fired him.
Later, Tazz broke his neck in Florida in a tag-team match off a spike piledriver. He walked himself to the hospital, shocking the doctors. Heyman paid him for the 9 months he was out, and he will never forget the generosity.
Heyman mentions being the first victim of the Monday Night War, when WCW raided Malenko, Benoit, and Guerrero. Bischoff is quick to state that one man’s raid is another man’s acquisition. He swears he never raided anyone, be it WWF or ECW. He says that it wasn’t a “raid” when Vince took over the territories in the 80’s, in the minds of McMahon and current WWE employees - and this was no different. Some ECW talent defected and came to WCW to pay their bills and feed their families because Heyman wasn’t paying them.
Heyman: “Eric Bischoff is full of shit.” He feels that Bischoff didn’t recognize the legacy of ECW, and says that he definitely stole talent. He stole Benoit, Guerrero, Malenko, Jericho, and the cruiserweights. It was smart to do it - because he needed the talent to compete with the WWF, since the WWF would have likely eventually signed them anyway. He doesn’t appreciate the fact that Bischoff won’t give ECW any credit though.
Vince McMahon put Heyman on the payroll to pay him back for the talent they were acquiring, as opposed to Bischoff who gave him nothing.
Heyman called Konnan and asked for his help with the luchadores. He remembers Rey once doing a rana off the hood of a fan’s car! “If my father wasn’t a lawyer, I couldn’t have made ECW work. I’ve been sued more times than Martha Stewart!”
Steve Austin was fired by WCW and was pissed off about it. Heyman does an absolutely hysterical Austin impression here about wanting to sit on the couch and drink beer - but Paul invited him to come up to ECW and air his grievance live. And with that, we get Steve-A-Mania, Monday Nyquil, and more. Heyman wanted to make him champion, but Austin insisted that he lose so that the fans would want it more.
From a creative standpoint, Heyman feels the anti-hardcore promos that Mick Foley did in 1995 were the best interviews in the history of pro-wrestling.
While Tazz was recovering from his injury, he realized he needed to change his whole gimmick. The Tazmaniac died, and Taz was born. He carried himself with a big match feel, which Heyman feels was missing from the big 2.
The most emotional angle they did involved The Sandman and Raven. Raven hooked up with Sandman’s ex-wife Lori Fullington, and managed to brainwash his son, Tyler. Tyler told Sandman on TV he was a drunk and loved Raven more - which caused him to openly weep on television.
The bWo was the climax of a number of parodies that Richards and Meanie had done. It just turned out that the bWo wound up being the biggest of the bunch, and it just stuck.
Meanwhile, it turned out that Raven’s girlfriend Beulah was pregnant. Initially, Raven figured it was his flunky Stevie Richards, but it turned out to be Tommy Dreamer. Dreamer made the save, beat the shit out of Raven, and piledrove him into a blueberry pie. Later, Douglas told him that she had been cheating on him. The fans all assumed Raven, but it turned out to be Kimona, resulting in the first ever wrestling lesbian angle. They got thrown off every TV station they were on. Tommy’s response? “I’ll take ‘em both!”
Vince took notice that there was another brand of wrestling out there in the form of ECW. So at Mind Games, they had Dreamer and Sandman show up at ringside and get thrown out of the building.
Things got out of hand one night when Raven decided to crucify Sandman. He offended a ton of people, and actually had to come back out and apologize. Kurt Angle had been at the arena that night, and it offended him so badly that he opted not to sign with them.
Heyman desperately wanted to get pay-per-view, knowing it was the only way they were going to make any money. Viewers Choice wouldn’t put them on the air, because they thought ECW was real like Ultimate Fighting. They caved after audience demand.
They quickly gloss over the Mass Transit incident. Basically, an underage kid got the shit kicked out of him by New Jack (well, that’s putting it MILDLY) - and the plug was pulled on the pay-per-view by the networks.
Heyman kicked and screamed to get back on pay-per-view, and they allowed them in April of 1997. The WWF helped promote it on RAW, when Jerry Lawler issued a challenge to them - and they accepted. Lawler isn’t sure why, to this day, that Vince allowed them the airtime. Lawler felt they weren’t appreciative enough of the opportunity. He remembers how small they were, thinking they all looked like miniature wrestlers.
The pay-per-view finally came. Viewers Choice wanted to use their own director, but Heyman refused and demanded to use their own guys.
One person who wasn’t happy was RVD, because he was booked on at the last minute. He cut a heel promo after the match stating that getting a win on pay-per-view over Lance Storm meant he’s now worth more money to other promotions.
Tazz and Sabu, as mentioned earlier, still hated eachother - and were booked at Barely Legal. Tazz won, and after the match they put one another over.
The main event was a combination 3-way match pitting Terry Funk against Sandman against Stevie Richards, with the winner facing Raven. Somehow, Funk, the broken down old man who couldn’t go anymore, won out and took the belt.
Backstage, everyone cried after the show, realizing this was their equivalent to winning the World Series.
Raven made the decision to jump to WCW. Heyman was upset, because he felt Raven had so much more to offer - but he wasn’t going to be able to do any of it in WCW. On Raven’s last night, Tommy finally beat him. As soon as the match ended, Lawler was in the ring, and beating the hell out of Tommy.
Tommy compares Lawler showing up in ECW to Bischoff showing up on RAW. During their match, Lawler hit him in the nuts so hard that Tommy had to go to the hospital and have blood drained from his testicles. Lawler later apologized, but he couldn’t do it that night because he bolted after the show. He was legitimately afraid for his own safety, because deep down he did feel that ECW did stand for Extremely Crappy Wrestling.
Over to the mole story, where there were rumors for a couple of months that someone was feeding talent to WCW. It turned out that the mole was Todd Gordon of all people, who was planning an ECW invasion in WCW. They let him go with class.
Bill Alfonso was also expected to get turfed, because he was part of the WCW deal - but he had an excellent match with Beulah and saved his job.
A lot of the wrestlers started doing a lot of extra work to help the company grow. Tazz was behind the merchandise, Tommy booked angles, Bubba Ray Dudley booked shows... Even Stevie Richards and Gabe Sapolsky would work the call center for ordering stuff, and work the superstar line. D-Von Dudley, Little Guido, and Tommy Dreamer mailed out the t-shirts to fans. Tazz ran the ECW House Of Hardcore. Every wrestler had a job.
To the birth of head. Al Snow was backstage one day when he saw a plastic head. He remembered a car ride with Mick Foley, where Mick had this plastic head fitted with a Mankind mask, and he kept pretending it was his girlfriend. Snow just ran with it. One of the greatest nights he remembered was a night the fans started throwing the Styrofoam heads into the ring. They did a rave like deal with his entrance, featuring strobe lights while the heads would bob in the crowd.
Heyman could feel his roller coaster lifting - and is convinced he was about to overtake WCW. Bischoff totally laughs that off, saying it was not even remotely comparable. At no time did WCW even come close.
Vince admits that he took some aspects of ECW, but never considered them a threat. He says that he didn’t get their attitude from ECW, because they always had it. Har.
Bam Bam Bigelow came into feud with Tazz in 1998 over the TV title. He remembers a match in Asbury Park, which was Bigelow’s hometown - and they had a spot that saw Bigelow drive Tazz through the ring. Bigelow beat him, and took the TV title.
Tazz started wearing a belt that he called the FTW title. You can figure out on your own what that stands for. There were only 2 FTW champions, Tazz and Sabu. Heyman feels the direction that Tazz took with that title pushed him towards the World Title.
Flaming tables was an idea the Dudleys had when they needed an interesting way to end their feud with Axl Rotten and Balls Mahoney. It scared the hell out of D-Von, but nobody ever got hurt by it, so it worked.
Heyman says the Dudleys were the greatest team in ECW history, and it’s hard to argue that point. Bubba says they took it too far on a regular basis, and we look at one of Bubba’s profanity laced tirades against the fans.
As time went on, wrestling went on to a major boom - and suddenly guys are getting hundreds of thousands from WCW and WWF. It became near fiscally impossible to keep running shows when guys were asking for so much money. The wrestlers start talking about cheques that bounced on a regular basis. From the sounds of things, Tommy Dreamer took it the worst of the bunch, going months without getting paid but never complaining.
In order to survive, they needed TV, and got it. Vince called him up and congratulated him, and let him know he was going to have to change and appeal to the masses. Heyman didn’t change though, because that wasn’t who he was. They nearly folded in 1999, but the TV show kept them alive.
Within 2 weeks of being on TV, the WWF stole Tazz and the Dudley Boyz. Tazz did what he did because he had a family he was worried about. He had also done about everything he’d ever needed to do in ECW, and lost his drive as a competitor. When he was pinned at Anarchy Rulz, losing the belt, Paul E and the rest of the boys met him on the ramp and hugged him goodbye - which was special.
D-Von and Bubba got a call from Vince. Bubba asked that Paul step up, and show them that he wanted to keep them. Paul said he could never compete with the WWF, which they weren’t asking him to, but when he wouldn’t make an offer, they realized ECW truly was the minor league feeding system and bailed. Their request? A $1 raise...
On their final night, the Dudleys won the tag-team titles - and threatened to take them to the WWF and leave them on Vince McMahon’s desk. Tommy Dreamer attacked, and was put in a 2-on-1 handicap match for the belt. However, Raven appeared out of nowhere, having quit WCW, and won the tag-team titles with Tommy.
Meanwhile, on TNN, they were getting edited like crazy. He was fighting with them constantly about censorship. So he created a character named Cyrus, who was representative of The Network.
TNN never promoted the show, while ECW was trying to spend a fortune just to keep the show up to their standards. And what really pissed Paul off was when TNN decided to publicly negotiate with the WWF to bring RAW over. And we see a Heyman “shoot” about the Network that aired on ECW TV.
Rob Van Dam was about the last star they had in the company. He was TV champion for two years, and his run made the belt mean as much, or possibly more than the world title. A broken leg was the only thing that got the title off him, and left him on the sidelines for 3 months.
While reigning as ECW champ, Mike Awesome jumped to WCW out of the blue. WCW planned on having the belt dumped in the garbage, but legalities got in the way, and Awesome had to drop the belt to whomever ECW wanted. So ECW called up the WWF, and had Tazz squash him.
A couple days later on Smackdown, Triple H defeated Tazz in a non-title match. Vince apologizes now for the move, stating it didn’t seem to help ECW at all.
Tommy Dreamer won the world title from Tazz, which pissed Tommy off, because he didn’t feel it was part of his gimmick. He wanted to retire without having ever won it, but he had to because there was no one else.
They had wanted to get onto another network, but unfortunately they were so far down by the time they were off TNN that it couldn’t happen. The guys hung around, but it wasn’t looking good. Heyman owed a lot of people a lot of money.
The company closed in January 2001. A lot of wrestlers were suddenly out of work, and to make matters worse, WCW shut down in March of that same year.
The wrestlers look back on why the company folded, and for the most part, everyone sums it up to one thing: Heyman was a bad business man. Except Heyman of course, who believes if he’d been on another network he’d have been hugely successful - and lord knows if you think differently then you’re an idiot.
Heyman turned up on RAW as the new color guy, and sealed it for those who were living in denial. Heyman relives a story about having made a joke about Trish Stratus that nearly got him killed on his first night on RAW.
We get a reflective piece about ECW’s part of wrestling history, and end with a fade out with an “ECW” chant in the background.
Excellent historical piece that represented the company really well. There wasn’t much that they glossed over (although Mass Transit, 911, Sid Vicious, and others could have received a little more than a blurb) - and wasn’t a WWF spinjob. Another excellent story DVD in a series of them.
But we’re not done yet...
THE PITBULLS vs. RAVEN (with Beulah) and STEVIE RICHARDS (in a 2 out of 3 falls dog collar match for the ECW world tag-team titles)
Beulah announces before the match that Stevie Richards broke his arm the night before, and wants this to be fair, and asks for 2 out of 3 falls. The Pitbulls agree, Raven ties himself to Pitbull #2...and we’re off! Raven charges, but gets slammed. #2 wraps his fist with the chain, punches Raven, and he’s dumped over the top. He hangs Raven for awhile while #1 runs off to the back. #2 releases the hanging, and follows Raven to the floor where he smacks him in the face with a chair. They head back in, while #1 re-emerges with Stevie Richards, who’s already busted open! #2 sets up a table in the ring while #1 slams a chair over Richards’ head. Suddenly Raven, gets a burst of adenaline, stands on the table, and piledrives #2 through it to score an easy pinfall at 2:10!!!
Raven and Richards are on the offensive now, and give #1 a double DDT. Pitbull #2 makes the save at 2. Richards tries a Steviekick...but that only gets 2. #2 goes and grabs another table, sets it up, and gives Richards a superbomb through it! Now it’s the Pitbulls that score an easy pinfall at 4:21!
Tied at 1, the fans burst into a LOUD “ECW” chant. Raven and #2 head into the crowd, where Raven slams a chair over his back. Richards and #1 fight at ringside. Richards is clotheslined into the crowd, standing in front of SIGN GUY DUDLEY. Richards grabs a chair, and absolutely creams #1 in the face! Raven and #2 get back into the ring, and #2 gets his third table of the match. They fight towards it, but in the melee the referee gets mashed between them and goes down. And here come THE DUDLEYS! In this case it’s Dances With Dudley and Dudley Dudley - helping Richards and Raven deliver a pair of superbombs! The Pitbulls no sell, and deliver a pair of double DDTs to take out all four guys! #2 gives Dudley Dudley a superbomb, and follows with one for Dances With Dudley! #2 sets the table back up, #1 gives him Raven, and they got for a superbomb...only Raven’s head bounces off the table instead of going through it! He goes for a cover, but the referee is still woozy and can’t make the count in time. Raven whips out a stinky rag, which we can only assume is doused in ether - and he knocks #2 out cold. He’s placed on top of a dual stack of tables, legdropping him through the first, and then elbowdropping him through the second!!! In the ring, #1 gives Richards a vertical suplex. Richards tries going up to, but #1 crotches him and puts Stevie through a table! Raven unhooks his chain from #2, and makes the save before a pin. THE PARAMEDICS arrive to help #2, while FRANCINE jumps on Beulah for some reason! Raven gives Francine a DDT - and this brings in TOMMY DREAMER! Dreamer chains himself to Raven, kneedrops him in the nuts! Tommy gives Raven a DDT, and pins him for the win at 14:38! Styles announces that Tommy’s dream has finally been fulfilled by pinning Raven, but BILL ALPHONSO gets involved now. Fonzie announces that Tommy Dreamer was never allowed into the match, so it won’t go down in the record books, and Tommy has still never pinned Raven. Now, because the Pitbulls can’t continue, Raven and Richards retain. Only we’ve got TODD GORDON getting into the ring now. He wants the match re-started. BIG DICK DUDLEY comes in and gives Tommy Dreamer a chokeslam! Fonzie says chokeslams are legal tonight, so this brings in 911 naturally!!! And Fonzie eats a chokeslam. #1 and Dreamer celebrate with 911. #2 rejoins his partner, gives Raven AND Richards a double superbomb, and score the win at 19:46!!! ****1/2 Absolutely wild brawl, and fantastic angles to pay this bad boy off.
REY MYSTERIO JR. vs. PSYCHOSIS (in a 2 out of 3 falls match)
What I wouldn’t give to have a mask wearing Psychosis in either TNA or WWE today... JOEL GERTNER does ring introductions in Spanish, which is a nice change from his usual introductions in Dumbass. Rey dumps Psychosis to the outside to start, and hits him with a plancha off the apron, sending both into the crowd! He gets back into the ring, and just as Psychosis recovers, Rey dives off and hits him with a plancha over the guardrail again!!! Back in, Rey hits a rana for the first pinfall at 1:22!!!
Rey hits Psychosis with a spinning heel kick to start off our second fall. Styles: “Bobby Heenan called me during the break with some Mexican jokes. I told him to stick it and show some respect.” Psychosis is taken down with a hairpull, followed by a top rope rana! Outside, Rey bounces off the apron with another rana which sends Psychosis down the ramp. We get an extended “MYS-TER-IO” chant, while Psychosis comes back in and wants a handshake. Rey declines, and winds up eating an enzuigiri. He picks Rey up, and drives him abdomen first into the buckle - followed with a shoulder while he’s hung out to dry. Psychosis plants Rey with a powerbomb, covers nonchalantly, and gets 2. Spinebuster, Sharpshooter, but Psychosis releases when Rey refuses to tap! Rey rolls out to recover, but Psychosis follows, and whips Rey to the guardrail. He works over Rey’s leg with a steel chair, and rolls Rey back in. Psychosis connects with a slingshot legdrop, but misses a blind charge and hits the ringpost with his shoulder. Rey comes on the offense, hits a rana, tries a second, but it’s blocked with a tombstone, and Psychosis gets fall #2 at 7:05!
Rey heads outside to shake off the tombstone effect, but Psychosis follows, and powerbombs Rey through a ringside table!!!!! With ease, Psychosis launches Rey into the crowd with a gorilla press, and then hits a TOPE INTO THE THIRD ROW! They head back in, but Psychosis misses a blind dive, and he crashes face first into ringpost! He tumbles out, and Rey’s all over him with a springboard senton splash to the floor!!! They kick at eachother, and Psychosis whips a chair at Rey! Rey retaliates by throwing a pair of chairs to Psychosis’ face, then wraps one around his neck and throws the chair into the ring posts! Styles: “Great way to decapitate somebody!” Back in, Rey springs off the top with a rana for 2! He hits another rana which sends Psychosis out, and this time he hits a double jump senton splash to the outside! Psychosis gets a burst of adrenaline and whips Rey from guardrail to guardrail. Another table is set up, and Psychosis places Rey on it...before hitting a top rope guillotine legdrop through it!!!!!!!!!!! Back in, Psychosis powerbombs Rey, places a chair over his carcass, then hits a senton moonsault for the pinfall at 13:52! ****1/4 Psychosis gets a loud “RUDO” chant after that, and both guys leave to a standing ovation.
MIKEY WHIPWRECK vs. THE SANDMAN (with Woman and kendo stick) (in a ladder match for the ECW world heavyweight title)
Before the match can even get underway, STEVE AUSTIN interrupts. He’s a little pissed off about the fact some fans called him a Hulk Hogan wannabe on the way to the arena. He climbs the ladder, looks down and sees nothing but a pair of jabronis and a $5 piece of ass. He respects Mikey’s willingness to never quit, but says he’s still a total loser. As for Woman “don’t look at me with those eyes, because it’s you that married a midget, not me.” Sandman clocks Mikey with a can of beer, and Austin kidnaps Woman. Mikey comes back by beating Sandman in the face with the ladder, and follows him outside. A couple of shots to the apron and guardrail are delivered, and they go back in. One doctor bomb to the ladder later, and Mikey’s not doing so hot! Sandman takes over with some ladder shots, drapes it over Mikey, and then hits a slingshot senton onto it!!! Outside, Sandman whips Mikey into the guardrail and bridges the ladder between the ring and rail. Mikey is given a hotshot onto the ladder, then hit with a guillotine legdrop! Mikey quickly grabs a chair for his own protection, and hits Sandman over the head repeatedly! The Sandman tries to stand, but is hit with a rana off the apron. Mikey continues his assault, but is backdropped into the crowd. Sandman puts Mikey on the end of the ladder, sets it up like a teeter totter...heads into the ring, and dives onto it, knocking Mikey in the mouth!!! Back in, he goes to drop an elbow on the ladder on Mikey, but Mikey rolls out of the way and Sandman connects with nothing but steel! Mikey quickly grabs it and slams the ladder into Sandman’s face! He’s only able to get 1. He tries a splash onto the ladder on Sandman...and scores a MASSIVE upset pin at 7:38!!! *1/2 CACTUS JACK hits the ring, and gives Mikey a huge hug. THE LOCKER ROOM empties, hoists Mikey on their shoulders ala Wrestlemania X, and celebrate.
2 COLD SCORPIO vs. SABU (for the ECW world television title)
No intros or anything here, we just right in off the bell where Scorpio kicks Sabu in the chops. A spinning heel kick misses from Scorpio, but Sabu’s version doesn’t. Sabu grabs himself a chair, blows THROWING IT INTO THE RING (oooh, I don’t sense good things) - manages to get it in the second time, and hits Air Sabu! A clothesline sends Scorpio to the floor - and when he tries to re-enter, he’s dropkicked off the apron. Scorpio heads into the crowd, but Sabu’s prepared with a springboard tope con hilo off the chair!!!! Lame fan sign: “Pay-Per-Sabiew”. Back in, Sabu gets 2. Sabu goes to the slingshot kneedrop, but Scorpio no-sells, and fires off a powerbomb! Scorpio follows up with a scoopslam, scurries to the top like a cat, and hits a guillotine legdrop! Rather than go for a pinfall, he gets a chair. Back in, a kneelift rocks Sabu, and the chair is setup midring. A running facebuster sends Sabu face first to the chair - and Scorpio threatens to go for the 450...before thinking better of it for now. He goes for a second facebuster to the chair - but Sabu blocks, and sends Scorpio into it instead! Cactus clothesline takes both guys outside, with Sabu’s head hitting the guardrail. He recovers, hits the apron, and flies onto Scorpio with a somersault plancha! Back in, Sabu hits a springboard kick for 2. Scorpio retaliates with a crescent kick, before picking up the chair and running it into Sabu’s face! Stinger splash is good, but the Sabu slips away from a Rock Bottom and hits a victory roll for 2! Scorpio tries a spinning heel kick, but it’s weak, and Sabu goes to the camel clutch. Scorpio powers to his feet, but Sabu won’t let go, and moves to a rear naked choke. Scorpio slides away, and punts Sabu’s dangling footballs! Sabu scrambles to the floor to fight the pain. A vertical suplex brings Sabu back into the ring, and Scorpio ties him up in a surfboard. Sabu gets away, and hits a slingshot legdrop from the apron for 2! Scorpio counters with a moonsault for 2! Sabu hits an Arabian face buster for 2! He tries a legdrop onto the chair, hits it, but hurts his own leg in the process. Scorpio actually gets up first, and clocks Sabu in the face. Scorpio threatens a tombstone, but goes for a pancake instead, follows with a splash out of the corner and gets 2! To keep control, Scorpio crotches Sabu on the bottom ropes, and then slams him in the middle of the ring. Up he goes, but misses his bizarre splash! Sabu thinks about taking advantage and heads up, but Scorpio’s playing possum and gives him a sunset flip for 2! Back up, Sabu cuts off Scorpio, hits a victory roll off the top, and gets 2! Scorpio is backdropped to the floor - and the referee has to dive out of the way of a flying Sabu who hits tope suicida!!!! Back in, Scorpio takes a clothesline for 2! Cross arm-breaker, but Scorpio leans on the injured knees of Sabu in hopes of breaking the hold. It works, and Scorpio drops a knee on the face of Sabu as soon as he stands. Scorpio gets cute with a fireman’s carry throw to the floor, and doesn’t expect to have Sabu hang on and take him down with him! Sabu goes for an Asai moonsault, COMPLETELY botches the location so that Scorpio has to dive back into the way to catch the move, and still barely saves it. Nobody seems to care too much though, because they go to the table, and Sabu hits a TRIPLE JUMP SENTON from the ring to the crowd, and EXPLODES through the table! Styles (in dead serious voice): “Oh my god, he’s dead.” Scorpio rolls Sabu back into the ring eventually, but only gets 2 because Sabu puts his foot on the rope! Doctor bomb is attempted, but Sabu turns that into a rana for 2! Lionsault from Sabu gets 2! Back up, but he misses the moonsault - and Scorpio quickly powerbombs Sabu! Scorpio goes up, drops the bomb, but SOMEHOW Sabu kicks out! Scorpio, frustrated, drops a chair over Sabu’s face, then comes off the top with a legdrop onto it...for another 2! Now he’s downright pissed. His day gets no better when Sabu throws a chair in his face, and then hits a rana for 2!!! Double clothesline spot - and Scorpio sits up first. Up he goes, and hits the 450!!!! He doesn’t immediately go for the pin. Styles: “What is he waiting for???” Instead, he goes back up with a chair, comes off like he’s trying to smash in Sabu’s face...but Sabu moves! Sabu puts the chair on Scorpio’s face, and drops a leg on it! A slingshot legdrop to the chair would seem to seal it, but it’s only 2! And time winds down, as the bell rings at 30:00 to signal a draw. ***3/4 Excellent match! The fans chant for 5 more minutes, but it ain’t happening on this day.
TOMMY DREAMER (with Beulah) vs. RAVEN (with The Nest)
Raven gets a “YOU SOLD OUT” chant because of his impending jump to WCW. Raven tries to bail early, since he’s leaving anyway and doesn’t need one final match, but Tommy catches him and pulls Raven back to the arena. Dreamer slams a chair over Raven’s head, followed by a Gatoraid bottle. Raven’s got a better trick than that though, and dumps Dreamer off the balcony through the merchandise table!!! Raven stands on another table, and now piledrives Tommy through it!!!! Dreamer’s busted open already, while Raven throws a table at him. He props it up against the stage, and sends Dreamer face first through it! Raven sets up a fourth table, goes for a piledriver, but Dreamer backdrops out of it! Raven’s now set on it, and Dreamer goes for a splash...only to see Raven roll out of the way, and Tommy puts himself through it! They fight back down towards the ring, and Tommy gives Raven a crotch job over the guardrail! Bulldog to the concrete! Back into the crowd they go, and Dreamer slams a chair over Raven’s face - which is busted open now. They brawl around the Eagle’s nest for awhile, but nothing big happens - and shortly thereafter they’re back in the ring. Raven comes back with a drop toe hold to the chair, and pounds on Tommy’s nads. Raven sets up around chair, and tosses Tommy off the top THROUGH the chair, getting 2! Tommy fires back with a DDT, and grabs a steel “DO NOT ENTER” sign! He cracks Raven over the head, but accidently hits the referee at the same time! Dreamer hits a piledriver, goes for the pin...but Lufus breaks it up at 2! Beulah gives him a DDT, and poses with Tommy. While posing, Raven hits a lowblow, rolls Dreamer up with the tights...and gets 2! Raven now pleads with Beulah to take him back, but Dreamer hits HIM in the nads, and rolls him up for 2! Chastity hits the ring, sprays Tommy’s eyes with mace, Raven hits a dropkick, and gets 2! Beulah and Chastity get into it. “Hey Styles, wouldn’t it be great if (EXTENDED BLEEP!)” Now THAT’S high comedy. Raven breaks it up, again begs Beulah for reconciliation - but she lowblows him, and Dreamer DDTs him on the sign...for a CLOSE 2! Dreamer tries for another, but Raven runs him back to the corner, sandwiching the referee! Tommy now hits the DDT, but to no avail. LOUIE SPICOLLI gets in out of nowhere, DDTs Dreamer, wakes up the referee...but Dreamer kicks out at 2! Spicolli goes for a Spicolli Driver, but Dreamer DDTs him! Raven then hits the Evenflow on Dreamer...for 2! He goes for another, but Dreamer hits a Spicolli Driver on Raven, DDTs him, and finally scores the long awaited pinfall at 15:05! **1/2 The lights immediately go out after the match, and ROB VAN DAM is in the ring with BILL ALPHONSO! Van Daminator to Dreamer! Tommy comes back with an atomic drop, but the lights go out again! Now SABU’s in, and he whips a chair at Tommy’s face! Dreamer DDTs both guys while the fans chant “WE WANT TAZZ!” The lights go out... but it’s not Tazz. Instead, JERRY LAWLER of all people is in the ring, and the fans just give him batshit heat! He leads the heels in a beatdown of Dreamer. “SO THIS IS IT HUH? THIS IS THE BIG TIME ECW? LOOK AT THIS! HEY, THIS BINGO HALL OUTTA BE BUILT OUT OF TOILET PAPER, BECAUSE THERE’S NOTHING IN IT BUT SHIT!” Lawler continues to squeal on about the fact there’s nobody tough in ECW, while the crazy beatdown continues. That’s asking for trouble, because THE GANGSTAS respond! They brawl with Sabu and RVD in the aisle, and Dreamer takes down Lawler! Sabu and RVD get back in to help Lawler, and he beats down Dreamer. THE SANDMAN enters the fray, but he eats a Van Daminator followed by Rolling Thunder. Lawler asks if that’s all they’ve got - but TAZZ responds now, and heads to the ring. The heels bail instantly, not interested in ANY of that, and head to the back.
TAZ vs. BAM BAM BIGELOW (for the ECW world television title)
The show’s from Asbury Park, so you can imagine the kind of pop Bam Bam gets here. They go nose to nose here, and the size difference is massive. However, Tazz takes down Bigelow, and works an armbar. Bigelow charges, but he eats a hiptoss - and is then clotheslined to the floor!! Tazz tries to come off the apron with something, but Bigelow catches him, and slams him face first to the ring apron. Bigelow whips Tazz to the guardrail, and then rolls him back in. Tazz takes a huge powerbomb, giving Bam Bam a 2! Tazz comes back with a clothesline that rocks Bigelow, tries a t-bone, but Bam Bam falls on top for 2! Tazz backdrops Bigelow to the ramp, follows him up, and Taz-plexes him OFF THE RAMP OVER THE GUARDRAIL!!!! Oh man! And all that does is get Bigelow worked up, because he grabs a chair and slams it HARD over Tazz’s back! A clothesline from Bigelow sends them both back to ringside. Back in, Bigelow hits a DDT and heads up! He barely hits his moonsault, and gets 2! Bigelow rolls out, grabs a smashed table from earlier, and throws it in. He decides to set it up anyway, tries to powerbomb Tazz through it, but Tazz fights and gives Bigelow a flapjack through it instead!!!!! The fans break into a “CHOKE HIM OUT” chant, despite being in Bigelow’s hometown. Weird. Then they turn back to chanting “BAM BAM!” Outside, Bigelow takes a piece of table right to the skull, but retaliates with a chair to Tazz’s back! They both stall a little bit with some brawling in the front row. Bigelow pounds away, and Tazz asks for more to a face pop. So Bigelow goes low - and they head back in. He goes for Greetings From Asbury Park, but Tazz retaliates with Tazzmission!!!! On Bigelow’s back...but Bam Bam throws ALL his weight back, and they go exploding through the ring!!!!! This of course is the spot they aired endlessly until the company folded, but it doesn’t make it any less cool! Bigelow escapes from the hole, pulls Tazz up from it, covers, and wins the title at 13:35! **
ROB VAN DAM (with Bill Alphonso) vs. JERRY LYNN (for the ECW world television title)
After taking 8 minutes for entrances and intros, Van Dam takes down Lynn with a headlock to start. They wind up trading hammerlocks shortly thereafter. RVD takes down Lynn with a shoulderblock, and they run through a sequence of Missing Their Moves, which gets them a standing ovation. More stalling and showboating from Van Dam. RVD goes to a monkey flip...and we stall some more. I should note we’re now 6 minutes into the match, and absolutely nothing has happened. WWE fans would have eaten this alive by now, as demonstrated by last year’s Goldberg/Lesnar match. Van Dam winds up on the ring apron, and Lynn dropkicks him to the floor. Jerry goes to the top rope...and hits a plancha! RVD tries to get back in, but takes a guillotine legdrop while heading back in through the ropes for 2. They head to the top, Lynn hits a bulldog, and gets 2! Lynn goes up again, but this time Fonzie crotches him! Van Daminator is set up...but Lynn avoids it. He’s quickly crotched again, and Van Dam dropkicks him to the floor. Outside, Lynn is whipped over the guardrail into the crowd. Lynn finds himself dizzy in a chair, and RVD dives over the guardrail, delivering a tope! Lynn recovers, and dropkicks RVD back to ringside! Back in, Lynn gets a rollup for 2. He goes for the cradle piledriver, but it’s blocked with a double leg slam. Rolling Thunder misses, but a spinning heel kick hits! RVD goes for another Rolling Thunder, but misses again, and Lynn hammers away. Lynn winds up on top, goes for a tornado DDT, but it’s blocked and Van Dam hits a Northern lights for 2! Lynn comes back with a sunset flip for 2. A clothesline levels Van Dam, and Lynn gets a table. Van Dam backdrops Lynn into the crowd again, and this time hits a Van Daminator off the guardrail. They brawl back to the apron, where Lynn places RVD up top, but as he goes for a rana, Van Dam leans back and drops Lynn through a ringside table! Lynn is quickly hung out to dry over the top guardrail, and RVD hits a spinning legdrop for 2. Fonzie slides a chair over to Van Dam, which he uses to dropkick into Lynn’s face. To the top, Lynn goes for a tornado DDT - but it’s blocked and he’s clotheslined back in. A slingshot legdrop gets 2. RVD gets onto the apron, but Lynn is ready and sunset flips him through the table at ringside! They head back in, where Lynn gets 2. Another Van Daminator is attempted, but Lynn throws the chair into Fonzie’s face, and then gives RVD a German with a bridge for 2! Lynn goes up, but RVD cuts him off with a pump kick to the face - but they blow whatever spot they were going for when they fall back in. Lynn hits his own Van Daminator from nowhere to get a 2. They blow a sunset flip now, somehow. Lynn goes for a cradle piledriver, but it’s blocked, so he opts for a rollup instead for 2. Back up top, RVD hits a split legged moonsault for 2. Will this ever END? Spinning legdrop from RVD, up he goes, Five Star Frogsplash...but Lynn rolls him up immediately for 2. Van Dam connects with a Van Daminator again, heads up a second time, hits the Five Star and wins it at 26:54. *1/4 The spots sure were pretty and all, but as far as a wrestling match goes, this one was a total boring spotfest that sucked the meat missile and hasn’t held up at ALL. Classic my ass.
STEVIE RICHARDS APOLOGIZES FOR LEAVING ECW
The worst time in Richards’ ECW career was when he injured his neck in New York. Terry Funk clipped him in the back of the neck with the guardrail, paralyzing him in the ring for over an hour. He tried to keep wrestling, despite having a stinger. He and Heyman weren’t seeing eye-to-eye, and Stevie made a series of rash decisions which included giving ECW no notice and bolting to WCW. He was made into Raven’s lackey, and after a clash of champions in December where Raven beat him, they had an argument. Richards asked how the fans could ever get behind him after that squash, and Raven told him to shut the fuck up because he was only brought in to be Raven’s bitch - and if he kept going he’d have him fired. He left WCW and came back to ECW - and had a ton of heat with the boys. He got another stinger in a match with Chris Chetti, and finally got neck surgery. He went out of his way to mend fences with the guys, and is still good friends with them today. However, he just wanted a moment on the DVD to apologize to everyone for that move - and swears he’ll never do anything like it again.
TAZZ SEEKS PAUL HEYMAN’S BLESSING
When Tazz left ECW, his first match in the WWF was against Kurt Angle in MSG. He gave Heyman a call on his cell, and let him know he was on his way. Heyman congratulated him, since he knew it was one of Tazz’s goals. He asked the reason for calling. Tazz said he just wanted Heyman’s blessing...and Paul gave it. Tazz cries now, saying he felt guilty about it, because they had a bad fallout. He realizes they both said things behind one another’s back, but he said it was only out of anger, and knows that ECW was Paul’s life. No girlfriend, no wife, no family. He says he wanted nothing but success for ECW, and is sorry it didn’t continue longer than it did.
PAUL HEYMAN: TRAVEL AGENT
Chris Jericho remembers his role in ECW, which was to arrange finding cheap ass air fare to get to the United States from Canada. Paul would sometimes call him up to half an hour before liftoff with the information. He remembers trying Paul all night, and finally Jericho once snapped telling him to shove his TV title up his ass because he wasn’t coming down. A minute later, Heyman called back and gave him his flight information, apologizing, saying he’d been trying to get a hold of him but his phone was broken. Another time he was headed down with Johnny Smith, and he called to make a change. The airport made it, and apologized to Jericho for his brother in law. Jericho was completely lost. They said they had heard his brother in law Chris Benoit had passed away. “This jackass waited so long to buy a ticket he got a bereavement fee, which is what you get when someone dies, a half price ticket.” He warned Heyman to let him know in the future if this ever happened again, just so he was able to play along. He says a big rib for a long time was the fact that Benoit was his brother in law. He also remembers Ron Simmons getting one for a Seymour Goldstein, to which he replies “do I look like I’m Jewish to you man? Come on, give me something to work with here, damn!”
There’s also a few Easter eggs on the disc, but I won’t spoil the surprises there.
The matches were certainly an interesting selection, since they definitely highlighted all the different ECW eras. Though, I’d have personally chosen to focus strictly on 1995-96, that’s not what this particular DVD was about - and the makers did a fine job.
I’d recommend you pick it up, but based on the sales numbers, I’d be willing to guess you already have!
Welcome, everyone, to another EXCLUSIVE, JAM-PACKED edition of Inside The Ropes. I'm Canadian Bulldog, better known to many as Peanut Head. We've got a ton to get to this week (pun not intended!!!), but first, a quick confession: