DVD REVIEW: ECW Crossing The Line Again
Studio: HHG Corporation (RIP)
Distributer: Delta Music
I know, this is a pretty weird show to be reviewing, but hear me out. We didn’t really have access to any ECW in the UK for a long time, so I missed out on the promotion’s glory years. Since it was a big hype show for the company’s first PPV, Barely Legal, and since Dr. Death was on the card, it was the first ECW show from that early era that I saw. And, flawed as it is, it’s an old favourite. It’s also one of the few ECW shows that hasn’t been reviewed anywhere on the net (well, Keith hasn’t reviewed it, and if any other website has done it, it doesn’t come up on any search engine), so what the hell. I’m going to follow up with a review of Barely Legal as well at some point in the next couple weeks, and maybe a review of my favourite ECW show of all time too.
This disc is only available in the UK, but it’s a Region 0 disc, so if your TV can handle a PAL signal, it’ll play fine on any US or Canadian player. It’s distributed by Delta Music, who have also got just about every ECW PPV as well as their ’96 and ’97 shows (like the WrestleFest Terry Funk retirement show, This Ain’t Seinfeld and so on) on DVD, so check out their website. eBay is a goldmine for these ECW DVDs, and Play is doing them for £7.99 a pop, so now’s a good time to pick up some history.
February 1st 1997, from the ECW Arena.
We start the show with the entire ECW roster including Tod Flanders and Paul E in the ring and on the Crow’s Nest. Paul is giving one of his trademark speeches, shooting on Vince and Turner and hyping the company’s first PPV, Barely Legal, namely the Taz-Sabu match. Either Delta or ECW kindly censor the swearing for us, because Lord knows, watching guys hit each other with chairs and bleed all over the place is fine, but swearing has no place on an 18 (English version of R-rated) video. We then get a long video package in lieu of the ECW intro hyping the match (a bunch of Sabu spots and Tazplexes, including a vicious head and arm gargoyle suplex on Chris Jericho), and then Joey shills the PPV some more.
Lance Storm VS Balls Mahoney
Ricky Morton VS Big Stevie Cool
Axl Rotten VS Dr. Death
Raven VS Dr. Death (ECW Title)
D-Von Dudley VS The Sandman
The Eliminators VS RVD & Sabu (Tag Titles)
Terry Funk VS Tommy Rich
Triple Threat VS Tommy Dreamer & The Pitbulls
Lance Storm VS Balls Mahoney
No intros, but we join the match in time for the first lockup. Lance looks the same as always, though he’s still rocking the bleached carny rat’s tail. Balls is wearing a black singlet, gloves and long, torn jeans, and his hair is short if you thought he resembled Mick Foley with long hair, with short hair it’s pretty frightening.
Spot the difference...
Balls grabs the rat’s tail to gain control. Lance works the arm but Balls makes the ropes as Joey puts Lance over, mentioning his “experience in Japan and... limited experience in the US.” I can just imagine Paul screaming in Joey’s headset not to mention Jim Cornette. Balls works Storm into the corner for some shots and a claw hold to the face, then whips him to the opposite buckle. Lance vaults over and ducks a clothesline, then gets a few clotheslines of his own followed by a spinning leg lariat that puts Balls down. Back in the corner and Storm gets some forearms, but Balls reverses a whip attempt into a short arm clothesline. Lance is primed on the ropes in the patented Royal Rumble “I’ll wait here so you can clothesline me over” position, and Balls charges in with a… spinning heel kick? Lance ducks, and Balls goes arse over tit and nearly pulls off the Foley head-caught-in-ropes spot. Lance gets a nice slingshot somersault senton to the outside, then sends Balls back in for his patented springboard clothesline, which gets two. He goes back up top but gets nailed coming down, then stands on Lance’s throat before dropping the same leg across his face with a legdrop. That was nice, and Hat Guy and Sign Guy seem to concur.
"Great spot Balls!" "Ow my fuckin' head! Somebody help me!"
Balls hits a side sambo suplex, then plants Storm with a slam to set up the Vader sling corner splash. All of that gets two, and Balls works Lance in the corner some more. Whip to the buckle, but Lance comes back with his rebound back elbow to a nice pop, then hits a flying shoulderblock for two. He sends Balls to the buckle and hits a handspring clothesline, then hits a stiff missile dropkick from the second rope for another two. Balls goes low, then hits a piledriver before missing an elbow off the second rope. Lance goes up and hits his spinning heel kick for the three count at 5:32. *½ Okay match, but too short to really do much. Couple of points for Lance’s highspots.
Ricky Morton (with some haggard chick called Austen) VS Big Stevie Cool (with the bWo)
Morton, of course, gets booed in Philly, while the Blue World Order draw mad heat. Man, the bWo probably sold more shirts than the last incarnation of the nWo did. Crazy. And here’s the first instance of Delta censoring theme music, as the bWo theme is drowned out with some really loud generic library tune. Must be rights issues over the music, I guess. Lockup and both guys trade shots, with Stevie getting the better of it. It’s wild how Morton bitches about not getting booked any more, but he’s still got that AWFUL spiky mullet and looks like a fat Mel Gibson. I’m not saying legends don’t have a place today, but come on.
Blue -- Blue -- Blue World Order!
He gets taunted by the bWo while the crowd makes disparaging remarks about Robert Gibson. Morton gets a low blow and goes for a rollup, but Stevie comes back with a flying forearm for a two count while the crowd chants “bWo”. Morton grabs some tights and sends Stevie outside, then tries to ram his head into the post. Stevie blocks it, and Meanie comes behind Morton and makes him eat some post instead. Morton tries to beg off but Stevie gets the Nash sideslam for two, then follows up with an armdrag. He works the arm, but Morton breaks out and gets a snapmere, only to miss a fistdrop and get caught in another armdrag. Stevie goes back to the arm, takes Morton down and drops a leg across the shoulder. I love that move. Morton tries to roll through, but Stevie keeps hold in a Gracie-style armlock way before it became fashionable. How do you counter a MMA hold? With a boot to the eyes, of course.
He gets whipped and caught with a clothesline, but nails Stevie in the balls on the way down in an awkward looking spot. The crowd gets on Morton’s case again and he hits a kneelift, but Stevie fights back and does the mounted ten-punch in the corner, with the “fuck you in the mouth” gesture for good measure. Whip to the buckle is reversed, and Morton gets an inverted atomic drop. Irish whip and Morton puts his head down for a backdrop, but gets Jacknifed for... two? Crowd chants for the Stevie Kick, and Stevie tunes up the band and hits it for the three count at 5:22. Post match, Austen accepts a shirt from the bWo. Yeah… whatever. ** Again, not particularly offensive, but nothing special.
Axl Rotten VS Dr. Death
The good doctor draws a mad pop form the crowd. Joey does his best JR impersonation and reels off Doc’s football credentials. Hey, I’ve got no problem with that it’s when everything’s “eight and three-eights”, “boomer Sooners” and “slobberknocker” that it gets stupid. Shots are traded in the corner, and Doc gets whipped to the buckle, comes off and lands on his ass. More shots back and forth, then Doc gets whipped and taken down with a clothesline for two. Joey puts over that Doc hasn’t been pinned in the US in a decade, and right on cue he regains control and hits a weak football tackle. Couple of jabs and Doc gets the Oklahoma Stampede for two, then murders Axl with the Backdrop Driver for the pin at 1:52. * Squash match, but Backdrop Drivers = stars.
Doctor Death: original hoss.
Post-match, Joey goes to interview Doc, who talks some smack about winning the ECW Title. Raven (then-champion) takes exception to this and interrupts the interview, taking him up on the offer. Again, the profanity is bleeped. Doc contemplates for a moment, then shoots in on Raven and they roll around engaging in some foxy boxing. Raven gets sent to the turnbuckle but manages to evade a shoulder tackle, and Commissioner Gordon is out to make it an official ECW Title match.
ECW TITLE: Raven © VS Dr. Death
The brawling goes outside and a helpful fan offers Raven a chair, which he takes and proceeds to land across Williams’ back. Man, even in ECW, those early chairshots were weak. Joey puts Raven over as the underdog and calls Doc “the most dominant American wrestler in the history of All Japan Pro Wrestling.” Um, well, him and Vader. And Stan Hansen. Raven nails him with a stiffer chairshot to the head, and Doc blades on-camera (which is probably more the fault of the cameraman). Another chairshot and Raven preps a table on the outside, then proceeds to plant Williams on it. MUST BE AN OPERATING TABLE, HA HA -- oh. Raven goes up to the second turnbuckle and comes off with a pretty weak flying elbow, but Doc has had enough of this table silliness and rolls off, allowing Scott to take an unceremonious ass-bump through the wood. Doc nails Raven with a respectable chairshot, and sends him into the remnants of the table. Looks like Raven’s bleeding too, and some genius in the crowd starts a USA chant.
"What a HELLACIOUS chairshot! Have mercy on this kid's soul!"
Back in the ring and Doc lands some punches on the mat, and both guys are selling like they’ve been going for an hour. They trade shots on their knees, then Doc catches Raven in a powerslam for two. He hits two chained shortarm clotheslines, but Raven ducks the third and grabs a reverse waistlock. Bad move, as Doc reverses that and hits a German suplex, which gets another two. Crowd doesn’t seem to care. Williams heads to the top rope and hits a diving shoulderblock for another two count. Doc signals something and goes back to the top, but Raven comes up to meet him with rights and they tease Doc falling off the top to the outside. Raven hits a superplex and signals for the DDT, but here comes the bWo with Lori and Tyler Fullington (The Sandman’s wife and kid, who were part of the Raven-Sandman feud). Oddly, Delta don’t overdub the bWo music this time. Stevie and the Fullingtons enter the ring, and Raven and Stevie start shoving each other. Doc nails Raven with a clothesline from behind, and Stevie takes a piss poor ref bump off it while some dude in the crowd does the travelling sign. Makes more sense if you see it. Doc presses Raven over the top and onto Hollywood and Meanie, but loses points for not giving him the usual series of reps. Stevie is back up and offers Williams his bWo shirt, but Doc tears it up and throws it back in his face. Stevie takes offense and starts to turn his back, then nails Doc with a STIFF AS ALL FUCK Stevie Kick to a huge pop.
"Look at the strength! Look at the strength! Look at the by Gawd strength!"
Doc no-sells it and gets back up, and Stevie starts tuning up the band. A second Stevie Kick is no-sold, and Stevie tunes up the band for a third. Williams catches it and goes for a LARIATOOOOOOOOO~! but Stevie ducks and hits a Stevie Kick right in Doc’s mouth. Fucking ow. Raven gets back in the ring and hits the DDT to retain his title in 8:32. ** Joey puts over Raven scoring the first American pin on Williams in a decade, which is a neat way to legitimise him as champion. Except that he needed a bunch of dudes running in and three finishers from another wrestler, plus his own, in order to win. Sounds pretty radical to me. Match was alright.
The Sandman VS D-Von Dudley
The overdub of Sandman’s music is PISS POOR. The new (and thoroughly awful) music is so much louder than the volume on the rest of the tape that it sticks out even if you don’t know it’s not supposed to be there. On top of that, you can still hear slivers of Enter Sandman underneath, as well as the crowd singing the chorus to a completely different song than the one audible, so it’s just weird all around. D-Von interrupts Sandman’s pre-match nonsense with a Pearl Harbor job, and nails him with his own cane. D-Von was still in his “disgruntled postal worker” phase. Yeah, Paul E’s a genius alright. Holy shit, that guy in the crowd looks like Shannon Moore.
Gimmick Infringement case #1: we find the defendent, Stunning Steve Austin, guilty!
D-Von unloads on Sandman with rights outside the ring, and gets cosy with a few fans. Whip and Sandman takes his rolling bump into the guard rail, but battles back and nails him with a soda can. Short-arm clothesline and D-Von gets suplexed across the railing, and Sandman HITS A GUILLOTINE LEGDROP off the apron. Sloppy as all fuck, but still. D-Von eats some more guard rail, and Sandman tries to suplex a table onto him but fucks it up and drops it against the ring post. He tries again, and everyone in the front row is looking really fucking concerned, and he manages to fuck it up again. Back in and The Sandman destroys his cane with shots to D-Von’s head, then lands a DDT for good measure. He places it across D-Von’s face and comes off the top rope with a sloppy legdrop that makes me wince and gets the win at 5:33. It’s just not fucking cool to be a liability to yourself, your opponent, and anyone at ringside.
Gimmick Infringement case#2: D-Von plays a postal worker, Hat Guy IS a postal worker.
Post-match, Joel Gertner hits the ring and does his points-scoring gimmick, announcing the actual winner of the match as D-Von. He receives a caneshot for his efforts, and The Sandman mugs for the crowd. D-Von blindsides him and gets the cane, and proceeds to nail him with caneshots and right hands. Yeah, because a punch would be more effective. Bubba and Little Spike hit the ring armed with a chair and get into a staredown with D-Von (they weren’t partners at this point). They raise their weapons at each other and prepare to swing, and Bubba nails Sandman with a chairshot instead. SWERVE~! Spike strongly disapproves, and starts nailing his big brothers with forearms. Bubba goes for a chairshot but eats a Van Dudleynator from Spike. D-Von nails Spike with a clothesline, and Bubba lays in some chairshots before they whip him and Spike eats the first ever 3-D, only a double-team Bubba Cutter at that stage. They take turns nailing Sandman’s head with chairshots and caneshots, and Bubba threatens Super Hawaiian Shirt Bros. with the chair.
The first EVER 3-D. Brings a tear to the eye...
The Gangstas hit the ring and the usual erupts, all to the tune of a bizarre synth and backbeat mix of the ECW theme dubbed obnoxiously loud on top of Natural Born Killaz. It’s REALLY fucking distracting, because the music makes the whole thing feel like the ECW intro, and you go into this weird headspace where it’s hard to concentrate on what’s going on in the ring. Which isn’t entirely bad, as New Jack and Mustafa get busy with a kitchen sink, chairs, cookie sheets, crutches, and all the other nonsense. The music finally cuts out, and it becomes even more obvious how loud it was in a quiet after the storm kind of way. Anyway, the Dudz overpower the Gangtas, and the bottom line is that Bubba has succumbed to D-Von’s cult-like ramblings and the Dudley Boyz are officially formed, with Spike’s objections paving their long-tem rivalry with him. Pretty historic, I guess.
TAG TITLE MATCH: The Eliminators © VS Rob Van Dam & Sabu
Sabu is announced as being from India, indicating his heelness for the evening. The Elims were so over at the time it was pretty scary. Rob is wearing a really low-cut singlet and looks pretty gay he was still in the untaped hands, shiny boots phase. John Finnegan lays down the law for the wrestlers and a fan yells “Get the fuck out of the way Finnegan.” Love those mutants. Rob and Saturn lock up, and Saturn gets backed into the ropes. Rob fakes a clean break and nails Saturn in the gut, before landing some nice-looking forearms and a jump kick. See, now why the hell can’t he throw a damn forearm anymore? Irish whip and Rob gets a spinning heel kick with a shitload of daylight. Saturn gets a Steamboat reverse thrust kick, followed by a jumping back kick. Oh, it’s just like a Jet Li movie. Saturn whips Rob and gets a nice dropkick for a one count. Joey mentions the previous feud between RVD and Sabu, and sure enough, if you want to see some botched fucking spots, that’s where to look. Saturn backs Rob into the ropes, but is good enough to break clean, and now Kronus wants a shot at Van Dam. He does Tajiri’s headflip to try and psych Rob out, then takes a swipe at Sabu, allowing Rob to blindside him. Rob grabs an armlock and works the Bloodsport multiple kicks, followed by another spinning heel kick and Joey is putting over everyone’s martial arts credentials. Here’s a hint Joey: if they were that fucking good, they’d be doing MMA, not working for a hundred bucks a night in a bingo hall. Rob slams Kronus in the corner and tags Sabu, and they hit stereo slingshot splashes from the corner. Sabu fucked it up though, and it’s not as cool as it sounds. Sabu hits a slingshot dropkick from the second ropeand Saturn breaks it up before a count. Kronus whips Sabu and gets a spinning leg lariat, followed by a pumphandle-plex for two.
(IMG:http://thesmartmarks.com/artman/uploads/rvdbloodsport.jpg) Rob goes all Bloodsport. Y'know, BOLO~! would've made an awesome wrestler...
Sabu ducks a clothesline and gets a slingshot leg lariat of his own, but naturally he fucks it up and it’s more of a hip lariat. Only a two count, but Rob does a neat bit by leaning into the ring and trying to hold Sabu on top of Kronus to stop him kicking out. Tag to Rob and he hits some kicks on Kronus, but Kronus decides to no-sell everything and drags Rob back to his corner for the tag to Saturn. Rob gets double-team whipped to the buckle and the Elims hit a double leg lariat, then nail Sabu clean off the apron. Crowd pops nice for that, but it only gets two. Saturn baseball slides Sabu, then goes back to work on Rob with a whip and a stiff clothesline. That gets another two count, but Rob regains control and hits his extended Pedigree, followed by a slingshot legdrop (fucked up) from Sabu into a camel clutch, topped off by a running dropkick to the face from Rob. Decent little sequence, although Sabu is way off on everything tonight. Crowd pops big, and starts a “Rob V” chant, which is weird to hear today. Rob grabs a surfboard on Saturn, earning instant awesome points, and Sabu comes off the top rope with a pretty unspectacular elbow to Saturn’s gut while he’s still in the hold. The effort is appreciated though, but it still only gets a one count before Kronus breaks up the pin. He hits a Bret Hart-style suplex then gets back on the apron, and Saturn gets up and no-sells all the punishment he just took. He whips Rob to the buckle and comes in with a flying kick, then works some punches before Rob grabs a drop toe-hold and Saturn falls the wrong way. Nonetheless, he’s on the ground, so Sabu gets a slingshot legdrop for two. You notice how plodding the match really is when nobody’s doing spots.
(IMG:http://thesmartmarks.com/artman/uploads/rvdpedigree.jpg) Now THAT'S a fucking Pedigree.
Saturn hits a falcon arrow (or a Saturnbomb, according to Mr. Styles) for two, and it’s dare I say BONZO SOMETHING. Rob and Kronus pair off on the outside while Saturn hits a Diamond Cutter on Sabu. Saturn joins Kronus outside but gets sent into the first row by Rob, allowing Sabu to hit a double-jump splash into the crowd, while Rob gets a moonsault (I think) off the railings on Kronus. Wow, there’s a guy in the crowd with a BOOTLEG bWo shirt. Shit, when you’re such a cheapskate that you won’t buy a shirt from an ECW show, but you’re so determined to have one that you actually make one yourself… actually, that’s kinda cool. Back in and Saturn eats a chair thrown by Sabu, but decides he’s not in the mood to sell it and hits a clothesline. Rob comes in and feels Saturn’s no-selling wrath, but they double-team him and he goes down. Sabu grabs a single-leg crab in the corner, while Rob hits a nice Battle Creek Jam, getting a two count. Joey channels JR once more and describes Saturn as a hoss. Well, he didn’t say hoss, but he did call him “triple tough.” That’s so NWA it’s not even funny. Rob plants Saturn with a slam and hits Rolling Thunder Splash Mountain while Sabu hits a simultaneous slingshot legdrop. Would’ve been cool, but AGAIN Sabu blows the spot and legdrops Rob rather Saturn. Two count anyway, and Saturn hits a spinning back kick and makes the tag to Kronus. Slingshot flying kick for Rob, followed by a slam and a splash off the top that gets another two. Kronus holds Rob on the mat so Saturn can hit a MONSTER splash of his own, but that still only gets two. Rob does dome no-selling of his own and plants Kronus with a slam, allowing him and Sabu to hit a Tidal Wave from opposite corners.
(IMG:http://thesmartmarks.com/artman/uploads/rvdsaturnchin.jpg) "Hey, I'm thinking of jumping to WCW." "Yeah, me too."
Saturn comes in and we get a Pier 6 for, like, 30 seconds, then Sabu tags in, and it’s just a fucking mess. Sabu works something resembling a hammerlock while Joey puts over his “underrated and underestimated” mat wrestling ability. Yeah, just like his uncle. Kronus hits a Hayabusa spinning roundhouse and Saturn follows with a BIG legdrop for two. Saturn works a chinlock and hits another clothesline as we grind to a halt. Rob goes to the floor and we get a nice Ghetto Blaster-superkick combo from the Elims for two on Sabu. Kronus hits a Phoenix senton off the second turnbuckle, but then gets backdropped out of the ring by Sabu. It’s breaking loose in Philly and Rob and Saturn trade shots in the ring while some nonsense with a chair takes place outside. Kronus gets placed on a table and Sabu attempts a double-jump, but Saturn kicks his legs out from under him while he’s on the top rope. Okay, that was cool. Saturn’s beating on Rob, but he goes into no-sell mode and just goes to the other side of the ring and hits a slingshot axehandle to Kronus on the outside. HUH? I mean, no-selling is one thing, but completely ignoring the guy who was just hitting you and then going for a highspot on his partner who’s not even in the ring? Whatever. Sabu hits a slingshot leg lariat on Saturn inside, then Rob and Sabu Laurel & Hardy a table into the ring. The match totally breaks down as no-one knows what to do or where to go, Rob and Sabu get tossed, and Saturn hits a pescado on Sabu. Saturn fetches a ladder and heads up while Kronus holds RVD, but Sabu dropkicks him off the top while Rob bails, sending Saturn flying into his partner. Rob and Sabu clothesline the Elims with the ladder, then hit a double Arabian facebuster with it. They head onto the apron for stereo slingshot somersault legdrops onto the ladder, onto the Eliminators. All this stereo, simultaneous Rockers stuff is really ‘80s and gay. Double pin gets a two count, and this is now the third time I’ve stopped the match to play some Metroid.
(IMG:http://thesmartmarks.com/artman/uploads/rvdladderbald.jpg) "So can you see what that blinding light is?" "Yeah, it's the glare off Paul E's bald spot."
Saturn and Kronus get slammed while Rob and Sabu head up the ladder, but the Eliminators hit Total Elimination on the ladder, sending the Spotblowers crashing down. Bizarrely, that elicits an ECW chant. Sabu gets tossed, and Saturn sets up the ladder on top of the erect table. Kronus plants Rob and Saturn heads up, but Sabu gets a double-jump dropkick and knocks Saturn off the top, and everyone falls on the mat nearly killing each other in the process. I bet all these spots sounded really good on paper. RVD hits a clean Van Daminator on Saturn that gets broken up at two, and Sabu hits a triple-jump moonsault on Kronus for another two. Rob hits a backflip splash onto a chair, onto Kronus, who no-sells and slams Rob, and Sabu in turn slams him. I hope this match is reading like a cluster, because that’s exactly what it’s become. Sabu goes for another triple-jump, but Saturn shoves Rob in the way and Sabu nails his partner, then gets tossed. The Elims hit Total Elimination on Rob to keep the straps at 20:07. ** Can you say spotfest? It kind of hung together as a match for the first ten minutes, but things went drastically downhill after that with everyone just wondering around and hitting the occasional spot, and the ladder stuff was really bad. Decent enough highlight reel at times, but still a fucking mess.
(IMG:http://thesmartmarks.com/artman/uploads/rvdtazmission.jpg) Remember when Taz used to be a fucking badass?
Post-match Sabu eats Total Elimination, and Taz hits the ring with a chair to get at Sabu. He gives Rob some PUSSY chairshots, then slaps the Tazmission on him for good measure while the Elims makes Sabu watch. Taz politely informs Sabu that he’s going to get the same treatment at Barely Legal, then grabs a chair to bring some pain. But instead of a chairshot, Taz spits in Sabu’s face and the Elims hit another Total Elimination on him. Taz takes the mike and says that he “don’t need a weapon”, and he “don’t need the tag champs to hold you”, which is odd, because it appears that he needed both of those things during his run-in. Some bleeped swearing, then he tells Sabu to grow a set of balls and see him at Barely Legal, and Taz comes off as a total badass until the OVERDUBBED MUSIC OF DOOM strikes again, and War Machine is replaced with some very gay pole-dancing music. Oh well.
Terry Funk VS "Wildfire" Tommy Rich
Man, Rich is looking bad. He’s still drawing mad heat, though, and it only takes the crowd twenty seconds to start a “you fat fuck” chant. It’s pretty ironic, too, considering the physical appearance of most of the fans here. Rich goes after some fans in the crowd, and Terry finds the whole thing very amusing, particularly since he’s such a god in Viking Hall. The bell rings and he follows Rich into the crowd and blindsides him while the fans are pretty eager for him to use one of their chairs. Rich is bleeding already, and Terry helps him by ramming his face into a chair being held by a rather helpful fan. Both guys get back into the ring and, as is the case in most matches featuring two old guys, lots of punching ensues. They head back out to ringside and Terry gets the better end of a brawl, then takes over with some limp chairshots. What is it with everyone tonight? He starts hitting Rich’s leg with the chair, then follows up with some kicks to the knee, presumably setting up for the spinning toehold.
(IMG:http://thesmartmarks.com/artman/uploads/funkcrowd.jpg) "Terry, I don't want to go near these mutants!" "It's okay if you've had your shots."
Back in and Terry works the leg some more, then sets up a chair and takes a seat while he slaps Rich about on the floor. That’s just bad ass. Rich gets back up and they trade old man punches (albeit good-looking, well-worked old man punches) and Terry does his patented ‘I call you a motherfucker and no-sell’, but ultimately Rich gets the better of him and he bails. Chase around ringside and Terry eats table, post, and steel railing, and they head into the crowd next to Super Hawaiian Shirt Bros. for some more brawling. Rich nails a couple of chairshots, and Terry does some awesome selling where the chairshots have got him all fucked up and he climbs the top rope for no reason, confused as all fuck. Rich grabs him by the face and pulls him down into the ring, and he’s got a half-decent bleed going on. He hits a few clotheslines on Funk and the crowd is all over him. He drops the point of the elbow and taunts the crowd, drawing more heat with a bunch of right hands and an elbow than the Eliminators, Sabu and Van Dam did with a million highspots. Shit, there hasn’t even been one pin attempt in this match, and there were about twenty near falls in the last bout that drew zero reaction. Another elbow and the first pin attempt gets a two count, so Rich tries a DDT, getting another two. Terry’s bleeding too now, and another DDT gets two for Rich. He complains to Jim Molyneaux about the slow count, and then DDTs him for good measure. The crowd fucking HATES Tommy Rich. Jeez, when attacking the ref gets boos from an ECW crowd, you now you’re a true heel. Or X-Pac.
(IMG:http://thesmartmarks.com/artman/uploads/funkbadass.jpg) "You son of a fucking bitch, I'm Terry fucking Funk, you mother fucker!"
Another DDT for Molyneaux, and Terry is taking a powder. Rich follows and works his legs with the chair, taking time to jack with some fans before getting back in. He spits into the crowd for, like, the third time, and goes back to the leg, stopping again to give himself a round of applause. Terry fights back on his knees with right hands and headbutts, and both men are down. Rich gets to his feet first and gets the spinning toehold on Terry, but Funk battles back, calls Rich a son of a bitch, then drops a knee in his dick and grabs the toehold for the submission at 10:35. Funk kicks Rich in the dick again after the bell. ** Hardly a great match, but for two old guys who did nothing more than punch and use chairs for ten minutes, it was pretty good. And this was an object lesson in old-school heelery by Tommy Rich, who despite being fat and useless managed to draw mad heat from the mutants with minimal effort.
The Triple Threat (with Francine) VS The Pitbulls and Tommy Dreamer
Shane cuts a heel promo before the match laden with profanity, and Delta seem to have lost interest in bleeping it. Maybe when they figured they couldn’t bleep the entire crowd chanting “you fat fuck” during the Funk-Rich match, they just gave up. That said, they’re still overdubbing the music, as the Pitbulls’ theme is more gay Europop. In case you don’t know, the backstory is that Shane broke Pitbull 1’s neck, then committed HEINOUSITY by grabbing his surgically implanted halo a few months later. On top of that, Francine dumped the Pitbulls for Shane, so they basically want to kill him. Tommy and Shane hate each other, as do Beulah and Francine, and Candido and Brian Lee are just Douglas’ lackeys. The Triple Threat clear the ring and take charge, and I ponder why Paul E booked three lifetime WrestleCrappers as his killer heel stable.
(IMG:http://thesmartmarks.com/artman/uploads/shanetriplethreat.jpg) The UnderFaker, Dean Douglas and a Bodydonna. Yeah, it's a real mystery why ECW folded.
The faces hit the ring this time and toss the heels, and we brawl outside some more. A section of bent guard rail gets thrown into the ring and propped up in the corner. The faces grab “Bulldozer” Brian Lee and toss him into the railing, bending it back into shape. “Bulldozer” is such a gay ringname that I’m going to go ahead and call him UnderFaker, since that’s the only thing he’s ever going to be remembered for in the business. Actually, that’s pretty gay too, and so is FakerTaker, so I’m going to be all clever and call him TAKER. See? Taka is a heel when he spells his name TAKA, and since Taker is so close to Taka, it almost works! Think about it! Honestly, think about it - it’s better than watching this cluster.
(IMG:http://thesmartmarks.com/artman/uploads/shanetaker.jpg) I... AM... AMERICAN BADASS!
TAKER gets dumped, and Candido is next to get thrown into the railing, before throwing himself out of the ring. That’s… unusual. Now it’s Douglas’ turn to eat railing, and the crowd is just begging Pitbull 1 to break Shane’s neck. Shane breaks the railing in two, then Pitbull 2 press slams him and dumps him on the remnants in a harsh-looking bump. Everyone brawls outside some more and you can see why TAKER was chosen to be the Calloway doppelganger, because in his biker gear he looks spookily like the Undertaker in his American Badass phase. His wrestling is about on par with that too, so I guess he fulfilled his destiny. Tommy gets crotched on what’s left of the snapped railing by Candido, then eats a spike piledriver courtesy of Chris and Douglas. Suplex by Douglas and a couple of chairs to the back, then he gets suplexed onto two opened chairs. Fucking ow. Pitbull 2 gets lynched with a chain in the corner and the ring is full of plunder, so Shane gets Tommy with… an abdominal stretch? Who booked this cr -- oh yeah, Paul. The Pitbulls are dead on the outside, but Tommy kicks out of a pin at two. The crowd starts a “Pillman” chant at Shane and TAKER rocket launches Candido onto Tommy.
(IMG:http://thesmartmarks.com/artman/uploads/shanetommychris.jpg) "I bet Beulah's first to get her snatch out." "I bet Tammy's first to do porn." "Hmm."
Finally, everybody’s on their respective aprons instead of brawling wildly, and Candido goes for the powerbomb off the top rope. Tommy backdrops him off, and Candido is back up but does a Flair Flop, and Tommy catches him with a DDT as he falls. Now that was fucking sweet. It only gets two, though, and fucking Beulah hits the ring with a cookie sheet to scare off the heels. Um, okay. Then Cloudy the shemale (from the WWF if you don’t know, think yourself lucky) runs in behind Beulah, and gets clocked with said cookie sheet. She piggybacks Sunny all the way back to the back, thus concluding two utterly pointless run-ins. A Philly mutant scores coolness points by smacking Beulah’s ass while she’s being piggybacked. TAKER holds Dreamer upright with a chair in front of his face and Candido and Douglas go for a double-dropkick, but Tommy bails and TAKER eats the
Van Daminator Can-Douglanator, allowing the Pitbulls to pick up the leftovers. Candido gets tossed, and Douglas gets tied up in the ropes. Candido gets back in and gets tossed again, and Douglas unties himself, thus spoiling any fun we might have had there.
(IMG:http://thesmartmarks.com/artman/uploads/shanerude.jpg) Not exactly a mystery, at least it's not Vince McMahon or DDP.
Everyone’s back in the ring now, and the Triple Threat hit three simultaneous Rude Awakenings on the faces, prompting
Rick Rude the masked man to head out with a mike, cutting a profanity-laden tirade of a promo on them. If you didn’t know it was Rude, all you need to hear is the phrase “Fucking pissants” and he’s instantly recognisable. Nonetheless, he says that they don’t know who’s behind the mask, and nor do they know how to do the Rude Awakening. The Triple Threat are all in the corner of the ring looking at Rick Rude the masked man so, in a neat bit, he tells them to “turn around assholes” and they walk into a beating from the faces. The smoke clears and it’s the Pitbulls and Douglas, and Rick Rude the masked man is telling Pitbull 1 to do a Rude Awakening and break After a press slam from Pitbull 2, Pitbull 1 obliges, but pulls Douglas up before the three count. Rick Rude the masked man grabs Francine and props her across the top rope, then spanks her thong-wearing ass to a huge pop.
(IMG:http://thesmartmarks.com/artman/uploads/shanespank.jpg) Rude was just the fucking man.
The Pitbulls set up a table and lay Shane on it while Rude and the crowd call for a Superbomb. Dreamer lifts Pitbull 1 up and Pitbull 2 Superbombs him through Shane, through the table for the win at 16:22. Post match Pitbull 1 and Douglas sell the Superbomb spot like death, with Pitbull 1 doing a stretcher job and teasing a neck re-injury. *½ The match itself was pretty much a mess, but there were a couple of cool spots and it’s always awesome to see
Rick Rude the masked man.
Well, there’s an unskippable copyright warning, which is always a pain. Plus there’s the standard “These are trained athletes, do not imitate” warning and contact information for Delta Music, which is also unskippable, but even more annoying, because the little Delta logo clip is obviously recorded not from a master, but straight from a videotape there’s wobbly tracking lines and everything.
That said, the front end of Delta’s DVDs are top notch fully animated menus set to the ECW/This Is Extreme theme. There’s no CGI like on the Pioneer discs, but the little highlight reels from all the matches on the DVD are really slickly put together. The rest of the menus aren’t animated, but feature the ECW theme and in the match menus, when you highlight a match, a little picture of the specific match appears, which is a neat touch.
The video quality is not quite up to Pioneer standard, although that's probably more due to the quality of the footage itself rather than Delta's treatment of it. It’s as clean as the original broadcasts, so you can’t complain. The sound is decent enough, again as long as you’re not expecting a booming DTS mix. The only downer with the sound is the overdubbing of music they don’t have the rights for. Whereas Pioneer did a really good job of remastering the sound to put in the replacement music, Delta (or ECW, who knows) have just dubbed a new track on top of the existing sound, resulting in VERY loud music that drowns out everything else. It’s not that big of a deal except in instances like Gangtas matches where the music plays part or all of the way through the match. It’s wildly inconsistent too, because on the Barely Legal DVD, they start off redubbing the music, but then stop doing it halfway through, and even here they re-dub the bWo theme the first time, but not the second, so you have to wonder what the hell’s going on.
That aside, the discs are put together nicely.
Umm, nope not much of that here. They’ve included a section on the main menu called “NUGGETS”, which includes “ECW Intro”, “Mind your step, Perry”, and “Masked Man”, which gives them license to list extras on the packaging. In truth, these are just chapter stops that take you to the ECW intro video, the ladder portion of the Eliminators match, and the Rick Rude promo during the last match respectively. It’s a little bit sneaky, but I can’t say as I was really expecting much in the way of extras anyway so it’s not that big a deal.
It’s a decent enough show, about on par with most of ECW’s early stuff. There was nothing truly offensive, the Eliminators match had some pretty good spots, and the Terry Funk match was fun, old school brawling. It was also a pretty historic show, with Dr. Death getting pinned for the first time in the US in a decade, the formation of the Dudley Boyz, and Rick Rude’s appearance. Plus there’s lots of shots of Francine’s ass.
Definitely worth checking out to see what the fuss was all about in ’97, if nothing else.