Jump to content
TSM Forums
Sign in to follow this  
Guest TSMAdmin

DVD Review: ECW Extreme Evolution

Recommended Posts

Guest TSMAdmin





Studio: HHG Corporation (RIP)


Distributor: Pioneer






Well, movie reviews are on hold temporarily. I’ve had the Game of Death review sat in front of me for weeks now, and although it’s fully grabbed I’m just not happy with it. Looking at it, it’s plagued by the same problems as my Beyond The Mat review, and the main problem is with the style. I was a very green reviewer then, and the older articles just read clumsily and without any flow or style. I’m embarrassed by them, so until I find a way to fix them up, you won’t be seeing them. I did a quick fix on Beyond The Mat, but it’s still a bit stiff for my liking.




Anyway, looking at appropriate discs to review for the site, I figured that we all like different movies and different kinds of movies, but one thing we all like is wrestling. So why the hell not look at some wrestling DVDs?




I’m gonna start off by reviewing a few ECW DVDs, and we’ll see how it goes from there. More than straight-up DVD reviews, these are predominantly gonna take the form of recaps/play-by-plays/rants. I’m sure I’ll be hearing about it anyway, but I may as well say it now before everyone jumps all over me: I came up reading Scott Keith, so it is inevitable that my style has been influenced by him. I’m not an SK clone or wannabe, but the similarities are there, just as they’re there in the work of anyone who’s a fan of a great writer. It’s probably a little more easy-going than Scott’s, since I had to tone it down during my tenure as recapper for 1Wrestling (although, unlike when I was there, I won’t be holding back on words like “bitchslapped”, which got me into hot water with Scherer).












I was trying to think the other day what the status of ECW was when these DVDs first appeared. I’m sure they were a functional promotion still running shows at that point, but I’m sure that it wasn’t long before the company was dead and buried, leaving everyone wondering why Joey kept popping up on the DVDs talking about ECW like it was still going strong.






Shilling is EXTREME~!







In any case, Pioneer signed a long-term deal with ECW to produce these DVDs, which is why they maintained a nebulous right to use the footage and trademarks even during the liquidation of the company (when all the assets were being divvied up between various companies, including the WWF). I believe they were, and still are, working on a per-appearance basis with Joey Styles to host the discs, although since I haven’t seen the most recent releases, I’m not sure whether or not they’ve acknowledged that the promotion is actually dead. This is probably the chief reason why the WWF (yet again, this is NOT a sic) has yet to use ECW footage in any of their home releases, or indeed release any ECW videos of their own, despite the fact I’m sure that’s where all the footage lives. Having said that, I’m not sure they’ve taken the old ECW clips out of RVD’s TitanTron yet…




These DVDs, starting with Extreme Evolution, are volumes of “The Best Of ECW”, and showcase a bunch of matches that embodied what the promotion was all about. So whether you’ve never seen ECW material before or if this is a trip down memory lane, this is one of the few places you’ll be able to see what all the fuss was about.












Use the magic of scrolling, or click a specific match:




Rob Van Dam VS Jerry Lynn


Mike Awesome VS Masato Tanaka


Raven VS The Sandman (Barbed Wire Match)


The Dudley Boyz VS Little Spike Dudley & Balls Mahoney


The Eliminators VS The Miracle Violence Connection


Sabu VS Taz


Shane Douglas & Francine VS Tommy Dreamer & Beulah McGillicutty.






Rob Van Dam VS Jerry Lynn




From Hardcore Heaven ’99. Joey references this as “the greatest title match in the history of Extreme Championship Wrestling.” Hyperbole is EXTREME. Looking at it now, it’s pretty weird watching RVD with Fonzie. Rob wastes no time in wasting time yakking and posing to the crowd. I’d forgotten how fucking irritating that was. They trade a couple of REALLY sloppy mat wrestling “exchanges” and do the patented ECW “back up and let the crowd applaud”. And they do! For such smart fans, they sure do pop for crap wrestling. Lockup and Rob gets whipped, hits a shoulderblock, and both guys make a couple of leapfrogs while almost tip-toeing around tiny the ring. Rob hits the splits, then they go into a cute little sequence of misses Jerry misses a legdrop, Rob misses a sweep, Jerry misses an elbow, Rob misses a somersault legdrop then both men back off for applause. The fans, of course, oblige, which is Rob’s cue to burn some more time posing. Here’s a hint Bobby they pop because of your wrestling, NOT your standing around wasting time when you could be doing it.






Ooh, it's an EPIC. Like Gladiator.







Lockup, and RVD backs Lynn into the corner, but breaks clean to do point out how great he is. More posing as Joey desperately tries to pass it off as psychology. Fonzie pops up onto the apron, and the crowd pops even more. Okay, these fans are morons. A week later, the match resumes and now Lynn backs Bob into the corner. He makes a clean break, gives the Slayer salute, then nails Rob with boots and forearms. Rob gets whipped into the opposite corner S-L-O-W-L-Y, then flips over Lynn who counters a very choreographed dropkick and slingshots him to the buckle, but Rob lands on the middle rope, leapfrogs over Jerry and catches him in a belly-to-back. Lynn potatoes him, busting him hardway (no doubt in anticipation of what’s to come) and Rob screams like a little girl. Lynn gets whipped to the buckle again, and Rob nails a monkey flip that Jerry was supposed to counter by flipping through and landing on his feet, but instead he falls on his ass and looks stupid. They back off for applause (BOFA) and again the mindless crowd obliges. Yeah, blown spots are EXTREME. Rob wastes more time, this time to tend to his poor wittle eye, prompting the crowd to chant “Kick his ass”. What, they want Jerry to kick Rob’s ass? They really should learn the intricacies of direct address.













Match resumes and Rob lands some kicks and forearms, looking totally lost in the match. Springboard leapfrog off the top rope (as pointless as it sounds), and Lynn backdrops him onto the apron. Rob eats some steel buckle, and then gets nailed with a rebound dropkick and sent to the floor. Lynn goes up and hits his Superfly to the outside, and a mild “ECW” chant breaks out. Rob crawls back onto the apron, and Lynn greets him with a dropkick to the face, then nails a Lucha guillotine legdrop. Into the corner, and Jerry lays some chops on Rob, who just fucking smiles at the camera. BISCUITS~! I know I said I’m not a Keith wannabe, but it just had to be said. Rob gets seated on the top rope, and Jerry hits a BOSS bulldog from up high. You gotta give it to him, Rob takes nice head bumps. Lynn goes up, but Fonzie crotches him and preps a chair, but Jerry sends his scrawny ass to the floor, ducks the Van Daminator WHILE STILL CROTCHED, then nails Van Dam with a chairshot (about 0.2 Foley. See, I don’t just imitate, I innovate). Jerry charges, but Rob kindly re-crotches him on the top rope, then hits a back kick off the second rope which sends Jerry to the mat FACE FIRST, knocking the poor bastard out. Rob goes to check on him, and things are clearly not good, so he lays in a couple of kicks and wanders around ringside to burn some time.


The ref checks on Lynn, who still isn’t moving, so Rob grabs him by the waste and muscles him to his feet. Jerry does NOT look very well, so Rob whips him into the first row, then Supermans over the rail into him. Jerry then wakes the fuck up and hits a standing dropkick (on the fucking concrete) to send Rob back ringside. Both men back in, and Jerry gets whipped to the corner, but counters a charge with a twisting sunset flip for two. He goes for the piledriver, but Rob counters with an Alabama Slam. Rob tries Rolling Thunder (still just a “tumbling senton” back then), but Jerry sits up, so Rob nails him with a heel kick to the face instead. Another attempt, and this time Jerry just rolls out of the way. Whip to the corner, and Jerry goes for the tornado DDT off the turnbuckle, and they do the neat spot where Rob counters it into a northern lights for two. Rob sets Jerry up on the top, but Jerry counters with a harsh sunset flip powerbomb for two. Jerry goes for a shortarm clothesline, but Rob was ready to take it like a regular Irish whip, and gets a stiff forearm to the face as a result. Lynn heads out and sets up a table (when a wrestler like Jerry Lynn is resorting to table spots, you know the match is in the shitter).













Van Dam heads out and gets whipped to the rail, then backdrops Lynn into the crowd again. Rob, Fonzie and Jerry play hot potato with a chair, then Rob lands a springboard Van Daminator off the guardrail. Sounds better than it looked. Onto the apron, and Jerry tries to set up a tornado DDT onto the table, but gets backdropped diagonally over the post and onto the timekeeper’s table on the other side. That sounds better than it looked, too. Rob sets up Jerry and hits the corkscrew guillotine legdrop, then rolls him back into the ring for two. Rob hits a stiff Mutoh-esque dropkick to the knee, then gets a chair and does a pointless springboard backflip off the second rope before skateboarding it into Jerry’s head. Back onto the apron, and again Jerry goes for a tornado DDT, but Rob counters that and clotheslines him back into the ring, before hitting a nice slingshot legdrop across the back of his head, getting two. Jerry whipped to the buckle, and Rob gets the Dr Death charge to-the-corner-and-floatover-onto-the-apron, but Jerry just annihilates Rob with a sunset flip powerbomb over the top rope and through the table. Great spot. Back in and Jerry misses a charge, then catches a chair from Fonzie. He ducks the Van Daminator, nails Rob in the gut, then just fucking nails Fonzie with the chair before hitting a hard German suplex for two. Really neat sequence. Scoop slam and Jerry heads up high, but Rob goes up and the two tiptoe around on the top rope in some sort of bizarre, unsuccessful reversal sequence, before completely fucking it up and both falling to the mat, prompting a “You fucked up” from the crowd. So, so fickle. Rob gets a two count, then Jerry throws him a chair and catches his own dropkick-Van Daminator. That counts as psychology in Philly, and gets two. A completely fucked up series of pinfall reversal counters, and Lynn finally bridges out of a pin into the backslide position, but goes for a cradle piledriver instead. Rob backdrops out of that, but Jerry holds on and rolls through with a schoolboy that gets two. The fans are going nuts. Why? I mean, sure it was fast paced, but they just blew way too much stuff for it to be any good. Back to the corner and Lynn goes down, setting up the split-legged moonsault for two. Is Jeff Hardy the only guy to ever get pinned by that? Lynn slips out of a body slam and counters with an inverted DDT, which Rob counters with a snapmere and nails a corkscrew legdrop before hitting a Five Star for… two? Irish whip sequence, and Lynn catches a chair from Fonzie and finally eats a Van Daminator. Rob heads up and hits another BIG TIME Five Star Frog Splash for the pin.






At least the frog splash is *****






**3/4 ECW fans are always saying how this is one of the best matches ever, and some even point to this as Rob’s best match, but I really can’t see why. I mean, there was some neat stuff in there, but it was mostly badly blown spots and really sloppy wrestling. And all Rob’s posing didn’t help. Sure, it’s amazing the match was even as good as it was after Lynn got knocked out, but matches don’t win mercy points for stuff like that (well, not unless they’re already great matches, anyway). It was a decent match, sure, but it wasn’t nearly as good as their last match, and the hype totally works against it. Rob’s had a million better matches, and naturally, so has Jerry.






Mike Awesome VS Masato Tanaka




Good God that mullet was outta control. Mike nails Tanaka a few times before hitting a BIG avalanche in the corner. Couple of chops, and Tanaka reverses a whip to the opposite corner, but Mike flattens him with a falling back elbow off the top rope. Back up, and Awesome gets backdropped onto the apron, and Tanaka hits a springboard clothesline to send him out, before heading up for a Superfly to the outside. Mike gets whipped to the rail, and Tanaka charges in and wastes him with a chairshot before high fiving some fans. Tanaka eats rail, and both men go back in. Irish whip, and Mike catches a leapfrog attempt and just muscles Tanaka over with a huge belly-to-belly. Clothesline sends Tanaka outside, and Mike nails a big time running tope that just impresses the fuck out of everyone. Tanaka gets planted in the front row, and Mike heads back into the ring for a springboard shoulderblock into the third row. Jesus Christ, if only they’d let him do this stuff in the Fed, maybe the Alliance thing would’ve worked out better.






The man, the mullet.







Mike rolls Tanaka back in and heads up top with furniture, and lands a HARD chairshot (0.8 Foley) off the top rope. Tanaka no sells it, so he gets another chairshot for his troubles. He goes down, but dammit, HE’S GETTING UP! Stupid bastard. Irish whip and Tanaka ducks a third shot, then grabs the chair and nails Mike with one of his own. Mike won’t go down either, so Tanaka tosses him the chair and blasts it into his face with a roaring elbow. Van Tan-a-kator! That gets two. Tanaka sets up Awesome with a chair on his face, then grabs another one and comes off the top rope to sandwich them onto Mike’s face. Cool spot, and it gets two. Both chairs get setup on the mat, and Tanaka nails a fearsome tornado DDT right into them for two. A “One more time!” chant breaks out, and Tanaka obliges, only to have Mike reverse it into a sitout powerbomb (see, he had main event potential) onto the chairs for two. Mike hits a stiff clothesline complete with All Japan head bump, then destroys Tanaka with an Alabama Slam before heading out to set up a table. He heads back in to try and powerbomb Tanaka out of the ring and through it, but Tanaka slips loose and hits a backdrop suplex. Both men on the apron, Mike gets control and connects with a sitout powerbomb off the apron and through the table. “Holy shit”, and Joey concurs with the fans. Neat spot, but it really looked more like it hurt Mike’s ass than anything else. The effort is appreciated though.













Back in and Mike gets a two count, and there’s a big fucking welt right under his ass from the table spot. Judge Jeff Jones (who looks remarkably like a Bagwell brother) sends a table into the ring, and Mike and teases a powerbomb off the top rope, but Tanaka counters with a hard-fucking-core superplex through the furniture for two. Tanaka hits the Diamond Dust, which is way more badass than the pop would suggest, but Mike ducks the roaring elbow and lands an EVIL release german suplex right onto Tanka’s head. He does the All Japan no-sell and charges at Mike, who just lays him the fuck out with a lariat and heads up for an Awesome Splash. Fuck me, the guy can fly. That gets two, and the crowd is just going insane. Both men climb the turnbuckle, and Mike destroys him with a sitout powerbomb from the top rope for the pin.


This is probably the best match the two have ever had. True, they work nearly the exact same match every time they meet, but fuck, this one was the tightest. ***½






Raven VS The Sandman Barbed Wire Match




Christ almighty, Raven looks young. The Sandman is still in his t-shirt and sweatpants phase, and looks pretty gay. Of course, he brings the phallic Singapore cane with him, which Raven no doubt loves. Raven grabs a headlock and tries to make Jim eat steel, but that doesn’t work. Couple of boots, and he tries an Irish whip, but Sandman falls on his ass before he reaches the barbed wire, which is either a) a counter, or b) because he’s fucking useless in a wrestling ring. Apparently it was a counter, and the ECW fans pop like that’s deep psychology or something. Ahh, now I can see how he got over. Raven gets an ankle pick (SHOOT STYLE SCOTTY FLAMINGO~!) but Sandman gets control and lets him eat some knuckle, before trying to force feed him a little barbed wire on the side, but Raven escapes, so Jim kindly drops an elbow across his neck to accelerate any spinal problems. More barbed wire teasing and Raven gets a snapmere and punches Jim in the bollocks. Then he gets a standing Arn Anderson (a straight-legged double axehandle that would NEVER connect with anything, and is inevitably met with a boot to the face), then Sandman gets a schoolboy for two. So, we’ve got a kendo stick, barbed wire, the Sandman and Raven, and the best they can come up with is a schoolboy?






So Raven's got a genius IQ?







Jim tries to push Raven’s face into the barbs again, and is unsuccessful. Again. Man, barbed wire matches are so gay. Sandman tries something that involves grabbing Raven’s leg, so Scotty kicks him in the face. Sandman goes back to the leg, and they do the old “I go for the Figure Four, you boot me in the ass as I step over and send me into the ropes”, and Sandman takes a pretty brutal whip into the barbed wire. Raven dropkicks him in the face and hits a baseball slide while he’s still hanging up on the barbs, then picks him up and crotches him on the top… um, barbed wire. Well, it was actually more along the thigh than the crotch, but OUCH nonetheless. Sandman gets sent through the ropes as Raven props up a table against the rail. Sandman gets whipped and decides to somersault onto the table, which doesn’t break, sending him crashing down onto the back of his head. Explain to me again why ex-ECW fans hate XPW? Wow, there’s some bWo shirts in the crowd. Remember when the bWo was cool? Remember when the nWo was cool? Raven hits Sandman a couple of times with something that resembles a cookie sheet that’s been shrunk in the wash, then smacks him into the post before sending a table into the ring. Gee, I know tables used to be cool and everything, but this is a BARBED WIRE MATCH. We get table spots in every frigging ECW match as it is maybe we could focus on the gimmick at hand?






Holy fucking ouch.







Both men back in and Raven hits a kneelift, then goes to prop up the table against the post. For some bizarre reason, the Sandman just charges in and goes through the upright table, leaving Raven with nothing to do but limply rest his back against the barbs. Raven Hoganises his shirt and we can see that he’s taped his nipples (honestly, I couldn’t make that up). Obviously as embarrassed as we are, he kicks Sandman in the face. He goes for a suplex, but Jim reverses it and attempts to suplex him across the barbed wire gut-first, but Raven pussies out and only takes the wire across his shins. Say what you want about Sabu, but if he was booked in a barbed wire match, at least he’d bump on the fucking stuff. Sandman takes some wire cutters out of the ref’s pocket and starts cutting him some wire, which he promptly wraps around Raven’s face. Scott eats some more barbs while the Sandman fashions himself a whip and gets busy. OW OW OW. Raven bails to the outside like a woman, and Jim lobs what’s left of the table onto him before completely removing all three “ropes” from one side of the ring. He heads out, but Raven’s found the cane and greets him Singapore style. Raven is busted pretty good, especially on his back, thanks to the lack of t-shirt. Yin and Yang being what it is, they had back into the ring to carve Sandman’s head with some wire so he can bleed to. Such is the subtle balance of the universe. Hey, you know Bret’s spot where he Figure Fours the opponent’s legs around the ringpost? Well, they don’t do that, but Raven does the ECW version of it by pulling Sandman’s neck across the post. Scott Levy: The Excrement of Execution. More brawling well, foxy boxing and Sandman gets the cane back, hits a couple of shots, then gets back into the ring and vaults the barbed wire to land another shot on the downward trajectory. LUCHA SANDMAN~!






"He may be hardcore, but Hogan's a better worker." "It's funny cause it's true."







Another table emerges, which Jim sort of Blockbusters (you know, the Scott Hall/Bradshaw move) onto Raven. More foxy boxing and Sandman heads back into the ring. He reaches over the top “rope” and grabs Raven by the hair, but Raven counters with a guillotine across the barbed wire and Jim is in such pain that he just hangs the fuck on to Raven’s hair. Seriously, Raven had to try and break his fingers individually before he’d let go. And for all the blood, the most gruesome sight of the night is Fullington’s belly emerging from his shirt. UHHH. Hoo boy, another table comes in, and Sandman appears to have the cane again, so Scott gets to eat that. Jim goes back to work snipping barbed wire, and wraps Raven up with it like he’s at one of his cling-film parties. Nasty moment as Raven’s spaghetti hair is tied up in the barbs, and he just can’t get it loose. Some helpful fan recommends ripping his hair out, but Raven proves he isn’t hardcore by not taking the advice. Instead he rolls out and tries to untie it while Sandman looking totally bloody and insane wraps himself in barbed wire (and tucking the loose ends into his pants) and hitting another Luca-esque leaping caneshot (yes, of course it’s sarcasm) to the outside. Oh joy, another table! Raven takes a seat on it, while Sandman heads back in and takes a run up for A DIVING HEADFIRST SPINNING LAWNMOWER OF DEATH that Raven gets the fuck away from and lets Jim go straight through the table and onto the concrete, on his head. You know how Foley does those mad bumps that hurt like fuck but you know he’s at least in control? Well, this wasn’t one of those. In fact, Sandman could be one such “great bumper” if it weren’t for the fact that his bumps are completely out of control and life threatening to himself, his opponent, the fans, and generally anyone nearby. Another table or is it one of the 38 earlier ones? is on the apron and gets set up in the ring. Then they have the bright idea of both standing on top of it to attempt a piledriver. Yeah, great one guys the Spanish Announce Table can barely support two guys, so you both get on top of a pre-cut, bargain basement garbage wrestling table and stand right in the middle, along the greatest pressure point and all the cuts. Needless to say, they both pathetically fall through the table feet-first, and the crowd just jeers. Raven tries to recover the blown spot by DDTing Sandman through what’s left of the table, getting the 1-2-3 and the World Title.

Actually, this wasn’t quite as tedious as I remember it being. The botched ending really takes the wind out of its sails, but overall it was decent enough for what it was. ** (on the sliding scale that means a ** garbage match may in fact be as entertaining as a ** Flair-Steamboat match depending on the viewer)






The Dudley Boyz VS Little Spike Dudley & Balls Mahoney




This is the Dudleyz last match before splitting for New York, and the story is that they want to take the titles to Vince McMahon. Sign Guy is with them, should that make a difference to anyone. D’Von and Balls pair off, as do Spike and Bubba, and lots of punching ensues. FEEL THE WORKRATE. Balls takes control with big, wussie, ‘80s stomping punches, and Spike mounts Bubba in the corner and hits a hurricane rana, then Balls nails Bubba with a superkick. Holy crap, remember that time in ECW when just about everyone was using a superkick of some sort? Bubba and D-Von bail, so Balls presses Spike over the top rope and into them, then Superflys onto them off the top turnbuckle. Spike sets up a 9 foot ladder in the ring and superflys everyone off the top of it. Oh man. Back inside and Bubba destroys Spike with a sidewalk slam (the Bossman variant) while Balls and D-Von do whatever on the outside. Bubba takes over with more ‘80s punches, then nails a HUGE back body drop on Spike. Jesus Christ, his legs are whiter than DDP’s teeth. And look, Balls is bleeding, all of three minutes into the match. Bubba goes for the Rutger Hauer eye submission, and screams at Spike “Why won’t your eyes come out?” Fair question.






Oh Spike, when will you learn?






More crappy brawling inside and out, and Bubba mentions to Spike that he’s going to be thrown into the crowd, which of course, makes the place go nuts. Bubba gets a press and they tease the spot, but Spike wriggles free and lands a cross body on Bubba, followed by a Jericho-esque crazyass bulldog. Whip, and Spike goes for a sunset flip, but Bubba grabs the ropes, and the ref kicks his arms away years before Triple H made it popular. Two count only, and Sign Guy tosses a cheese grater to Bubba, which he promptly uses on Spikes face. Um, okay, I’m sure that breaks numerous health and safety, as well as kitchen hygeine rules. I’m glad they made it to the WWF, because bad angles notwithstanding, they’re all decent workers who are above this shit. The two white Dudleyz head outside, and D’Von and Balls get into the ring, where Balls takes over with some more fake punches and a big windup thumb to the eye. D-Vin nails a hanging tree slam, and outside Bubba has painted Spike’s blood on his face like warpaint. Uh, okay. D-Vin gets the bloody, used cheese grater and proceeds to use it on Balls’ head. That’s just nasty on so many levels. Bubba hits some punches as Joey uses my warpaint simile. Bubba threatens some fans in the front row, and Spike nails him across the back with a chair and hits an Acid Drop across the guard rail. Both men head into the crowd, and start brawling into the cheap seats. Spike nails his big brother with a cup of something, then punches him in the face and tries to rip his beard off. Balls and D-Von are brawling elsewhere in the crowd, which means everyone who paid all that cash for a ringside seat wasted their money.






Cheese grater + face = not good






Spike gets crotched on some sort of handrail, but seems to land on it asshole-first, which can’t be good. In celebration, Bubba screams into the camera “Vince, I love you Vince. Thank you.” Well, it’s better than sucking Patterson’s dick, I’ll give him that. Further and further away from the ring, and Bubba nails Spike with a big plastic trashcan. Looked more than a pillow fight. Wow, someone’s actually back in the ring! D-Von connects with something off camera, but there’s no ref, so he counts himself and only gets a two. And as Balls scrapes himself off the mat, he looks SPOOKILY like Mick Foley (1:25:43) Spike and Bubba brawl in the concession stand, and nail each other with more plastic plunder and drinks. Ooh, and a tea tray. This is just utter crap. Back to the ring, and D-Van nails a suprplex on Balls, followed by a second rope Wazzup. The crowd chants for tables, as if they weren’t already on their way. Powerslam by Balls, followed by a decent frog splash from long range. But there’s still no ref, so the carnage must continue. Bubba and Spike FINALLY make their way back to ringside, as Balls goes for a chair but gets nailed with an inverted DDT by D-Von for two. Balls goes up and misses a New Jersey Jam, and the Dudz hit a double-team neckbreaker/inverted 3D for two. Bubba slaps the referee, who slaps him back and shoves D-Von, so they whip him into the ropes, he ducks a double team clothesline, and comes back with a double clothesline of his own. The Dudleyz completely no sell it in a really cool spot, and then Balls and Spike get stereo rollups for two. Everyone back up, and Balls hits a Ball Breaker (D’Lo’s Sky High) while Spike gets an Acid bulldog for a stereo two count. Stereo whip attempt reversed by the Dudleyz, and Balls and Spike come back with a simultaneous Nutcracker Suite (Michinoku Driver) and Acid Drop. Real Rockers-Brainbusters stuff, guys. The ref counts two, but Sign Guy wallops him with the sign before he can make three. Balls and Spike chase him outside and send him to the rail, before setting up two tables on top of each other. All three onto the apron, and they tease Sign Guy going through the furniture before the Duz regain control. Bubba beats on Balls then heads to the second rope. Balls punches him in the dick, but Bubba reverses and hits a shit scary powerbomb off the turnbuckle.













Bubba and spike trade punches on the apron, and after an errant toss, Spike nails Bubba him with the sign. Bubba nails Spike with a boot, and the Dudleyz prep the table with two cans of lighter fluid. D-Von flames up, and Bubba powerbombs Spike through two flaming tables. A few seconds later, some blatantly untrained guy runs over with a milk bottle full of water just in case, you know, something went wrong and Spike was burning to death. “Holy shit” of course breaks out. In the ring, D-Von nails Balls with a chairshot, but Balls Hulks up and gets another one (another 0.8 Foley) for his troubles. He still won’t go down, so Bubba grabs him from the apron, and heel miscommunication ensues, ending with Bubba taking a chairshot and falling through what’s left of the tables. Balls nails a Nutcracker Suite on D-Von for the victory and the Tag Titles.


**½ Match was total dick, albeit total, violent dick. The extra ½* is for the table spot.






The Eliminators VS The Miracle Violence Connection




Remember when the MVC was the most awesome tag team on the planet and the Eliminators were the bomb? Saturn looks pretty different here less tattoos, nothing like as ripped, and he’s sporting a marine-esque buzzcut. Scary what a couple of years, a rake of steroids and a WCW contract will do to a man. That crazy ECW ref with the ginger mullet and the wristbands is officiating. Doc and Gordy storm the ring by coming in through the front door of the bingo hall, and they get extra points for wearing their black and red All Japan entrance jackets. Brawling ensues and Saturn sends Doc outside, where Doc takes over with chops and a whip to the rail. Inside, Gordy gets a shoulderblock on Kronus and they fuck up a leapfrog attempt. This’ll be one of Kronus’ “off nights”, then. He whips Gordy to the corner and hits just about the slowest, limpest, most pathetic wheel kicks I’ve ever seen. Yep, an “off night”. Irish whip, and Gordy catches a kick and hits a similarly pathetic dragon screw, then plants him in the corner for some chops. Another lame dragon screw, and you can hear folks in the crowd just laughing. This being after his accident, Gordy is a complete fucking mess. Anyone who’s seen his any of his later matches (or read Foley’s first book, for that matter) will understand.






Doc lets the fans know exactly what he thinks.






Scoop slam and he makes the tag to Williams, drawing a pop, and he charges in but eats a clothesline from Kronus. Whip to the buckle and Kronus hits an impossibly slow handspring elbow, but Doc catches him in a belly to back and hits a German suplex. He mouths off at Saturn, then just plants Kronus on the mat with a hard body slam. Saturn comes in, but Doc sends him back out in a hurry. STIFF All Japan chop, and Doc sends Kronus to the corner and hits the floatover avalanche, then runs the apron and sends Perry to the floor with an elbow. Gordy comes in and Doc whips him into Kronus for an avalanche, and Gordy then whips Kronus back at Doc for a powerslam for two. If this was Japan, the crowd would be going nuts, but it’s ECW so only a mild “Rest In Peace” chant breaks out. Gordy tagged back in, and a double three-point stance gets two. Terry with a bulldog that gets two. Double clothesline on Kronus gets two. Doc hits a series of jabs and a haymaker, in the traditional “the noise comes from my fist hitting your face, not from my boot stomping the mat” manly manner. Gordy back in and a suplex gets two, as do a series of whips and corner clotheslines. Saturn runs the ring again, so Doc sends him to the floor and punches him some more, but Perry ducks a haymaker and hits a pretty grim powerbomb on the concrete. OUCH.


Back in and Gordy hits a couple of shortarm clotheslines on Kronus, tripping over his own feet on each one. Jesus it’s sad seeing Terry in this state. Kronus ducks a third and nails a German suplex, then makes the moderately hot tag to Perry. He hits a dropkick on Terry, and gets a rollup for two.






Fuck Saturn - Terry's balls are WAY bigger for fucking lying there.






Irish whip and Perry goes for a backdrop, but Terry counters it with a Sid Vicious compressor powerbomb, but Kronus breaks the count. The Eliminators take control and Kronus hits a fireman’s carry into a Star Trek Slam followed by a big splash off the top from Saturn for two. The ring accoustics are all weird and every bump sounds kind of soggy and hollow, masking the effects of most of the moves. Two count only, so they hit Total Elimination (which Kronus pretty much fucks up) but Doc breaks the count. Steve gets whipped, and a double flying shoulderblock sends him outside for good. Kronus plants Gordy with a slam and keeps him pinned to the mat (somehow not drawing a pin count), while Saturn climbs the scaffolding set up for the Scaffold Match later that show. He gets halfway across the scaffolding and drops an INSANE elbow from up high for the victory. Saturn does a stretcher job after the fact, which may or may not have been legit.


*½ The match was pure crap, but I’m a Dr Death mark and the bump gets ½.






Sabu VS Taz




This is from ECW’s first PPV, Barely Legal, and is the big blowoff to the feud. War Machine fires up and Taz makes his way to the ring, accompanied by Fonzie and Team Taz. Look closely and you can see a very young Danny Doring and Roadkill, and I think Chris Chetti’s there too. Ahh, back when Taz was the baddest thing on the planet. Sabu doesn’t wait for his Taz’s entrance to finish, and jumps the ring BECAUSE HE HATES TAZ SO MUCH HE CAN’T WAIT. Scary. Sabu’s from India tonight, should that matter. Does it indicate his heelness? Staredown to start and words are exchanged as the crowd gets amped. They slap each other, and Taz ducks a right hand to nail a clothesline, which Sabu oversells. Irish whip is reversed and Sabu drops down, but Taz goes for the Tazmission. Sabu gets a shoulder throw to counter, and Joey sells the fact that no-one’s ever escaped the Tazmission before. They trade waistlocks and hammerlocks, and Taz tries to counter with an exploder, but Sabu catches another waistlock. The silliness ends when Taz drop toeholds into an ankle lock as Joey namedrops Paul Vorlands and how Taz has “ultimate credentials”. Um, yeah, if his name was Ken Shamrock. Taz releases and Sabu goes for his leg but can’t get anything, so Taz shouts some abuse at him and DARES him to try the leg again. Sabu obliges, but Taz catches him in a camel clutch bodyscissors and just fucking wails on him with some Vader-like clubbing forearms across Sabu’s face, and the poor prick is busted hardway.






Can you say STIFF?







Sabu takes a powder, then comes back with a dropkick to the knee, followed with a weird springboard heel kick that sends Taz bailing. Baseball slide and Sabu helps Taz into the first row, then sets up a chair in the ring for a double-jump plancha. They brawl amongst the peons for a while as someone recommends “hit him with the scythe, baby”. Charming. Sabu whips Taz into the rail and sets up a chair, but a double-jump splash ends up misses and he lands across the steel gut-first. Taz clotheslines him back to ringside, then sends him into the ring for some punching fun. Whip and Taz gets a toehold and grabs an STF variant (or a “freestyle bow and arrow” as Joey calls it). Sabu breaks free and they trade punches on the mat, before Taz manages to get a bodyscissors/armbar combo, and in the front row the Hawaiian Shirt Brothers mouth off at Fonzie. Sabu reaches the ropes and lands an enziguri, then a somersault legdrop off the second rope. He fetches a chair and hoofs it at Taz’s face, then sets it up for Air Sabu. He hits the first, but misses a second attempt and Taz hotshots him into the chair. Whip, and Taz hits another one of his stiff clotheslines for two. Another whip, and Taz catches Sabu for a Simmons spinebuster. Taz goes in for the kill, but Sabu grabs him by the nipple and sends him out, then sets up a chair but misses a double-jump, landing on the guardrail. Taz moves in and belly-to-bellies him into the third row, then Fonzie spouts some unintelligible drivel and I laugh at how spot-on that guy is over at Scotsmanality.






Just another night at bingo.







Both men back into the ring and Team Taz has prepped a table bridging the ring apron to the guardrail. Sabu takes over with some punches, then sends Taz onto the table. He goes for another double-jump, but fucks it up and can’t reach the ropes, so he heads out and gets caught in a northern lights by Taz. Sabu reverses it and goes for a tornado DDT off the second rope, but Taz counters that and Bossman Slams him through the table, fucking up his bad shoulder in the process. Back in and Sabu starts stomping, but Taz just yanks his fucking legs out from under him to take him down. Neat. Slugfest, and Taz’s shoulder is in bad shape. Sabu takes control and hits a cool hurricane rana off the top, before springboarding from the ringpost, off the top ropes and landing a MONSTER Bombay Jam. Okay, that was fucking ace. They head out, then right back in, and Taz gets a fucking nasty Cobra Clutch suplex, followed by a harsh front face lock suplex. See, THIS is the Taz that should’ve torn shit up in the Fed. Back up, and Sabu gets a T-bone, then makes the mistake of mocking Taz’s folded arm gesture. Big mistake, assface. Taz misses a clothesline, and Sabu synches in the Tazmission, but Taz escapes and hits a brutal backdrop driver right onto Sabu’s head, followed by an exploder. Sabu, now legally dead in Philly, finally succumbs to the Tazmission.






Clothesline from PhiladHELLphia.






Post-match, they do the mutual respect thing (after Taz puts a fan in his place and tells him to shut the fuck up), shake hands and raising each other’s arms. Of course this being ECW, that doesn’t last, and RVD hist the ring to nail Taz from behind. He has words with Sabu, and Taz tries to grab the Tazmission on Rob, and Sabu turns on his new best friend and both men stomp the shit out of Taz to the approval of the fans. Various twisty legdrops and Arabian facebusters ensue, then Rob sets Taz up on a table for a botched double-jump plancha, while Team Taz stand around like a bunch of fucking dummies. Sabu chokes out Taz on the outside, then Fonzie confronts Sabu and Van Dam. But then SHOCK HORROR! Fonzie takes off his Taz garb to reveal a Sabu shirt, since he apparently bet all his money on Sabu. Fair enough. Rob cuts a funny promo telling other wrestling promoters that he’s available and “loves to work Mondays.”

*** I actually like this match, although admittedly I never saw it at the time, so I can’t really empathise with the people who say it wasn’t an adequate blowoff to the feud.






Shane Douglas & Francine VS Tommy Dreamer & Beulah McGillicutty




DAYDREAM~! Ahh, if only we could talk Stacy into that. Shane is TV Champion at this point, and is just drawing crazy heel heat. Too bad he’s a fucking terrible worker. And horseface or not, I’d still fuck Francine until she hurts. Shane takes a few moments to make some uncomplimentary comments about Tommy, Beulah and the fans in general, so Dreamer takes the mike, and proves just how extreme he is by calling Francine a cunt. He kind of spoils it by giving a big goofy “Whoops!” smile to Beulah, but the sentiment is still appreciated. Shane blindsides Tommy and hits a whip and a standing dropkick. Ah, this must’ve been before all the roids destroyed his agility. Elbow puts Tommy down, and a baseball slide sends him to the outside. The Hawaiian Shirt Brothers take the time to tell Shane and Francine what pieces of shit they are. Shane pulls Tommy back onto the apron for some violence as the fans inform Francine that she takes it up the ass. Tommy eats some post, then gets guillotined on the top rope, before Shane HITS A PESCADO! Yeah, definitely before he went too crazy with the roids. Both men outside and Shane lets loose with a bottle of Gatorade. I WANNA BE I WANNA BE LIKE SHANE! Well, I wanna fuck Francine, anyway. Shane chairshots Tommy into the crowd, then takes a fan’s crutch (NOT crotch) and chokes him with it. All fucking hell breaks loose as a fan nails Shane with a chair, and then Shane beats the fuck out of him before the cops and security people drag the guy out. If it was a plant, it was a fucking good one, because Shane hit him in the face pretty good, Francine and Beulah both headed onto the ring apron and looked REALLY concerned, and you could hear Todd Gordon on the chaos channel asking if Tommy was safe. Crazy.






Hitting roided up wrestlers with a chair isn't very "smart".







Both guys head back to and ringside for some sloppy brawling (understandable, given that they must have been so full of adrenaline), and Tommy hits a stiff chairshot to Shane’s back (alas, you can’t grade non-head chairshots on the Foley meter). Back in, and Tommy gets a chair from a generous fan in the crowd, and tries to nail Shane, but he gets a boot up and “blocks” it very sloppily. They do the spot again and it looks just as bad, so Tommy snapmeres Shane and places the chair across his face before hitting a legdrop. Shane whipped to the buckle, but he catches Tommy coming in and hits a swinging neckbreaker onto the chair. Sounds better than it looked. Tommy climbs back to his feet using the chair as a critch, so Douglas dropkicks it into his knee in a neat spot. Shane works the leg, and Francine comes in to jump on Tommy’s knee, but Tommy no-sells it and grabs her by the fucking clit from behind, called as a “Vaginal Claw” by Joey. Well, he already used “Mr Salty” I guess. Shane lets him get away with it for a bit, then nails him from behind so Francine can slap him. He no-sells that, too, and turns around to beat the hell out of Shane before grabbing Francine, but Shane comes back and hits a pretty stiff looking piledriver. He heads up top but wastes time yakking to Beaulah, and Tommy presses him off the top rope, selling the knee all the while. Good boy, Thomas. Irish whip and Tommy hits a powerslam for two, and completely forgets about the knee. For shame, Thomas. On the other hand, he doesn’t forget about Shane’s knee, which he proceeds to plaster with a chairshot, and then bewilderingly goes for a pin for two. Tommy hits a sloppy Indian Deathlock into a head vice, and then an Irish whip somehow ends in a side suplex on Shane. Sloppy DDT (sensing a theme here?) gets two for Tommy, as Francine puts Shane’s leg on the ropes. Tommy brings Francine into the ring and tags Beulah, and the fans go nuts for a pretty shitty catfight. Seriously, if you think Torrie and Stacy are bad, you ain’t seen nothing. Tommy gets Francine in a piledriver position and the fans get a quick glimpse of her tits, but Shane breaks it up and hits a dropkick to Tommy’s knee.






Vaginal Claw!





Shane hits the Figure 4, while still selling his own knee, and an interesting bit of psychology ensues where it’s causing his legs pain just to inflict pain on Tommy’s. It ain’t high art of anything, but in an ECW context, it’s worth mentioning. Shane releases the hold, and reverses an Irish whip to send Tommy into Francine, knocking her off the apron to a nice pop. Back in and Shane hits the Figure 4 again, but Beulah rakes his eyes to break it up. Shane goes after her, but Tommy catches him in a Diamond Rollup for two as Francine attacks one of the Hawaiian Shirt Brothers on the outside. You do NOT touch the hat, bitch! Tommy has the Figure 4 on Shane, allowing Beulah to slap him, but Francine comes off the top rope and nails her hard with a cookie sheet (alas, Foley doesn’t use those), drawing heat. Tommy grabs here again and gets her in a piledriver again, taking the time to flash her tits to all four sides of the ring before connecting on the move. It’s funny as fuck watching Francine desperately trying to cover up while Todd Gordon’s just going “Whoa! WHOA!” on the chaos channel. I think this may have been a wrestling rib/having/initiation for Francine, between Tommy grabbing her by the snatch for so long and Tommy not once, but twice revealing her tits when she clearly didn’t want him to. Not complaining, just saying is all. Tommy draws mad heat, though more for the tits than the piledriver, and sets up Francine with a backbreaker before making for the top rope. Beulah cuts him off though, and insists that SHE go to the top, which she does. She hits a HORRENDOUS, dangerous “moonsault” that smashes her knees right across Francine’s. I mean, Lita’s moonsaults are totally wild and uncontrolled, but this was something else. Beulah and Tommy take time out to do the crucifiction pose, allowing Shane to blindside Tommy and hit the belly-to-belly on Francine for the pin and a “Bullshit” chant.






That's your admission fee right there.






*½ This was just brutal. Sloppy, crappy match, and Beulah wasn’t even wearing a thong or anything. How inconsiderate. Of course, the match gets an extra ½* for the tits.













The production values for these Pioneer discs is just awesome. I mean, “production values” and “ECW” are a contradiction in terms, but the DVDs are just so nicely put together. The graphics and front-end were done by production house Belief, and they’ve just put so much effort into composing some nice graphics, as well as selecting some really good clips of extreme spots and bumps. It’s both ironic and telling that such production for ECW was lightyears better AFTER the promotion went belly up than it was while it was alive and kicking.





Of course, the content of the disc is all ECW footage, and as such isn’t going to provide much of a workout for your home cinema setup. That said, the matches have never looked better the print is pretty clear, and looks better than it did on TV. Soundwise… well, don’t expect a great deal of 5.1 mastery or anything, but it does the job nicely.





Out of interest, the DVD is region-free, so folks in the UK can import them no problem.













There aren’t a whole lot of extras to the disc, but then you don’t really expect there to be.





"Extreme Moments" is the most substantial, and contains three “extreme” clips introduced and narrated by Joey New Jack’s dive off the backboard from November to Remember ’99, Taz suplexing Tommy Dreamer off the crow’s nest, and Chris Benoit “breaking” Sabu’s neck to earn the monicker of “The Crippler”. All three are fun to watch, but why only three? Of all the crazy bumps and spots in ECW over the years, they could only find three to put on this disc? Interesting to note that 911 appears in two of the three clips, and Joey makes a great shoot comment that wasn’t supposed to be when he says “To this day, I don’t know how Tommy Dreamer can still walk.” So, a neat couple of snippets of historical ECW moments, but way too short to mean anything.






Wild Pegasus!








The wrestler biographies are about as useful as biographies on any other DVD, although these are a bit longer and more substantial given that they’re written by Michael K. Johnson of 1Wrestling. Still, they’re kayfabed profiles in a PWI kind of way, and if you’re diehard enough to buy an ECW disc, you probably don’t need to be told much about wrestling.





The “Acclaim Videogame Preview” is a trailer for the Anarchy Rulz video game, which was by all accounts pretty awful and even though it only came out two years ago, looks REALLY dated. I mean, even more than you might remember. Since Acclaim had partial ownership of the company at this point, I’m guessing it was a mandatory thing for them to put the as on the disc, although it’s a nice little bit of ECW lore that the company actually spawned a couple of video games. Ironically, there are more “Extreme Moments” clipped into this trailer (Rhyno piledriving Sandman’s wife through a table, for example) than there are in that section of the disc. Go figure.





Extras Rating: **




Wrestling DVDs may be difficult to find extras for, but this disc was SO on the right lines, and then just couldn’t be bothered to finish the job.













Well, it’s a mixed bag, really.





If you look at the matches chosen for the DVD, you can really see the problem that plagued ECW as a promotion; the matches they’ve selected DVD don’t showcase any of the great wrestling the promotion saw over the years (Jericho, Benoit, Malenko, Guerrero…), but rather a bunch of shitty matches that had a crazy bump or highspot. ECW lore might dictate that RVD/Lynn was a great match, but it really isn’t, and everything else is just a sloppy match with a flaming table or tits in it at some point. And wasn’t that really the whole problem with ECW?





The only actual good matches are Awesome/Tanaka (probably Mike’s career match) and Sabu/Taz, and if you’re looking strictly at match quality that probably isn’t enough for you. But if you’re an eclectic wrestling fan who likes a little bit of wrestling, some garbage matches, and a bunch of wild spots, there’s some good stuff here. I’d recommend this disc to everybody on that basis, but the later ECW discs have better matches and more of them, so if you’re looking for pure workrate, you might want to think twice.





Overall: ***¾




A really nice little look at the little promotion that could, with a mix of wrestling, junk and highspots. Just like ECW itself.






Jay Spree

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites
Sign in to follow this