ECW: Unreleased Vol. 2
Released: July 30, 2013
This review is for the 3-disc DVD version, not the 2-disc blu-ray that contains some extra matches.
Joey Styles and Tommy Dreamer are your hosts. They show up every three matches or so, and they basically put people over and don’t take anything too seriously. There are some bits of footage here and there while they talk, which adds a nice touch. Also, many of these matches are proceeded by the full promos that went along with them when they originally aired, so that’s cool too.
- Tommy Dreamer vs. Tazmaniac - (Hardcore TV, 10/19/93)
It’s Tommy’s debut. Both these guys look ridiculous. Dreamer has shiny blue puff pants with yellow suspenders. Taz has Road Warrior facepaint and fuzzy stuff on his singlet. Dreamer is on a roll to start, but a T-bone Tazplex swings the momentum. Dreamer finagles a sunset flip for two. Taz grabs a snap mare and chinlock. Nice powerslam gets two. A Dreamer crossbody gets two. Taz blocks a DDT with a release Northern Lights. Dreamer responds with a flying shoulderblock, snap suplex, and silly-looking facebuster. To the floor, chairshots ensue before Dreamer hits the DDT on the cement. Inside, he hits an enziguri for two, but he’s crotched going to the top rope, and Taz scores a Super Northern Lights Tazplex for the pinfall. (6:37)
Actually pretty good. It’s fun to find footage of guys long before they nailed down a distinct style and moveset. It’s one of the most normal “wrestling matches” either of these guys ever had. **1/4
- Terry Funk & Arn Anderson vs. Sabu & Bobby Eaton (w/ Paul E. Dangerously) - (When Worlds Collide, 5/14/94)
I actually wrote some play-by-play, but then deleted most of it because this match is a disorganized, aimless mess. I mean, you didn’t think Arn Anderson and Sabu could generate in-ring chemistry, right? So just know that the first ten minutes is a basic match with nothing too interesting happening, except for guys not knowing when they want to tag in or out. There’s a couple moonsaults and plenty of chairshots. Eaton force-feeds an ALABAMA JAM into the match. About 15 minutes in, Arn and Sabu wrestle in the ring while Bobby and Terry battle up to the “Eagle’s nest” in the corner of the building. SPINEBUSTER connects for Anderson. The Public Enemy shows up and attacks Funk. Apparently, Funk’s knee takes the worst of it all, so Sabu tries a spinning toe hold, but Funk cradles him for 1-2-NO! Funk gets the toe hold, but Sabu fights it off with a chair. Suddenly, Arn turns on Funk and destroys the already-destroyed knee with chairshots. At least that’s logical since he was partnered with Eaton and Paul E. back in WCW. Sabu grabs a half Boston crab and Funk submits. (19:35)
What a letdown. This was as bumbling and sad to watch as you could possibly imagine with the amount of greatness in the ring. It’s worth checking out only if you simply can’t go on without seeing Arn Anderson and Bobby Eaton in an ECW match, but it will be one-time viewing for sure. 1/4*
- Cactus Jack vs. Terry Funk - (Hardcore Heaven, 8/13/94)
Stalling and chopping and a chairshot, and into the crowd they go, but there’s only one camera, so we see nothing. Back in, Cactus misses a charge and gets his head caught in the ropes. That spot doesn’t get old. Public Enemy runs in and destroys Funk. They dump Cactus on top of him and make an unofficial 3-count, and then they hit the road.
Funk and Cactus want to get even. They arm themselves with pieces of a table and drag P.E. out of the locker room. Funk whacks Rocco Rock silly with frying pans, and Cactus pummels Johnny Grunge, and they make their own fake 3-count. That should be the end, except some dumb fan tosses a chair in the ring, another follows, and suddenly it’s hailing steel chairs. You’ve seen the clip before. Funk and Cactus seem calm, which shouldn’t be too surprising. The whole shebang takes about 10 minutes.
This was pretty lame and the crowd was dead quiet until the chair-throwing incident. I suppose that’s what happens when they expect to see death-defying violence and you hardly even give them a match. If you’re a wrestling completist, see it once to give context to that famous clip. 1/2*
- Tommy Dreamer vs. The Sandman - “I Quit” Match (Hardcore TV, 10/4/94)
Sandman attacks from behind before the ball, but in classic ECW anti-psychology fashion, Dreamer ends up with the early advantage, blasting Sandman with the bumper of a car over and over. Audience participation ensues, as fans hold up chairs for Sandman’s head to slam into. Later on, Sandman applies a crossface chickenwing? My life is complete. Okay, okay, let’s move this along, frying pan, broken guardrail, fishhook hold and bad piledrivers. Sandman smokes a cigarette, and Tommy knocks it back into his eye. Tommy adds a cane shot. Sandman quits. (12:48) Everyone plays the cigarette/eye spot as a shoot, including Tommy, who’s suddenly concerned. After the footage is over, Joey Styles and Dreamer explain that Sandman even stayed home for six weeks to con everyone before his fake retirement. Pretty cool stuff I guess.
Like the previous match, the only value is context of one of ECW’s classic angles. The match itself is pretty boring. 1/2*
- Eddie Guerrero & The Steiner Brothers vs. 2 Cold Scorpio, Dean Malenko & Cactus Jack – (Wrestlepalooza, 8/5/95)
Dean and Scott have an awesome couple minutes of intense mat work. The fans are very happy to have the Steiners in their little bingo hall. Dean suplexes Scott to the floor. Back inside, Dean hits a beautiful dropkick and Scott responds with an overhead suplex. Scorpio locks up with Eddie and his mustache. Eddie delivers a couple of elaborate twisting arm drags and a pescado. Rick tags in. Scorpio scores a dropkick but messes up a headscissors move. He’s slammed off the top, but he times a superkick perfectly. Flying crossbody misses, and Steiner drops his flying bulldog off the top! German suplex, and finally Cactus gets a tag. To the floor, where Mick takes a belly-to-belly suplex on the concrete. Scorpio back in, and Rick powerslams him. Eddie and Cactus now, and Eddie takes the electric chair drop. Eddie and Dean, Eddie misses the frog splash. Back suplex by Dean gets two. Double-arm powerbomb hits, but Eddie gets a nifty victory roll for two. Cactus tags in and back elbows Eddie for two. Over-the-shoulder throw gets two. Eddie becomes the face in peril as the ref keeps the Steiners on the apron. Outside, Cactus drops an elbow off the apron. Commercial break…
Scorpio DROPS THE BOMB on Eddie for two. Powerbomb scores, but Eddie blocks the frog splash. He hits a hurracanrana and makes the HOT TAG TO RICK! Belly–to-belly superplex! Pier-six brawl. Scott hits a double-arm powerbomb on Cactus. Eddie tags in and the Steiners prop up Scorpio for a DOOMSDAY DEVICE. Another one for Cactus, but this time it’s a flying dropkick! That’s sweet. Dean’s turn, and Eddie tries a hurracanrana, but it’s botched. Now it’s Dean and Eddie 1-on-1, and a mini grappling masterpiece leads to Dean wrapping him up in a victory roll for 1-2-3. (17:15)
Highly entertaining match. Sounds like an odd mix of wrestlers, but they really worked together to have a nicely paced match that made sense. The ending’s underwhelming though. ***1/2
- Raven (w/ Beulah, Stevie Richards & Blue Meanie) vs. Tommy Dreamer - (Holiday Hell, 10/29/95)
Raven stays in the back while Stevie Richards stammers around on the mic, saying Meanie will take Raven’s place. Dreamer DDTs Meanie, 1-2-3. Dreamer DDTs Stevie, 1-2-3. Once he touches Beulah, Raven arrives to jump him from behind. Raven splashes Tommy through a table just like that. He wastes time, so it becomes DDT city all over Raven AND Stevie. Tommy dominates for a while with chairs and every other weapon under the sun. In the crowd, outside the building, weapons back and forth, and they’re both bleeding. They get in the ring and bump the ref. Heel miscues ensue, DDT by Tommy, slow count only gets two. Tommy hits a 10-count of nut shots and a piledriver for two. ANOTHER ref bump. Steviekick scores but the Meaniesault misses. Raven hits a DDT on a chair anyway to get the win. (11:34)
I get the feeling every match these guys had was like this. Heavy on the hijinks, liberal use of weapons and blood, and coming up a bit short on genuine intensity. **
- The Public Enemy vs. The Gangstas - (House Party, 1/5/96)
It’s P.E.’s last match before jumping to WCW. Everyone knows it, so they pay the match more respect than it deserves. It’s a weapons fiasco from the start. Four bladejobs. Rocco Rock slingshot sentons Mustafa through a table. New Jack tries to splash Johnny Grunge on the stage area, but you can’t see if he hits it because he lands off camera. In a funny moment, New Jack is very unwilling to get hit with a pie in the face. I guess pieface isn’t a good look for a gangsta. Mustafa splashes Rocco through a table. Another table in, and Rocco moonsaults Mustafa through. Rocco is legitimately hurt, which the WCW office is probably thrilled to see. DRIVE-BY on Mustafa ends it. (13:03)
Like Matt wrote several times, these matches are probably fun to see live but they’re pretty lame on video. *1/2
- Chris Jericho vs. Taz (w/ Bill Alfonso) - Extreme Hardcore Shoot Fight (Lost Battalion Hall, 4/13/96)
We’ve got a legit judo/karate guy as the ref, and Fonzie is handcuffed to Tod Gordon at ringside, with an ECW ref at ringside as well. Standard chain wrestling to start, making the “shoot fight” element of this match senseless. Taz dominates with stiff holds and various Tazplexes. Jericho hits a German suplex. Outside, Team Taz member Joe Chetti decks the ECW ref to steal the handcuff keys. Chetti frees Fonzie, Fonzie clocks Jericho with a chair, TAZMISSION, it’s over. (3:20) Post-match, the judo ref takes the chair and the crowd begs him to blast Fonzie, but instead he nails Tod Gordon and puts him in the Tazmission.
Pretty entertaining stuff, but obviously very short. *1/2
- ECW Television Champion 2 Cold Scorpio vs. Shane Douglas - (A Matter of Respect, 5/11/96)
Get comfortable, kiddies. This will take a while. Very slow first few minutes. Scorp does a fancy wristlock legdrop and works the arm. Douglas has grappling tricks of his own. They do the bridge-up spot and an elaborate Malenko/Guerrero sequence, and Douglas scores a butterfly suplex. Douglas waffles Scorp with a chair for two. Scorp is backdropped to the floor and knocked down by a pescado. In a horrific spot, Douglas suplexes him awkwardly onto the guardrail, and somehow Scorpio doesn’t end up with a broken skull. Through the crowd they go, and Scorp cracks a crutch over Douglas’ back. Douglas powerbombs Scorp onto the concrete floor!
Back inside, Scorp kicks Douglas in the nuts. With Shane on the apron, Scorpio does a gymnastics backflip thing to kick him in the face. Then a moonsault off the apron. Douglas crawls under the ring and sneak-attacks from behind. A fancy roll-up gets two for Scorpio. Superkick follows. He gets crotched on the corner and Shane kicks him down and through a table. Back in, Douglas hits a corkscrew suplex but misses a frog splash, and Scorp hits another superkick. A GORGEOUS moonsault connects. He adds a SCORPIO SPLASH but wastes time, and Douglas hits a back suplex for two. Fisherman’s suplex gets two. Scorpio comes back with a Rock Bottom for two. Super hurracanrana? No, Douglas counters to a powerbomb from the top, 1-2-NO! Scorp goes up top, but Douglas stops him and delivers a SUPER BELLY-TO-BELLY for the pinfall and the title. (26:15)
Douglas gives a long speech, like it’s a flashback to the NWA tournament from ’94, when he defeated Scorpio in the final. Fresh off his troubled WWF stint, he complains about the “cartoon bull—-” and the “old pieces of —- in Atlanta” and the “205-pound punks in Stamford, Connecticut,” and it’s all actually very entertaining (and surprising to hear on a WWE release). He puts Scorpio way over, but then asks him to put the belt around his waist, and instead Scorp nails him with it. Scorp then sets a chair on his head and delivers a big flying legdrop.
They sure worked their asses off and Scorpio took several frightening bumps in an attempt to make this the greatest match in history, but they lost the crowd somewhere along the way, so all the violence and highspots fell a bit flat. But hey, if you like your wrestling with slow build-ups, choreographed indie-cred sequences, dangerous spots, bleacher brawling, over-extending endings, and profane shoot promos, this match is for you! ***1/4
- Sabu vs. Chris Jericho - (Plymouth Meeting, PA, 8/29/96)
We’re in deep, dark corners of the library here. This match is shot on a lone ringside camera in a small, tired-looking building. But it’s apparently the only time these two wrestled, so suck it up, you spoiled wrestling fan you. Some mat stuff starts it off. Sabu hits the triple jump plancha a few minutes in. It’s spot-a-mania, but let’s skip ahead five or ten minutes. Sabu’s springboard crossbody and slingshot somersault legdrop gets two. Another crossbody, but Jericho counters with a powerslam for two. German suplex for two. Sabu flips him around on the ropes and a super hurracanrana gets two. Jericho hits a powerbomb and a superplex. The crowd is lousy, chanting for tables. Sabu tries Air Sabu, but Jericho dropkicks him in mid-air! Dragon suplex for two. Somewhere along the way Jericho’s nose is busted open hardway. After a miserable chair spot and the Lionsault, they go into the crowd, because Hepatitus-C is extreme! Back at ringside, the greedy crowd gets its botchtastic table spot, as Sabu jumps from the chair to the top rope and DDTs Jericho through a table. Back in, a hurracanrana is HORRIBLY botched. Jericho unloads the moveset. Flying dropkick, fisherman’s suplex, super butterfly suplex, head-smash into the chair, they all get 2-counts. Sabu sneaks an acrobatic moonsault press for 1-2-NO! Triple jump moonsault follows for 1-2-3. (21:44)
You can’t expect a polished, well-paced match from Sabu and a young Chris Jericho, so yeah, this was rough around the edges. But it’s also a dazzling assortment of wild, wild spots. I hate to go this low, but the botches and unappreciative crowd drag it down. **1/2
- Dick Togo, “Terry Boy” Men’s Teioh & Taka Michinoku vs. Gran Hamada, Gran Naniwa & Great Sasuke - (Hardcore TV, 3/27/97)
Five of these guys were in the 6-man tag at Barely Legal, with Gran Naniwa on the babyface squad here instead of Yakushiji. I will not attempt keeping up with this action whatsoever. It’s so fast it sounds like someone’s playing a drum solo on the ring mat. And just know that every move is crisp as a fresh green apple, every arm drag, every snap mare, every elbow drop. Even Hamada’s chinlock is like the best chinlock you’ve ever seen. Four minutes in, Hamada drops Taka with a tilt-a-whirl slam that I’ll have dreams about all week. Skipping to 14 minutes in, Sasuke does an asai moonsault and crashes into a stage to prove he’s athletic like Rey Mysterio AND fearless like Mick Foley. A bit later, he charges Taka, and Taka delivers a sweet Owen Hart-like overhead suplex. Teioh and Togo hit the DOOMSDAY DEVICE on Naniwa for 1-2-NO! Togo adds a powerbomb and top-rope senton to get the pinfall. (16:49)
On a scale of 1 to 10, the workrate in this match gets a 23.5. It’s similar to the classic from Barely Legal, which some have graced with 5 stars, but I stick by my 4 1/2. This one doesn’t quite have the same number of intricate, crowd-pleasing spots, but it’s still frantic, athletically impressive, and just fun. ****1/4
- ECW Tag Team Champions The Eliminators vs. The Gangstas vs. D-Von Dudley and Big Dick Dudley (w/ Bubba Ray Dudley and Joel Gertner) - 3-Way Dance (The Buffalo Invasion, 5/17/97)
No Gangstas to start, just a normal tag match. Saturn hits a hurracanrana and headscissors on Big Dick. Minutes later, Bubba yanks Kronus outside to begin the madness. Saturn takes a Big Dick chokeslam off the apron, onto Kronus, through a table. Cue the WWE-produced knockoff rap music, here are the Gangstas! Weapons, weapons, weapons, weapons, weapons. The Eliminators get their aerial showcase moments. Plancha, 450 splash, super high flying elbow drop. Meanwhile, “Big Dick is working stiff.” Good one, Joey Styles. Karate showcase by the Eliminators. Did I mention everyone’s bleeding? About 10 minutes in, I start to think this is dragging aimlessly. Seven minutes later, Saturn hits a big frog splash on New Jack for 1-2-NO! Another couple minutes later, Mustafa and Big Dick slug it out in the center of the ring, and they’re both hit with TOTAL ELIMINATION, simultaneous double pin, 1-2-3. Eliminators win it just like that to retain the titles. (18:12)
This is probably on the higher end of the weapons-and-blood-tag-team-garbage spectrum. Even so, nothing sucks the fun out of a match like the feeling that it’s dragging. Too long for its own good. Credit the Eliminators for bringing some creative offense to the party. **
- “Team ECW” The Sandman, Taz, Tommy Dreamer & Al Snow vs. “Team WWF” Sabu, Rob Van Dam, Doug Furnas & Philip LaFon (w/ Bill Alfonso) - (Hardcore TV, 1/5/98)
Wild brawl all over the floor to start. Sabu and Taz take center stage in the ring with a good sequence and a head and arm Tazplex. Sandman flips RVD with the Rolling Rock and a slingshot leg drop. RVD comes back with a powerslam and flying karate kick. RVD takes a crotch shot by Dreamer and gets plastered by the tree of woe chair-assisted dropkick. Furnas and Lafon get in their sequence with Al Snow. Sandman gets laid on a table outside, and Sabu triple jump legdrops him through. Triple jump plancha onto Dreamer follows. Nothing is making sense.
Team WWF dominates for a bit as everyone gets back in the ring. Taz is stubbornly staying on the apron like it’s a normal tag match. Stupid. After some aerial moves by RVD, Taz finally gets the stupid tag and cleans house. German Tazplex sends RVD flipping 360 degrees. T-bone Tazplex on Sabu, but Sabu hits him with a chair. Triple jump moonsault misses, and Taz grabs TAZMISSION. Uh oh, here’s Lance Wright and like 10 other guys? What? They’re trying to separate Taz and Sabu, and they work their pile of people down the aisle. I have no clue what’s going on. Suddenly Bill Alfonso and Beulah are in the ring. Bill clotheslines her, but she low blows him and DDTs him. Sabu then railroads her with a huge clothesline! He actually hurt himself he nailed her so hard. That’s what she said. Lafon and Furnas go after Beulah, but Al Snow emerges and KO’s them both with HEAD to get the 3-count. (10:16)
It wasn’t sensible or consistent, but it certainly wasn’t boring either. It’s like many other garbage brawls, but decorated with cool athletic wrestling moves. **1/2
- ECW Champion Shane Douglas (w/ Francine) vs. Al Snow - (Wrestlepalooza, 5/3/98)
Welcome to the height of Al Snow’s ECW stint, right before he headed over to the WWF. The crowd plays with their giveaway styrofoam heads and make squeaky sounds throughout the match. Lots of chops and other basic stuff fill the first few minutes. With Al out in the crowd, Douglas comes off the top turnbuckle and splats himself on the floor. Just nuts. Did I mention he’s wrestling with a serious elbow injury and a BROKEN PALATE? That’s the roof of your mouth, people. Anyway, the rest is boring. Shane powerbombs Al onto a couple of chairs for two. Snow hits a swinging DDT. Chris Candido runs in to save Douglas. BELLY-TO-BELLY gets two. Snow moonsaults onto Candido and Bam Bam Bigelow on the floor. Flying crossbody hits, but Douglas rolls it over for two. SNOW PLOW connects, 1-2-NO! Francine gets in and takes a SNOW PLOW. Candido and Bam Bam get involved some more. A terrible sunset flip spot ensues, and Douglas sits on top of Snow for the 3-count. (13:05)
I don’t know why I gave this even one-and-a-half stars on my Wrestlepalooza review. It’s awful. DUD
- ECW Tag Team Champions Chris Candido & Lance Storm vs. Sabu & Rob Van Dam - (Hardcore TV, 6/29/98)
This is joined in progress as Lance misses a leap off the top rope and gets stuck in Sabu’s camel clutch while RVD dropkicks him. Lance and Chris do a Midnight Express impression with a double leapfrog move. Clever double-team move by Sabu/Van Dam: RVD holds Lance in a Mexican surfboard and Sabu comes off the top with a chairshot! Ouch. The champs come right back with an AWESOME move: Candido starts a powerbomb on RVD, but as he’s up on his shoulders, Lance jumps off the top rope with a dropkick! Air Sabu into a hurracanrana by Sabu. Lance and Chris hit the DOOMSDAY DEVICE on RVD for two. Off the apron, RVD hits a corkscrew guillotine legdrop on Lance, then Candido hits RVD with a tope, then Sabu triple jump planchas onto Candido. Back in, Sabu takes a Candido hurracanrana through a table. Storm piledrives RVD. Another table is in, and Sabu and RVD are down on it, but Candido and Storm’s double leap off the top fails. RVD decks Storm with a chair-assisted flying side kick. Now Lance and Chris lie on the table, RVD and Sabu go simultaneously flying, and they destroy the champs and the table. Sabu pins Candido. New champs! (7:29 shown)
This was awesome. Sure, it didn’t make sense, but they strung together spots so fast that it half makes up for it. Those classic TLC matches didn’t make sense either. Do yourself a favor: for 7 minutes, just forget about psychology and yell, “E-C-W! E-C-W! E-C-W!” ***3/4
- FTW Champion Taz vs. Sabu (w/ Bill Alfonso) vs. Bam Bam Bigelow - 3-Way Dance (ECW Arena, 1/8/98)
This starts as a 1-on-1 between Sabu and Taz and falls count anywhere. They’re into the crowd in no time. Suddenly, Bam Bam Bigelow joins the fray, and he’s in the match. Back to the ring, Taz hits some Tazplexes. Sabu and Taz go through a table in a spot too stupid to describe. Taz takes a double whip into another table. Table #3 is in, and Bam Bam takes Taz’s Brooklyn Boot and falls through it. They end up outside and Sabu triple jump planchas onto them. Later on, a triple jump moonsault gets two on Taz. Taz basically no-sells and throws some Tazplexes. The stupid spot for table #4 doesn’t actually break the table, so Taz just stomps it to pieces, then obliterates Bam Bam with a piece of table. That’s the best part of the match so far.
A few messy minutes later, Sabu takes an ugly Tazplex onto a chair. Taz and Bam Bam brawl outside and Sabu delivers a between-the-ropes suicide dive. Bigelow tries Tazmission on Taz, big mistake, Taz reverses into an armbar. Sabu hits THREE chairshots on Taz just to get him to release the hold. Joey Styles calls this one of the best matches he’s ever called. I call that statement one of the biggest lies ever. Bam Bam’s bleeding. I think it’s hardway from a sloppy Sabu chairshot. Dragon Tazplez on Sabu, and he pops up two seconds later? Come on. I think I can even see the first-row faithful snickering at this match. Taz and Sabu fight over the privilege to tear open Bam Bam’s face with some sharp object. Riveting. And the bell rings for the 30-minute time limit. (30:00)
Three-man matches are hard enough to pull off. Going for 30 minutes with no plan whatsoever, that’s just silly, and you get what you have here. *
- ECW Tag Team Champions The Dudley Boyz (w/ Sign Guy) vs. Spike Dudley & Balls Mahoney – (Hardcore TV, 1/23/99)
This is the Dudleys’ going away match before heading to WWF. No tag rules from the start. Balls press slams his own partner out of the ring onto the Dudleys, then delivers a plancha. Spike climbs a gigantic ladder in the ring and jumps onto the Dudleys outside! Commercial break…
When we get back, D-Von is attacking Balls with a cheese grater. They go deep into the crowd for all kinds of weapons fun. The crowd goes CRAZY for all this. Back in the ring, D-Von and Balls have something resembling a wrestling match, but there’s no ref to make the counts. Everyone gets back to the ring, and Balls takes a modified DUDLEY DEATH DROP for two. Bubba bullies the ref, and ref the fights back! Spike and Balls grab stereo school boys for 1-2-NO! BALL BREAKER and ACID DROP combo gets 1-2-NO! NUTCRACKER SUITE and ACID DROP combo gets 1-2-NO! Sign Guy drills the ref with his mini sign to make the save. Classic.
Two tables get stacked up. Sign Guy takes some punishment while the Dudleys catch their breath. Bubba avoids a top rope ‘rana and hits a BUBBA BOMB on Balls. Spike gets decked by a Bubba big boot. Here we go … THE TABLES ARE ON FIRE! Spike takes a Bubba powerbomb off the apron through the flaming tables! E-C-W! E-C-W! E-C-W! But it’s not over. Balls no-sells chair shots until D-Von accidentally hits Bubba. Balls drops D-Von with a NUTCRACKER SUITE and covers for the win and the tag team titles. (17:35 shown)
This dragged just a bit in the middle, but the rest was unbridled hardcore joy and spots that delivered. ***1/4
- ECW Champion Mike Awesome (w/ Judge Jeff Jones) vs. Rhino (w/ Steve Corino) - (ECW on TNN, 10/1/99)
Awesome hits a springboard back elbow right off the bat. Clothesline to the outside, Awesome no-hands tope! Flying clothesline back inside gets two. Rhino stops the onslaught with a spinebuster. GORE in the corner and a diving headbutt gets two. Awesome responds with a German suplex. AWESOMEBOMB fails the first time, but he gets it on the second try and drops Rhino out of the ring and through a table! THAT’S a table spot done well. Back in, AWESOME SPLASH and it’s a done deal. (4:26)
Fantastic match. So what that it’s just over four minutes? Not a moment was wasted. The crowd was popping the whole time. Every move hit how it’s supposed to. And really, when guys are sustaining crazy big move after crazy big move, it makes sense that it’s over quickly, right? ***1/2
- Yoshihiro Tajiri (w/ Steve Corino and Jack Victory) vs. Jerry Lynn vs. Super Crazy - 3-Way Dance (November to Remember, 11/7/99)
Lynn’s got taped ribs. Tajiri has kicks galore to start. Super Crazy hits a nifty crossbody on Lynn and a dropkick on Tajiri. Lynn with a headscissors takedown, then Crazy with a lucha armdrag. Tajiri puts Lynn in the TARANTULA. Crazy takes the TARANTULA too. Lynn and Tajiri go at it until Lynn dives on Crazy with his trademark plancha. Tajiri adds an asai moonsault. They all fight through the crowd so Crazy can moonsault off a ledge! Back in, Crazy has Tajiri in a Mexican surfboard and Lynn bulldogs Tajiri out of the hold. Lynn beats up Crazy with a Gory Special and a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker. Crazy powerbombs and moonsaults Lynn for two. Powerbomb on Tajiri gets two. Lynn drops Crazy with the CRADLE PILEDRIVER, 1-2… Tajiri stops the count with a dropkick to the face, then hits Crazy with a brainbuster for the pinfall at 6:44.
Lynn vs. Tajiri. Tajiri scores the handspring back elbow. Lynn sells the ribs bigtime as Tajiri nails him with kicks. Lynn is in the tree of woe, and Tajiri hits a baseball slide to the face. Tajiri tries another handspring, but Lynn catches him and tries a German suplex, Tajiri lands on his feet, Lynn ducks a roundhouse, German suplex by Lynn, 1-2-NO! Lynn tries a tombstone, Tajiri reverses it, and he turns it into a backbreaker, then misses a second rope moonsault. Tornado DDT gets two for Lynn. Tajiri pops up from a ‘rana and lands a German suplex, 1-2-NO! Lynn wants a piledriver but the ribs are hurting too much. He takes kicks in the ribs, but now he’s fired up and no-sells and levels Tajiri with a right hand. CRADLE PILEDRIVER connects this time for the 1-2-3. (10:59)
Fast-paced, non-stop action, lots of aerial moves, and expertly executed one-of-a-kind wrestling sequences. Sit back and enjoy. ***1/2
- ECW Television Champion Rob Van Dam (w/ Bill Alfonso) vs. Mikey Whipwreck - (ECW on TNN, 1/28/00)
Mikey interrupts RVD’s ego trip and attacks before the bell with a pescado, followed by a Russian leg sweep against the railing. Hurracanrana scores, and a guillotine elbow drop from the apron to the ring gets two. Flying clothesline gets two. Van Dam comes back with his step-through spin kick. Inverted atomic drop and the chair-assisted low dropkick follows. To the floor again, Mikey gets superkicked over the rail into the crowd. Off the apron, RVD delivers a corkscrew guillotine leg drop, with Fonzie holding a chair for good measure. Back in, he gets two with a cartwheel moonsault, then hits Rolling Thunder on a chair. Mikey dodges a monkey flip though and German suplexes RVD onto a chair for two. Intricate sequence leads to a … Sitout Pedigree by Mikey? On the chair, too. Another set of a reversals and Fonzie’s timely help leads to the VAN DAMINATOR. The FIVE STAR FROG SPLASH puts the cherry on top, 1-2-3. (7:54)
At this point in RVD’s career, it was rare for anyone to keep up with him without looking out of place, but Mikey Whipwreck proved yet again he’s better than anyone thinks. A very fast-paced, enjoyable match. ***1/4
- ECW Champion Justin Credible (w/ Francine) vs. Jerry Lynn vs. Steve Corino (w/ Jack Victory) - 3-Way Dance (ECW on TNN, 9/29/00)
It’s a triple slugfest to start and Lynn’s plancha hits right away. Choreographed goodness ensues and Lynn tornado DDTs Credible for two. A chair gets involved and everyone’s bleeding before you know it. Corino carries a chair upstairs, but Lynn kicks the chair into his face. Must say, the casual conversation by Joey Styles and Cyrus makes this feel like there isn’t a World Title on the line. To the floor, Lynn leaps the guardrail on both guys. Back inside, the ref gets bumped. Credible uses the cane, but Lynn hits the CRADLE PILEDRIVER, a new ref slides in, 1-2-NO! It’s a heel ref gag with “Danny Daniels” screwing over Lynn. Credible drops THAT’S INCREDIBLE, 1-2-NO! This time a babyface ref runs in to stop the count. Things get wild for a second as Francine jumps in. Lynn almost hits a tombstone, but Corino superkicks him, and it’s another THAT’S INCREDIBLE on Lynn, 1-2-3. Lynn’s eliminated at 7:53.
Corino backslides Justin for 1-2-NO! Francine trips Corino. Chopfest, and Justin low blows him. Francine tapes Corino’s wrist to the top rope, allowing Credible some free cane shots for 1-2-NO! THAT’S INCREDIBLE? No, Corino reverses for OLD SCHOOL EXPULSION, 1-2-NO! Francine stops the ref’s count. That cues Dawn Marie’s run-in … CATFIGHT! Corino snags a school boy for two. Francine won’t quit. She cracks Corino with the cane, and Justin scores THAT’S INCREDIBLE for the pinfall. (12:25)
I love the fast pace here. It’s 12 minutes packed with fun stuff. These three were involved in a whole bunch of matches, and some of them were trainwrecks, but this one was a good selection. ***
Final Thoughts: I’m shocking myself here and giving a “thumbs in the middle” to this release. You see, for ECW fans, it’s an easy choice to buy due to the several quality matches that were previously hard to find. And it’s nice that most of the big-time ECW stars are represented, even ones who don’t get along with WWE these days. For me, it’s money well-spent.
But a truly good release would be entertaining for a wider audience. That’s what you have with Rise and Fall and the old Pioneer Home Video DVDs, even the One Night Stand PPV. This, it’s too saturated with long garbage brawls and bad matches that are just here because they’re linked with classic angles. The more standard wrestling matches stand the test of time far better, and there are still many of them lurking around the library.