Chairshot Classics: WWF Survivor Series ’91 – The Gravest Challenge
We’re getting closer to WWE’s annual November tradition the Survivor Series, so today we’re taking a look back at another previous event! WWF Champion Hulk Hogan faces arguably his toughest challenge yet in the seemingly indestructible Undertaker. Not to mention Ric Flair has been goading the Hulkster, so the champion certainly has a lot to worry about. Can Hulkamania overcome once again?
Open: Gorilla Monsoon welcomes us to the Joe Louis Arena for tonight’s highly anticipated event, then directs us to video of Jake Roberts’ horrifying actions against Randy Savage from this past weekend’s episode of Superstars. The Snake would tie-up Macho in the ropes, leaving him powerless to defend himself. Jake would unveil his king cobra and allow it to gnaw on Savage’s arm. EMT’s would rush to Macho Man’s aid, pulling him out of the ring as the venom would coarsed through his veins. WWF President Jack Tunney would disallow Savage from competing at Survivor Series due to doctor’s orders, subsequently barring Jake from bringing a snake to the ring anymore and finally reinstating Macho Man. Their confrontation has now been moved a week later and will take place at This Tuesday In Texas.
Match #1 – Traditional Survivor Series Elimination Match: ‘The Million Dollar Man’ Ted DiBiase, The Mountie, The Warlord & Ric Flair w/’Sensational’ Sherri, ‘Mouth Of The South’ Jimmy Hart, Harvey Wippleman & Mr. Perfecct vs. WWF Intercontinental Champion Bret ‘Hitman’ Hart, Virgil, The British Bulldog & ‘Rowdy’ Roddy Piper
The MDM & Hot Rod will start the action, Flair comes in and delivers a cheap shot to Piper’s back, giving DiBiase the advantage, he sends Roddy to the ropes for a clothesline, Piper ducks and hits one of his own. He crotches DiBiase on the top rope, Sherri looks to pull MDM to the outside, but Piper instead drags them both into the ring, corners Sherri and catches DiBiase coming up from behind with a right hand.
The Sensational One hops onto Piper’s back, Roddy gets out of it and plants a smooch on her to send her to the outside. Hot Rod unloads on The MDM with a series of lefts and rights, grabs a wristlock, switches to a hammerlock and tags out. The Bulldog drives knees to the arm, brings in Virgil and he does more of the same before bringing Bret in. The Hitman drops a leg and maintains the hammerlock, Piper re-enters and his tam with more frequent tags to work over the arm. Bret utilizes an armbar, MDM backs him into the corner and doesn’t break clean, Hitman reversing a whip across, charges in for a knee and DiBiase avoids it.
He hooks the champion for a figure four, Hitman kicks him away, monkey flips MDM over and grabs him in multiple pinning predicaments for counts of 2. He takes The MDM back down with an armdrag and hooks the armbar, DiBiase gains his footing, pushes Bret off to the ropes and is knocked down by a shoulder. Hitman back to the ropes, MDM with a hiptoss and he’s finally able to tag out, Flair stepping in and immediately missing an elbow drop. The Hitman scores with an inverted atomic drop, Bulldog with a tag and he catapults The Real World’s Champion into the top turnbuckle.
Flair fires back with chops, Davey Boy reverses a whip to the ropes and elevates Flair with a press slam, then gives the people what they want and brings in Hot Rod. Piper & Flair exchange shots in the corner, Roddy is a house of fire and Flair is sent to the outside after a flurry of rights and lefts. Piper is in pursuit, drives Flair’s head into the steel steps, rolls him inside and Warlord quickly tags in to stop the momentum. He calls for a test of strength, Piper tags Bulldog and he hits the ropes, merely staggering Warlord with a couple of shoulders. He hits the ropes again and takes him off his feet with a dropkick, shoots Warlord into the corner, charges in and meets a boot to the face.
The Mountie enters and scores with a jumping back elbow out of the ropes, Bulldog is close to his corner and makes a tag, Mountie seeking refuge on the outside as The Hitman steps in. DiBiase takes the ring, collar & elbow lock-up, Bret backs MDM into the corner and doesn’t break clean, burying fists to the midsection. He cracks The MDM with a backbreaker, drops an elbow from the 2nd rope and gains a count of 2, goes to a side headlock, gets pushed to the ropes and collides heads with DiBiase, both guys doubling down. The Mountie & Bulldog gets tags, Bulldog with a clothesline out of the ropes, sends Mountie back in for a back elbow, then again for a press slam. Flair comes in from behind and baits Piper & Virgil into the ring, serves a plate of chops to Bulldog and they have no affect.
DiBiase comes in to help Flair sends Bulldog into the corner, they look for a double clothesline, but The Bulldog ducks it and hits them with one of his own. He finally gets his hands on The Mountie, plants him with a running powerslam and covers, everybody enters the ring and it stops the count, Flair takes advantage and comes off the top with a shot to the back of the head, allowing Mountie to turn Bulldog over and gain a 3 count. The British Bulldog has been eliminated. Piper wastes little time in jumping Flair, DiBiase steps in and Hot Rod battles in the wrong corner, but the numbers catch up to him.
The Real World’s Champion snapmares him over, drops a knee, taunts Virgil and then misses another knee. Roddy uses Flair’s own hold against him, slapping on the figure four, Mountie enters and baits Virgil into the ring, the referee is distracted and DiBiase comes in to break the hold before tagging in. He cracks Roddy’s leg with a kneebreaker, utilizes a spinning toe hold, Piper counters into a small package and gets a near fall. The Mountie with a tag now, locks on a boston crab, Hot Rod crawls his way to a tag and Virgil comes in, sending Mountie to the corner and leveling him with a clothesline off the rebound.
The Mountie looks for a tag but none of his partners want in, Virgil shoots him to the ropes for a back elbow and now Flair takes a tag. He exchanges shots with Virgil and comes up on the short end, Virgil with a series of shots, but gets caught with a kick in the corner. He reverses a whip across, flips Flair with a back body drop, The Real World’s Champion begs off and backs away, tagging The MDM. DiBiase looks to ram Virgil into the top turnbuckle, it’s blocked and MDM meets the turnbuckle numerous times. Virgil whips him to the ropes, DiBiase reverses, plants Virgil with a powerslam and brings in The Warlord.
He clobbers away at Virgil’s spine and tosses him to the outside, Flair drops down to punish Virgil behind the official’s back, The Hitman coming around ringside to help Virgil back in. The Warlord with more heavy shots, puts Virgil in the Full Nelson, everyone steps in which allows Bret to drive a shot to the back of Warlord’s head from the top, Piper covers without making a tag and gets the evens up the odds. The Warlord has been eliminated. The MDM is arguing with the referee, Roddy with a roll-up from behind and he nearly gets 3.
MDM goes to the eyes, sends Piper to the ropes and drops him with a back elbow, then looks to follow with a vertical suplex. Hot Rod blocks it and hits one of his own, tag to Virgil and he shoots DiBiase in for a couple clotheslines. Again The MDM goes to the eyes to gain an edge, whips Virgil in for a clothesline of his own, Virgil avoids it and slaps on the Million Dollar Dream. DiBiase drives Virgil into the top turnbuckle to escape it, The Real World’s Champion re-enters, slams Virgil with a back suplex and brings The Mountie in to keep the pressure on. He shoots Virgil to the ropes and scores with a dropkick, tag to DiBiase and he drops an elbow from the 2nd rope.
He plants Virgil with a gutwrench suplex, Flair back in and they score with a double clothesline out of the ropes, Flair covering with his feet on the ropes, but only getting 2. The MDM tags in and flattens Virgil with a clothesline, sends him back to the ropes for a back body drop, Virgil has it scouted and connects with a swinging neckbreaker. Piper & Flair receive tags, The Real World’s Champion fires away with little affeect, Hot Rod going to the eyes and pounding Flair in the corner. Flair powers out for an inverted atomic drop, it has no affect on Hot Rod and he introduces Flair’s face to the top turnbuckle multiple times.
Everybody enters the ring now as the referee can no longer maintain order, Flair scales the top rope and is caught by Roddy who slams him to the canvas, he shoots Flair to the corner and The Real World’s Champion flips up and over, falling to the outside. The official has finally had enough and calls for the bell as the brawl continues. Everyone gets disqualified except for Flair.
Winner & Sole Survivor: Ric Flair
- After The Bell: The melee continues with Roddy, Bret & Virgil clearing the ring.
- EA’s Take: Great start and I’d argue this is the best traditional Survivor Series match there’s ever been until this point. Of course the big story here is the WWF PPV debut of Ric Flair, the franchise of the NWA/WCW for so many years. Flair had finally had enough of the antics at WCW, mainly the new head of the company Jim Herd. After nearly coming a year earlier, Flair signed with the WWF in August, quickly becoming the company’s top heel. He arrived with WCW’s World Title belt as he was the champion at the time and literally owned the championship after putting down a $25,000 deposit (Flair claims that to this day he was never reimbursed). Calling himself ‘The Real World’s Champion’ (the WWF would black-out the title on televised broadcasts), Flair originally was paired with Bobby Heenan. After a short time of living on the road with Flair, Heenan couldn’t handle the lifestyle and was swapped to his on-air ‘financial consultant’ with Mr. Perfect taking managerial duties. Flair would waste little time in calling out the company’s top talent, issuing challenges left and right to Roddy Piper & Hulk Hogan.
In The Arena: ‘Mean’ Gene Okerlund introduces the newly reinstated ‘Macho Man’ Randy Savage. Gene discusses Savage’s reinstatement and the brutal attack he suffered at the hands of Jake Roberts. Macho talks about the poison affecting his vision and hearing, however he could hear Elizabeth’s screams. There may be no more reptiles allowed at ringside, but Roberts has been the real snake all along. Savage promises to be all over Jake at This Tuesday In Texas, Okerlund inquires about Elizabeth, but Macho tells him to ask her in person. Elizabeth makes her way out, giving thanks to any and everyone that helped to get Randy reinstated, predicting a victory for him.
Match #2 – Traditional Survivor Series Elimination Match: Colonel Mustafa, The Berzerker, Skinner & Hercules w/General Adnan & Mr. Fuji vs. ‘The Texas Tornado’ Kerry Von Erich, ‘El Matador’ Tito Santana, ‘Hacksaw’ Jim Duggan & Sgt. Slaughter
Skinner & Santana will get things going, they tie-up and jockey for position, Skinner backs Tito into the corner and slaps him in the face. El Matador returns the favor, scores with a clothesline and grabs a side headlock, taking Skinner to the canvas. Skinner pushes Tito off to the ropes to break it, gets knocked down by a shoulder, Santana back to the ropes and he connects with a Flying Forearm that sends Skinner out to the floor.
He collects himself and climbs back in, Santana back to the side headlock, gets pushed off again and ducks a couple of shots, attempts a crossbody and Skinner avoids it to take control. Berzerker gets the tag, comes off the 2nd rope for a double stomp and misses, El Matador rolling over to tag Von Erich. The Tornado fires away with rights, Berzerker powers him into the corner, shoots him into the ropes and misses a clothesline, then a dropkick attempt. Von Erich with shots to Berzerker’s partners, gets caught in the corner and Hercules tags in.
Tornado quickly rolls away and brings Hacksaw in, Herc with a side headlock off the lock-up, gets pushed into the ropes and they collide shoulders, neither man hitting the mat. They trade right hands, Duggan gets the advantage, Hercules reverses a whip to the ropes, Hacksaw ducking a right hand and Berzerker grabs the hair, placing Duggan in his corner and doing a number on him. The Berzerker takes the ring, whips Hacksaw in for a back elbow and tags right out, Mustafa dropping Duggan with a turnbuckle shot and going to a side headlock. Hacksaw to a veritcal base, escapes and hits the ropes, but runs into a shot to the throat for a count of 2.
He introduces Duggan to the top turnbuckle again, Hacksaw battles back in the corner, climbing to the 2nd rope for a flurry of right hands, the ref stepping in to create a break and Mustafa takes the opening for another 2 count. He hooks Hacksaw for a vertical suplex, Duggan blocks and hits a delayed version, finally reaching Slaughter. Sarge blocks right hands and splits Mustafa with an atomic drop, lays him out with a clothesline and picks up the 1-2-3. Colonel Mustafa has been eliminated.
The Berzerker hops right in and Slaughter meets him with heavy shots, Berzerker reversing a whip into the corner and scoring with big right hands. He shoots Sarge back across, sternum-first into the turnbuckles, then to the ropes and plants a big boot to the jaw for a near fall. The Mighty One tags in and maintains the advantage, drives Slaughter into the top turnbuckle for another 2 count, Berzerker tagging back in. He sends Sarge to the ropes again, misses a right hand, Slaughter crotches him on the top rope, hits the ropes and goes to the knees before tagging out.
Duggan walks into a right hand, Berzerker shoots him to the ropes for a back body drop, Hacksaw sees it coming and scores with a kick, then clotheslines him over the top to the floor. The Berzerker quickly rushes back in, Duggan flips him over the top on the other side and drops his partners on the apron. Slaughter drops down and tosses Berzerker back in, The Berzerker goes to the breadbasket of Hacksaw, shoots him into the corner, Duggan making a tag on the way in and getting squashed by a running shoulder. The Texas Tornado scores with right hands, delivers a Tornado Punch and turns his attention to Herc & Skinner on the apron.
Berzerker uses his size advantage to hold Von Erich in the wrong corner, Herc re-enters, sends Tornado to the ropes for a back body drop, Von Erich avoids one, then another and gets the tag to El Matador. Tito shoots Hercules in and buries a fist in the abdomen, hits the ropes and connects with El Paso Del Muerte for the 3 count. Hercules has been eliminated. Skinner takes the ring and ambushes Santana after the fall, chokes El Matador on the canvas and rams his head into the top turnbuckle. He chokes Tito on the middle rope, tags out and Berzerker hammers Santana in his corner, shoots him to the ropes and flattens him with a clothesline.
Skinner back in with a slam, taunts The Tornado on the apron and pays for it, Tito with shots the ribs. Skinner elevates El Matador for an atomic drop, Slaughter makes a blind tag, Skinner pushes Tito to the ropes for a roll-up, but El Matador hangs on and pushes him away, Sarge grabbing a roll-up and gaining the pinfall. Skinner has been eliminated. The Berzerker is left to fend for himself, attacking Slaughter after the 3 count and sending him to the ropes for a dropkick.
Sarge hangs on to avoid it, introduces Berzerker’s head into an exposed turnbuckle over and over, then sends him across and tags in Hacksaw. Slaughter shoots The Berzerker at Duggan, Hacksaw goes to the 3 Point Stance and levels him to pickup the victory.
Winners & Sole Survivors: ‘The Texas Tornado’ Kerry Von Erich, ‘El Matador’ Tito Santana, ‘Hacksaw’ Jim Duggan & Sgt. Slaughter
- EA’s Take: Really sloppy compared to our first match, but given the participants it’s no surprise. A lot of the lower level talent in this one with a couple of fresh and re-debuting faces mixed in. After years spent between the AWA & WCCW, The Berzerker would arrive in the WWF as ‘The Viking’ before changing his name, an eccentric character that seemed to have very little control of his barbaric behavior. Skinner is another new character given to an old face, as many will remember Steve Keirn for his time in the NWA as a member of The Fabulous Ones. He would also arrive in the WWF in 1990, portraying a dirty alligator handler who chewed tobacco in the ring, often spitting it on his opponents. For Tito Santana, he would take a brief hiatus from the company in 1991 before returning with his ‘El Matador’ gimmick, which was that of a bullfighter.
In The Arena: ‘Mean’ Gene is ready to conduct another interview, this time with Jake ‘The Snake’ Roberts. Jake insists that we should trust him, saying what happened to Randy Savage was an accident and he was unaware that the king cobra hadn’t been devenomized. The Snake believes that Okerlund is trying to cast him as the original sinner, but the finger should be pointed at the fans who voted to have Macho reinstated. Roberts finds it hard to believe that nobody realized after 6 years that he’s the snake people need to worry about. He warns Elizabeth that if she shows up in Texas, there will be no prince there to wake her up with kiss, as it will be the end of the beginning.
Video: Two weeks ago, WWF Champion Hulk Hogan was a guest on Paul Bearer’s Funeral Parlor when Ric Flair would walk out, getting in the champion’s face. The Hulkster would retort, but The Undertaker would pop out of a casket behind the champion, attacking him with the urn. Piper & Savage would leave the broadcast position to make the save, Undertaker grabbing Hogan’s chain from around his neck as some sort of symbol.
Match #3 for the WWF Championship: The Undertaker w/Paul Bearer vs. WWF Champion Hulk Hogan
Hogan is fired up coming down to the ring, tipping over the casket reserved for him. The bell rings and we’re underway, collar & elbow tie-up and Taker powers the champion into the corner, charges in and Hulk side-steps it. They circle and lock-up again, Hulkster with a side headlock, Undertaker pushes him off to the ropes, misses a right hand, but scores with a shoulder knockdown to send Hogan to the outside. The champion regroups and cautiously re-enters the ring, Taker gets him by the throat and chokes Hulk in the corner, then rips at his nose.
The challenger uses the top rope to continue to choke Hogan, Paul Bearer does more of the same behind the ref’s back, The Undertaker following with a slam. He hits the ropes for an elbow drop, Hulkster rolls out of the way and scores with right hands, shoots the challenger to the ropes and hits a clothesline that merely staggers him. The champion attempts a slam and Taker blocks it, Hulk sends him back to the ropes and hits an elbow to the forehead, still unable to take him off his feet. Hogan introduces Undertaker’s head to the turnbuckles, clotheslines him over the top and the challenger lands on his feet, pulling Hogan out under the bottom rope and connecting with a shot to the throat.
He drives Hulkster into the steel steps, Bearer provides a distraction, allowing Taker to choke the champion with an electrical cord. They had back in the squared circle and Undertaker continues to choke the air out of Hulk’s lungs, Bearer again gets involved behind the official’s back. The challenger locks a claw hold on the Hulkster’s face, grinds him down to the mat and gains multiple 2 counts, the official finally checks Hogan’s arm and the champion gets a boost of adrenaline, battling to his feet. He hits the ropes multiple times for shoulder tackles, can’t get the challenger down, Hogan goes back to the well again and runs into a flying clothesline, Undertaker following with a Tombstone, but the Hulkster jumps right back to his feet.
The champion with heavy right hands, finally drops Taker to a knee and calls for a slam. Ric Flair makes his way down to ringside as Hogan slams Undertaker, Paul Bearer gets Hogan’s attention and the champion pulls him up to the apron, then notices Flair on the outside and rolls out to drop him. The Hulkster slides back in the ring, sends Undertaker to the ropes for a big boot, hits the ropes for the leg drop, but Bearer grabs his foot. The referee works to get Paul off the apron, Hulk turns around and takes a shot to the throat, Taker lifts him for another Tombstone as Flair places a chair in the ring.
The challenger spikes Hulk on the chair behind the ref’s back, Flair disposes of it, Taker with the cover and we have a new champion.
Winner and NEW WWF Champion: The Undertaker (Tombstone)
- After The Bell: WWF officials come down to the ring to check on the lifeless Hogan, helping him to his feet after being dropped on the chair. Some of the younger fans in the crowd are in tears as Hulk is helped to the back.
- EA’s Take: A really slow-paced contest dominated by Undertaker, the now-former champion providing all the energy. Taker’s moveset was pretty limited to a lot of chokes at this point, the pacing being slow only due to the nature of the gimmick. Either way, The Undertaker is a made man from this point on, becoming the youngest WWF Champion in history at this point. Ultimate Warrior’s departure forced the feud between him and Taker to be dropped, which one could argue is the best thing that happened for Undertaker’s career. The Hulkster wouldn’t wait long to cash in on his rematch, as the two would meet again for the title just 6 days later at This Tuesday In Texas.
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Attitude Of Aggression #277- The Big Four Project Chapter 4: Summer Slam ’88 & Survivor Series ’88
The Attitude Of Aggression returns for Chapter 4 of The Big Four Project, a chronological analysis, review, and discussion about WWE’s Big Four PPVs/ Premium Live Events. On this Episode, Dave is again joined by the one and only PC Tunney to discuss two more huge events in pro wrestling history, the inaugural Summer Slam and Survivor Series’88. However, the guys are also joined by the debuting DJ of The Mindless Wrestling Podcast to join in the festivities. Summer Slam ’88 was a key event in the story of the rise, and eventual fall, of The Mega Powers. But it also saw a different kind of explosion as The Ultimate Warrior burst upon the scene like few had before him with an iconic dethroning of The Honky Tonk Man. The fellas look at how the events of that night in MSG nearly 35 years ago redefined an industry. From there, Dave & DJ recap the second Survivor Series. While not as unique or good as the first Survivor Series, there were still many key moments that took place that night. The Mega Powers would be the sole survivors of their match that night,,,,but they would not survive as a united force for much longer. What changed that night in Richfield, Ohio so long ago? We have the whole story for you here on Chapter 4 of The Big Four Project!
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Chairshot Classics: What I Watched #16 – ECW Guilty As Charged 1999
Breaking up the 2018 time travel with a much deeper dive! Harry goes back to some prime ECW with Guilty As Charged 1999!
Greetings, salutations and welcome back. Harry here once again with another edition of ‘What I Watched’. As the calendar year turns to 1999 on my watch-through of all things ‘big three’ wrestling, I covered Starrcade 1998 in an earlier edition of WIW. I figured since this is probably the last year where all three major companies are relevant (at least at the start), it could be fun to compare and contrast how I feel about the respective PPVs when compared to some of the independent wrestling I’ve been covering recently. Or even going back to the PROGRESS or Impact Wrestling shows that I’ve covered before. I am fully aware there are going to be some bad shows in 1999. But there is also a lot to talk about in a drastically changing industry. Let’s do this, shall we?
ECW is in flux as talent losses haven’t yet gotten to what they would become but names like Sandman, Mikey Whipwreck, Bam Bam Bigelow and others are no longer with the company. To make matters worse, the ECW-FMW relationship is falling apart now as well as a Chris Candido and Sunny (sorry, Tammy Lynn Sytch) no-show of a scheduled FMW appearance. Paul Heyman himself is the first person we see telling us the card is going to change…how much does it change? The WayBack Machine takes us to January 10th, 1999 in Kissimmee, FL as it’s time for ECW to be Guilty as Charged!
What I Watched #16
ECW Guilty as Charged 1999
Millenium Theatre in Kissimmee, FL
Runtime: 2:40:30 (Peacock)
Commentary By: Joey Styles (PBP)
- Match 1: Axl Rotten/Ballz Mahoney win 3 team tag elimination match, eliminating Little Guido/Tracy Smothers @ 10:44 (Danny Doring/Roadkill eliminated @ 8:15)
- Match 2: Yoshihiro Tajiri pins Super Crazy, dragon suplex @ 11:37
- Match 3: Psycho Sid Vicious pins John Kronus, powerbomb @ 1:31
- Match 4: Bubba Ray and D’Von Dudley def. New Jack/Spike Dudley, both Dudleyz pin Spike @ 10:05
- Match 5: ECW TV Title- Rob Van Dam pins Lance Storm, bridged German suplex @ 17:46
- Match 6: Justin Credible pins Tommy Dreamer, That’s Incredible on ladder @ 18:44
- Match 7: ECW Heavyweight Title- Taz defeats Shane Douglas © by KO, Tazmission @ 22:15
Three Team Tag Elimination Match
Started as a straight up 2 vs. 2, but within the first two minutes, Ballz and Axl (Axl making his return to the company after the passing of his grandmother) join the frey and it becomes your traditional ECW three team brawl. Nothing really stands out here but the overall work is good enough for what the match is supposed to be. The elimination of Doring and Roadkill is well done, as a FBI double-team fishermanbuster looks really cool and gets a decisive win for what was to be the original match. They do give the win to Axl and Ballz here, which I get given the fact they are a popular act, but I personally think that Guido and Tracy were a better team during the time frame. (**½)
Super Crazy vs. Tajiri
Yes, it’s the feud that never ends. But this is where it begins. Both men were relative newcomers to the American wrestling scene with both having had limited exposure on WWF TV (both were in the Light Heavyweight title tournament). This is a good match but not a great match and honestly, I think timing is the issue here. Eleven minutes may seem like a lot but knowing what these two would be capable of down the road once there is more of a fan and time investment into their matches, it ends up being a good starting point but probably not the blow away match that ECW was expecting to deliver here. (***)
John Kronus vs. Mystery Opponent
So, ECW fans are notorious for their belief that the “big oaf” style of the WWF and WCW wouldn’t work in ECW. Obviously, they are wrong. Guys like Big Dick Dudley and 911 became massive fan favorites due to their look, not anything they could do in a wrestling ring. You can add another name to that list, as Psycho Sid makes his ECW debut here (following an introduction by the ‘Judge’ Jeff Jones) and absolutely kicks Kronus’ ass in less than two minutes. Sid was never anything special in the ring but he is one of the more charismatic big men in wrestling history so the cult-like following is easy to understand. Too short to rate, but fun for what it was. (X)
Dudleyz vs. New Jack/Spike Dudley
Sixteen year old Harry getting into ECW was a huge Joel Gertner fan. Thirty seven year old Harry going back and watching these shows is an even bigger fan of Joel Gertner. Granted, his shtick is incredibly juvenile but sometimes, you just want to laugh…
The match is your standard ECW garbage brawl. Most New Jack matches definitely have a similarity to them that does not hold up well for re-watching. I will openly admit to being a Spike Dudley mark and he does well taking an ass whooping from Bubba Ray. The Dudleyz definitely have their moments in ECW (the best is still to come in my opinion) but this isn’t one of their best performances. I will give props to New Jack for taking 3D on the ramp, even if it doesn’t come across the cleanest. About what you’d expect, but nothing more. (**)
TV Title- Rob Van Dam © vs. Lance Storm
Rob Van Dam vs. Masato Tanaka was the originally scheduled match and I think it could have been fun. However, Tanaka apparently has visa issues which prevent him from being able to get into the US for the show and thus ECW has to pivot quickly. I do have to give credit to Lance Storm for his pre-match promo here. For someone who is not known as one of the better talkers in wrestling history, he does a really good job explaining the situation with the 3 way that was supposed to happen (Storm vs. Spike vs. Jerry Lynn (cracked pelvis)) and then calling out Rob Van Dam since his opponent wasn’t there either. Storm has a really good closing line for the promo too: “I’m not the ‘Whole F’n Show’, but I am the best damn part of it’. That is one of the lines that sticks with you and you remember it.
The match itself is very good but not great. It is better than anything else on the show, so perhaps I’m rating it on a slight curve for that. Van Dam’s selling is sporadic but to be fair, Van Dam’s selling is always sporadic. The biggest thing for me is that despite that, they still keep an impressive pace and the match is by and large clean. There is a super weak chair shot by Storm (which the crowd gives him a good ration of shit over), but they do manage to turn that crowd around for the finishing sequence. A little surprised by the choice of finish, but I imagine that has something to do with telling the idea that Storm got caught and wasn’t soundly defeated like most of Van Dam’s prior opponents had been. (***½)
Stairway to Hell- Justin Credible vs. Tommy Dreamer
The problem for Credible in ECW is that Paul wanted you to believe that Justin was this huge deal but truthfully, the booking never actually treated him as such. Yeah, he won…A LOT…but more often than not, it was almost treated as an afterthought. He very rarely won the big matches on his own and while I get that as a heel, you want to give him that sense of dickishness, as a wrestling fan eventually you have to make it look like the dude could stand up on his own. Dreamer has long been a favorite of mine, even if he has overstayed his welcome in the ring on occasion. You know going in that win or lose, Tommy will bust his ass to give you as good a match as he is capable of.
As for this match, it never reaches that next level that you expect a gimmicked semi main event of a PPV to reach. It’s not actively bad or anything (in fact, probably up there for Credible’s best match in ECW to date) but with the stipulation and the gaga around it, it feels like there was so much more it could have been. The finish comes off really flat as well as it renders the whole point of the stipulation useless and only serves to put more heat on Credible by way of Funk. (**½)
Heavyweight Title- Shane Douglas © vs. Taz
So, I’ll be a little nicer to this match then some other reviewers I’ve seen for a couple reasons. It completely accomplishes the goal that Heyman set out for it. Taz comes out of the match looking like a world beater. Douglas comes out of the match as the face of the company who “went out on his shield” as the old phrase goes. Sabu looks like a lunatic and a viable threat to take the title at any time he damn well pleases. Candido comes off as a huge dick and sticks the final knife in Douglas’ back for the end scene. So the story telling is magnificent.
The match itself? At least a good five to seven minutes too long for that story. I get wanting that epic storytelling to fold out but when you guys are down and low on ideas, it might not be the worst idea to take it home. The other issue is that by trying to serve so many masters, Heyman causes the main event to end up being epically overbooked. Granted, that is an ECW trademark but for what was to be the crowning moment for Taz, I don’t think the 73rd Airborne needed to be a part of it. Sabu could have just as easily returned post match to set up a run with Taz. Or Candido could have turned on Douglas post match to give him a direction going forward since Taz would be occupied with Sabu. I’m not saying it completely takes away the moment but it does make it mean less than it could or should have in the overall scheme of things. (**)
THE FINAL REACTION
- Best Match/Moment: Rob Van Dam vs. Lance Storm, although I do think their match at the first ECW PPV ‘Barely Legal’ (which I imagine I’ll eventually do) is better
- Worst Match/Moment: The main event. What could have been an awesome moment for the ‘Human Suplex Machine’ and the biggest ass kicker in the company is ruined with a boring crowd brawl (to the home viewer) and a couple of run-ins that either end up actively taking away from it.
- Overall Show Score: 5.5/10
- MVP: Joey Styles is the best thing about this show with his one man performance. There is a reason he was such a major influence on what I did as an announcer.
It’s not a bad show. It’s just not a particulary good one either. And while ECW would put out worse, it only barely outdoes Starrcade 98 to avoid the worst show of the return thus far.
So, where do we go from here? January of 1999 had no chill. The very next Sunday would see the first WCW outing of 1999, called Souled Out. The Sunday after that would be the 1999 edition of the Royal Rumble. I’m going to hit both of those but as a fair warning, I’ll probably try to mix an Independent show from 2018 in the middle of them. Hope to see you guys at Souled Out. And feel free to check out my archives by clicking on my name at the top of this review. Thanks for reading, everyone.
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