Date: May 24, 2019
Location: 2300 Arena, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Commentators: Josh Matthews, Don Callis
You knew this was coming at some point and there was no way around it. This week’s show is headlined by an ECW tribute match between Rob Van Dam and Tommy Dreamer. They’re both somewhat regulars around here, but I still can’t stand it when the promotion stops what they’re doing to praise a promotion that went out of business nearly twenty years ago. How many times have they done this over the years? Let’s get to it.
Opening recap of last week’s pretty good show.
Sami Callihan vs. Fallah Bahh
Sami is on his own but Bahh has Scarlett Bordeaux. Callihan goes straight at him in the corner so Bahh is back with a clothesline and running splash. Some running clotheslines don’t do much to Bahh, who slams Callihan with little effort. Bahh’s spinning elbow gets two and the toe goes into Sami’s mouth.
That earns Bahh a bite and Callihan is knocked outside. They head outside with the spit chop having Bahh in even more trouble. A middle rope clothesline knocks Bahh down again and it’s back to the toe. Some shots to the head anger Bahh, but he gets taken right back down into a chinlock. Bahh fights up again and screams his name a lot, meaning it’s time for some chops and a belly to belly.
The Banzai Drop is loaded up too early and Sami knees him down for two. The Samoan drop (he likes drops) plants Sami to set up the Banzai Drop but here are the Crists for the save. Jake superkicks Dave by mistake so Scarlett takes Jake down, leaving Bahh to plant Sami. Bahh hits the suicide dive onto the Crists but a hanging Cactus Special finishes Bahh (with feet on the ropes) at 10:47.
Rating: C-. Not too bad here with a lot of stuff going on to make it a little better. Scarlett and Bahh’s Beauty and the Beast thing is an easy way to go, though Scarlett seems to be destined for something a lot bigger. Bahh has been putting in the effort recently though and has slimmed down a bit. I still see potential in OVE, but they never really break through to the other side for some reason.
Tommy Dreamer talks about wrestling Rob Van Dam in this building in 1996 (first match I can find for them there was in 1997). Then they headlined Madison Square Garden to unify the Hardcore and Intercontinental Titles (that match didn’t headline the show) and then Hardcore Justice (Dreamer and Van Dam were never involved in a match together, either working with or against each other, at any Hardcore Justice event, nor did Dreamer ever main event one of those shows). They’ll bring it against each other and make it extreme one more time. Or for the first time since he isn’t the most accurate narrator.
Johnny Impact has the red X from United We Stand that makes him #1 contender to the X-Division Title. He insults Michael Elgin, who is right behind him. Impact backpedals and suggests that they team up against Rich Swann and Willie Mack.
Knockouts Title: Madison Rayne vs. Taya Valkyrie
Taya is defending after losing to Madison in a series of non-title matches. Madison chases her outside and then back inside so the punching can begin. A middle rope crossbody gives Madison two and we take a break. Back with Madison getting two off a cutter to send Taya outside. Taya suckers her to the floor and gets in a kick to the leg to take over. With Don making some subtle references to Josh being Madison’s husband, Taya starts in on the leg. That means we stop for some posing before it’s off to the half crab.
The rope break gets Madison out of trouble so it’s the swinging Rock Bottom to take her down again. The limping Madison forearms back, only to walk into a spear. Madison is right back with her own half crab (which she used to win last time). Taya evens up the rope grabbing score and grabs the referee for a distraction, setting up the Road to Valhalla to retain the title at 14:07.
Rating: C. This was a good way to wrap up the story which didn’t overstay its welcome. Madison might not be the most interesting talent in the world but she’s more than capable of having a match like this. Taya winning when she had to makes her seem especially dangerous, though you can feel the showdown with Tessa coming from here, as should be the case.
Post match here’s Rosemary with the chained up Su Yung so Taya bails in a hurry.
The Deaners eat and talk about getting in shape. Their solution: beers and cheese steaks.
Rosemary and Yung run into James Mitchell, who isn’t happy with them. He wants Yung back but Rosemary tells him to go back and cower at his father’s boots. Rosemary wants the title now and Yung is going to die.
Flashback Moment Of The Week: Sami Callihan vs. Pentagon from last year’s Slammiversary.
Eddie Edwards talks about his highs and lows with Kenny by his side. Next week, he’s getting back at Killer Kross for breaking Kenny in half.
The Rascalz hate training and argue with each other so the smoke starts up again and everything is calm. We get a fresh training montage, which goes far better than last week.
The North vs. LAX
Non-title. Santana works on Alexander’s arm to start and it’s quickly off to Ortiz for a rollup. Page comes in and takes LAX’s rapid fire double teaming, setting up a suicide dive onto Alexander. Back in and Alexander takes Ortiz down for a top rope elbow from Page as the villains take over. A suplex out of the corner gives Alexander two and Page grabs the chinlock.
That’s broken up in short order and Santana comes in off the hot tag to clean house. A dropkick through the ropes sends Page up the ramp and it’s time for some kicks to Alexander’s head. Page comes back in for a knee to Santana’s head to give Alexander two of his own and a double Neutralizer is good for the same on Ortiz. LAX has had it though and their rapid fire kicks into the double belly to back faceplant finishes Alexander at 8:19.
Rating: C+. Nice match here, despite the North being one of the least interesting teams this side of the Desi Hit Squad. I know Don Callis is booking but is that really the best idea they have? They’re the tag team version of Petey Williams with the main sticking point of their characters being that they’re from Canada. At least the match was pretty good though, which does help a lot.
Here’s Glenn Gilbertti for a special exhibition. He hates women’s wrestling and wants to prove how worthless women are so here’s Ashley Vox to challenge him. Gilbertti asks which of the boys she’s dating because she must have been fired from Hooters.
Glenn Gilbertti vs. Ashley Vox
Gilbertti shoves her down to start and talks trash on the mic while sending her into the buckle and grabbing a hard headlock on the mat. Gilbertti: “I know this isn’t a five star match but it’s not my fault!” More trash talk lets Vox get in a rollup and some dropkicks so Gilbertti hits the Chartbuster. That’s good for two with Gilbertti pulling her up and shouting that Vox kicked out of his finish. Cue Tessa Blanchard to chase Gilbertti off for the no contest at about 3:30.
Rating: F. I get what they’re going for (it’s not exactly subtle) and Gilbertti is good at what he’s doing, but this feels like it’s out of 1984. This was going to be Eli Drake and that would have helped with the blowoff, because there is no reason to believe that this is going to end with anything other than Tessa beating him in ten seconds. They spent months building up Tessa for Gail Kim and this is the best they have for her? You can’t just have her slaughter some jobbers for a few weeks until she has something else to do? It’s not the worst, but it certainly feels like a bottom of the barrel storyline.
Rohit Raju vs. Petey Williams vs. Ace Austin vs. Dezmond Xavier
They start fast with Austin hitting a springboard spinning kick to Raju’s jaw. Petey’s slingshot Codebreaker staggers Austin and a running bulldog drops him onto Raju. Austin breaks up a very early Canadian Destroyer attempt and it’s time to cut Raju’s finger with the playing card. Dez comes in and fires off the strikes, plus a suicide dive onto Raju. Austin adds his own dive and kicks some people in the head. Petey comes back in with a Canadian Destroyer to Austin but Raju stomps on his back to break up one on Dez. The backflip kick to Raju’s head gives Dez the pin at 3:49.
Rating: C-. Was there really a need to not even give them four minutes? This was entertaining while it lasted but it felt like the first third of a fun match that never got the chance to get going. The X-Division could use some fresh blood and there are some viable challengers in here, with the Rascalz being great candidates along with Austin.
Next week: Impact/Elgin vs. Mack/Swann, Eddie Edwards vs. Killer Kross in a street fight and Gilbertti vs. Blanchard.
Tommy Dreamer vs. Rob Van Dam
They soak in the dueling chants and the ECDUB chants are back in full force. Feeling out process to start with Dreamer getting in a suplex of all things before stopping for a high five. Dreamer seems rather pleased and it’s even better as he trips Van Dam down for a headscissors. Rob flips up and we get another I RESPECT YOU TOO BUDDY staredown. Back up and Dreamer starts punching away until a kick to the face cuts him off. They head outside (you knew this was coming) with Dreamer throwing water in his eyes and then…going back inside because we’re not going full extreme here.
Rob grabs the chair instead and skateboards it into Dreamer’s face in the corner. Dreamer is right back by putting Rob in the Tree of Woe for the running dropkick (after the ECW chant of course). Rolling Thunder misses and Dreamer hits the DDT on the chair for two more. The fans want the table but settle for Rob’s spinning legdrop on the chair. Dreamer is right back up with the piledriver and a flipping sell from Rob. An elbow hits the chair and Rob is right back with a drop toehold into the chair ala Raven. The Five Star finishes Dreamer at 9:23.
Rating: D. It wasn’t terrible and they didn’t embarrass themselves, but is there a reason that these two are getting almost ten minutes and the X-Division guys, who are going to be here in a few years and could be stars of the future, are stuck cramming in everything they can into less than four minutes? Are Van Dam and Dreamer really the best this company can do for a draw to a TV taping? The guys were trying, but it just makes you realize that their heyday was twenty years ago. That’s the best you have?
Post match the North runs in to beat down Van Dam and Dreamer with Moose coming in to make it even worse. The lights go out and freaking Sabu is here with the chairs for the save. A Van Daminator lets the ECW guys pose to end the show.
Overall Rating: D+. There are two big issues sticking out in this show and it hurts everything else. The booking goes from fine to “we’re really doing this?” far too often and that’s going to become an issue. It’s still a watchable show, but they seem to force these things in for the sake of some short term booking which could be used on much more valuable stuff. I don’t need to see Gilbertti, Van Dam and Dreamer (though he’s on every show anymore) in 2019, though Impact seems to think they’re the best options. What does that say about how they view their own talent?
Sami Callihan b. Fallah Bahh – Hanging Cactus Special with feet on the ropes
Taya Valkyrie b. Madison Rayne – Road to Valhalla
LAX b. The North – Double belly to back faceplant to Alexander
Glenn Gilbertti vs. Ashley Vox went to a no contest when Tessa Blanchard interfered
Dez b. Rohit Raju, Petey Williams and Ace Austin – Backflip kick to Raju’s head
Rob Van Dam b. Tommy Dreamer – Five Star Frog Splash
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