The SmarK Rant for ECW Wrestling on TNN – 09.10.99
Last week: Raven returned from WCW and several stops at a buffet, and won the ECW tag titles with Tommy Dreamer, which leads to a shockingly long title reign, actually.
Taped from Queens, NY
Your hosts are Joey Styles & Joel “Tonight’s Broadcast is from New York City, and unlike the Monday night shows, it won’t be…lame” Gertner.
Rhino v. Super Crazy
Again, I find the “ROOKIE MONSTER” stuff really annoying because Rhino had been a job guy on WCW and WWF shows for five years before this. Granted he looks a lot different, but Heyman didn’t usually insult the intelligence of the fans like that. Crazy tries a moonsault and Rhino catches him with a slam for two. Rhino misses a charge and Crazy follows with a springboard dropkick and springboard leg lariat for two. Headscissors puts Rhino on the floor and Crazy baseball slides him into the railing and follows with a moonsault into the crowd. Back in, Rhino faceplants him for two and misses a blind charge, and Crazy follows with a tornado DDT and Lionsault for two. Moonsault hits the knees and Rhino gets a Meltdown for two. Crazy counters a powerbomb with a rana for the pin at 5:00, however. Fast-paced with a bunch of MOVEZ. ***1/4 Rhino teases dissention with Steve Corino and then turns on Crazy and lays him out. Man, I never got that Corino push. Gertner was doing a bit where he spoke Spanish through the entire match, which got annoying fast.
Meanwhile, Mike Awesome meets Masato Tanaka at Heatwave 98, in one of the most memorable matches in ECW history. This is setting up Tanaka challenging Taz for the ECW title at Anarchy Rulz 99, which was actually a hell of a show and led to me nearly getting into a yelling match with Shaw Cable while trying to order it on PPV. So yeah, they literally show the entire Tanaka-Awesome match from Heatwave here. So here’s my review from the last time I did that PPV:
Mike Awesome v. Masato Tanaka
So you may have heard about this match before. Awesome runs up the ropes with a back elbow for two and they slug it out with forearms. Tanaka dumps him to the apron, but Awesome slingshots in with a shoulderblock for two. He clotheslines Tanaka to the floor and follows with the Undertaker dive. Back in for a clothesline that gets two. German suplex follows, but Tanaka no-sells it and powerslams Awesome. Tanaka brings in the first chair and takes a running swing with it from the end of the ramp. They head to the floor and have a swordfight with chairs, and Awesome sends him into the crowd and then goes up and dives onto him in the front row. Back in, powerbomb gets two. Awesome goes up again with a flying splash for two. And then the chairshots. Oh, the chairshots. He whacks Tanaka in the head twice, but Tanaka fights up, so Awesome puts him down again for two. Running powerbomb for Tanaka and he preps a table outside, then comes back in with a chairshot to the head, off the top rope. Good lord. And Tanaka is taking those with no protection. Awesome tries to powerbomb him through the table, but Tanaka reverses and powerbombs Awesome over the top rope and through the table instead. That was a TERRIFYING bump. And with no mats on the floor to save Awesome’s skull, either. Back in, Tanaka gets two. Roaring elbow gets two. Tanaka piles some chairs in the corner and hits a tornado DDT to finish at 11:50. To say this got both guys over would be an understatement. ****1/4 Amazingly, Tanaka is not only alive today, but still working a regular schedule. Awesome’s career did not have the same good ending, of course.
Anyway, back to this show, as the Taz defense against Tanaka came just as he decided to leave for the WWF, and everyone immediately knew about it and thus gave away the finish of the PPV match. So they basically swapped in Mike Awesome for a three-way and put the title on him instead. And then Awesome also screwed them over. Too bad Heyman didn’t have a son he could promote as top star.
ECW TV title: Rob Van Dam v. Jerry Lynn
We get the flippy-floppies to start for the stalemate, and Lynn waits until Rob turns his back like an idiot and dropkicks him to the floor. Rob ends up in the crowd and Lynn follows with a dive into the front row and we take a break. Back with them brawling on the floor, where Lynn blocks the Van Daminator by hitting him with the damn chair! How about that. Rob somersaults off the railing onto Lynn. Back in, the chair gets involved again, as Lynn manages to DDT Rob onto it, but Rob does a routine with Fonzie where they toss the chair back and forth and then Rob chucks it at Lynn’s head and gets two. Rolling Thunder onto the chair gets two. The ref tries to get rid of the chair, but RVD brings it back in, so Lynn hits his own Van Daminator with it. That gets two as the ref puts the chair aside AGAIN, but now Lynn brings it back in and hits a tornado DDT onto it for two. You know, Rob is looking fairly rough these days, so you have to think all the bumps onto the chair didn’t help him. They trade pinfall reversals in a good sequence and clothesline each other for the double down. And then the Impact Players run in and piledrive both guys and the match just kind of stops at 11:00 as the Impact Players cut a promo and leave. Styles tries to shift the heat to the heels by doing the “Oh, we don’t do shit finishes like that here in ECW, that’s the Impact Players’ fault!” thing, and promising a conclusive finish next week, but come on now. Match was good but obviously the lack of finish was disappointing, and this was 100% where they should have changed the title to Lynn. ***1/2
Can’t really complain about the quality of this week’s episode. Three matches, all good-to-great. Joel and Joey really need to tone it down a bit on commentary, though. All the insider digs and weird jokes come off as trying way too hard to be cool.