So basically my want for reviewing the show comes out of the fact that the Family Arena in Saint Charles is where my college commencement took place. So it's pretty cool I got my diploma in the same place where Dusty Rhodes spilled blood. This was a fancam that was split across an episode of both the TNN show and Hardcore TV, with the first two matches being dark matches., but I'll review it as a stand alone show. Let's see what lies ahead.
An RF Video camera man films the program: Instead of just filming the match listing page as one wide shot, we get both sides as their own shot, going name by name. As a result it's barely clear what some of the matches are, but at least each guy has a ton of Paul Heyman-produced flavor text, explaining the feud or what their storyline aims are., which is pretty cool.
Show open: The text incorrectly explains that this is their "Saint Louis debut". Wrong! Saint Charles is a separate town! Over a bridge! Also the entire lower dome is sold out, with the upper deck tapered off (which I'm pretty sure TNA was able to fill half of in 2011) Also there are a lot of kids here.
Simon Diamond and his entourage in ring promo: Bad. Simon says he's a blue chip athlete, but he can't be the best he can be because of HC Loc, the ref ref in the ring , who's officiating is bad. First, it's weird to see a guy who's whole gimmick is "I'm an athlete" accompanied by a gang of weirdos. Also he gets the crowd on his side threatening to beat up the ref, because ECW fans are sociopaths. Simon basically transforms into Bob Backlund, and his entourage beat up the ref, which leads to
Simon Diamond (w/ Prodigy and Prodigette) vs HC Loc
Loc plays a way better babyface than I expected. Also The Musketeer insists on reffing fairly for some reason, to the point where Simon has to distract his own ref when the other members of his entourage interfere. Loc makes his comeback and counts his own pin on Simon and Musketeer to win. This was a fun babyface vs heel match, but entirely too complicated for the show open.
Willy looks like a bootleg amalgamation of every contemporary black wrestler. Jeff does a passable job introducing Swinger, and we find out that Chilly's gimmick is that he's the hometown guy, which means his hometown changes with every show. Judging by the reaction he gets, I can see why people thing wrestling fans are morons.
They have what I suspect an indy match in 2000 looks like. Lots of moves, followed by a nonsensical heat spot, comeback, more moves, some near falls. Johnny hits a piss poor looking Cobra Clutch neckbreaker, they tease a sunset flip spot, Judge holds the ropes, the ref kicks him away (to which Judge takes a huge bump) and the ref fast counts him for the win. There are some people near the camera that are pro-Swinger, which is the most nonsense thing I can imagine
This was only marginally better than the opener, in that it told a story that didn't take an inordinate amount of suspension of disbelief to appreciate.
Lou E.Dangerously and The New Dangerous Alliance promo: Really weird. Lou is saying babyface things with subtle digs thrown in (calling
Mark McGuire the greatest baseball player ever when his career was on the decline) and calling Saint Charles St.Louis, but it's lost on the crowd. Lou goes for the "This town is full of losers" heat when he realizes this isn't working. This goes for entirely too long because the crowd won't let him say his name. Also this is such a blatant knockoff of the actual Dangerous Alliance it's sad.
Nova and Wiles start out, and Nova is in the unfortunate circumstance of having to minimize what he can do so all that Wiles has to do is back bump. Chetti and Nova do moves that don't look very good, and once Chetti has just Anderson to contend with, he looks alright. They do a super weird spot where babyface Chetti gets the heat when Nova has the ref distracted, and both heels are in the ring, and it's up to Dangerously to low blow Chetti. Nova makes his comeback with moves that require way too much of Nova running to build momentum (Stinger splashes, bulldogs) to look real at all. Oh, and the heels just take control again. Nova hits a cool spot where he spider-monkey's out of the tree of woe and hits a diamond cutter to a standing Wiles. Elektra runs in, which requires Jazz runs in and hits a gnarly tackle on the poor girl. Gnarly super kick to Jazz from Anderson when she teases powerbombing Lou, and a gnarly cell phone shot from Lou to Anderson during is miscue. The faces do the Rock 'n Roll Express arm-in-arm top rope splash for the pinfall win.
This match jumped the shark a bit when Jazz showed up, but beyond that it was a serviceable tag match.
The lads do some fun lucha and dives until Kash heels out a bit and actually slows the match down, which is a nice departure from what I expected, but it's pretty quickly back to dives. Kash does a Triangle Jump Crossbody so seamless it looks like a Quick Time Event in a video game. More moves, and Crazy hits a Brainbuster and wins.
This was the most entertaining match all night so far, but both guys would go on to have better matches.
The FBI is down to Guido and Sal, poor Guido. Also they get jobber entrances. Danny prompts the crowd to chant "Where's my Pizza?" and when they do, he points at the FBI and winks. Danny is great.
Danny does the Italian "Fuck you" hand gesture, which was meant to get a pop and the crowd actually goes silent because Saint Louis/Charles is primarily of Italian ancestory. Anyway, this is meant to be one of those slow, slightly comedic, highly choreographed matches where the crowd can chant for everything and pop when they get it. They'd be forgiven for not doing anything more than that but they do tell a story which involves the faces coming from behind and winning.
This is one of those matches where it must be a hoot live but comes across low rent when you're watching it on video
Intermission/the commentators come out for the televised part of the show: Mikey Whipwreck is at the time keepers table playing cards, I guess just to establish he's there. The commentators come out, and Joey roasts two guys in the crowd in bowling shirts pimping some bowling show that's on TNN. Joel and Joey do their TV intro while Mikey lights his table on fire for some reason.
In ring promo with The Impact Players: Joey gives them shit because Dawn Marie interferes to help them retain all the time. Dawn says she'll take on any woman anywhere, which brings out.
Man Raven looks out of shape here. Also Mikey gets involved just because.
This is a wacky match with no real rules except when competitiors decide to follow them. The heels work over Mikey until the hot tag. Dawn breaks up a pin, and the girls catfight. Francine gets caned in the leg by Credible, and the heels do heel things to win.
I didn't like this very much, it felt like just a lot of nonsense.
CW Anderson, one of Da Baldies, and Cyrus segment: CW and one of Da Baldies are about to have a match but Cyrus comes out. Da Baldies guy leaves but CW Anderson puts up a fuss. He rips off the Scott Hall survey, and calls Elektra a prostitute. CW goes to fight but Lou E. Gets his guy out of there. Cyrus says a guy who's not on contract shows up on TV, and it's Scotty Anton, friend of Rob Van Dam. Cryus insults Rob which brings out Scotty, Cyrus wants to fight Scotty, but cowers out and insults Scotty, which leads to
Rhyno kills Scotty for a bit, until The Network gets distracted setting up a table, to which Scotty fires up. Rhyno fights back after Corino uses the cowbell, and Rhyno takes the ref and Scotty through a table in a cool spot for the no contest.
I like Rhyno basically being a heel Braun Strowman while still being allowed to do cool shit.
Post match: AWESOME! Rhyno mocks RVD, which causes Rob and Bill Alphanso to run down and get into a pull apart with Rhyno. It also helps that "Walk" is playing throughout the whole thing. This is one of those cool moments that only ECW can pull off. We spend a lot of time with the aftermath because of commercials
RVD promo: Awesome babyface promo. He's not 100 percent but he wants to give a shoutout to the fans and puts over the town.
Corino has the heat ever so briefly, and then it's all Tommy. The Network intereferes, which causes...
People join this match one by one so t might as well be a Wargames match. And something about Sandman and New Jack running in on the same match just makes me adore this match. The faces a running roughshod until Rhyno shows up, which prompts DUSTY RHODES making the save, bionic elbowing the heels as we close out.
This was a very strange show. The non TNN half felt like a serviceable house show, and then when the TNN cameras cued up, that's when we got some true ECW quality. This was a SUPER easy show to watch despite very little advancing, and I would recommend it if you just want some wrestling on in the background while you do something else...just make sure your eyes are pealed for the main event1