It's CyberSlam, so I suppose it's only appropriate that the first sign I notice is a sign for the fine folks over at Highspots.com, from whom I have bought many DVDs for good prices. I didn't realize they had been in business quite this long.
JERRY LYNN vs. YOSHIHIRO TAJIRI - 6.5/10
Tonight's ring announcer is in a neckbrace... but it's not Joel Gertner: it's Bob Artiz. I don't ever remember Tajiri looking this young. Or this jacked. The match was great for the time it got. Jerry won clean, and Joey Styles did an excellent job of pushing Jerry as a serious threat to Rob Van Dam's ECW TV Title in their PPV match at Hardcore Heaven 99 next month.
LANCE STORM PROMO - GREAT segment! The fans love Dawn Marie... and shockingly they're cheering Lance, too. Maybe it's because he's rocking a WCW Monday Night Jericho shirt. They are chanting "JERICHO!" Or maybe not. They seem to be Jericho fans, but they didn't object at all to Lance's false claim that Jericho is from Calgary... Alberta, Canada. Now they're chanting "HAPPY BIRTHDAY!" at Lance. Maybe that's why they're being so nice to him?
Lance then cut what came off like a complete and total babyface promo in response to accusations by Tommy Dreamer that Lance was taking steroids... which really seems like a douchy thing for Tommy to do without any evidence. Despite the handicap of how backwards this feud appears to be, Lance manages to transition this into a great heel promo by burying the "couch potatoes" at ringside and the "pseudo athletes in the back who wrestle in a t-shirt" for not being able to appreciate all of the hard work he puts in at the gym every day.
It's getting really hard for me to concentrate on the words Lance is saying because I just can't believe that his haircut can possibly be that flat on top.
Lance says that he is going to prove that he is clean tonight... and Dawn Marie opens up her handbag and pulls out a specimen cup full of urine and hands it to Lance. I burst out laughing at the visual here. Dawn Marie... has A CUP FULL OF PISS... in her fancy, expensive-looking handbag... and she hands it to Lance like there is nothing odd about this at all, while Lance stands there as his usual serious self.
Dawn then pulls out a second, empty specimen cup, and Lance challenges Tommy to prove that he is clean as well. Lance says that Tommy used to be in shape but now isn't, but also insists that Tommy must be doing steroids because "he doesn't even know a guy named Jim," and that therefore Tommy must be "taking shortcuts." Well... if Tommy is out of shape now as Lance is implying then one would think that he probably isn't on the juice at the moment, right?
Tommy comes out, and Joey Styles was utterly flabbergasted that Tommy Dreamer was on his way to the ring "to publicly urinate" (which was, ironically, something Brian Pillman famously threated to do at the inaugural edition of this event back in 1996). Joey said that "this is in poor taste. Even for us." I laughed at that... but there was to be no more laughing done as Lance jumped Tommy while Tommy was getting into the ring. Tommy made a quick comeback, laid Lance out with a DDT, grabbed the urine sample from Dawn Marie and dumped it in Lance's face. The fans loved this segment, and I thought it was quite entertaining as well. Apparently there was supposed to be a later segment where Lance would his heat back by jumping Tommy in the locker room, knocking him out, and then pissing on him, but someone (my guess would be Tommy) put the ix-nay on it.
NOVA vs. ROD PRICE - 2/10
Joey Styles notes that Nova has lost ten to fifteen pounds in just two months in an effort to get into better shape. I can only assume that this was the invention of The Simon System.
The larger Price dominated in the beginning. Nova made a comeback pretty quickly but then cut off by interference from Price's tag team partner Skull von Crush, who Joey tells us is "the leader of The New Movement." "The New Movement" has to be the lamest, most generic name for a stable in wrestling history with the exception of The Group, but that doesn't say much when you realize that The Group was trying to be generic on purpose because, as Corino would explain it, they didn't need a fancy name.
Anyway, Krush beat Nova up a bit, including giving him a Russian Leg Sweep into the guardrail, during the course of which Nova's arm flew up and smacked a fan right in the face. Props to the fan for not getting angry about it (because it's kind of his own fault for standing right up at the guardrail when they were brawling there). Nova was saved by the arrival of his own tag team partner, Chris Chetti, and together they hit a pair of diving moves from the same turnbuckle at the same time to allow Nova to pin Price for the win.
POST-MATCH SEGMENT - fine.
Price and Skull argued with each other. Skull decided he was done with this nincompoop and went to leave but Price jumped him from behind and beat him down but Skull von Krush made a comeback and laid Price out with a swinging, leaping, DDT.
SUPER CRAZY vs. EL MOSCO - 6.75/10
El Mosco is Mosco de la Merced. The match was great and they did a lot of impressive stuff, but the transitions were... I guess the best way to put it would be "intellectually clumsy." They were certainly there and made some sense in the story (which was just "hit moves until you try for a big one that misses or gets countered) but with some of them were just so clearly obvious what was happening that it seemed more like the guy whose move was about to miss (mostly Super Crazy, now that I think about it) was doing the things he was doing for the specific purpose of taking too long so that Mosco could counter or get out of the way and we'd have a transition.
TAKA MICHINOKU vs. PAPI CHULO - 6/10
"Welcome back!" chants for TAKA in his return after his stint in the WWF (and also his first appearance since Barely Legal). They had a very fun, athletic, action-packed match that was GREAT for the time it got.
ECW TV TITLE MATCH:
Rob Van Dam(c) (w/Bill Alfonso) vs. 2 Cold Scorpio - 7.25/10
Speaking of returns, this was Scorpio's first match in ECW in almost a year, and his first match with them since being released from his WWF contract. He had a great showing here, both in kayfabe and out of it. Scorpio was about to win several times but was prevented from doing so by interference by first Sabu and later Fonzie. Sabu had his jaw all taped up but he hit a triple-jump leg drop through a table anyway. He was bleeding from his mouth afterwards and had to be helped to the back by Fonzie, with Joey putting over that Fonzie was unhappy that his charge was risking his career by interfering in this match. The only things I didn't like here were Scorpio's WAY too quick recovery from a low blow and him shaking Rob's hand after the match. Scorpio should have been PISSED at getting screwed out of the title. The closest we got to this was that he kind of pie-faced Fonzie a bit, but that was after shaking Fonzie's hand, too.
CHRIS CANDIDO PROMO - This was Candido's first show back after three months off for reasons that were never spelled out but from context were pretty obviously drug-related. He cut what was essentially a babyface promo basically saying that he didn't "tap out" to bully from The Kliq or to alcohol or pill addiction, so with all due respect to Taz, there was no way in hell he was tapping out here. Candido asked Taz if their match could be "FTW style, Falls Count Anywhere" and Taz was okay with it so we got a...
FALLS COUNT ANYWHERE MATCH FOR THE ECW WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT TITLE:
Taz(c) vs. Chris Candido (w/Tammy Lynn Sytch & Steve Corino) - 6.75/10
After all of that babyface stuff Candido made sure to let everyone know that he was a heel with his very first action in this match, which was to jump Taz from behind. They had a good brawl around the arena which eventually made its way back to the ring where it became an change of suplexes (plus one well-executed cheaty false finish) that ended when Taz gave Candido a Tazmission Suplex through a table and they did an angle where Candido himself basically told the ref they had to stop the match because he had badly hurt his neck. I generally hate it when announcers say anything that even smells of a worked shoot, but Joey had a brilliant little line here where he said that "this is not the ending to the match... that we had hoped to see," which brilliantly gives off that shoot feel while also making perfect sense in kayfabe.
Between Candido's promo and some of Joey's comments they basically did everything they could here to babyface Candido up in the eyes of people (including, Joey admitted, himself) who had criticized Candido on the internet and in the dirt sheets for his issues and pushed that he had turned his life around, and it was all very well-done (they had the crowd chanting "F*CK YOU, TAZ!")...
And then they seemingly flushed it away by making sure everyone knew it was an angle by having Taz attack Candido when he was being stretchered off. He dragged Candido back to the ring and put him in the Tazmission until he tapped out and then he cut his "beat me if you can, survive if I let you!" promo and the same people who had been chanting "F*CK YOU TAZ!" forty-five seconds ago were now cheering for him. Wrestling crowds are really weird sometimes.
SHANE DOUGLAS (w/Francine) vs. JUSTIN CREDIBLE (w/Jason &"that unidentified woman") - 7/10
The "unidentified woman" in question was Jazz, who was so new that she didn't even have a name yet. They set this up with a really great, heated verbal confrontation. Shane dropped a predictable amount of F bombs, but only one of them felt gratuitous, which is extremely low for a Shane Douglas promo. This led to a very intense weapons brawl. Justin worked over the Franchise's head a lot, and Shane got busted open very early after having his head rammed into a support beam. A great match with some entertaining dog and pony show stuff as well from the three on the outside.
POST-MATCH SEGMENT - Lance Storm attacks Shane and the Impact Players beat Shane down with a Singapore Cane. Dreamer comes out to make the save armed with a trash can but he got taken out, too. Then, at the end, Cyrus showed up for some reason (this is the Pioneer version of the show so maybe something had to be cut out due to licensing issues).
BUBBA RAY DUDLEY PROMO - he claims that New Jack left the building, which is unfortunate for New Jack's teammates because the only match left on the card is the...
STEEL CAGE MATCH:
Axl Rotten, Balls Mahoney, & New Jack vs. Mr. Mustafa & the Dudley Boys (w/Sign Guy Dudley & Joel Gertner) - 7/10
New Jack didn't come out with Balls and Axl, but they'll be okay for a while because this match is apparently being contested under War Games-like rules. Devon bled all over the place... and that was BEFORE Axl starting slicing him with a pair of scissors. Violence happened. Of course New Jack was there despite what Bubba had claimed. Joey claimed that this was all one big "mind game" that New Jack, Balls, and Axl employed for the sake of... um...Even more violence happened, and with even more weapons. Axl and Balls bled a lot, too. Bubba and Mustafa also bled, but less so. New Jack bled eve less than those guys did, and also seems to have escaped without taking a single bump. Speaking of bumps, Axl took one into thumbtacks. Balls threw a fireball at Mustafa. Fifteen seconds later the Dudleys hit Balls with the 3-D for the pin, and I couldn't help but laugh at the timing... but it turns out that there actually was a reason for it! The Dudleys escaped the cage as quickly as possible, but Mustafa, still suffering from the blinding effects of the fireball, was still stuck in the ring. Balls locked the cage door shut again with a chain and New Jack got to get his revenge on Mustafa by diving off the top of the cage onto Mustafa to put him through a table. New Jack took one bump all night, but darn it he made it a memorable one.
This was a very good show from ECW. We got solid action all up and down the card, some big angles in both the Dreamer vs. Storm and Taz vs. Candido feuds, and a big blow-off in the main event.