ECW WORLD TITLE MATCH:
Taz(c) vs. Chris Candido (w/Tammy Lynn Sytch, The Dudleys, & Joel Gertner) - squash
Candido hired the Dudleys to help him, supposedly in cae Taz attacks him from behind or does something else immoral. They didn't help him one bit. Taz just squashed Candido, which, oddly enough, is basically what they had been hyping that this match would be. Then the Dudleys laid Taz out with a 3-D after the match and Taz sold it very well.
CYRUS JOINS JOEY ON COMMENTARY - he accused Joey of having been "Jackyl-ing off for years," but not to worry because he would now have someone with whom he could "engage in intellectual intercourse."
DUDLEY BOYS PROMO - Great heel stuff. Bubba brags about a number of heelish accomplishments ranging from beating up Rob & Sabu, breaking up the Eliminators, breaking Beulah's neck, and, "hacking up the Sandman." Points for wordplay.
They (okay, really just Bubba) make an open challenge, which is answered by Balls Mahoney so we are apparently getting a...
Balls Mahoney vs. The Dudley Boys (w/Sign Guy Dudley & Joel Gertner) - see below
Balls pretty much dominates the tag champs on his own. He also slipped on a diving elbow drop and almost missed Bubba entirely, elbowing Bubba in the hip and probably hurting his own hip a hell of a lot more on the landing. Eventually The Dudleys cut Balls off, but then Spike Dudley's music starts playing. Bubba and Devon wait for him facing the ramp, so of course Spike comes out from behind them like a coward and the first thing he does is hit them in the nuts. This is not endearing Spike to me at all. Now apparently it's a regular tag team match, featuring...
SPIKE DUDLEY & BALLS MAHONEY vs. THE DUDLEY BOYS (w/Sign Guy Dudley & Joel Gertner) - 4.5/10
Spike got tossed around a lot and took some scary bumps. They did some good comedy with Gertner that ended up with Bals blowing fire in Joel's face, which was certainly not comedic. The Dudleys pinned Balls after a 3-D.
TAKA MICHINOKU vs. SUPER CRAZY - 6.5/10
Super Crazy's balance and body control is AMAZING. Taka was great, too, of course, but Crazy definitely had that "wow!" factor in this match.
JERRY LYNN VS. RVD VIDEO PACKAGE - excellent. This can be boiled down to one simple sentence: "Here is what happened last time, and this is what has changed between now and then that could make this time end differently." That, my friends, plain and simple, is booking.
THE DUDLEYS TEND TO A BURNED JOEL GERTNER - Joel gives them a "hit list" the first name on which is Nova. Bubba has no idea why Nova is on the list, but he and Devon are going to go get him! And fortunately Nova happens to be walking down the hallways just as they open the door to the room they are in. Bubba and Devon beat Nova up.
YOSHIHIRO TAJIRI vs. LITTLE GUIDO (w/Sal E. Graziano) - 7/10
Grapple-f*ck, strong style, submissions, brawling, high-flying, old-school southern-style cheating, even one or two lucha spots: with the exception of weapons and World of Sport, this match had a little bit of everything, and they did a wonderful job of making it flow together so well.
LANCE STORM VS. TOMMY DREAMER VIDEO PACKAGE - terrible. If all you saw was this video package, you would think that Tommy was the heel who was trying to assault Lance's valet, and brave, valiant, noble Lance was defending Dawn Marie from that evil Tommy Dreamer. They only had one clip of Lance doing anything to Tommy that didn't start with Tommy trying to hurt Dawn Marie, and that was most of the way through the video, while the only thing Dawn Marie ever did to anyone in this video was one shot of her caning Francine, which also occurred late in the video, and with no explanation whatsoever of who Francine was and what her connection to Tommy was. And when you consider that the last ECW show I watched took place just six weeks before this with Franny still firmly in Shane Douglas' corner, it let me quite confused as well.
THE DUDLEYS HUNT FOR THE NEXT NAME ON THE LIST - it's Rod Price. Bubba says that always liked Rod and, like, Nova, has no idea why Gertner would be angry with him, but Bubba is easily persuaded to change his stance on Rod Price when Devon shows him the money Gertner is offering to pay them.
They find Rod, who just happened to be located in a nearby room, although at least this time they made it the second room they checked instead of the first. They beat Rod up while Bubba continuously tells him that "it's nothing personal, brother!" "It's just business." "Brother Gertner told us to."
LANCE STORM (w/Dawn Marie) vs. TOMMY DREAMER (w/Francine) - 7.25/10
The graphic had Dawn Marie still going by Tammy Lynn Bytch, but Joey told us she was now going by Beulah (apparently with no "McGillislutty" added on yet). For simplicity's sake, I'm just going to refer to her as Dawn Marie.
This might have been the first time Francine came out with Tommy. Lance wrestled in street clothes rather than his usual gear to put over that this was a "grudge match" as they had been billing it rather than the usual ECW match where you can do anything you want anyway. Major props to Lance for at least making an effort to make this feel different. Unfortunately this was counteracted by the fact that the thing Joey pushed about this match was not that Dreamer wanted to get his hands on Lance but rather that he wanted to get his hands on Dawn Marie, as he had already beaten Lance several times over the past few weeks.
They had a great weapons match with a dog and pony show finish that got Cyrus and Francine get involved as well as letting Tommy get his hands on Dawn before Lance picked up with the win with Tommy having been protected by the earlier ref bump and interference.
THE NEXT NAME ON GERTNER'S HIT-LIST IS... Jack Victory. Jack is not only a good friend of both Dudleys who has had their backs in the past, but he also has a bad neck. Both Bubba and Devon are apprehensive about this until they see how much money Gertner is going to give them this time and then they're all for it. Then they lured Victory into a trap and beat him up. This was really well done, both with the way that they made this different from the previous attacks and with the way that the conversation between Devon and Victory served to put a human element on the otherwise abstract idea that Jack Victory has been a friend of the Dudleys in the past, and thus what they did here was quite the betrayal. This is what people mean when they say "show, don't tell."
TAZ PROMO - great! He's still icing his neck, but he vows to take the Dudleys out tonight!
ECW TV TITLE MATCH WITH NO TIME LIMIT:
Rob Van Dam(c) (w/Bill Alfonso) vs. Jerry Lynn - 9/10
A wonderful series of moves and reversals, showing how each guy has learned from their match at the last PPV. They also did a good job teasing the Cradle Piledriver a few times, but one of the things that really puts this match up there is how well they managed to sell their exhaustion, which really gave this match an epic feel.
DUDLEYS PROMO ON TAZ - good.
Then Big Dick randomly showed up, dragging in Taz's cousin Chris Chetti. Devo punched Chetti but broke his hand while doing so, so Bubba beat the crap out of Chetti for breaking Devon's hand.
"SHANE DOUGLAS" vs. JUSTIN CREDIBLE (w/Jason & "that yet to be identified young lady") -
Geez! It's been MONTHS now and they still haven't given Jazz a name. This was supposed to be Justin vs. Shane Douglas but Shane was hospitalized by Justin Credible and might not ever return to ECW (read as: he signed with WCW because Heyman owed him a lot of money), so Justin cut a promo bragging about all of the guys he had put out of ECW. Judge Jeff Jones interrupted Justin to tell him that he was guilty as charged, and that his sentence would be carried out by...
SID VICIOUS (w/Judge Jeff Jones) vs. JUSTIN CREDIBLE (w/Jason & "that yet to be identified young lady") - No rating, good segment.
Sid got a HUGE pop. He came out and pretty much destroyed Justin (and Jason) for a bit, no-selling everything, even a Singapore cane shot. Lance Storm came out to save Justin but Sid no-sold all of his stuff, too, until Justin threw powder in his eyes, which I guess is like kryptonite to Sid because from that point on he got in absolutely zero offense. The Impact Players beat Sid down and set him up on a table on the ramp but then Sabu made his big return to make the save (Justin had complained to the state athletic commission to get Sabu banned from every building in the country, because apparently Paul E. wants us to believe that the state athletic commissions actually abide by each other's rulings, LOL). Sabu took it to the Impact Players, especially Justin. He set Justin up on the same table as Sid and went for a triple-jump legdrop but Lance pulled Justin to safety so the only person Sabu put through the table was Sid. That could go in some interesting directions.
Security dragged Sabu out of the building. Sid was angry with Jeff Jones for some reason. The crowd wanted Sid to "f*ck him up!" so Sid did so via powerbomb. They wanted to see it "one more time" so Sid obliged.
FALLS COUNT ANYWHERE MATCH FOR THE ECW WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT TITLE:
Taz(c) vs. Bubba Ray Dudley (w/Sign Guy Dudley) - 7/10
Before the match Bubba cut a promo explaining to the fans live in the arena what happened in their last backstage segment. So Devon isn't out here because he broke his hand earlier and Big Dick isn't out here because... um...Taz came out and declared this match for be Falls Count Anywhere and so it was. There was a lot of brawling and a lot of interference and some ref bumps and stuff, but Taz came out on top.
A GREAT show from ECW, full of fun surprises, great wrestling, and holy crap that RVD vs. Jerry Lynn match! Make sure you guy buy this one!