(Note: The only rip of this PPV I could find for some reason chose to omit the following matches:
- Bubba Ray Dudley, Davey Morton and Hack Meyers def Axel Rotten, D-Von Dudley, and JT Smith
- Mikey Whipwreck def Johnny Smith
Going into the PPV, my thoughts:
When an archaeologist when they find an ancient artifact how do they feel? Sheer giddiness? Triumph? Because if that's the case, just call me Indiana Jones and call this Pay Per View the Sword of Destiny. I've found it, ECW High Incident 1996, a PPV so rare that even places like RFVideo, which have basically every fancam known to man, don't have this. Also a quick search of the Internet indicate that this might or might not be the most modern review of the show, as the only memories of the show seem to be cataloged in old Zetaboards. I know it's incredibly dorky to get this jazzed about a review but I can honestly say I'm honored to be bringing out this review
Kurt Angle segment - Kurt comes out to the John Williams Olympic March, which got a pop out of me. Kurt is in full "shaking hands, greet the people" hero mode. The ECW crowd is truly giving Kurt a hero's welcome, which is as odd as it is refreshing. Joey splooges about Kurt, putting over Kurt's post medal win antics, putting the gold medal around his mother most of all . He also put over Little Guido's amateur background like he's setting up a playdate between two kinder-gardeners, and introduces Little Guido as if he's introducing a Make-a-Wish kid to a celebrity. Then Guido cuts, without a doubt, the most robotic, "I'm so happy you're here and hope I can impress you" promo ever cut. Joey introduces Taz saying that Kurt has to be impressed with Taz's credentials as he follows wrestling somewhat. Out comes Taz, with Team Taz and Bill Alfonso. Taz puts over Kurt and even plays to the crowd a bit. Taz says he's watched Kurt compete in the games the majority of the summer, but he's watched more of himself on TV. Kurt genuinely seems to corpse at this. Taz demands Kurt sit up in the Crow's Nest with Joey and commentate their match. Joey announces that this is a shoot fight, that you can only win by submission or KO. So we get.....
Taz vs Little Guido - 7/10
This is more or less a long, ROH squash match. Kurt's innocent, never seen wrestling before commentary actually helps this match, as he chastises Taz for mocking Sabu and also for not finishing the match when Guido is out. Kurt puts over Taz in the nicest way possible even still.
Post match(dud) - Taz calls his match a gold medal performance. For some reason they bleep "the fuck up" in "shut the fuck up" Taz demands Sabu comes out, and Taz says he's going to "do something" to get Sabu out here
Chris Candido vs Spike Dudley - 3/10
This is Candido's first appearance since his WWF release. Joey does that irritating indy thing I hate where they say "He's not his WWF gimmick anymore". Candido almost kills Spike Dudley on a German Suplex.. The rest of this match is a squash. Candido hits the Blonde Bombshell, tries to be cute and do Bodydonna push-ups but ends up breaking the cover. The referee covers up for this by ignoring it and just counting 3 anyway. All three of these men are geeks.
Post-match (bad) - Candido starts his promo by plugging Livewire because Sunny co-hosts. He goes out of his way to thank the WWF for the opportunity, but he's glad to be back here where the lockeroom isn't full of assholes. He's going to raise this company from the dirty shithole it is right now. He went from heel to face back to face again. I do not miss shoot promos in modern wrestling.
ECW TV Title
Shane Douglas (c) vs Cody Michaels - DUD
Some voice I've never heard before gets on commentary with Joey. Joey isn't happy to see him and he's clearly a heel. It might be Lance Wright? Douglas cuts a pre-match promo, and as if he heard me bitch about shoots, he begins with "Okay you smart marks" . Other than that this is a decent promo, bragging about breaking Gary Wolfe's neck, and that everyone will get a wrestling lesson. Again, they bleep "the fuck up" in "shut the fuck up" . Douglas goes to leave and then comes back. Pitbull 2 shows up, but security drags him away. We get a text blurb that tells us that Cody Michaels vs Shane Douglas will begin after the commercial break
The match immediately starts back up with Cody hitting a flying forearm and getting a 2 1/2 count. I get that stuff like this is supposed to make wrestling look "real" but it's super jarring and doesn't give you as a viewer anytime to get back into the match. Couple more 2/12 counts, as well as some moves off the top rope. I can't decide whether or not this makes Douglas look like a jabroni or if Cody looks super good. Cody creams Shane in the head with a chair and Joey reacts with what I can only describe as "YUS". Top rope crossbody while Douglas is seated on a chair outside the ring. That looked cool. . Douglas does an arm-breaker to counter a whip which Joey calls a "Single Arm DDT". I've literally never heard it called that ever. Douglas sets up a Tombstone piledriver, and moves Cody up and down so that it looks like Cody is.....sucking his dick? Ewwwww. Shane hits it, and for some reason the ref wants to stop the match after, but Francine won't let him. The ref relents. Joey rightfully chastises him for this. Shane hits the Belly to Belly and wins. When Cody was on offense I was fully prepared to rate this higher than Guido/Taz, but the finish forces me to give this a dud rating.
Post match (some good bits, but goes on for wayyyy too long ) - Shane attacks the ref. Then he does the Ken Patera spinning full Nelson on Cody Michaels which got brownie points from me. Pitbull 2 makes the save. Pitbull 2 punches out all the goobers who try to hold him back. The Franchise comes back and tries to attack Pitbull 2 but ends up running away when he no sells. In the process of the chase around the ring. Shane bulls over Francine, Pitbull 2 teases doing something to Francine but the goobers from before hold Pitbull 2 back, Douglas hits Pitbull with the title belt which causes him to break free of the goobers and Shane to run away again. The goobers hold Pitbull back, and he punches them all out again.Joel Gertner gets in the ring, and goes to do the official announcement even though it's already announced. He even shoves Pitbull 2 and tells him "You're in my camera shot" Pitbull looks at the crowd as if to say "This fucking guy". I laughed. Gertner does the announcement, but slowly realizes he's pissed off Pitbull #2, concluding with "Oh shit" Again, I laughed. Pitbull proceeds to hoof Gertner Fall Away Slam style out of the ring and onto the goobers, who I sincerely hope got paid 3 times that night.
Normally I'd be a lot rougher on segments that go too long or repeat bits, but there were enough charming bits to make it watchable.
Too Cold Scorpio is already in the ring as Joey gives us an interlude from the Crow's Nest. He tells us that it's main event time (um, dude, we're halfway through the damn show) as Sandman defends the ECW world title against his best friend Too Cold Scorpio. Nothing inherently wrong with this, but this is one of the reasons why I appreciate WWE production. We would see them being friendly and maybe a little bit of tension to make this title match interesting. But because ECW caters to smarks they just assume you've watched every Hardcore TV episode up till this point. We get Sandman's entrance (which is way cooler with the proper music) and a break
ECW Heavyweight Title
Sandman (c) vs Too Cold Scorpio - 7.5/10
Initially, Scorpio tries to wrestle the Sandman, which Joey expertly points out that he has the advantage in. Additionally, Scorpio works over the knee, which, again Joey points out that Sandman had knee surgery a few months before this match. Eventually Scorpio gets annoyed with that and grabs a chair, Sandman grabs his cane, and just it looks like they'll start swinging Scorpio puts his chair down, and beckons Sandman to do the same, They shake hands and hug in the middle of the ring, to which Scorpio hoofs Sandman in the stomach and slides him headfirst into the chair he put down earlier which makes a disgusting sound. Scorpio takes control from here, even taking Sandman's cane when he deliriously crawls for it and hitting him with it. Eventually Sandman makes enough of a comeback to grab the cane, but Scorpio is able to dodge the cane shots and take Sandman down again. Sandman kicks out of a couple of Scorpio's top rope moves, and when he goes for a third Sandman grabs the cane and hits Scorpio with it, following up with a Frakensteiner for a 2. I would've been satisfied if the match had ended here. Scorpio takes down Sandman with a slam and goes for, what appears to be, a 450 Senton type maneuver, but Sandman rolls out of the way, and Scorpio looks like he lands squarely on his ass. Sandman gets the three after this, and, while I'm pretty sure this would look like a flat finish to some, the bump looks sore as hell to me.
Post match - Tyler Fullington appears dressed like Sandman. They hug....until Raven appears and canes Sandman from behind. Two DDTs and a Piledriver through the table later and.....we jump to the next match.
This was an abrupt edit, and edited out the Crucifixion angle, which, to be honest was probably for the best. Now, I've mentioned things like commercial breaks and things so I'm pretty sure this was a low quantity VHS release of the event
The Eliminators vs The Miracle Violence Connection - 6.5/10
During the Eliminators entrance you can clearly see Kronus is out of his mind, which is not a good thing. The Eliminators aren't wearing matching gear and this annoys me. Joey calls Kronus "eccentric". MVC come through the front door of the arena in their MVC jackets. I'm now giggling to myself imagining the MVC driving around in a beat up van in their ring gear around Philly. Doc and Saturn brawl on the outside while Bam Bam and Kronus fuck up a leapfrog spot, although to be fair it looks like Gordy heabutted Kronus Vladimir Kozlov style. Joey also calls Bam Bam eccentric, which I at this point realized is Joey's code word for "coked out". Terry does a bad sell of a spinning kick. The crowd is sandbagging this because Bam Bam had just debuted as The Executioner in the WWF less than a week before. Bam Bam is moving at a turtle's pace, but Dr.Death has still got it. .Jesus Bam Bam stop doing Dragon Screws. You're clearly not good at them. Kronus gets the handspring elbow on Doc, which he no sells and German Suplexes him. All the shit I've about Bam Bam in this review aside, the MVC's double shoulder tackle spot still looks great. Okay, Gordy's into it now. We get a sick powerbomb on the outside from Saturn to Doc. A cool "short arm clotheslines countered into a German" spot from the people in the ring. Another sick powerbomb after a hot tag. Gordy takes the most realistic Total Elimination bump ever, falling to the side instead of doing a flip bump. Doc gets slammed for his trouble. Saturn climbs the scaffolding for the main event tonight (which, to ECW production's credit, hadn't been seen up to this point) and does AN ELBOW DROP OFF THE SCAFFOLD for the win. Gordy and Saturn get stretcher jobs after the match.
This match was the specific reason I went on the hunt for this show. A lot of the reviews I saw on this match on line made it appear to be hideous. And for some parts, it was, Gordy in particular was in mediocre at best form, but I think a lot of the negative press (or at least what stood out most to me when watching it was the lack of crowd reaction. The crowd sandbagged nearly all of Gordy's involvement including a Rick James sounding heckler that kept calling him "gravedigger". But, in this reviewer's opinion it was an above standard match that likely would've surpassed most of the card so far if not for Gordy being out of it.
Sabu and Rob Van Dam vs The Can-Am Express - 6.75/10
We join this match in progress on the absolutely most confusing spot imaginable. Somehow, RVD has Kroffat hooked for a DDT through a table, but somehow Sabu hits RVD by mistake. This leads the Can Am working over Sabu and looking like a million dollars in the process. Sabu finally makes the hot tag and RVD nearly necks himself on a Blockbuster to Krofatt Krofatt and Furnas turn the momentum on Van Dam who hot tags Sabu in. Typical insane, offense, tandem and separate, between the two. The match ends when Krofatt accidentally top rope splashes Furnas in order to break up a pin and RVD/Sabu get the three count. 6.75/10 for the footage we saw.
Post match (great!) - Sabu extends his hand to RVD, Joey tells us that RVD has never accepted....and he does! The crowd pops huge for this. Good, simple storytelling. Also, we learn that at November to Remember 1996 they will face The Eliminators, and whoever wins that will meet the Gangstas on the same night. Expect a review of that sometime maybe?
We jump-cut right to the next match, which is.....
Tommy Dreamer vs Brian Lee - 1/10
We cut right to Brian Lee's entrance....which is interrupted by Tommy coming out and hitting him with a trash can. A little bit of walking, and Dreamer puts Lee's head through a piece of drywall. Joey, like an annoyed mother exclaims, "We just fixed that wall". Tommy rams Brian's head into a vending machine several times, which makes a great sound. Dreamer gets on top of the vending machine and jumps off, nailing Lee in the head with the trashcan! And Brian Lee.....just kind of walks off camera, not appearing to sell. A random guy jumps from his seat a floor above to be in between Dreamer and Lee, mugs for the camera and just walks off. Lee takes control of the brawling and slams Tommy's head into more shit. They brawl in the crowd more. Dreamer gets crotched on the guard rails. More brawling, and Dreamer hits Lee with a plate of chicken nuggets. I'm not kidding.. Lee finally gets up on the rickety, horrifying looking scaffolding. One of the ropes connecting the rigs to the ladder is wobbling. Low blow by Dreamer, DDT by Dreamer on the scaffolding. Now ALL the supports are wobbling. Prime Time Slam (chokeslam) is blocked by....Dreamer hanging on to the light above them. In shoot, Dreamer looks like he's hanging on for dear life. Dreamer crotches himself on one side away from the tables that have been set up in the middle of the ring. I nearly screamed. Dreamer fights back, and the scaffolding is swaying back and forth. Dreamer knocks Lee off, and instead of falling through every table (like I'm assuming the fucking engineers that put this together assumed) he misses a few towards the middle of the structure, so there's just table, broken and unbroken flying everywhere. It looks like a goddamn mess. If you can't pay engineers to put together a decent metal troth that's meant to bare weight, don't fucking do a scaffold match.
Overall, this was an enjoyable Pay Per View, with a few good matches, some defying expectations. However, for some under card stuff there was way too much post match, a Crucifixion, and genuinely one of the scariest, most appalling main events I've seen since Heroes of Wrestling (That's a review that will be done soon as well).