OPENING SEGMENT - Very good. We start off with Joey Styles and Cyrus in the ring, welcoming us to the show. Cyrus buries Buffalo as only Cyrus can. Joel Gertner then comes out and insists that, as the host of ECW on TNN, he should be hosting this PPV as well.
Then Taz's music hit and all of the fans cheered... and then they started to chant "YOU SOLD OUT!" at him. Make up your mind, guys! Are you happy to see him or not? Personally, I was a little surprised, as I had thought that the three-way with Awesome and Tanaka where he dropped the belt and got the big goodbye from Heyman was his last match, but apparently not.
Taz is angry at Joey, claiming Joey has been ducking him. Joey says that this isn't true, and insists that he was the last person to try to make contact. Taz is angry (big shock, I know) because two weeks ago on TNN, Joey said that he choked RVD out "from behind," and thus Joey "implied that I did a cowardly act." Joey replied that he called it like he saw it and Taz really did choke Rob out from behind... to which Taz had the most wonderful heel answer, simply asking Joey "How do I apply the Taz-mission?" to which Joey was forced to answer "from behind." Joe was able to still make his case by pointing out that Taz didn't have to put Rob in the hold at all because Rob was totally occupied fighting Sabu at the time. Taz angrily retorted that he "seized the opportunity" and he doesn't give a sh*t if Joey or Heyman or ECW don't like it because he does what he wants, when he wants, and how he wants. The fans mostly cheered this, then went back to booing him and chanting "YOU SOLD OUT!"
Taz tried to pick a fight with Joey but Joey backed off. The crowd chanted "F*CK HIM UP, JOEY! F*CK HIM UP!" and Taz used this to egg Joey on, telling him that "5,000 people want to see you kick my ass, so why don't you do it?" Taz continued to bully Joey, who was apologetic and compliant the entire time, but Taz kept twisting everything Joey said until he finally threatened to murder him if he didn't leave the ring immediately, saying that if he did kill Joey, "what are they gonna do? Fire me? I should be so lucky."
Joey left the ring, at which point Taz turned his rage on Gertner, pointing out that Joel was right next to Joey when Joey implied that Taz attacked RVD from behind and demanded to know why Gertner didn't correct him. Gertner, too, went to leave, but Taz was much more strict with the three seconds he gave Joel than the three seconds he gave Joey, and locked Gertner in a (very poorly applied) Taz-mission. Taz then cut a great little promo on RVD and shook hands with Cyrus, sending us into the opening video package. This was an otherwise great segment that dragged on a little too long, but Taz was pretty darn great here, as I felt myself almost legitimately becoming afraid for Joey.
SIMON, JAZZ, & SIMON'S DICK SEGMENT - Mostly pointless. Simon Diamond and his platonic friend Dick Hertz are in the ring. Simon, predictably, has a problem. Then he talks about the size and vascularity of his Dick, and they do the "Simon Says" shtick. That never fails to amuse me.
Then Jazz came out and said that she was sick and tired of Simon always having a problem everywhere they go, so she slapped him in the face. She then kicked him in the stomach, hit him with the Jazz Stinger, and went to pin him... even though there was no match going on. Dick pulled her off of Simon and hit her a spinning Dominator type of move which, this being ECW, they actually named the "Penile Implant."
Maybe this is my modern sensibilities coming into play, but this came off to me as a big waste of time for a PPV. The crowd was already hot so you didn't need anything to warm them up and this came off as a total house show routine. Hell... I'd be shocked if this wasn't the house show routine for Simon, Jazz, and Dick. It just felt like something that was totally unnecessary, and a waste of four more minutes after you had an opening segment that went a full ten.
At the end of it all, Simon bragged that his "giant" had killed Jazz, which brought out "The Giant Killer" Spike Dudley to set up the first match (but they could have just saved the time by simply starting with the match).
SPIKE DUDLEY vs. SIMON DIAMOND (w/Dick Hertz) - 2/10
Spike immediately nails Dick with an Acid Drop to put him down, but then gets clobbered from behind by Simon. We got a dive, a chairshot, and one or two other things, then Spike hit the Acid drop for the win in under three minutes. This worked as an opener (although, again, I would argue that such a thing was unnecessary) but having this be an actual match just made Simon (and his Dick) look weak and ineffective. There was no reason this couldn't have just been Spike doing a run-in to save Jazz.
Simon got busted on one of the three moves he took all match. Joey noted this. Cyrus replied "I just hope his Dick doesn't start bleeding." Tremendous.
POST-MATCH SEGMENT - Fine, I guess. As Spike was celebrating, the FBI ran out and Little Guido powerbombed him off the turnbuckle, then held him down so Big Sal could crush him with a splash. Followed up on a feud that had been taking place almost entirely on house shows over the past month and a half (and only about half of the house shows at that, as Spike also feuded with Simon and worked with a litany of other people, too), and, after what is unquestionably the highest-profile spot this feud got, it was then continued at a grand total of four shows for the rest of ECW's existence; all house shows. It's only real purpose here seemed to be to set up for Nova running out to start off...
SUPER NOVA vs. LITTLE GUIDO (w/Sal E. Graziano) - 2.5/10
Another short match in which they mostly just did stuff. Despite the match going less than five minutes, Guido made every single cover in that "'I'm so exhausted' Dolph Ziggler copying the finish of the WrestleMania XII main event" way. Nova had the match won at one point but Sal pulled him off of the pin. Unfortunately, the camera somehow managed to miss this, so you just saw Nova getting yanked sideways by a mysterious force, and then they never even thought to pan over to Sal to at least show the aftermath of this dirty deed. Guido then hit is move and got the win.
POST-MATCH SEGMENT - The FBI kept beating Nova up after the match. Chris Chetti made his big return from injury to make the save with a bunch of high flying kicks. Then Doring and Roadkill- the men who had put Chetti out of action in the first place- came out and Doring laid him out, setting up for Roadkill to hit the top rope splash on Chetti's back. All of this took less than a minute. It was like one of those really good EVOLVE segments where everything flows into each other, but on speed. There was almost no time for anything to sink in, and that, combined with the lack of star-power we've seen so far, made it feel like ECW was just rushing through the undercard stuff to get to the "real stars," which made the undercard guys all look like filler who could never grow to actually be important.
STEVE CORINO PROMO - Fine. Corino comes out with Tajiri wheeling Jack Victory out in a wheelchair. Joey is insisting that Victory's broken leg should have healed by now, as he suffered the injury over a year ago. He buried Lynn and Super Crazy and put Tajiri over as "the King of the Three-way." In the first half hour of this show, we've had about twice as much talking as we have had action.
THREE WAY DANCE:
Jerry Lynn vs. Super Crazy vs. Yoshihiro Tajiri (w/Steve Corino & Jack Victory) - 7/10
Now that's more like it! This is much more the kind of opener I'd like to see, with big dives, high-impact strikes, and fast-paced action! The dives in particular got an excellent reaction, all building up to Super Crazy doing a moonsault off part of the entrance set-up. From there they made their way to the ring and had a good three-way for a bit before Super Crazy was eliminated, then Lynn and Tajiri had their own nice little mini-match. I probably would have given this a 7.25/10 if they hadn't insisted on trying to break up pins in an elimination match.
POST-MATCH SEGMENT - Corino and Victory tried to attack Jerry Lynn after the match but he took them both out, including nailing Corino with a Cradle Piledriver.
New Jack, Axl Rotten, & Balls Mahoney vs. Da Baldies (PN Neuz, Tony Devito, Vito LoGrasso, & Spanish Angel) - 4.75/10
The build-up to this was that Da Baldies- "the new street gang here in ECW," as Joey called them- showed up in ECW and just last week they STAPLED NEW JACK IN THE EYE... and I'm supposed to believe that New Jack didn't lose his eye? COME ON!
While they were recapping this, Joey and Cyrus were engaged in some stupid insider comedy bits, which obviously did not help sell the seriousness of the New Jack situation (despite Joey's best efforts).
This match started out as just Da Baldies vs. Balls & Axl. Axl & Balls got some quick shine despite being outnumbered. Then they got cut, at which point the fans immediately started to chant for New Jack... and apparently New Jack is Beetlejuice because once the fans started chanting for him, he showed up. I wonder if you can make him disappear by getting him to say his name backwards twice like Mr. Mxyzptlk.
So New Jack shows up and he throws all of the weapons from his trash can into the ring, where all four Baldies are waiting for him... and rather than pick up these weapons, they start clearing them off to the side. Then New Jack just grabs a weapon for himself, slides into the ring, and beat the sh*t out of these idiots, who are unarmed thanks completely to their own stupidity. Angel got the staple gun, but despite now being armed, he did not try to attack New Jack, even while New Jack's back was turned because he was dealing with other Baldies. New Jack hit him with stuff, then New Jack, Balls, & Axl proceeded to spend the next several minutes inflicting weapons-based violence on the heels (though Balls was nice enough to let them get some offense in, too). New Jack did a dive off of an even higher place than Super Crazy did. I won't say this got boring (New Jack's music playing always helps with that), but it definitely dragged on longer than it needed to...
And then something shocking happened. Angel clobbered New Jack from behind with the guitar... and pinned him! I really don't remember New Jack doing much losing in this feud, but not only did he lose here, but he also lost a singles match to Angel at the next PPV.
BILL ALFONSO (& SABU) PROMO - Joey told us this was going to be a "somber" promo and he was right. I have never seen Fonzie this restrained before. He simply told us that Sabu was the best in the world, and that he would be dedicating tonight's match to his best friend "Ticho," who had passed away recently, and we closed out by zooming in on Ticho's name written on Sabu's tape.
CHRIS CANDIDO (w/Tammy Lynn Sytch) vs. SABU (w/Bill Alfonso) - 7/10
The story here was Sabu working over Candido's back while Candido worked over Sabu's head. They started it off with some big stuff like Candido missing the New Jersey Jam, but when Sabu went to capitalize on that by locking in the Camel Clutch, the fans basically said "we don't want to see that." Of course, this being an ECW crowd, the way they expressed this was by chanting for Tammy to show her boobs. Being the smart workers they are, these guys found a way to adopt their story for the spot-hungry crowd, focusing on stuff like DDTs and table bumps and top rope moves to get over the damage to Candido's back and Sabu's neck. I can see some people saying that they went faster than they should have and didn't give most things a chance to sink in, and while I wouldn't disagree with that, I thought it worked here because the times they did slow it down were pretty well chosen for maximum impact.
The one spot here that didn't go so well was when Sabu was set up for a diving leg drop to Candido on a table but Tammy ran in and tried to crotch him on the top rope, as she had previously done. This time Fonzie managed to stop her, and while Candido had managed to roll off of the table, Fonzie was able to force Tammy onto it to set up for her taking the move. Candido made the save for his beloved... and then just kind of slumped down face-first onto the table so Sabu could hit the diving leg drop on him. I get what they were going for, but the execution wound up looking like Candido set himself up top take the move on purpose. Candido kicked out of the pin, then Sabu hit him with diving leg drop with a chair to the back, then locked in the Camel Clutch and Candido tapped out quickly. Joey and Cyrus put Candido over huge for his effort in defeat.
MASATO TANAKA PROMO - I don't know what he said when he was speaking Japanese, but all I needed to understand was the part where he said he would become the new world champion tonight.
MIKE AWESOME & JUDGE JEFF JONES PROMO - Good, but then again, Judge Jeff Jones promos are a guilty pleasure of mine.
CYRUS & JOEY STUFF - Joey hyped up the world title match, then they engaged in more comedy aimed at Smarks, with Cyrus making a bunch of references to the Montreal Screwjob. He then had the production people air a tape from earlier tonight that Joey didn't want aired, which was...
LOU E. DANGEROUSLY YELLS AT PEOPLE BACKSTAGE - He was generally being a jerk and talking on his phone and insisting he was the boss. He fired some big dude I didn't recognize because he was only on screen for a fraction of a second. Then he apparently said something to Jazz and Francine that Joey insisted was terrible but we couldn't actually here what it was. Atlas security came to take him away, and he kept insisting that he was the boss the whole time they were dragging him out. He also fired The Sandman, who completely ignored him. This was dumb and pointless.
ECW WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT TITLE MATCH:
Mike Awesome(c) (w/Judge Jeff Jones) vs. Masato Tanaka - 8.25/10
They pushed the idea that Tanaka has never lost to Awesome twice in a row, that Tanaka has beaten Awesome more than anyone else in the business has, and that Awesome has never beaten Tanaka in a singles match in ECW.
The match itself was what you would expect from these two: They spent all match hitting each other with moves that both looked and felt like they should end a match, and while that does fit a definition of "spotty," they had psychology and told a story and built it well and fed off of the atmosphere in the building, so it felt like it more like a battle of iron wills than a spotfest.
ECW WORLD TELEVISION TITLE MATCH:
Rob Van Dam(c) (w/Bill Alfonso) vs. Taz - 6.75/10
While wishing Rob's wife a speedy recovery from a jet-skiing accident, Joey used Rob's shoot last name. WHY? Why can't she just be Sonia Van Dam and not break kayfabe? Or if you think giving her Rob's worked last name would make it "fake" then why not just call her Sonia without giving any last name at all. You already told us she's Rob's wife so it's not like people won't understand who she is.
This match started off well, but then got a little sloppy and disjointed as it went on. There was a bit of a story with Taz doing his suplexes and Rob working over Taz's mid-section, but, as I said, it was pretty disjointed so it didn't come across so well. In my favorite moment of the match, Taz became the first man to avoid a Van Daminator by simply PUTTING THE CHAIR DOWN.
RAVEN, THE SANDMAN, & TOMMY DREAMER (w/Francine) vs. RHINO & THE IMPACT PLAYERS (w/Dawn Marie Bytch & Jason) - 6.75/10
The crowd was electric from the moment the first chord of the first babyface entrance (Tommy's) sounded. This match was an all-out sprint of an eleven-minute main event where everyone got to get their stuff in. This included the women, who had their customary catfight. I was amazed at Dawn's breasts' ability to stay in her top until I remembered that she used to glue herself into them. One of Dawn's boobs did eventually come out, and after watching it back twice, I am 95% certain that the only reason it came out was because Francine purposely ripped it out. And considering the heat between them, which Dawn has said was started by Franny purposely stiffing her in the ring and then hiding behind her position as the booker's girlfriend to prevent reprisals, I can totally see Franny having done this on purpose (for those worried about Dawn, don't worry; she got the last laugh on Franny in the end by going over Tommy's head to Heyman and directly asking Paul for permission to stiff Franny right back if she tried anything with her. She did [this was in the summer of 2000, I think], Dawn kicked her ass, and Franny suddenly stopped stiffing her. Funny how that works).
The heels won when Raven accidentally(?) hit Sandman with a cane shot. Whether this was on purpose or not, Raven did have the chance to make the save when Justin went to pin Sandman but he chose not to do so.
This would have been decent for a regular show from ECW, but for a PPV, it was disappointing. While the top two matches were disappointing, the main problem with it was that it was just way too busy on the undercard. If you cut out everything between the opening segment and the Three-Way Dance and split that time between the main event and TV Title match, this show would have been MUCH better.