First they had a bunch of clip from last night's show in New York, which had the same name. And by "a bunch of clips" I mean half an hour's worth. The fact that they didn't give the previous night's show its own release is baffling when you look at the card: Cactus Jack vs. Chris Jericho, another 2 out of 3 Falls Rey vs. Juvi match, Sabu vs. Scorpio for the TV title, Eliminators vs. Pit Bulls for the tag titles, Raven vs. Sandman for the world title. You'd think this would have sold pretty darn well.
JOEY STYLES INTERVIEWS THE GANGSTAS - Horrible segment. Before they could get started, a female fan ran into the ring and attempted to hump New Jack. Security took her away while she shrieked his name. New Jack's first sentence included the phrase "crazy-ass retarded mother*ckers." Is anyone surprised? He said he wanted to kick someone's ass. Then he ran down WCW and WWF. The idea of New Jack saying that anyone is bad wrestling is utterly ridiculous.
Damien Drake showed up and offered to manage the Gangstas tonight against Sandman and 2 Cold Scorpio. New Jack turned his offer down in a very graphic manner. This segment sucked. It was just a lot of pointless yelling and screaming and cursing. It actually gave me a headache. New Jack sucker-punched Damien. New Jack then grabbed the mic and screamed and cursed some more.
J.T. SMITH vs. AXL ROTTEN - no rating.
This, too, was heavily clipped
EL PUERTO RICANO & DAMIEN STONE vs. THE BAD CREW - no rating
Damien Stone is the future Little Guido Maritato. This was just some random action that could be interrupted by Brian Pillman and his friends.
BRIAN PILLMAN & SHANE DOUGLAS SEGMENT - Dull. Pillman has an entourage now, including Harry Boatswain of the Philadelphia Eagles and two guys in suits. He demands that Joey Styles come out to the ring, and while Joey insists to us on commentary that he "doesn't take orders from Brian Pillman," he is honor-bound to go to the ring due to his duties as a "journalist." Pillman torments Joey a bit, then starts to cut a promo on Shane Douglas. This promo is interrupted by Shane's immortal "Hey, Brian Pillman!" line. Shane, standing in the crow's nest, then proceeded to cut a promo in which he referred to Pillman as being "from Atlanta" and having "a billionaire's money" behind him. Did no one tell Shane that the idea of this whole thing was to make people think PIllman wasn't working for WCW anymore?
Shane says he doesn't care if Pillman's lawyer sues him or Pillman's agent blacklists him from Hollywood, he's going to come down there and kick Pillman's ass. Pillman and Boatswain leave, so Shane now starts to cut a promo on them from the ring. He raved like a madman and had to be calmed down by Tod Gordon and some referees. This really didn't do anything for me. It was like the Cyberslam segment but worse.
ECW WORLD TAG TEAM TITLE MATCH:
The Eliminators(c) vs. Hack Myers & Buh-Buh Ray Dudley - Unratable
This, too was heavily clipped. It didn't look very good, though.
CHRIS JERICHO vs. TAZ - 5/10
Jericho was introduced as being from Calgary, Alberta, Canada, so I guess they confused him with the other Thrillseeker. This felt exciting simply because it was a Taz match from this era that felt competitive. Jericho got a lot in, then Taz dumped him on his head with a few suplexes and choked him out.
POST-MATCH SEGMENT - Convoluted. Taz wouldn't break the hold so the decision was reversed. First Damien Stone and then The Eliminators came out to try to pull Taz off. Pillman also came out, and Taz got off. Taz hit Stone with a Half-Nelson Taz-plex. Meanwhile, Pillman had headed back for the aisle. El Puerto Ricano came out and Pillman attacked him, including giving him a backdrop onto the guardrail/the floor (he hit both on the way down). This brought out Shane Douglas. Pillman ran away from Douglas and he and Harry Boatswain (who was in the front row now) left the building. Taz and Shane then had a stare-down until Taz headed to the back.
2 OUT OF 3 FALLS MATCH:
Rey Mysterio Jr. vs. Juventud Guerrera - 8.75/10
Almost sixteen minutes of absolute athletic insanity that still holds up today! Powerbombs onto cars! Diving hurricanrans in the parking lot! And an INSANE finish. Go watch this match now!
MIKEY WHIPWRECK vs. CACTUS JACK - 7.75/10
This was Mick Foley's last match in ECW. The fans seemed to like Foley a lot more than last time so I guess the turn at Cyberslam worked, but there were still a good number of people chanting "MANKIND SUCKS!" He used the move that was to become Mandible Claw in this match and fans booed, so I guess they've got time machines. That or the fans here booing it made Foley think it would make for a good heel finish. One of the two.
These two were basically trying to kill each other. Foley's head got worked over with weapons. This was a wild brawl and the crowd was into it the whole time. The crowd gave Foley a standing ovation and chanted for him. Foley showed Mikey respect to end their feud, gave a nice goodbye speech, then strutted out of the ECW Arena with Stevie and the Meanie.
THE BRUISE BROTHERS vs. THE PIT BULLS - no rating.
This match had a big cut in the middle of it so we only saw about six minutes of what CageMatch tells me went over fourteen, but I think I will rate this as a segment because what it really was was just some violence to set up a series of run-ins. First it was Stevie and the Meanie stopping the Pit Bulls from getting the win and taking the referee out to make this a no contest. Then Francine ran in to get them, beating down the Menaie but getting taken out by a Stevie Kick. The Bruise Brothers then went to crotch one of the Pit Bulls on the post but Tommy Dreamer ran in to save said Pit Bull from the fate he himself had suffered at the hands of the Bruise Brothers last month at Cyberslam. Then the babyfaces beat up Stevie and the Meanie for a while.
BIG TITAN vs. SABU - no rating. Yet ANOTHER heavily cut match.
"Big Titan" was Rick Bognar, most famous for being the Fake Razor Ramon. This was cut down from twelve minutes to about four. What we saw looked really great, but in this case that only increases the frustration of it being clipped down.
ECW WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT TITLE MATCH:
Raven(c) (w/Kimona Wanalaya, Stevie Richards, & The Blue Meanie) vs. Shane Douglas - 5/10
Raven is on crutches. Stevie claims that Raven has gout and thus can't wrestle. Raven agrees that he shouldn't wrestle tonight. Then Shane grabs a mic and says he has worked too hard to not get his title shot tonight. Then Shane Douglas, theoretically the babyface, sucker-punches Raven with the microphone, and then, as Raven is using his one remaining crutch to get back up, Shane clips his injured leg. WHAT A TOTAL HEEL! Thankfully Stevie Richards was able to save Raven with a Stevie Kick. Raven then hopped over to Shane and hit him with a DDT and go for the pin but Shane kicked out at which point I booed because I did not want to see this sucker-punching bully Shane Douglas get back up and take advantage of Raven's vulnerable state to win the ECW World Heavyweight Title because he would be an unworthy champion. THIS IS SO BACKWARDS.
Raven beat Shane up on the outside while hobbling around on one leg. He hit Shane with a DDT on the floor, then got back into the ring and demanded that the referee count Shane Douglas out, and the referee began to do so. Really. Apparently there are count-outs in ECW. Who knew?
There was a lot of interference and overbooking in this match and it only went about eight and a half minutes, which is totally understandable due to Raven's condition, but it still almost felt disappointing when it all happened because of how much Raven had been doing WITH the injury before that all started. Included in that overbooking was Shane getting at least one visual pinfall on Raven to keep him viable as a challenger. There was also a run-in by the Bruise Brothers, which actually hurt things to me because at that point it just seems ridiculous that Tommy and the Pit Bulls wouldn't run in to help fight Raven's Nest. Still, aside from the backwards-ass psychology in the beginning, this match probably went about as well as it possibly could have under the circumstances.
POST-MATCH SEGMENT - Very bad. The heels beat Shane down some more and the Bruise Brothers go to crotch him on the post but this time Dreamer does decide to come out and make the save. Maybe he was in the bathroom during the match. Tommy also got beaten down and the Bruise Brothers were going to crotch him on the post again but The Sandman came out to make the save. The issue with Tommy coming out now but not coming out before applies doubly so to Sandman because at the previous big show (Just Another Night 1996) he had made pact with Shane that each other them would help the other fight off Raven's cronies during their pursuits of the ECW World Heavyweight Title, and that whichever one of them won the belt would give the other the first shot.
Sandman beat Raven and his crew up with his Singapore cane. Dreamer then hit Raven with a DDT, put a chair around his ankle and went to smash that chair with another chair, but he and Sandman got into an argument over who would get to hurt Raven. Yes really. Why can't they just take turns? While this was happening, Shane snuck into the ring, climbed the top rope, and did a diving splash onto Raven's ankle and the chair. Then Shane had to stop Tommy and Sandman from fighting. Then Tommy left and Sandman was angry with Shane for some reason and kept teasing hitting him with his cane. Meanwhile, every time Sandman would turn around to consult the crowd, Shane would laugh at him. Then Too cold Scorpio came out and he and Sandman argued for some mysterious reason as well. Joey kept insisting that Shane is being devious and manipulating everyone, but to be honest, at this point in the story, Shane hasn't really done anything morally questionable. There is nothing wrong with having mutual defense pacts with two different factions. If anything, Shane is the ultimate babyface here, trying to bring Tommy and Sandman together for the ultimate goal of defeating the evil Raven. I guess the idea here was to show that Shane is devious and hint that he will be taking advantage of Dreamer and Sandman in his deals with them, but it just made Tommy and Sandman look stupid, and this whole thing made Tommy and Sandman look bad for not trying to help Shane until the dramatically appropriate moment.
TAG TEAM THREE-WAY DANCE:
The Gangstas vs. Too Cold Scorpio & The Sandman (w/Missy Hyatt) vs. The Headhunters (w/Damien Kane & Lady Alexandra) - 5.75/10
The Gangstas didn't even show up until about four minutes in. Despite this, the referee was counting pins. How the hell do you start a match without all of the participants there?
They hit each other with stuff a lot. Scorpio pinned one of the Headhunters with a 450. The other one attacked him so Sandman came to the rescue, but Sandman and the Headhunter wound up brawling all the way to the back, which left Scorpio alone against both Gangstas. Scorpio tried to fight back but was rather easily overcome. The Gangstas hit an AWESOME vertical suplex/dropkick combo.
This seemed like a really good show from ECW but so much of it being clips was very frustrating. That being said, that portion in the middle with the Lucha match and then the Cactus Jack match and speech still made this feel worth it. It's just a shame that it couldn't have been even better by showing us the rest of the stuff in some of these other matches.