OPENING SEGMENT - Historic. J.T. Smith and his tag team partner for tonight, Damien Stone, come out to the ring. J.T. has just started doing his fake Italian gimmick. Joey Styles tells us that, "as an Italian myself" he is outraged at J.T.'s mockery of Italian-American culture. Smith reveals that he did some research, and it turns out Damien Stone is his cousin, whom he dubs "Little Guido." They don't have the name yet, but we have just witnessed the formation of the Full-Blooded Italians.
DUDLEYS SEGMENT - Even more historically important. Big Dick Dudley and Buh-Buh Ray Dudley are Stone & J.T.'s scheduled opponents for tonight. They come out to the ring accompanied by Sign Guy Dudley, and D.W. Dudley, who is in a wheelchair and many casts due to an assault by the Headhunters. Buh-Buh Ray takes ring announcer Joel Gertner's microphone and the crowd starts to chant "WHAT'S YOUR NAME?!" at him to mock his stuttering problem. Buh-Buh Ray starts to respond, but a new Dudley- an African-American one- shows up and snatches the microphone out of his hand and declares "this bullsh*t is gonna stop right now!"
Yes, this is the debut of Devon, and the formation of the Dudley Boys unit that we all know and love. Let the record show that in his first six sentences in ECW, Devon dropped an f-bomb in three of them, one of the remaining three was the sentence I quoted above, that included a different profanity, and one of the only two that didn't include a word you can't say on television was a mere three words long. And somewhere in the crowd, John Zandig is taking notes.
Devon went over to the Dudleys' opponents and recited his now-famous commandments line, then punched them both right in the face, kicking off...
J.T. SMITH & "LITTLE GUIDO" DAMIEN STONE vs. THE DUDLEYS (Big Dick Dudley & Buh-Buh Ray Dudley) (w/Sign Guy Dudley, D.W. Dudley, & Devon Dudley) - no rating, FANTASTIC segment
Theoretically there was a wrestling match going on here but Devon Dudley did not care about that one bit. He just kept beating on the future FBI like this was any random brawl. He obliterated J.T. Smith some sickening chairshots to the head, and when the referee tried to stop Devon, Devon just kicked his ass, too. Buh-Buh Ray joined Devon in his attacks on the referee and Smith by holding them in place for Devon to hit them, but if the nearest weapon was in one of the other Dudley's hands, Devon had no qualms about just ripping it away from one of his half-brothers and hitting the referee with that as well. Eventually the head referee ran out to ringside to tell the ring announcer to announce that the Dudleys had been DQed for assaulting the referee, but Devon just kept beating on the referee. In perhaps the biggest understatement in wrestling history, Joey Styles said that Devon appeared to be "a very angry young man."
Big Dick finally seemed to calm Devon down and got him to go to the back, but while this was happening, Buh-Buh picked up some weapon, pulled the ref up then hit him in the head with it and counted his own pin. This Devon fellow sure seems to be rubbing off on Buh-Buh.
The crowd chanted "DANCE, BUH-BUH, DANCE!" and Buh-Buh got all excited and started jumping around like a giant toddler. Buh-Buh begged Big Dick for permission to dance, while D.W. held up a sign that read "dirty Dudley dancing." Big Dick finally gave Buh-Buh permission to dance and just as he started to do so, Devon began to yell at him and shoved him out of the ring, but backed down when Big Dick gave him a disapproving look. All of the Dudleys then left.
This took long enough that J.T. Smith and Damien Stone had time to recover from the vicious beatings they received and J.T. began to delusionally brag about how if the Dudleys hadn't run away he would have kicked their asses. Devon charged back out and attacked them, eventually chasing them to where Buh-Buh was waiting with a chair for another beat-down.
This was very long (about fifteen minutes), but it did an outstanding job of introducing Devon and showing him to be something very different from the Dudleys we had previously known. In a promotion that at this time featured the likes of Taz, Sabu, the Pit Bulls, the Bruise Brothers, Tommy Dreamer, Brian Lee, Sandman, the Headhunters, the Gangstas, and Big Dick Dudley, in this one segment they made Devon seem like he might well be the single scariest, most dangerous person in the company.
HACK MYERS vs. BILLY BLACK - 5.5/10
Billy Black was dressed all in black. That was appropriate. He also jump Hack Myers before the bell. This was a GREAT match for the time it got. It was packed with action, the highlight of which was Billy Black getting what looked like a ridiculous amount of height on a moonsault.
ECW WORLD TAG TEAM TITLE MATCH:
The Eliminators(c) vs. Joel Hartgood & El Puerto Ricano - no rating, good murder-squash
Yeah. This was vicious and brutal. The Eliminators could have gotten the win several times over but opted to keep dishing out punishment instead. I'm just wondering how two jobbers managed to become #1 contenders to the ECW World Tag Team Titles.
POST-MATCH SEGMENT - Didn't care for it. Saturn grabs a mic and calls out the Gangstas, saying that they "don't need to be invited to a dance to cut in," seemingly foreshadowing some interference in the main event.
The sound guy played New Jack's music but instead of coming out from the entrance, the Gangstas came out from the crowd, behind the Eliminators. I hoped New Jack & Mustafa promised to protect the sound guy from the Eliminators in exchange for aiding them in this sneak attack.
They hit each other with stuff. Referees and wrestlers and cops all came out to break it up. During this, New Jack punched one of the cops so he got arrested. Mustafa also got arrested, seemingly just for being New Jack's tag team partner.
DRAMA HAPPENS IN RAVEN'S ENTOURAGE - Stevie & Meanie's gimmick for tonight was HBK & Diesel. Kimona's gimmick was to be hot. Everyone in the Nest pulled off their assigned roles effectively. Some woman who Joey Styles identified as "the Meanie Doll" came out and made out with the Meanie, then sprayed whipped cream on him. Raven didn't like this so he pulled her off by the hair. Kimona walked towards the woman but Raven slapped her for seemingly no reason and she fell to the mat as if she was dead. Oversell much? Stevie questioned why Raven did this, then just put the boots to Kimona. Kimona was carried off by the referees, so she's now out of the group. There is a lot more important storyline stuff on this show, which shocked me because this show never gets talked about. Next week she'll be with Shane and make the big announcement of out nowhere that Beulah isn't really pregnant and also has been sleeping with her because we've got to get rid of this baby angle before someone points out that Beulah probably should be showing by now but isn't.
With the hindsight of both knowing what happens next week and having read the Observer report of the previous TV tapings, I figured out that Raven slapping Kimona comes out of an angle they did at the TV tapings where the Bruise Brothers were holding Beulah and Raven was going to kick her in the stomach to cause her to have a miscarriage, and Kimona got in the way, with the time Raven spent throwing Kimona out of his way buying Tommy enough time to make the save. With the benefit of hindsight we know that Kimona was saving Beulah out of love (she's clearly not doing it to protect the secret that the pregnancy isn't real because she has no problem revealing that secret unprompted next week), but all of us- Raven, Joey Styles, and the crowd, it looked like Kimona was taking a stand against Raven's woman-beating again, so Raven attacked her.
While this all makes sense in hindsight, the angle required no one (other than Kimona, I guess) to understand what was going on, so this just seemed random to the viewer. It also suffers from the flaw of there not being an actual reason to why Kimona was seemingly going to stand up for this random woman (Beulah is her lover, the "Meanie Doll" is just some random woman who she seems to have no affinity for at all) in order to get up Raven turning on her. Unless she actually was standing up to Raven's woman-beating, but that was never referenced in the angle. Either way, I think it would have made a lot more sense to have the aforementioned angle from the TV tapings be the thing that results in Kimona leaving Raven, as it would have aired on TV before Hostile City Showdown took place so people going to the show would have seen her have reason to leave, then not book her on this show at all while maybe having Shane incorporate some comment about having a "secret weapon" or "big surprise" lined up for Raven when he is cutting his promo on the Meanie to tease next week's big reveal. This would both eliminate the logic problem here with Kimona, and also save some money by not booking Kimona for this weekend's shows.
ECW WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT TITLE MATCH:
Raven(c) (w/Raven's Nest) vs. Damien 666 - 6.5/10
Before the match they had Stevie cut a promo on Damien for seemingly no reason. My best guess is that they wanted to ensure that Damien got a babyface reaction, and having him flip Stevie off and shout "F*CK YOU!" at him was a decent way to do that. Damien and Raven proceeded to have a very good match for the time they got. Lots of dives and chairshots and other such brawling stuff.
SHANE DOUGLAS PROMO - He starts out by ripping on his least favorite current world champion of a big two company... Shawn Michaels (and yes, Flair was WCW World Heavyweight Champion at this point). Based on Shane's comments here I'm guessing that this was in reaction to some comments Shawn made in an AOL chat, but it's Shane Douglas, so you he might just have been doing it with no prompting.
Shane explained to us that his scheduled opponent, Rob Van Dam, has a broken wrist so he can't wrestle tonight, so he is going to be making an open challenge to anyone in the back to come out and have a "shoot" with him. He also made it clear that this challenge was open to "Dick Flair" "that piece of sh*t Hulk Hogan," "that cocksucker Razor Ramon," and "the Heartburn Kid." I guess Shane ran out of steam for that last one. Personally, I'm kind of curious how Nash managed to escape this verbal rampage.
The challenge was answered by... The Blue Meanie, who is still doing the HBK mannerisms. Shane said that he didn't want Meanie, he wanted Raven, so that keeps that angle alive in our minds. Axl Rotten comes out and beats up The Blue Meanie. He cuts a promo demanding a match with Shane, and then starts hitting Shane until the bell rings, signaling the start of...
AXL ROTTEN vs. SHANE DOUGLAS - 4.25/10
Axl used the advantage he got from the jump-start to beat Shane up for a while, then Shane made a comeback and beat Axl up. Shane used a chair for a pop, then won with the Belly-to-Belly Suplex. The fans chanted for Axl after the match and Shane cut a promo putting him over, while also taking one last dig at the WWF.
"EXTREME HARDCORE SHOOTFIGHT" WITH TOD GORDON AND BILL ALFONSO HANDCUFFED TO EACH OTHER AT RINGSIDE AND SENSEI TOM DELWANO AS SPECIAL GUEST REFEREE:
Chris Jericho vs. Taz (w/Team Taz) - DUD!
I feel REALLY bad giving this a DUD because Jericho and Taz tried their best to have a great match but Paul Heyman completely ruined it. Jericho and Taz did lots of great suplexes and submissions and strikes and stuff in the mere three and a half minutes they were given. The problem (other than the time, of course) is that we didn't get to see too much of it because the camera kept cutting to where Fonzie and Tod were seated at ringside, with Fonzie constantly trying to get up and Tod yanking him back. And this wouldn't happen when Taz was down and Jericho had him in a hold. It would happen when Jericho would start throwing big knee strikes, or when he would pick Taz up for a move... and then we'd cut over to Tod restraining Fonzie,, and when we got back to the ring, Taz would be down on the mat and we'd have no idea what Jericho did to him (and I don't think this was editing to hide botches, but because there was way too much of it).
One of these cut-aways caused us to miss the special guest referee get poked in the eye or something. At this point a member of Team Taz superkicked referee Jim Molineuax, took the keys to the handcuffs from him, and freed Fonzie, then restrained Tod. Fonzie got a chair and hit Jericho in the head with it. Joey Styles was outraged by this, but they specifically said this was an "extreme hardcore shootfight," so shouldn't weapons and interference be legal? Taz locked on the Taz-mission, Fonzie got the ref's attention, and the referee immediately called for the bell without even looking at Jericho, as Joey Styles pointed out to us that Jericho never submitted.
Taz wouldn't let the hold go, so Tod Gordon ran into the ring and tried to pull him off but to no avail. Meanwhile, the referee found the chair that Fonzie had used still laying in the ring. He asked Fonzie about it, but Fonzie denied using it. The referee seemed like he didn't believe Fonzie and looked like he was going to hit him with the chair but then swerved everyone and attacked Gordon instead and put him in the Taz-mission. Fonzie then paid the referee a bunch of money. Well if they were on the same side the whole time then why didn't they begin to execute their plan the moment the bell rang? Why wait three minutes during which Jericho could easily drop Taz on his head and beat him or make him tap out or something?
So yeah. We had a Montreal finish before Montreal and a Russo swerve before Russo, both in the same segment. And the worst part about this was that it really didn't serve a purpose. Jericho didn't do on to feud with Taz, the referee didn't hang around and become part of Team Taz, nothing like ever came of this. It was just another way to tread water with Fonzie getting the best of Tod Gordon. It was a stalling tactic and nothing else, and it completely wasted what could have been an awesome match to do it.
RAVEN'S NEST (Brian Lee & the Bruise Brothers) vs. TOMMY DREAMER & THE PIT BULLS (w/Beulah McGillicutty & Francine) - 6.75/10
They had a big crazy brawl that wound up spilling outside of the building. This was one of those brawls that makes you understand why everyone tried so hard to replicate things like this over the course of the net ten years or so. This really, truly felt out of control. Raven ran in to attack Tommy and eventually Tommy got pinned.
POST-MATCH SEGMENT - Fine, I guess. The heels keep beating Tommy down. They go to post his groin but Beulah begs Raven not to. The heels are about to attack the pregnant Beulah (to cause her to have a miscarriage, although it would have been nice if Joey Styles had mentioned this part on commentary, as I had to deduce it later after reading the Observer) but Francine runs in and pushes Beulah to safety, taking the attack herself. I was not really expecting that out of Francine. Boy is she going to be pissed next week when she learns the unborn child she's doing this to protect isn't real.
Anyway, Franny's selflessness give the Pit Bulls time to recover and they chase the Nest away. Tommy beats Raven up, then the Pit Bulls come back, but not the nest (I guess they beat up all three heels on their own, off-screen). The babyfaces set Raven up on a table, then the Pit Bulls superbomb Dreamer onto Raven, through the table. Joey Styles made a big deal out of the world champion being "unconscious in the middle of the ring" due to Tommy, but if anything ever came of this, it was just Tommy getting a title shot at a house show in Plymouth Meeting, PA the next weekend. It's really weird how Dreamer almost never got title shots on big shows. Otherwise, this just seemed to be something to do in order to end the segment with the babyfaces winning while still letting the heels win the actual match.
MIKEY WHIPWRECK vs. SABU - 6.75/10
There wasn't a story here so much as a theme of recklessness, both in kayfabe and out of it. Sabu threw a chair into the ring that hit the prone Mikey right in the head. Sabu also WAY overshot on a springboard move into the crowd and crashed hard into either a table or the floor. I don't think Sabu was supposed to overshoot, but his doing so definitely added to the theme of the match. Unsurprisingly, this miss really hurt his back, but he still tried to do a triple-jump Frankensteiner on the finish despite both his injury and Mikey having shoved him off the top rope and through a table the last time he tried something like this, but Sabu somehow managed to keep his balance and hit the move for the finish. It had a real feeling of "if Sabu doesn't hit this move, he'll have no chance of winning this match anymore, and if Mikey reverses it, Sabu could wind up very seriously hurt."
TAG TEAM THREE-WAY DANCE:
2 Cold Scorpio & the Sandman (w/Missy Hyatt) vs. the Headhunters (w/Damien Kane & Lady Alexandra) vs. the Gangstas - 4/10
Scorpio cut a promo on the sound technician for f*cking up their music. Missy was apparently in the mood to do quite a lot of dancing tonight. She just kept going back and forth between Sandman and Scorpio and grinding.
The match started without the Gangstas because I guess they hadn't been let out of jail yet. They hit each other with stuff for a while. Sandman... was probably not in a condition that was safe to perform in. He seemed to be having trouble keeping his balance on the ropes, falling off at least once, and later in the match he went up to the top rope for a diving elbow drop, but either slipped or just figured the opponent was too far away and just jumped down and did a running elbow drop instead. He also looked very out of it and came up short on moves several times.
Eventually the Gangstas came back... and they were still in handcuffs. This means that either the police let them go but did not let them out of the handcuffs, or that they escaped from the police station. If it were the former you would assume there would be cops chasing them, as either the police station is within walking distance of the building, in which case the cops should certainly be here by now, or the Gangstas managed to steal and drive a car with their hands still cuffed and they lost the cops in the chase and the cops weren't smart enough to send some officers to a building that they should know the Gangstas might be likely to be headed. Or maybe they didn't steal a car but they managed to hitch a ride with some moron who doesn't know that it's never a good idea to offer a ride to people in handcuffs.
So yeah. That angle earlier did nothing but make the show dumber. Speaking of dumb, the Gangstas choked the Headhunters with their handcuffs until they were attacked by the Eliminators... and despite never having been eliminated, the Headhunters and their managers just disappeared and were not seen again all night.
The Eliminators beat the Gangstas down until Sandman and Scorpio got into the ring, at which point the Eliminators backed down. Sandman and Scorpio then started assaulting these two handcuffed and already beaten-down men. Are Sandman and Scorpio not babyfaces? Because this felt like an extremely heelish thing to do.
During all of this, one of New Jack's cuff became undone, so he was able to get his shoulder up to break a pin. Mustafa got freed of his cuffs somehow, too. More brawling happened. Unlike the earlier brawl into the crowd, the camera crew did an atrocious job of shooting this one. Eventually Mustafa took out Sandman, then Scorpio got double-teamed and pinned. This match was a total mess, but it did make me think that New Jack and Scorpio probably could have had a pretty damn great singles match, and Scorpio and Sandman vs. Gangstas probably could have been good if Sandman was with it.
This was not a good show at all, and yet it was shockingly easy to sit through. Sure, the length helps with that (not much over two hours and ten minutes), but it also flowed very well and you rarely got the feeling that what you were watching was unimportant. It was just a show that wasn't very good. It's storyline importance makes it worth your time to watch it despite the low quality, and it definitely is one of those shows that you can show someone who has never seen ECW before in order to give them a very good feel for what a prototypical ECW show is like.