ECW Wrestlapalooza 97 (6/7/2997)- Philadelphia, PA
The show opens with Joey Styles and Rick Rude running down the card and hyping up the major matches.
Shane Douglas sweeping away a Flyers t-shirt got me to pop, but I’m the guy who wore a Rangers jersey to ROH tapings at the Arena.. The real story here is that it also got an unexpectedly large portion of the Philly crowd to pop. I guess there were a lot more people making the two hour trek from NY to Philly for ECW shows than I thought.
ECW TV TITLE MATCH: Shane Douglas(c) (w/Francine) vs. Chris Chetti- 4.5/10
THE PIT BULLS vs. THE FBI (Little Guido & Tracy Smothers) (w/Tommy Rich)- 4.5/10
WINNER GETS AN ECW WORLD TAG TEAM TITLE MATCH LATER TONIGHT: Balls Mahoney & The Sandman vs. The Dudley Boys (w/Big Dick Dudley, Sign Guy Dudley, & Joel Gertner)- 4.75/10
The Dudleys spent at least ten minutes jawing with the crowd before their opponents ever came out. It made you want to get up and shout GET ON WITH IT!” Actually, between all of that and then Sandman’s entrance, the entrances and associated gaga for this match took around twenty minutes. That is just WAY too long. The match itself was only seven minutes long (a decent brawl). The entrances were almost THREE TIMES as long as the match.
STEVIE RICHARDS APPEARANCE/PROMO- this was a nice, touching moment. I really wish the damn fans hadn’t sh*t all over it. Sure they were chanting “STEVIE!” at times, but they were also taking over it and people actually cheered when Stevie said he might not be able to wrestle again.
ECW WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT TITLE MATCH: Terry Funk(c) vs. Chris Candido- 1/10
Horrific psychology here.
Want to know what kills a finish? Watch this match. Candido gives Funk some lame looking attempt at a piledriver on a chair on the outside, then rolls him into the ring and hits him with a regular old effective piledriver. Funk kicks out. Then Candido picks Funk up and hits THREE STRAIGHT PILEDRIVER… and Funk kicks out! Then Candido hits three straight falling neckbreakers on Funk and goes for the cover. If four piledrivers didn’t put him down, how in the hell are regular old falling neckbreakers going to do it? Horrendous psychology from two guys who should know a lot better. Funk then comes back with some neckbreakers, some headbutts, and a magistral for the win. I am giving this a 1/10 because of the decent wrestling in the beginning and the fact that Candido only got rolled up rather than getting put down.
THE FINAL SHOWDOWN: Tommy Dreamer (Beulah McGillicutty) vs. Raven (w/Chastity & Lupus)- 6/10
This was way too short to do this feud justice. Yeah, it was sixteen minutes, but it really didn’t feel like they did anything. It is also a shame that Stevie, Meanie, Nova, Sandman, Funk, and others couldn’t have been involved in some way here, as all felt like important pieces of the feud.
Chastity sprays something in Tommy’s eyes, but it was nice of Beulah to wait until Raven hit Tommy with a dropkick, went for a cover, and Tommy kicked out before going after the woman who sprayed a chemical in her boyfriend’s eyes. With that sort of dedication to her man, it is any wonder that Tommy will be with Francine within two years?
Anyway, the crowd was hot for this match, but it really wasn’t everything that it shouldn’t have been. Also, I’m pretty sure that every third move in this match was a DDT, so if you are looking for a little diversity, this is not the match for you.
LAWLER, SABU, & RVD ATTACK DREAMER- DUD!
Don’t get me wrong, the concept here was great, but I thought the execution was extremely poor all around. First the lights go off and when they go on again, RVD appears in the ring. He hits Dreamer with a Van Terminator, and puts the boots to him, but Dreamer manages to get back up and beat up RVD. Then the lights go off for a second time and when they come back on, Sabu appears. He starts to beat Tommy up, but Tommy, who has just been through a grueling, violent match against his arch nemesis, fights back and BEATS UP BOTH GUYS BY HIMSELF, ending in simultaneously DDTing both guys. Then the lights of out for a third time and Jerry Lawler is in the ring. Dreamer tries to go after Lawler, but RVD and Sabu get up (barely selling Tommy’s finisher), and only with the added distraction of Jerry Lawler are they able to take down Tommy.
Lawler then disses ECW while RVD and Sabu beat Balls, Nova, and Axl down with chairs. Fonzie calls out Douglas, but Shane says he doesn’t care. Then first the Gangstas and then the Sandman come and brawl with RVD . After they have been dispatched, Lawler calls people out again, and Taz comes out. Sabu wants to fight Taz, but for some unknown reason, RVD is holding Sabu back, and so three guys who just beat down most of the babyfaces in the company, including Dreamer, Sandman, and the Gangstas… all run away from ONE UNARMED GUY!
This whole time Louie Spicolli is restraining Beulah in the corner, and props to Spicolli for emphasizing the fact that that he was restraining her, because Beulah didn’t seem to be trying to fight to get free at all until Lawler started insulting her.
I also don’t like the timing of this. I get the idea of taking Tommy’s moment of glory away from him, but think that it would have been better to let Tommy have his moment of glory, as he rarely ever got to have a moment that wasn’t overshadowed by the fact that he couldn’t beat Raven. I think it would have capped off the feud better, and the Lawler angle could have been started any time that Lawler was available.
Anyway, this pile of poop transitioned into Taz calling people out and cutting an angry promo. When Taz gets done talking, it is, for an unequally unknown reason, now okay with the heels for Sabu to face Taz, leading to…
TAZ vs. SABU (w/Bill Alfonzo)- 5.75/10
Pretty short match, but a good finish that allowed it to be short and built to a rematch. After the matzh Taz goes nuts, refusing to let the Tazmission go on Sabu, then letting go of Sabu and locking it in on various refs, then locking it in on Fonzie.
TAZ & SHANE SEGMENT- a good segment setting up…
ECW TV TITLE MATCH IN WHICH IF TAZ DOESN’T MAKE DOUGLAS TAP WITHIN THREE MINUTES, TAZ LEAVES ECW FOR 60 DAYS: Shane Douglas(c) (w/Francine) vs. Taz- No rating, okay segment.
Just once, I would like to see a stip like this actually go against the babyface. Heels aren’t the only one who should occasionally be undone by hubris.
Tod Gordon comes out to the ring and tells us that Perry Saturn can’t wrestle because he is severely injured and will be out for a year (he would be wrestling in WCW in just three months). He asks the Eliminators to come out and surrender the titles. On commentary, Joey says “we knew this was going to happen.” If you knew it was going to happen, why did you hype up the f*cking match during the opening of the show?! And why would you have a #1 contendership match for a title shot later tonight if you thought you were going to just vacate the titles? Anyway, the Eliminators come out and say that Kronus will defend the belts in a handicap match.
ECW WORLD TAG TEAM TITLE MATCH: The Eliminators(c) vs. The Dudley Boys (w/Sign Guy Dudley, Big Dick Dudley, & Joel Gertner)- 5.5/10
I guess it wasn’t really a handicap match because Saturn picked up the pin. Anyway, if you thought Eddie Edwards was crazy for wrestling a Ladder War with a broken elbow, then Perry Saturn is utterly f*cking insane for participating in this match (and doing a diving elbow drop!) with just one good leg!
Overall, a complete and total stinker from ECW! Just an atrocious show.