ECW Crossing The Line Again 97 (2/1/1997)- Philadelphia, PA
The show opens with Paul E. announcing that Barely Legal is back on PPV and thanking the fans for their support via phone calls and letter-writing campaign.
LANCE STORM vs. BALLS MAHONEY- 4/10
Lance still has his rat tail! Fantastic! If you want another sign of how new he was to ECW at this point, Joey Styles describes him as being from "Calgary, Canada." No Alberta or dramatic pause.
The match was very short. Lance looked impressive, Balls looked like Balls.
STEVIE RICHARDS (w/the bWo) vs. RICKY MORTON (w/his girlfriend)- 4/10
So Ricky brought his girlfriend to the ring and she is... how shall I put this gently... very homely. She decided to wear ass-less chaps to entice you to look at the other end of her body, so at least she is aware of this... deficiency.
"DR. DEATH" STEVE WILLIAMS vs. AXL ROTTEN- DUD!
They punch each other in the corner. Then Axl hits a clothesline for a two-count. Then Dr. Death hits the Oklahoma Stampede. Axl kicks out. Dr. Death hits the Backdrop Driver for the win. That was the entire match.
Raven & Dr. Death start brawling so Tod Gordon comes out to ringside and says that if they want to fight so badly, he'll make an ECW World Heavyweight Title match right now!
ECW WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT TITLE MATCH: Raven(c) vs. "Dr. Death" Steve Williams- 4.5/10
Dr. Death gets shined up, then Raven cuts him off. Raven hits a big superplex and Dr. Death seems to be out, but then the bWo comes out, with both Tyler and Lori Fullington wearing bWo shirts (so Stevie stole the family that Raven stole Sandman?). Raven and Stevie start fighting. Dr. Death takes Raven out. Stevie superkicks Dr. Death, and as he went down, you got this sense of "really? One Stevie Kick takes out one of the toughest men in wrestling?"
And then Dr. Death rolled over and got right back up!
Then Stevie charged up his superkick HBK-style, and Dr. Death got right back up after it again. Then Stevie went to "charge up" his superkick again, but he stomped on the mat about seventy times and extremely fast, as if he actually believed that this would make his superkick more effective. It was HILARIOUS!
Dr. Death blocked this Stevie Kick... but then Stevie hit him with another one which put him down (LAME!) and one DDT by Raven later and the match was over.
DEVON DUDLEY vs. THE SANDMAN- 4.5/10
The lack of original music was unfortunate here, and nowhere was this more true than the Sandman's entrance. They used this absolutely LAME electric guitar riff that would be lame under any circumstances, but when you are expecting Enter Sandman... well... you get the picture.
Also of note is a comment by Joey Styles revealing to us what Devon's kayfabe job was before he became a pro wrestler: a postal worker. I swear I am not making this up.
They brawled around ringside a lot. After the match, Gertner went to announce the winner, but you could barely hear him because of the loud "F*CK HIM SANDMAN, F*CK HIM UP!" chants. Gertner announces Devon as the winner on points, and also reveals that he is wearing a New York Rangers t-shirt under his suit jacket, which makes him the babyface in my book. Sandman then canes Gertner, which would then make him the heel, meaning that I spent the whole match rooting for the wrong guy. Damn.
POST-MATCH SEGMENT- Historically important!
Devon then gets up and attack Sandman, but Bubba Ray and Spike come out to make the save... but Bubba starts attacking Sandman as well! Spike fights valiantly, but gets taken down by his two larger half-brothers. Not only was this the formation of the Dudleys into the heel unit they would become famous for being, but it also marks the appearance of their famous finishing move, which Joey Styles called a "Double Bubba Cutter."
Sandman gets up again, only to eat about ten more unprotected weapon shots to the head. Then The Gangstas come out and get the better of the Dudleys for a time, but Bubba and Devon come out on top.
ECW WORLD TAG TEAM TITLE MATCH: The Eliminators(c) vs. Rob Van Dam & Sabu- 6/10
A good match that could have easily been great if not for the Eliminators' lack of selling. They had some cool, innovative stuff here, but the lack of selling just ruined it. Especially Saturn (though Kronus got worse as the match went on). There was actually a point where it looked like RVD got frustrated and started legit punching Perry in the corner.
POST-MATCH ANGLE- the Eliminators beat Sabu up after the match. RVD tries to make the save but gets taken out by Taz, and the Elimiators make Sabu watch as Taz chokes out his partner while shouting "THIS IS YOU!" at Sabu. Then Taz spits in Sabu's face and the Eliminators give him another Total Elimination for good measure. Great angle!
TERRY FUNK vs. TOMMY RICH- 6.5/10
If you want to know what you were doing wrong last match, WATCH THIS MATCH!
This was a very basic crowd brawl with a basic, consistent story, that all worked because Terry Funk sold beautifully! Lots of blood here, too, if you are into that.
SHANE DOUGLAS PROMO- Historic!
Shane says that the Triple Threat will retire people and kick ass, but the reason this promo really stands out is that, at the end of the promo, Shane tells the sound guy to "hit the f*cking music." SO BACKWARDS!
TOMMY DREAMER & THE PITBULLS vs. THE TRIPLE THREAT (Shane Douglas, Chris Candido, & Brian Lee) (w/Francine)- 7/10
The match started off with a great heel sneak attack, and we soon got your standard wild, violent, ECW brawl. Shane gave Pitbull #2 some ridiculously weak-looking chairshots right in front of the crowd. Unsurprisingly, Tommy takes most of the heat, though Pitbull #2 got strangled in the corner with a chain, too.
Tommy got in a hope spot, but was cut off by the appearance of someone named "Cloudy" who Joey Styles claimed was a Shemale. Beulah came out took Cloudy out, but the damage was done and the heels got their heat back... for about three seconds before they had a screw-up and the Pitbulls came in... without a tag, so I'm not sure what was stopping them before. In the beginning Brian Lee was knocking them down whenever they tried to get into the ring, but for the last few minutes they were just standing on the apron, waiting for a tag.
The heels got some heat by hitting the babyfaces with simultaneous Rude Awakenings, then the Masked Man appeared and said that the heels had no idea who he was. Well... it seems like they do.
He also said that they had no idea how to do the Rude Awakening, and told them to turn around. When they did, they saw the babyfaces back up on their feet, and the comeback started. The Masked Man called for Pitbull #1 to do the Rude Awakening, and Joey wonders if he taught Pitbull #1 the move. There must be some disconnect here, because with the way that both the wrestlers and Joey are behaving, it is so obvious that the Masked Man is Rick Rude that having him deny it in his promo makes him seem like Baghdad Bob.
Overall, not a particularly good show by ECW, but the formation of the Dudleys as they would become famous is certainly a historically important event, and there was some good stuff at the top of the card. The show is barely over an hour and forty-five minutes, too, so at that length, it is certainly worth watching.