The show opens with the Fan-Cam (yes, this was a Fan-Cam show) showing us the program at the merchandise booth while people jabber in the background. Then it goes upstairs to another merch booth where it makes sure to zoom in on the series of tapes labeled “RF Video The Best of ECW Fam-Cam.” We then get the Fan-Cam panning around the crowd while people scream “ECW!” at it.
The crowd then started a brief “Philly sucks!” chant before we get a ten bell salute for Brian Pillman, who had died a week and a half earlier.
SPIKE DUDLEY & CHRIS CHETTI vs. THE FBI (w/”The Don” Tommy Rich)- no rating, okay segment.
As the FBI make their way to the ring, I cannot help but notice that one fan has brought a sign that says “Taz fears Joel Gertner.” AWESOME! While they are in the ring, another fan decides that this is the correct time to hold up a sign that says “show your tits.” Decidedly not awesome.
Tommy Rich cheapshotted Chetti to start this match off and the FBI beat Chetti down while keeping Spike on the outside. Joey Styles, some referees, and some other goofs from the back came out to try to get Chetti out of the ring and the FBI let them, though they took some more cheapshots along the way. Spike got up and went after Tommy Rich, so he got beaten up a bit. Tommy Rich pointed out that Spike no longer had a partner, so Spike went to the back and found one...
THE FBI (w/”The Don” Tommy Rich) vs. SPIKE DUDLEY & TOMMY DREAMER (w/Beulah McGillicutty)- 5.75/10
The FBI tried to get out of the match, but eventually came back to ringside. While this was happening, I noticed something that really annoyed me: The Fan-Cam was having some trouble getting good shots here because there was a guy with one of those big, fancy, shoulder-mounted , TV-quality cameras in the way. If that guy is filming this show, too, why sell the footage from the dinky little hand-held Fan-Cam?
The ring announcer announced that, for some reason which I couldn’t hear because of the bad sound quality, Tommy couldn’t participate in the match… so Tommy gave him a DDT.
Then the match actually started and some stuff happened with Tommy on offense, but I’m not sure what because the Fan-Cam was terribly out of focus. Why can’t I watch the footage from that other camera?
The FBI tried to run away again, but Tommy called them pussies so they came back. Then they did some more wrestling. At one point Tommy, a babyface, just decided to break a standing waistlock with a low blow. It’s not technically illegal in ECW, but it was just really douchy. Not something that is going to make me want to cheer for him.
After that they had a good match. The FBI isolated Tommy and worked over his foot and Tommy sold well. He eventually made the hot tag to Spike who ran wild until we got the finish… which you can’t see because whoever was holding the Fan-Cam (I'm pretty sure it was Gabe) DROPPED IT! When we got back up, Tommy was pinning someone and the ref counted the pin, despite Tommy Rich putting the heel’s foot on the rope… so the heels got screwed because the ref didn’t see a foot on the rope. WHY WOULD YOU DO THAT?!
The ring announcer starts to announce Spike and Tommy as the winners, but got as far as “Spike Dudley and Tommy-“ before he just kind of stopped talking. Then Guido gave Tommy a chop block and someone else was shouting that the match was being restarted and two refs were arguing… then, about ten seconds into the restart, Spike hit Guido with the Acid Drop and got the pin… SO WHAT WAS THE POINT OF THE RESTART? Just give the babyfaces the clean win from the beginning!
Well, it turns out that the reason for this poorly booked restart was to have the referees fight. Oh joy.
The two refs kept yelling at each other until one (Jeff Jones) grabbed a mic and demanded that the music (Tommy’s, strangely, because Spike got the pin) be shut off. He yelled at the other (John Finnegan) for coming out during his match. Finnegan said Jones was making an ass out of himself tonight, just like he did at the Arena recently. Because there is no commentary and they didn’t explain what they were talking about, I have no idea what Finnegan is referring to.
Jones said that Finnegan needs to get his ass kicked, and he punches him. Finnegan goes to punch Jones back, but Jones grabs Beulah to use as a human shield. Beulah kicks him in the nuts and gives him a DDT. If you are trying to build up a feud between the referees, why would you have Beulah immediately take away all of the heel referee’s heat?
Finnegan then raises Spike and Beulah’s hands. I guess he forgot that Tommy was the one who actually wrestled the match.
While we are waiting for the next match, the Fan-Cam creepily zooms in the two women about eight rows back. Then it watches Jeff Jones sell on his way to the back. Then it just pans around a lot while waiting for something to actually happen. We get to hear the fans chanting “your side sucks!” at each other. Is there some reason we really needed to see this?
PABLO MARQUEZ vs. PAUL DIAMOND- DUD!
Yes. Paul Diamond as in Badd Company. The crowd gave this match absolutely no chance. They chanted “BORING” almost before it began. Astoundingly, someone in the balcony actually had a sign that said “Pablo Marquez #1!”
I guess the Fan-Cam broke in the middle of this match because all of a sudden we cut to looking at some tapes backstage while voices that definitely belong to Rob and Gabe ask to see if the camera is recording now. We then walk back out to the ring (completely out of focus for a while, too), and see that this match appears to have gotten decent. Some fans still insist on chanting “BORING!” though.
One of the nearfalls was apparently close enough to fool the timekeeper, who rang the bell, and was rightfully harassed with loud “YOU F*CKED UP!” chants.
The fans continued to crap on the match until Diamond hit a vicious-looking flying bulldog for the pin. Between the fans sh*tting on the match, the Fan-Cam malfunction, and the timekeeper’s screw up, I have to question why they would even put this match on the DVD. It’s not like either of these guys are important. Diamond was forty-six and a has-been, and Marquez was basically a jobber. All seeing this match did was make me worry that the Fan-Cam might malfunction again during a match I actually cared about.
While waiting for the next match to start, the crowd broke out into a loud chant of “PABLO SUCKS DICK!” It must suck to be that person with the Pablo Marquez sign about now, huh?
PAUL HEYMAN PROMO- UNCOMFORTABLE AND HARD TO SIT THROUGH
Paul Heyman came out, and the crowd loudly chanted that they wanted a Pay-Per-View in New York. They wouldn’t get one until almost the very end of ECW over three years later.
Paul told them that there had been a criticism of the New York crowds, so the crowd chanted “Philly sucks d*ck!” Paul E. told them that they were out of their minds, so they chanted “ECW!” Apparently Vince McMahon was the one who supposedly made this criticism.
Paul E. told the crowd that the Lost Battalion Hall (later dubbed “the Madhouse of Extreme,” where this show was taking place) was ECW’s Madison Square Garden, which makes sense because MSG was where the WWF historically put on all of its biggest and most-important shows, where as ECW put on all of its biggest and most important shows here at the Lost Batta… wait. No. Sorry. They put on all of their biggest and most important shows at the ECW Arena. I guess Paul was just talking bullsh*t.
While this was happening, Gabe took the Fan-Cam to Rob for him to check on it again, so we had to suffer the through shots of the floor, shots of the backs of people’s heads, and shots of a wall while Rob checked the camera out.
Paul E. said that they got a legal letter from the WWF asking ECW not to show up whenever WWF ran Raw at the Garden. Paul E. says that ECW didn’t send anyone, and that the ECW chants that Cactus Jack got were purely generated by the crowd’s love for ECW.
Paul then engaged with a heckler who we really couldn’t hear and said something to him but it was cut from the video. So they had to leave in that last match with all of the screw ups and they had to leave in all of the time between matches, but someone actually SAYING SOMETHING gets cut from the show?
When we got back, Paul said that “if this doesn’t show everybody from Philly to Florida and everywhere in between that New f*cking York is the place to be…” and then I couldn’t hear what he said after that.
Paul E. then complemented a blonde chick, wearing what appeared to be an overcoat with just a bikini under it, on her nice rack, and the crowd chanted “SHOW YOUR TITS!” at her for a while. I couldn’t quite tell, but either she didn’t want to or her significant other didn’t want her to, so she didn’t. You actually start to feel sorry for her because the fans get angry and start flipping her off when it’s clear that she won’t do it… and then you realize that she showed up wearing an overcoat and bikini and nothing else. What the f*ck was she expecting to happen?
Paul then addressed the husband/boyfriend and said something that I couldn’t quite catch, but I’m pretty sure he used the c-word. Paul then told the crowd that, in this woman’s defense, she was “doing what every other woman should do and listening to her f*cking man.” He then complemented the man on his ability to “keep that b*tch in her f*cking place,” (hooray for chauvinism!) and told him to “give her one for us tonight” while thrusting lewdly. This whole thing was just painfully uncomfortable to watch. I have no idea why they included it on this DVD.
Paul E. then announced that, for the fan’s convenience, tickets to the next show in this building would be available for sale tonight. For some reason the fans booed this. Paul then vowed that they would do a Pay-Per-View in New York in 1998 (this didn’t happen), and then introduced Joey Styles.
Apparently the next bit of this show was taped for TV, so Joey got the crowd hyped up by asking them if they wanted to be on TV. Joey then asked them if they wanted to see an ECW World Heavyweight Title match. Joey then did the TV intro… and knowing that this was on TV, recorded with professionals and good quality cameras made me hate having to see it via the shaky, low-quality Fan-Cam footage even more.
SHANE DOUGLAS & RICK RUDE SEGMENT- dragged on for too long.
Francine looked fantastically hot tonight. Shane insults the crowd, then calls out Rick Rude, who has set up another challenger for him. Rude comes out and, via chanting, the fans allege that Rude had sex with Chyna. Rude responded by saying that he had had sex in China, in Singapore, and many other places. Then the fans, who were just trying to insult him, pop for his claims of sexual prowess. Then they start claiming that he f*cked Shawn Michaels. Either you are trying to insult the guy or you are trying to support him. You can’t have it both f*cking ways!
They banter a bit about the fact that Shane let Rude f*ck Francine. The crowd chants for Francine to show her tits. She teased it… and the morons actually f*cking bought it! Then she flipped them off. I absolutely hated the crowd tonight. It felt like they were just there to be rowdy and bawdy rather than to watch wrestling.
Rude sets the stage for Shane’s next challenger… and then Bam Bam Bigelow’s music hits and Shane sh*ts a brick. “NO WAY! NO WAY!” he shouts, in complete shock and fear.
Candido and Sunny come out, too, and beg Bam Bam not to take the match. Candido got shoved a few times for this. During this crazy segment where the top heel faction is imploding a popular star is about to challenge the top heel for the ECW World Heavyweight Title, the crowd decides to chant for the girlfriend of the member of the stable who isn’t in this match. Sunny, being smart, runs backstage so as to both deny the fans the chance to see her (she is a heel, remember) and to help get their focus on where it needs to be: Shane and Bam Bam. Then Rick Rude undoes all of this by telling Candido that if he lets him have sex with his Sunny, he will try to convince Bam Bam to not take the title match. Oh… and while Rude is talking about having boinked Francine and asking if he can do the same to Sunny… he is wearing his wedding ring.
Shane finally agrees to the match…
ECW WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT TITLE MATCH: Shane Douglas(c) (w/Chris Candido & Francine) vs. Bam Bam Bigelow (w/Rick Rude)- 1.5/10
We start off with Bam Bam, who is turning babyface by taking this match, sucker-punching Shane. Yeah. This turn is off to a good start. To help things even more, after Bam Bam destroys Shane for a few minutes, Shane starts fighting back. He runs at Bam Bam with a shoulder tackle, and it makes Bam Bam stumble backwards. He charges in with another one, and Bam Bam staggers down to one knee. Shane leaps up and hits a dropkick, finally taking Bam Bam off of his feet. Then Shane climbs the top turnbuckle, and when Bam Bam gets up, Shane leaps off and hits Bam Bam with a twisting crossbody press, looking for all the world like a babyface making his comeback rather than a heel getting his heat.
Ah. There we go. A good old headbutt to the nuts. And raking your laces across your opponent’s face. There's some good, heelish stuff right there. Wait. No. Now Shane is back to being a babyface, picking the big monster up and hitting him with a vertical suplex, like Hogan slamming Andre. For some reason, after they hit this spot, Bam Bam was able to recover first and wound up going for the cover on Shane.
Now Shane is back to being a heel with a low blow… I think, anyway. Tommy Dreamer did a low blow, too, and he is a babyface, so maybe Shane is supposed to be the babyface here? After some more ambiguity about who is supposed to be the babyface and who is supposed to be the heel, Bam Bam pins Shane to win his first world title. And what move does Bam Bam pin Shane after? Is it one of his finishers, like Greetings from Asbury Park or the Diving Headbutt or the Big Splash? No. What about the Rude Awakening, the move of the man who got him this title shot? Nope. All of those moves (aside from Greetings from Asbury Park) actually happened during the course of this match… but they decided to have Bam Bam get the pin after a regular old powerbomb.
And for anyone who thinks I am nitpicking here because there is no way in hell that Shane could ever be a babyface, let’s examine the situation: Shane is being forced into a title match that he is not prepared for and his friend is betraying him by taking this title shot and not telling him about it. Shane valiantly defends his belt against a much, much bigger man, and the match starts with that bigger man sucker-punching him. Sounds like a babyface to me.
Anyway, Bam Bam wins and the people are happy and Rick Rude rubs it in Shane’s face a bit.
THE GREAT SASUKE vs. JUSTIN CREDIBLE (w/Jason Knight)- 7/10
Sasuke got a big pop, and even streamers, which I have never seen in ECW before. Despite apparently being so excited to see Sasuke, the crowd then chanted “BRING BACK SUNNY!” while Sasuke and Justin were having a great match. There was also a “where’s my sushi?” chant, but thankfully that was quickly shouted down with chants of “SHUT THE F*CK UP!” This was a great match, but some people in the crowd actually gave it “BORING!” chants. The crowd just sucks tonight.
Even though it wasn’t clean, Justin’s win still felt like a huge accomplishment for him. He had only joined the company two months ago and hadn’t even been using the “Justin Credible” name for a month at this point, and he got the win over a huge Japanese star.
MIKEY WHIPWRECK vs. SABU (w/Bill Alfonso)- 6.5/10
They started off with some very good hold-for-hold wrestling, but the crowd didn’t want to see it. They chanted “WE WANT BEULAH!” “WE WANT BLOOD!” and “BORING!” (though the match was anything but). Sabu and Mikey recognized this, though, and switched it up, getting a chair involved. Unfortunately the match then devolved into just a bunch of spots.
At one point Sabu was on the top turnbuckle and Mikey cut him off. Mikey then climbed the turnbuckle and was going to hit Sabu with a move of some sort, when the f*cking Fan-Cam malfunctioned and after some quick static and the color-test pattern flashing, we came back and Mikey had apparently put Rob Van Dam through a table. To make things more confusing, almost no time appeared to have passed between the malfunction and when we came back, because Sabu was still crotched on the same turnbuckle. The finish came soon after that, with Sabu draping Mikey over the middle rope and giving him a moonsault with his knee smashing into the back of Mikey’s head.
AL SNOW vs. ROB VAN DAM- 7.25/10
Fonzie cuts a promo threatening to call someone in WWF and have Al sent back there… or something. Fonzie can be hard to understand sometimes. Al grabbed Fonzie and threatened to shove his whistle up his ass. RVD took this opportunity to start the match off by attacking Al from behind.
There were some times in this match where either people were blocking the camera or the action was on the outside on the other side of the ring from where the fan-cam was, so we couldn’t see a thing, which was annoying. Other than that, though, this was a great match with both guys just hitting each other hard and doing whatever they could to put the other guy down. Fonzie robbed Al of the win multiple times, so Al chased him off… right into an ambush by Sabu.
RVD and Sabu double teamed Snow and set him up on a table for their finisher, but Al moved out of the way. Both heels crashed through the table and Al went for a pin on RVD for a great false finish. RVD finally gets the win with a Van Daminator in a great match! Both guys came out of this looking very tough.
ECW TV TITLE MATCH: Taz(c) vs. Chris Candido- 6.75/10
The way they were shouting at each other and at the ref early on did a great job creating an intense, big-fight atmosphere. Candido worked over Taz’s head and neck, and every time he took a back bump, Taz did his absolute best to make it look like his head was bouncing off the mat. At one point Candido hit Taz with a HUGE powerbomb, then did Taz’s pose… and the crowd cheered instead of booing, which really caught Candido by surprise.
The only thing I didn’t like was one point early on where Taz, the babyface, randomly went to the outside, grabbed some guy whose arm was in a sling, tore the sling off, and put an armbar on him for absolutely no reason.
THE DUDLEYS MAKE FUN OF THE FANS- standard stuff.
3 WAY DANCE FOR THE ECW WORLD TAG TEAM TITLES: The Gangstanators(c) vs. Balls Mahoney & Axel Rotten vs. The Dudley Boys (w/Sign Guy Dudley, Big Dick Dudley, & Joel Gertner)- 2.5/10
YET ANOTHER Fan-Cam malfunction causes us to miss an undetermined amount of time at the beginning of this match. Even though they are the babyfaces, the Gangstanators don’t come out until the other two teams have already been fighting for a while. The wrestlers all hit each other with stuff. It was pretty boring. My favorite spot in this match was Kronus hitting a 450 splash, both because it looked cool and because it meant this match was over.
Overall, not a good show from ECW. There was some solid stuff on here, but a lot of bad, too, and in important spots on the card. Add in a bad crowd, the Fan-Cam malfunctions and the bad camerawork, and I can’t recommend this show to anyone who isn’t a die-hard Bam Bam Bigelow fan. Oh. And the match listing on the jewel case skips the number four. It just goes right from three to five. This was bad. Don’t buy it.