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  • Connor Ewens

Every ECW Major Show Reviewed 'N' Ranked, Part 2

Updated: Sep 13, 2023

This is a continuation of reviewing & ranking all the ECW Supercards & PPV's that I am able to. I've reviewed a considerable amount of shit so far, so I am looking forward to talking about some much better shows in future. Let's get back into our barbed wire wrapped time machine and R'n'R some content.

#49: Massacre on Queens Boulevard, April 13th 1996. 31.7%

Born as a Philly based wrestling promotion, ECW didn't start making moves outside of Pennsylvania until late 1995 with their first New York Supercard Holiday Hell taking place after Christmas. They were part of a show in Maryland in 1993 but it was a cross-promotion event with MEWF & ASWA. They would continue to run occasional shows in New York in the lead up to their national expansion. A lot of big storylines in ECW at this time, none of them are blown off here but they continue to develop.

Our opener is JT Smith teaming with 'Little Guido' Damien Stone to face The Dudley's (Big Dick & Buh Buh). Huge segment here as we see the debut of D-Von Dudley who brings in a seriousness & intensity that the family needed. He gives Smith & Stone the 3 Dudley commandments before attacking Stone. The Dudley's beat the piss out of their opponents for a few minutes. Not much of a contest but a really hot opening segment that instantly established D-Von as a threat. The Dudley's lose via DQ, because rules. 1

The SHAH Hack Meyers takes on Billy Black next. Some good stuff from Black here occasionally but overall its not a good match. Botched moves and late bumps prove they have little chemistry. Meyers wins with a top rope facebuster. 0.75

Tag Championships on the line here as The Eliminators defend against El Puerto Riqueño & Joel Hartgood. Not sure why they gave the jobbers a title match, but it doesn't really matter. Eliminators dominate with all the offence and win in 2 minutes. They call out the Gangstas, who respond by attacking them. It leads to Gangstas getting arrested and escorted out, good build towards the eventual Eliminators and Gangstas Showdown. The Gangstas are scheduled to be in the main event, we'll see how that goes 0.5

ECW World Championship on the line as Raven defends against Damián 666. Damián made his name in Japan and various Mexican promotions before his brief spell in ECW, he would later show up in WCW. His son currently wrestles the independents as Bestia 666. It was alright, sloppy at times but also good at times. Hard to craft a compelling world title match in 8 minutes. Raven wins clean with a DDT which was a surprise, I'm conditioned to seeing Raven's Nest interfere for the finish. 2

Shane Douglas talks smack about WWE before calling out anyone from the locker room. He gets the Blue Meanie, but isn't satisfied with that, wanting Raven instead. Axl Rotten comes out and attacks Meanie then slaps Douglas, leading to this match. It was weird seeing Axl get so much offence in against the former world champion. Douglas wins after several minutes in a throwaway match, Douglas vs RVD was the plan but the latter got injured. This was flat but inoffensive. 1.5

We got ourselves a hardcore shoot fight between Taz & Chris Jericho. Taz is in full-blown suplex machine mode whilst Jericho is just beginning to make a name for himself in the US. Tod Gordon & Bill Alfonso are handcuffed together at ringside to prevent interference. This wasn't long but it achieved what it set out, get Jericho over as a star and get Taz over as a destroyer. The camera work is appalling though, constantly cutting to Gordon & Alfonso missing most of the action. Jericho loses after Alfonso escapes the cuffs and uses a chair against him, helping Taz choke him out with the Tazmission. Then it's revealed that the referee (judo champion Tom Delevano) was in on it all along and helps Taz in a post-match beatdown. Meh, storyline development I guess. 1

The Bruise Brothers & Brian Lee team together to face The Pitbulls & Tommy Dreamer. Big ol' brawl as expected, all over the arena and even outside on to Queen's Blvd. Dreamer is the one pinned after Raven interference and some chair offence. This was fine, it went a bit long but solid ECW brawling. 2

Mikey Whipwreck faces Sabu next in a battle between ECW triple-crown winners. This was a lot of fun. Both guys compliment each others styles well as they both take crazy bumps. Sure its messy at times but it's a Sabu match, of course it is. I love when Sabu does that plancha into the crowd, blows my mind how agile he is. Sabu gets the win with a chair assisted frankensteiner, but encourages fans to give Mikey his flowers post match. 3.5

Three-way elimination tag match next but the Gangstas are in jail so its just the Headhunters vs The Sandman & 2 Cold Scorpio initially. After some action in and around the ring the Gangstas arrive in handcuffs, Styles tells us they stole a police car. Their return brings on the Eliminators who attack them. Headhunters say "fuck this" and just leave so I guess eliminated? The two remaining teams fight around the arena until New Jack earns the victory with a flying chair shot. This was fun and exciting at times, but also needlessly dragged out. Shave 5 minutes off this and it would be much better. 2

Overall, this is a relatively easy show to watch as there isn't much on this show that's too awful. However, there are plenty better shows than this that are just as easy to watch and have bigger & better matches involved.

MOTN: Sabu vs Whipwreck

#48: November to Remember, November 5th 1994. 32.5%

By 1994 WWE & WCW had their own flagship PPV event in Wrestlemania & Starrcade respectively. Heyman had that in mind when creating November to Remember, wanting the show to be ECW's biggest of the calendar year. We'll see in this R'N'R whether it succeeded in doing so. The biggest stories at the time is Shane Douglas calling out every wrestler in the world in his quest to legitimatise the world championship, whilst Dreamer "retired" Sandman during their feud due to an eye injury.

It ain't an early ECW show opener if Hack Meyers isn't involved. Meyers faces JT Smith in a short opener to warm up the crowd. Action wasn't bad but 4 minutes isn't much to work with. 1

The Bad Breed vs The Pitbulls next in another short match. They brawl for like 3 minutes then it's over. What's the point? Pitbulls win with the super bomb. 0.5

Mr Hughes faces 2 Cold Scorpio. Scorpio is beloved for his fast paced work and blend of aerial & technical offence. We get none of that here. A clear clash of styles as talented wrestler Scorpio has to dial it down to work with the untalented Mr Hughes. About as fun as watching cream-coloured paint dry. 0.75

Battle to be the Undisputed Tommy next (not really) as Dreamer faces Cairo. Cairo returned to ECW after learning of Sandman's retirement and he finds it hilarious. Dreamer, feeling remorseful about it, takes offence and sets up this grudge match. A true slug-fest as they just trade offence back and forth, Dreamer getting some weapons from the fans to use at Cairo's expense. Dreamer dismantles Cairo with a cane leading to a referee stoppage. Dreamer is finally starting to get over with the fans for his ability to take punishment and also dish it out in droves. Also, he dropped the suspenders which was a great move. Interesting that Cairo is integral to the development of Tommy Dreamer & The Sandman. I enjoyed this segment, even if it was more of a character arc than a match-up. 2

World Championship match as Shane Douglas successfully defends against former WCW champion Ron Simmons. Simmons initially gets respect but he cuts a promo dissing the fans, Douglas & ECW. These have a decent outing but it's slow and short. I would have ctrl-alt-deleted the first 3 matches and gave all of their time to these guys. Shane wins with a crucifix pin but Simmons gets his heat back with a post match attack with Scorpio joining him. Fans are torn because they like both Douglas & Scorpio. The match was fine for what it was. 1.5

The Sandman's retirement speech is next. He really committed to the bit by staying out of the public eye so it was really believable. Sandman wearing a suit is a sight to see. He does a touching speech, mentioning Peaches which brings her out and they have a cheeky neck on. Woman interrupts the niceties so Peaches calls her a bitch. Woman canes Peaches, Sandman blindly swings a cane hitting Gordon by accident. Woman is poised to strick Sandman so Dreamer arrives, then SWERVE! Sandman attacks Dreamer and removes his bandages, he was never blind! That bastard. They continue to attack & berate Dreamer. Great segment, Dreamer gains more sympathy and Sandman looks like a complete wanker.

Let's get back to some wrasslin'. Dean Malenko takes on the Tazmaniac. Malenko was nearly a 10 year veteran at this point, earning a lot of his experience in Mexico & Japan. ECW would be his first major exposure in the States. Some really good stuff between Malenko & Taz but it's plagued with a small timeslot and a lame finish. Malenko finishes off Taz with a towel, which sounds like a scene from an adult movie rather than a match between two of the worlds greatest. 1.75

Public Enemy take on Cactus Jack & Mikey Whipwreck for the Tag Championships in a "Brawl Game" match. It's the same as a "Basebrawl" match, just a different name for it. In my last article I incorrectly said a Basebrawl match is the same as a baseball match. The baseball match starts with the 10 count and a rush to grab a baseball bat to use as a weapon. This match is a normal match until someone cannot answer the referees 10 count. Then, the baseball bats are added into the match. This is a fun contest as you can expect from these 4 guys. Cactus using Mikey as a weapon was funny. Good offense and spots by all involved and it's good to see Mikey showcasing his ability. Poor camerawork again because 1994 ECW had mashed potato levels of production quality, but I've adjusted to it. Grunge hits Mikey with a bat to get the win. 3.5

Chris Benoit vs Sabu next, but unfortunately it doesn't last long. A botched backdrop send Sabu landing right on his head and he rolls to the outside. He broke his freakin' neck. There's a bit of stalling, then the referee calls for a no contest. That really sucks, I was looking forward to this one but accidents are an unfortunate part of wrestling. NR

After one of your regular mass ECW brawls, Benoit cuts a promo on Sabu which brings out Scorpio to challenge him, setting up our replacement main event. You gotta give the boys props for putting on a short notice match, and the action was great but it was a bad finish. The action spilled to the outside and they both got counted out. I don't blame anyone involved for it but it was a disappointing way to end the show. 2

Overall, disappointing is how I'd describe this show. There was a lot going on that could have been great but ultimately wasn't. Nearly every match on this show should have been better, and the ones that had good action either had poor booking, poor production or a dumb finish. We have bigger and better matches to look forward to from 1994.

MOTN: Public Enemy vs Cactus & Mikey.

#47: Hostile City Showdown, April 20th 1996. 33.1%

This show occurred a week after the Massacre on Queens Boulevard, with the focus being around Shane Douglas wanting to take the ECW World Championship from Raven. Also we have the first major match between RVD & Sabu so I was very excited to watch that unfold.

Our opener is El Puerto Riqueño against Supernova. They're both jobbers but Supernova would go on to make more of a name for himself in ECW. These guys get 2 minutes to do some good action before it's ruined by the Eliminators who attack them both, causing a no contest. Ugh. ECW doing that opener interference shtick as usual. More often than not I found it frustrating rather than exciting. 0.5

The Eliminators call out the Gangstas, who answer the challenge and we have a vintage ECW brawl.

The Dudleys (Buh Buh & D-Von) and the Pitbulls in tag action next. An entertaining pre-match promo heats the crowd and the match begins with brawling, and ends with brawling. D-Von loses his shit and goes HAM on everyone with a chair. The Pitbulls liked this and decide to Superbomb the referee. Okay then. Another no contest finish. The action was kinda fun but nothing really substantial and a shite ending. 1

Taz takes on Devon Storm who is making his ECW debut. Storm would later be known & more successful as Crowbar in WCW & the indie scene. He was trained by Mike Sharpe, who had a school that also trained Supernova & the Haas brothers. Storm got a lot more offence here than expected but the result is the same. After a couple minutes Taz wins the match via count out after what appears like a botched suplex to outside. It looked gnarly. It made Taz look like a killer and Storm look like a survivor so it worked, whether it was intentional or not. 1

Axl Rotten defeats Little Guido in a fun but again short match. At least we got a decisive finish. Guido & his partner JT Smith debut their name The Full-Blooded Italians here which is the beginning of a faction that still exists to this day. Rotten gets a quick win with a dominator. This show is lacking some real substance. 1

Sandman & 2 Cold Scorpio take on The Bruise Brothers, who are Raven's henchmen sent to clean up. Sandman's entrances are so fucking long, but I guess I'd walk slowly too if Enter Sandman was my theme. WWE Networks' generic placeholder does not do it any justice. Missy Hyatt is Sandman's manager now since Woman left for WCW. Hyatt was fired from WCW in 1994 after a fallout over an inappropriate photo which led to a sexual harassment lawsuit. Fine action but it ended abruptly. Also Missy appeared to be turning on Sandman but that wasn't the case, I think she's just supposed to be mental. Scorpio picks up the W with a moonsault. 1.25

"Prime Time" Brian Lee takes on Tommy Dreamer. Vintage ECW brawling here but it was miles more enjoyable than anything on the show thus far. Both guys using everything around them at their disposal. Brian Lee wins with a creative finish, chair shot to a cinder block placed on Dreamer's gentleman's package. Big ouch. 2

This show is really saved by the last two matches from being a complete stinker. Firstly, RVD vs Sabu. Rob's first appearance in the world of wrestling was in 1987, when Ted DiBiase paid him $100 to kiss his foot. Humble beginnings. Both men carried injuries into this match up, RVD recovering a broken wrist & Sabu, well, he's always injured. A good match considering their ailments, but far from the best these two have. A lack of selling at moments does hurt the match but there is enough craziness to keep me engaged. Sabu wins with his triple jump moonsault. Sabu helps Robby up and offers a handshake, but RVD just walks away. This would kick-start a rivalry which solidified RVD as a major star. 3

Trigger warning for any up-tight TV executives reading, this next segment contains women kissing. Nooooooo! I jest of course but the next segment landed ECW in the TV network's dog house because of a lesbian kiss. Extreme violence and gore? Fine! Women kissing? Sacrilege. Anyways, in the midst of this Raven & Dreamer feud Shane Douglas says Beulah is cheating on both of them and she was lying about being pregnant (there's a lot of context missing but trust me there's A LOT to unpack.) Then Kimona, Raven's current valet, reveals its her that Beulah is sleeping with, and the two play tonsil hockey. Dreamer then retorts "I'll have them both. I'm hardcore!" Then kisses both of them. Weird, but undeniably entertaining.

Our main event match is Raven vs Shane Douglas, and they have a good match. Shane gets the better of Raven but Raven's lackeys assist him throughout the match aiding him to get the victory. A well paced, well told story by these guys. 3.5

Douglas closes the show with a promo which cause Scorpio to confront him. Douglas beats on Scorpio, and also Sandman, ending it with a piledriver onto the TV Championship.

Overall, a potentially catastrophic show saved by its last two matches. Without the last two matches, this show percentage would have fallen below December to Dismember. That's bad. Nice set up for Douglas vs Scorpio & we would see plenty more great action between RVD & Sabu.

MOTN: Raven vs Shane Douglas

#46: Wrestlepalooza, May 3rd 1998. 34.9%

May the 3rd be with you, always. Wait that's not it. Moving on, 1998 was a weird year for ECW. After building up brilliant narratives which mostly culminated in 1997, they were left unsure how to progress the following year. 1998 was the year of throwing shit at the wall and seeing if it stuck, unfortunately not a lot of it did. ECW produced one of their best PPV's of all time in this year, we will get to that down the line, but their other big shows seemed to come up short of good quality. This is the worst of 1998, the only Wrestlepalooza that was broadcasted on PPV.

Our opener is the Full Blooded Italians (Little Guido & Tracey Smothers) taking on the Blue Meanie & Supernova. Fun fact, no one who was a part of the FBI were Italian, guess that's the joke. Majority were American, Sal Bellomo was Belgian & Ulf Herman was German. Nova & Meanie were a part of the bWo but at this point the stable was pretty much dead. A comedy opener here to start the show. I don't care for dancing segments in wrestling but I can forgive it for being 90's. The match was amusing and got the crowd ready for the rest of the show. Nova wins hitting Guido with the Novacaine. 2.25

Next up we see Justin Credible (my favourite name for a wrestler) against Mikey Whipwreck. This was a solid match, but jeez the fans were at risk. I get that there's always a risk at a ECW show but this was a bit intense. Credible lands on a child in the front row, Mikey accidentally throws a chair at a fan, absolute scenes. It was a heated exchange between the two which culminates with Credible hitting a tombstone piledriver for the win. 2.5

Axl Rotten & Balls Mahoney (professionally known as the Hardcore Chair Swingin' Freaks) call out the tag champions Lance Storm & Chris Candido, setting up our next match. Storm was a part of the Triple Threat with Candido & Douglas but they ousted him. Heyman demands they still defend their tag Titles together and if either of them screw the other they'll be fired. This match was fine, Storm & Balls really carried their teams but Candido & Rotten did a few decent moves. The champions retain with the help of a chair kicked in Balls' face. Gimmick infringement right there. 2

ECW pay homage to legends in attendance Junkyard Dog, Dick Slater, The Masked Superstar (Ax from Demolition) & Bullet Bob Armstrong. The crowds give a positive response in an out of place but touching segment. Another segment follows, Douglas cuts his usual "fuck Shawn Michaels & Ric Flair" promo before Taz cuts him off and demands the belt. This leads to a Tazmission which brings out Bam Bam Bigelow, then Taz is arrested. Bam Bam hangs around for his opponent.

Oh no...

Bam Bam Bigelow vs New Jack next. It gets a zero, what a shock. I'll keep it brief. New Jack uses an array of weird and ridiculous weapons to attack Bam Bam with, including a godzilla toy. They go into the crowd, New Jack does his usual balcony jump thing, and knocks himself out. *face palms intensify*. Bam² drags NJ back to the ring and just pins him to win. Disastrous match, Bigelow looked sick of his life and I don't blame him. 0

The Dudley Boyz take on Tommy Dreamer & The Sandman. A paint by numbers brawl here, Sandman taken out early with an injury leading to a 2 on 1 beatdown. Sandman is able to return late on in the match to assist the comeback and he & Dreamer get the win. Fun, overbooked nonsense but not anything out of the ordinary. 2

Sabu vs RVD next for the TV Championship, unfortunately not on of their best. In their feud they reconciled and became a tag team but their friendship was back in murky waters when RVD won the TV Title when Sabu clearly was in line to win it first. The action in this match was good, both men worked hard and it wasn't a sloppy or messy affair. Unfortunately, it was booked to a 30 minute time limit draw, and that killed the match. The match just draaaaaaagged on. It was so apparent they were just wasting time. These two can have fantastic matches together, but not stretched over 30 minutes. The finish makes sense to continue the feud but the match was severely tarnished. 2.25

Our main event is Shane Douglas vs Al Snow. I was really pulling for big Al watching this but I knew who was going to win. Snow was actually booked to win the title but he was rehired by the WWF so they kept it on the injured Douglas. Boy was this disappointing. The fans turned on the match which wasn't well worked because Douglas was hurt. The fans would have at least stayed interested if Snow won but he didn't, so they all threw their inflatable heads in the ring in protest. There is a weird celebration with ECW Wrestlers and both Shane & Snow which didn't make any sense at all but this was Al Snow's farewell I guess. Dumb ending with a flat match. 1.5

Overall, a lot of people call this one of the worst ECW shows ever. I understand that. Its not the worst but there is nothing on this show that stands out. At least some shows I've previously reviewed had a match or two that was a good watch. This show is consistent at least. Consistently not very good.

MOTN: Justin Credible vs Mikey Whipwreck

#45: November to Remember, November 30th 1997. 36.4%

The first November to Remember to eminate from PPV and ECW's third ever PPV would be a huge financial success for the company, however was far from their greatest. Bam Bam is the world champion on a collision course with Shane Douglas, RVD & Sabu are a team together & Taz is deep into his path of rage as the TV champion. This should have felt like a big show, but it felt like a glorified episode of Hardcore TV. You will see why.

The first match of the night is Chris Candido vs Tommy Rogers. It's technically sound but slow and a bit boring, but Lance Storm comes to help Candido drawing Jerry Lynn to come aid Rogers. The referee rules this is now a tag match. The action really picks up now, we have a fun fast paced tag match for a few minutes until Candido gets the win. This should have just started as a tag match, it probably would have been even better. 3

It's worth mentioning Styles says, talking about Candido & Storms strained friendship, "With a friend like Candido, who needs enemas." What are you talking about Joey Styles, you massive weirdo.

Next up, Mikey Whipwreck faces Justin Credible. This is the beginning of their feud which would last until the following year. Credible is undefeated at this point, but not for long. A decent match, Credible got a load of heat from the fans but I can't tell if it's because he's a good heel or because he had boring offence. Mikey picked up a surprising win after a top rope whippersnapper (stunner) to win. Fun fact, Justin Credible has won an ICW Heavyweight Championship in 3 different companies called ICW. Not enough wrestling abbreviations left I see. 2

After an absurd but entertaining Al Snow segment, Taz defends the TV Championship against Pitbull 2. Taz wins in like a minute. Well shit. Pitbull 2 looked like weak as fuck and honestly the Taz squashes are too much now. If they're doing them for TV fine but on a PPV? Feels almost like a big middle finger to paying fans. 0.5

A four way dance for the Tag Championships next featuring defending champions the FBI, Dudley Boyz, Hardcore Chair Swingin' Freaks & the Gangstanators (New Jack & Kronus). Perry Saturn left for WCW & Mustafa was injured so Kronus & NJ joined forces. I hate how every Gangstas/New Jack match has music playing over it all the time, even more so that the WWE network don't play their original song Natural Born Killaz. It's so distracting. Luckily they're eliminated first as Kronus eats a Buh Buh cutter. The Dudley's are eliminated next as Buh Buh accidentally 3D's D-Von. Then after a ref bump crooked ref Jeff Jones comes out and hits Balls in his, well, balls and Guido gets a roll up victory. This is a chaotic mess of a brawl but it had its entertaining moments. Not the ideal finish, but it was what it was. 2.25

Next up Tommy Dreamer vs RVD in a flag match. This was during the working agreement between WWF & ECW, so some of the ECW talent declared themselves pro-WWF, including RVD. The winner of this match gets to raise their flag high and proud, a WWF flag on an ECW show seemed unthinkable. Dreamer is wearing a moon boot because he has a broken heel. This was a fun match with plenty of shenanigans but it never felt too overbooked. Naughty ref Jeff Jones appeared, other referees & Beulah attack him, Bill Alfonso interferes, Furnas & LaFon appear. Dreamer just constantly overcoming the odds until Stevie Richards returns! He gets a nice pop before superkicking Dreamer helping RVD. The match is ruled a no contest but the heels declare RVD the winner. They toss the ECW flag out of the ring and drap a WWF flag over Dreamers prone body. Major heat. A fun match, maybe the best on the card but I would have liked a definitive finish. 3

Oh god do I need to talk about this next match? Ughhhhhh FINE. The Sandman vs Sabu next in a Tables & Ladder match. Bad bad bad bad bad. Botchamania could end world hunger with the amount of content in this match. Firstly, these guys shouldn't be wrestling 20 minutes together. Give them 10 minutes for a fun spot fest and call it a day. Second, way too much no selling especially considering the amount of tables and ladders used. They sell for the last 5 minutes but that's because they're actually just tired and in pain. Thirdly, if rumours are to be trusted, The Sandman was off his tits on acid during this match and thought Sabu was Godzilla, then he got concussed with the botched ladder spot. I'm sorry I know Sandman is cool and all but he should have been fired if that's the case. You can turn a blind eye to his inebriation when ECW was a small company, but at this point they were the 3rd largest promotiom nationally and that was embarrassing and unsafe. Sabu wins but I think everyone loses here. The show can't recover from that bollocks. 0

Let's end this show, Shane Douglas vs Bam Bam Bigelow for the ECW World Championship. 25 minutes long, 10 minutes too long. Bam Bam dominated pretty much the full match then Shane hits a belly to belly on some weapons to win. I don't think Bam Bam took nearly enough damage to lose like that. Action was solid but drawn out. A new champion crowning gets a huge pop from the crowd which is nice I guess. 2

Overall, disappointing. After a good start it very quickly dropped in quality. RVD & Dreamer put in a good showing and I hoped maybe it would continue but then one of the worst ECW matches ever took place and that's what I deserve for having hopes and dreams. Remember I mentioned Heyman wants N2R to be their Wrestlemania/Starrcade? Great job with that.

MOTN: Tommy Dreamer vs RVD

#44: Holiday Hell, December 7th 1996. 36.7%

The Holiday Hell shows began in 1993 and ran yearly until 1996, then had a final show in 2000. No footage exists for the '93 & '94 shows but we have footage for the other 3. '95 & '00 both put on quite decent shows, though I can't say the same here. That may be harsh because there is 3 matches clipped on this show so who knows, maybe it was good. We'll never know.

(Pre-warning for this review, the footage isn't on the WWE Network so I found an upload online and gave the matches ratings and made brief notes. I now no longer can find the website I watched it on, and there is very little information about this show so I'm going off the resources I have available.)

The Dudley Brothers (Buh Buh & Spike) defeated the Full Blooded Italians (Little Guido & Davey Pazano). Pazano is introduced as a new member since JT Smith was forced out after a "Loser Leaves Town" match. Spike Dudley gets the pinfall after a rocket launcher. Not a bad opening match, kept short and sweet, it got the crowd warmed up for the night. 2

The next two matches are clipped up so they won't be getting ratings. Balls Mahoney defeated Devon Storm, then Gary Alright defeated Rick Rage. Gary Albright was an accomplished amateur wrestler before moving into pro wrestling. He's a part of the Anoa'i Family through marriage as he married Monica, the daughter of Afa Anoa'i. Tragically in 2000 Albright collapsed in-ring after taking a cutter, minutes later he was pronounced dead due to a heart attack. Rick Rage didn't have much success in wrestling, though after he retired he did have a TV show called Savage Family Diggers. It lasted 2 seasons before being cancelled after protests against the show for promoting destruction & selling of artefacts.

Next up, Brian Lee vs Louie Spicolli. I've just talked about one tragic death so I'll discuss the tragedy of Spicolli further down the line. The match is alright, not the cleanest wrestling but what do you expect. After a ref bump Lee's Triple Threat allies Candido & Douglas run down to help him win the match. 1.5

Taz takes on RVD next. This is their first televised match ever. Solid match, I was hoping for better but both guys haven't hit their peak just yet. Taz is in the midst of his feud with Sabu, RVD is Sabu's best friend. Taz would win the match by TKO as Robbie Van passes out in the Tazmission. They would only ever wrestle one more time in singles action (on camera at least) at November to Remember 1999. 2.5

The Gangstas defend their tag Titles against D-Von Dudley & his newest ally, Axl Rotten. Not very good. Are you surprised? You're usual brawling bollocks with plenty of weaponry. New Jack wins the match with a diving chair shot, which is called a 187 which was innovated by New Jack. I don't know how innovative jumping with a weapon is but it's an innovation nonetheless. 0.5

Mixed-tag match between Tommy Dreamer & Beulah McGillicutty against Shane Douglas & Francine. Of course, the men work most of the match since Beulah & Francine aren't exactly master technicians. It's a solidly worked match, good storytelling from both sides. The finish was nice, Douglas getting heat for belly-to-belly suplexing Beulah and pinning her to win. 2

Sabu vs Perry Saturn next but its clipped for some reason, technical difficulties maybe? Sabu won the match, Perry Saturn & fellow Eliminator Kronus beat up Sabu which led to a brawl featuring Rob Van Dam, Gary Albright & Taz. NR

The main event of the night featured defending ECW Champion The Sandmam against Raven in a Barbed wire match. A predictably gruesome contest, you won't find any wristlocks and Romero special's here. It was a decent match with Sandman & Raven going lengths go make each other hurt and bleed. Raven defeated the Sandman to win the ECW Championship for a second time after a DDT through a table. Jolly good hardcore fun. 2.5

Overall, not as bad as I thought it was going to be. It's a fun watch although there isn't anything really to recommend watching. It's a short run time so it's easy to digest, so if you've watched the 43 ECW shows above this one, then give it a watch, I guess.

MOTN: Raven vs The Sandman

#43: Living Dangerously, March 21st 1999. 36.7%

After the shit-flinging-at-wall chaos of 1998, ECW transitioned towards putting on better shows in 1999 & 2000. Perhaps Heyman realised that sometimes it's best to just let the talent do what they're best at without too many moving parts. Sometimes ECW was like a Rubik's Cube except it has 12 sides and as many colours as a game of Hues & Cues. ECW probably had their best roster in '99, still holding their mainstays but gaining the likes of Tajiri, Mike Awesome & Super Crazy to name but a few. This show follows a similar pattern we've seen recently, severe lack of consistency as well as your traditional zero-rated New Jack match.

We open with a good match though, the Japanese buzzsaw Tajiri takes on very mental, extremely insane, Super Crazy. These two have a had a series of matches at this point both winning 2 each. Tajiri looks fucking adorable, until he kicks you into a human soup. By the end of the year, Tajiri would have a chronic case of green-mistitis. This isn't the best match these two had together but it was still a good contest, Super Crazy winning reversing a hurricanrana into a pin. A bit rushed but all in all a nice start to the show. 2.75

After a Sabu, RVD & Bill Alfonso promo we get our next match, Steve Corino vs Balls Mahoney. A good heel promo from Corino before the match calling out for a challenger, Balls more than happy to comply. It only goes a few minutes, Corino works the crowd really well with his old-school wrasslin' gimmick. Balls gets the win with a SICK chair shot. A fun segment but I really would have preferred this got cut and just give it to the previous match. I do really like Corino though. I get some Adam Cole vibes from him. 1

Little Guido vs Antifaz Del Norte next. ADN's name means "Mask of the North" and that is about as much information on him that I could find. Solid action but again a short match which I interpret as just filler. The crowd chants boring, I don't think it was too dull but it didn't set me alight or anything. Guido wins via submission. 1

The ECW TV Championship is on the line, RVD defends against Jerry Lynn. I think this is the best ECW match I've reviewed thus far. Lynn is the most underrated wrestler in history, should have and could have been a success in WCW & in WWE. They just never saw it for some reason. He had a great comeback year in 2009 for his run in Ring of Honor where he won their world championship. This match is excellent from the chain wrestling to the aerial offence and escalation of moves and drama. A brilliant match that is so deserving of 4 stars... until the finish. It ends on a time limit draw, the referee awards the match to Jerry Lynn. I'm sorry, WHAT? When has that ever been a rule?? The challenger winning the title via time limit draw is ridiculous and they don't explain why. Lynn refuse the title and asks for 5 more minutes, which doesn't make him look heroic because WHEN HAS THAT EVER BEEN A RULE? Then the match is restarted and RVD wins pretty much immediately. *hits head against wall* I am a bit of a stickler for rules consistency in wrestling. Watching ECW, I've been very lenient because the company is pretty much built on "fuck the rules". But time limit draws have been a regular feature on ECW supercards in the past few years and this has NEVER happened. Heyman, sometimes you're a genius, sometimes your ridiculous. A brilliant match that I still recommend but bad ending. 3.75

Talking about bad, enter New Jack & Mr Mustafa for the next match. I'd rather take a bath in thumbtacks, so let's speed run this. Brawling into the crowd, NJ jumps off balcony onto a table-taped Mustafa, security drags both men into the ring, NJ pins to win. The security were the best wrestlers in this match. 0

After a long promo/introduction for the Dudley Boyz & their family, their open challenge is answered by Spike Dudley & Nova. They injure Nova, leaving Spike on his own. Dudleys taunt some more until Sid arrives! We get ourselves a little fight and Sid & Spike get the win. The promo segment was good and really made the Dudley's look like strong dickheads. The match wasn't much but it was fun and the crowd enjoyed it. Sid then powerbombs Spike a few times because why not. 1

Tommy Dreamer & Shane Douglas teamed up to face Lance Storm & Justin Credible. Douglas is WCW bound at this point, his passing of the torch to Dreamer was not appreciated by Storm & Credible who would soon officially team as the Impact Players. This was solid tag action but it dragged and the crowd just weren't into it. I appreciate they stuck to a tag formula instead of a ECW brawl special but it had little excitement. A few storyline elements like Douglas feinting turning heel seemed unnoticed to the crowd, or they just didn't care. They finally wake up towards the end as Douglas gets the win with a Pittsburgh Plunge. 2

Before our main event, a promo with the referee for the RVD vs Lynn match tries to justify his decision, saying he wanted a definite winner. Still not a good enough excuse. RVD interrupts, praises Lynn and wants a rematch. He calls himself for the first time "Mr Pay Per View".

High stakes main event, a unification bout. The ECW Champion Taz against the FTW Champion Sabu. FTW stands for "Fuck the World", a championship Taz created when he couldn't compete for ECW title. He purposefully lost the title to Sabu before his world title opportunity against Douglas, confident he was going to win and not need it. He was right. Taz would call out any champion from any company, leading to long time Sabu to answer the call. These two had a feud lasting most of 1996 without even having a match until the first PPV in April of '97. Taz asks for this to be an extreme death match, Sabu accepts. I would expect for that to lead to a big finish somewhere but that isn't the case. We get a good match by these two, the story being Taz is just a dominant force and Sabu is just surviving. Sabu throws all he has at Taz but it's not enough. Alfonso keeps trying to stop the match to but Sabu keeps rejecting. Sabu would pass out in the Tazmission. Both guys should have sold offence more but still a good contest. 3

Overall, another weird show. I can't recommend the full show however Lynn vs RVD is definitely worth checking out. The main event is good and the opener is decent but everything else inbetween isn't worth your time.

MOTN: RVD vs Jerry Lynn

#42: Hardcore Heaven, July 1st 1995. 36.9%

This show and the following 2 shows all have the same percentage so I'm ranking them based on my own enjoyment. This show was reviewed pretty negatively by critics, most agreeing that outside 1 or 2 matches the show is trash. Big Dave Meltzer gave the main event a 4.25 so who knows what I'm in store for.

The opening match is the Dudley's vs the Pitbulls. This is the debut of the Dudley's, who are all brothers of "Big Daddy" Dudley, Snot Dudley & Dudley Dudley are tagging here. There is a match happening but the story going on with the Pitbulls & Raven's Nest is the focus. After Stevie swaps spit with a fan of his, Beulah takes offence and attacks her. Raven can't be arsed and drags then both out. Pitbulls perform a superbomb but Dudley breaks it up and drags Snot over a pitbull to win. Action was alright but it was second to the storyline. 1

Dino Sendoff & Don E. Allen vs Chad Austin & the Broad Street Bully is next. What time is it? Its jobber time! 2 minutes of action, 911 comes out and chokeslams everyone. This shouldn't be on the show but I'll give it something since the fans were clearly entertained. 0.25

Hack Meyers takes on Big Val Puccio. The fans chant Shah for Hack & shit for Val. Shit is what this match is though. Just awful. Val can barely move around without being completely gassed. Hack gets the win. TV Champion Eddie Guerrero was left off the show, and this is what we get? What a waste. 0

2 Cold Scorpio faces Taz next. This is at the beginning of Taz's new transformation from his crappy gimmick to a wrestling machine. Some good action between these two. Taz initially gets the win but Scorpio's foot was on the rope and Bill Alfonso comes out demanding a restart (this was when Alfonso was just a rules nerd and not manager anyone). Scorpio takes advantage of the chaos to win with a chair assisted leg drop. 2.5

We get a Shane Douglas promo about his imminent departure to WWF then we have our next contest. Tag titles on the line as Raven & Stevie Richards defend against Tommy Dreamer & Luna Vachon. ECW feels like the perfect place for Luna to be. She really deserved a Women's title run in WWE. This was a good match even if it was short, they crammed a lot in. Some overbooked bollocks of course but entertaining rather than frustrating. Luna puts in a great showing nearly getting a win but she gets blinded with powder and rolls up by Stevie. 3

What's the story, morning gorey? The story is Axl Rotten & Ian Rotten in a Taipei Deathmatch. "What's a Taipei Death match?" I heard you ask innocently. I'll bloody tell you. Both wrestlers have taped fist, dipped in glue and then in glass. No 5 star classic taking place here then. I don't mind deathmatches but I don't like gore just for gores sake and that's pretty much what this was. 2 bros butchering each other because lols I guess. Axl gets the win with a backdrop on to thumbtacks and then a splash. If you like bloody violence then these 2 have a plethora of matches to your tastes. It's just not really mine. 1.5

World championship match next as defending champ Sandman faces Cactus Jack in a weapons match, meaning each participant can being their chosen weapon. Sandman has a cane, obviously, whilst Cactus has Barbed wire, obviously. There's some nice spots here, like Sandman wrapping his own body in Barbed wire and splashing Cactus. Lame finish though, as Shane Douglas comes to the ring and attacks both men, Sandman is able to recover and get the pin first. Some action was good but it was slow at times and another screwy ending leaves a sour taste. 2.5

Shane Douglas is a dick some more before getting fired and chokeslammed by 911 in a fun segment.

Our main event is Public Enemy vs the Gangstas. This was mental. Entertaining hardcore action at its finest. We see tables, chairs, crutches, umbrellas, nightsticks, mailboxes, frying pans, keyboards and even a croquet mallet. I didn't even think croquet existed in America. Public Enemy earn the win with a mallet strike from the top rope. Constant fun action that never dragged, possibly the best match New Jack was a part of. They continue fighting after the match, this feud is far from over. 4

Overall, the epitome of a 1 match show. The tag title match was good but everything else outside of the main event isn't worth the time. I recommend finding this show and skipping immediately to the final match for 10 minutes of entertainment.

MOTN: Public Enemy vs The Gangstas

#41: Just Another Night, February 23rd 1996. 36.9%

This show is watchable thanks to "fan-cam" footage that was released on DVD, because of that there is little information about this show. This match is sandwiched inbetween Cyberslam '96, the worst show in '96, and Big Ass Extreme Bash, one of their best show ever. We have Bam Bam Bigelow's first match for ECW and one of Cactus Jack's last before he is Stamford bound to compete for the WWF.

Our opener sees the Bad Crew defeat Joel Hartgood & JT Smith in a couple minutes. Smith immediately chair shots Hartgood and leaves. Sandman comes down after a pinfall to cane Bad Crew. Not good but at least it was short. I only just discovered that JT Smith thinks he's Italian because of head trauma, which explains a lot. 0.25

Members of Raven's Nest Stevie Richards & Blue Meanie take on the Pitbulls. A nice mix of comedy & in-ring ability here culminating with a superbomb to the Meanie. Richards & Meanie would be significantly more over by the end of the year with a certain blue man group gimmick. 2.25

Bill Alfonso vs Tod Gordon next. It isn't good at all but it is very entertaining. Alfonso wins with help from Taz. Fun fact, Bill Alfonso was sued by Missy Hyatt and appeared on Judge Mathis to settle damage to her Porsche. Alfonso lost and had to pay $500. 0.25

Apparently Mikey Whipwreck defeated El Puerto Riqueño but there's no footage of this sooooo moving on.

Tag Championships on the line as the Champions the Eliminators defend against the Dudley's (Buh Buh & Dances). The champs hit Total Elimination on Dances leaving Buh Buh on his own, until Hack Meyers comes out as a replacement. Some decent action here but nothing groundbreaking, Saturn & Kronus retain their tag championships in about 7 minutes with total elimination. 2

Sandman defeats Axl Rotten next. Who decided to give these over 15 minutes? There are some good moments here but it drags on and it's sloppy in a bad way at times. A diving leg drop secures Sandman a victory. 2

A big matchup next as WWF-bound Cactus Jack takes on recent WWF-leaver Bam Bam Bigelow. Bigelow negotiated an early release due to dissatisfaction about booking. This should have been great, but it lasted just under 4 minutes. Bam Bam wins, but interference from Raven's nest & Taz leaves him incapacitated. Not the worst thing on the show but certainly the most disappointing. 1

Similarly to Hardcore Heaven 1995, this stinky stinky show is saved by 2 matches. The TV Championship is on the line between 2 Cold Scorpio & Sabu. This is the last of the three encounters between these two, the last two were both great and the best thing on the show. No surprise that's the case here. A great blend of brawling, wrasslin' & high-flying spots which made for a thrilling contest. It goes to a 20 minute time limit draw and the crowd show respect to both wrestlers. This is probably their best encounter together. Great match. 4

World Championship main event as Raven defends against Shane Douglas. It was a solid, clean matchup between these two, the most "professional wrestling" on this show. During the match, a photographer distracts Douglas with persistent flash photography. It's Brian Pillman! Repeated interference from Raven's Nest assists the champion retaining. The Sandman comes down afterwards and helps Douglas fight the nest away. 3

Overall, another one match show. I found this better than Hardcore Heaven '95 because of a marginally more entertaining undercard, I really mean marginally. Most of the trash is kept short and it ends with a good match and a great match.

MOTN: Sabu vs 2 Cold Scorpio

#40: Hardcore Heaven, June 22nd 1996. 36.9%

This might surprise some fans of ECW because this was quite a highly regarded show. In the midst of Heyman's most creatively successful year, we have Hardcore Heaven '96. The RVD & Sabu rivalry is in full swing, Dreamer's feud with Raven's Nest is at fever pitch, Chris Jericho is here as is Terry Gordy, even former UFC fighter Paul Varelans is on this show, there's a lot going on. ECW were ready for the big time, they just needed to get eyes on their product. Unfortunately though, I don't think this show holds up quite it like did over 15 years ago.

We kick things off HOT as Sandman canes the ring announcer Joel Gertner to bring back ECW's former announcer Bob Artese to an enormous pop.

Our first match up sees Shane Douglas taking on Mikey Whipwreck. Douglas recently lost the TV Championship, these two have had a mini feud as Mikey wants revenge for Shane injuring his leg. This was a solid way to get the show started, Douglas let Whipwreck get some good offence in but ultimately gets the win with a belly to belly suplex. 3

This next segment is fucking hilarious. Stevie Richards & the Blue Meanie come out doing impersonations. Steve calls himself Baron Von Stevie (imitating Baron Von Raschke) and Meanie is "Bluedust" (Goldust obviously). Stevie's Baron impression is really good. Stevie talks about his quest to find Raven a "trashy slutbag" because of course.

The FBI (JT Smith & Little Guido) takes on The Dudleys (Buh Buh & Big Dick). Smith brings out returning Sal Bellomo as the newest member of the group. Sal would get involved often which caused D-Von to come out, nail Guido with a chair and the Dudley's get disqualified. Just trash. It progressed the story of D-Von being an ass who is also scared of Big Dick but that could have been a TV segment not this rubbish. 0.25

The "shoot fight" next between Taz & Paul Varelans. Spoiler alert, its not a shoot fight. Because Taz would probably lose since he's not a professional MMA fighter. Rumour has it that Taz & the ECW locker room were nervous about the potential of Varelans legit shooting on Taz here, hence why a few wrestlers are at ringside I assume to break anything up. Varelans has 7 UFC fights at this point, 4 wins to 3 losses so yeah he's legit. It is also heavily rumoured that to combat this, Heyman sent Missy Hyatt to see Varelans and offer him some "lip service" if everything went down as planned. The match did go down as planned, kinda. A couple of minutes of fake shoot fighting until Perry Saturn dropkicks Brawly Pauly. That looked STIFF. Another rumour is that the kick was too stiff and actually knocked Varelans a little loopy so Taz did a 300-pound dead-lift suplex. Impressive. Taz wins choking out his opponent. Not very good, the fans didn't like it either. Heyman wouldn't do another shoot fight and that's a smart move. Props to Taz turning the hot mess into some killer heat. 0.5

Final rumour about Varelans, Missy Hyatt refused to blow Paul's pole because in her words "I don't fuck jobbers". YIKES. Valerans went ape and destroyed the locker room. PV would go onto have a 9-9 win-loss MMA record before sadly passing away in 2021 aged 51.

Raven defends his championship against IWA Japan's handpicked wrestler, which was revealed to be Terry Gordy. LOADS of Raven's Nest interference but Tommy Dreamer tries to even the odds. It's no use though, as Gordy eats a Steviekick & Raven's DDT before being pinned. This was a wild brawl which had some good moments, I like that Raven really needed everyone's help to takedown a beast like Gordy. Would've liked to just see a bangin' Gordy match but hey ho. 2

Some great storytelling here, as Sandman comes out to aid Dreamer & Gordy. Raven reveals a new follower. Not only Peaches, the ex-wife, but Tyler, Sandman's son. Sandman even cries which is so uncharacteristic. A phenomenal segment thay garners sympathy for Sandman and makes Raven look even more like the biggest twat to exist since female giants.

The Eliminators vs The Gangstas for the Tag Championships. It doesn't even get started as the Gangstas are attacked by Samoan Gangsta Party & the Bruise Brothers. Eliminators them brawl with Bruise Brothers, before the Gangstas retur with weapons and clean house. Chaotic brawling purely to set up the 4-team match at the Doctor Is In show. NR

Samoan Gangsta Party have a match with Axl Rotten & Hack Meyers. By match, I mean 2 minutes before the Gangstas come back out and ruin this match. Ugh, how is this show so highly rated. Over-saturation of sloppy brawling and it really damaged my interest by this point in the show. 0.25

If all else fails, you can always rely on Chris Jericho. He's looking to defeat Pitbull 2 for the TV Championship. This wasn't the cleanest match as Jericho is early in his career and Pitbull 2 isn't a great performer, but it stays entertaining. Jericho picks up the victory reversing a superbomb into a hurricanrana. This would be Jericho's first championship victory in the US. 3.25

Tommy Dreamer & Brian Lee square off in a weapons match. I think I would have enjoyed this match a lot more if it wasn't for how much mindless brawling we've already seen. Lee looks set to win but Kimona & Beulah come to Dreamer's aid so he can hit a DDT to win. This match was fine with a capital F. 2

Our main event is Sabu vs RVD. This is their 3rd consecutive match with each of them having a win over each other. This match was hindered by a broken ring which caused a delay, then the ropes broke AGAIN during the match. These two worked their asses off though, still putting on a good match under those conditions. Sabu still hit flawless aerial offence using broken ropes, because he's a scientific anomaly. I can excuse the brawling in this match because it was to keep camera away from the ring whilst they try to repair it. Great spots and great storytelling throughout, Sabu would score the victory with an Arabian facebuster. With both men giving their all, both men were stretchered out of the ring. That would set up their next encounter which would be a stretcher match. 3.5

Overall, it's easy and enjoyable to watch but it's not very good. The brawling gets a bit too much. While there isn't a stand-out great match like the previous 2 shows, this show was better because of a more consistent card with better matches & segments overall. A few changes in the first half of the show would really improve the overall quality. It starts hot and ends hot though, which is something ECW struggled to achieve a lot of the time.

MOTN: Sabu vs RVD

#39: Three Way Dance, April 8th 1995. 37.1%

This show was part of a double-header weekend as Hostile City Showdown took place the following weekend. This show is most famously known as the night Sabu no-showed. The story varies but the jist of it is Sabu was booked an event in Japan on the same day and was already overseas. Either he purposefully abandoned ECW knowing he could make better money in Japan, or he didn't take the time differences into account and thought he could make it back in time. Eitherway, Heyman & the fans were mega pissed off. Heyman would explain this on the show, as well as bury & fire Sabu on camera buy that was cut from the WWE network version of the show.

The Pitbulls defeat the Broad Street Bullies (Johnny Hotbody & Tony Stetson) in under a minute. The BSB were a part of Raven's Nest but threatened to be fired if they lost. They lost quite convincingly. The Pitbulls declare Raven their new master and join the Nest. We also see Beulah McGillicutty introduced for the first time, as a tool by Raven to piss off Dreamer some more. Barely a match, but enough to be rated as one. 0.25

This goes straight into our next match, Raven vs Tommy Dreamer. Vintage ECW brawling here in and around the ring and using a variety of weapons. Dreamer has the fans on his side now after being hated in his early days. The finish comes when Stevie pretends to attack Beulah so Dreamer goes to check on her. She blinds him with hairspray and Dreamer eats a superkick and a DDT, Raven wins. Good storytelling, an average match but it's enjoyable for what it is. 2

Ron Simmons faces Mikey Whipwreck. Ronnie beats up Whipwreck for a while, Mikey manages to get a couple moves in but to no avail. Simmons hit Whipwreck with 2 chokeslams to send a message to 911. He goes for a third but the referee says "no", so Ron says "okay", then murders the referee with a chokeslam for a DQ. A post-match beatdown brings out 911 for a chokeslam party. Not much of a match but a nice way to continue the Nine-on-Ron feud. 1

A promo from Chris Benoit leads to a brawl between him and Taz. The crowd goes mental for Rick Steiner who appears! Looks like we have our replacement for Sabu

TV Championship match between defending champion 2 Cold Scorpio & Eddie Guerrero. This was a very good match. The crowd were super hot for Eddie throughout the match. This match was the beginning of Heyman adding that much needed diversity to his wrestling shows. Eddie had a refreshing moveset for the fans. Scorpio put in a good showing too, it takes 2 to tango. They kick out of each others finishers, and later Eddie would get the win and the TV Title with a roll up of Doom. 3.75

Hair vs Hair Match next between two brothers; Axl & Ian Rotten. The Bad Breed had to dissolve after losing to the pitbulls at November to Remember '94 and Axl blames Ian for that, setting up this feud. Supposedly the brothers hated each other in real life so I guess that explains why their matches got so violent. Because they were allowed to and they wanted to. Bloody ECW brawling and it feels brutal, they're not pulling any punches at all. Not really sure who to root for here. It's like watching to rabid raccoons scrapping. Axl gets a win with a chair shot. 2

Hack Meyers defeats Dino Sendoff next. Meyers recently adopting his Shah of Philadelphia gimmick has got him quite popular. Hack would have 2 matches for WCW & 1 for WWF, losing all 3. He also trained Travis Tomko if you remember him. Probably not though. Hack wins in a few minutes in a filler match. Nothing much to report. 0.5

Shane Douglas defends the ECW TV against the Sandman next. Unfortunately it's clipped to hell. There was a warning before the intro on the wwe network, essentially saying "this is the best we could do" which is fair enough. A shame, because it looked like it might have been a decent match. Shane Douglas retains with the help of Woman, who betrays Sandman. Shane threatened to fist Sandman in a post-match promo, which is funny. NR

Our main event is the anticipated 3-way dance for the Tag Championships. Reigning champions Chris Benoit & Dean Malenko defend against Public Enemy & the team of Taz & Rick Steiner. Props to all the guys for having to deal with a last minute change, Rick Steiner saved the main event because I don't know who else they could put in that match. I wonder if they had any plans for Rick before the change? Anyways, hot exciting action from the bell, the team of Taz & Steiner were eliminated first by Benoit & Malenko. They didn't leave without wreaking more havoc first. It slows down a bit but it picks up again towards the end, Public Enemy win the tag belts with a drive-by by Rocco. 3.5

Overall, not a terrible show. The weak stuff was kept very short and the good stuff was very good. Shame about the ECW title match being clipped. I wish that Guerrero, Malenko & Benoit stuck around in ECW longer they would have had some barn-burners in this promotion with pretty much anyone.

MOTN: 2 Cold Scorpio vs Eddie Guerrero

#38: November to Remember, November 1st 1998. 37.5%

Boy this show ended up higher than I expected. Not a good showing for November to Remember Supercards currently, more of the same here. It's 1998 so Heyman is still in his "booking random ideas from a hat" phase except the hat is a fucking toilet. Taz, Sabu & RVD finally united together with Bill Alfonso to form the New Triple Threat so I was excited for a great 6-man tag main event. Little did I know that disappointment was in my future.

At the top of our show, Terry Funk is here! He's angry for not being invited to be here, he trash talks his former protégé Tommy Dreamer for not contacting him (Dreamer has a tag match later with a surprise partner.) Dreamer tries to calm him down but Funk ain't having it, slapping him on his way out. Drama.

Our opener is Blue Meanie & Supernova against Danny Doring & Amish Roadkill. This match is derailed by Terry Funk's antics. He takes over the timekeepers table, he attacks Meanie and puts himself through a table in rage. Amusing, but really made everyone not give a shit about the match going on. The action was fine but it was really disjointed and overall mediocre. Funk continues his crazed antics after the bell. Bad way to start the show. 1.5

Next up, Tommy Rogers takes on the definitely Italian man, Tracey Smothers. Tommy Rogers is most notable as one half of the Fantastics, they put on some great Tag matches for WCW & the NWA. He also worked behind the scenes for ECW as an agent. The wrestling is fine but the match is littered with outside interference and crowd just really didn't care about this. Rogers nails Smothers with a Tomakaze to get the victory. 1

There's FBI dissension happening, but wait, its a bloody ruse! They beat up Tommy, Chris Chetti makes the save but the definitely Italian and not German Ulf Herman brings out Mabel. Why? Who knows. Mabel is wearing an FBI shirt and he gets in on the action until Spike Dudley comes out. Spike saves Chetti from being put through a table and gets into it with Mabel. Spike low blows and hits an acid drop on Mabel who falls on Ulf, Spike gets the pin. I didn't even realise a match was going on, I never heard a bell. This was fun, Spike getting wins over guys 10 times his size was entertaining. This felt like a throwback to ECW of old. NR

Next we have Lance Storm vs Jerry Lynn, with Mikey Whipwreck & Tammy Sytch (Sunny) as referees. Sytch is Chris Candido's partner, who has a friendship gone bad with Lance Storm. Storm introduced his own valet to mock Sytch, Dawn Marie who called herself Tammy Lynn Bytch. There's a lot of intertwining stories going on between 5 people and it's hard to dissect quickly. Storm & Lynn try their best to have a great match, but it's ridiculously overbooked. Sytch tries to screw over Storm with fast counts, Bytch tries to screw over Lynn by interfering. There's a catfight because lol look at the women fighting. Too many distracting moving parts. Lynn has an inside cradle but Mikey flips it over and fast counts for a Storm victory. Heyman must have snorted some serious drugs here. A Storm vs Lynn match would have been good if not great on its own, it needed zero messy bullshit to keep it entertaining. One of the best match I've seen be so crippled by shambolic booking decisions. 3

Tag Championships up next, the Dudley Boyz defend against Balls Mahoney & Masato Tanaka. Heyman took interest in Tanaka during their FMW relationship and for good reason, Tanaka was the tits. We get a nice brawl between the 4 men, with a fun 4-way chair duel of sorts. The Dudley's hit a 3D on Tanaka and he kicked out, being the first person to ever do so. Balls & Tanaka hit their finishers and the Dudley's kick out. Dudley's throw more offence at their opponents and set up a Tables spot, however Sabu & RVD put them through the table, allowing Balls & Tanaka to cover and win the belts. This was fun for what it was and it all fit the storylines present at the time. 50 year old Tanaka is still an active wrestler, he is currently ZERO1's World Heavyweight Champion in his 6th reign since June '22. What a guy. 2.5

Justin Credible & Jack Victory team up to face Tommy Dreamer & his mystery partner. It's Jake the Snake Roberts! Huge pop. We get ourselves a brawl as expected. It wasn't completely terrible, obviously Roberts can't work anymore at this stage in his career. This should have been short and sweet though. Victory doesn't do much at all but he's seen limping so he was injured maybe? Basically we have a 1-on-1 match with extra parts. Dreamer & Credible do some good stuff but it's sloppy action and even sloppier booking with the second half of the match filled with excessive interference. Roberts DDT's Credible on a ladder and gets a pin. 1.5

After previously saying he's left ECW forever, Funk is back and confronts Dreamer before attacking him. We see promo packages from the New Triple Threat then an in-ring Shane Douglas promo. RVD & Sabu come out but are attacked by the Dudley Boyz, Taz comes out to fight them off.

Our main event starts immediately as the New Triple Threat (Taz, RVD & Sabu) against the Triple Threat (Shane Douglas, Bam Bam Bigelow, Chris Candido). Boy this was messy. It had a few fun spots but there was just too much going on, as if Heyman just asked them to do as many spots they could in a 12 minute time slot. Taz has Douglas looked in a Tazmission but Sabu hits both men with an Atomic Arabian Facebuster, Sabu pins Shane to win. I wanted to like this match, I liked the finish but it was quite a disappointing mess. Taz isn't happy with Sabu and they almost come to blows but Alfonso prevents a fight. 1.75

Overall, not a great show. As is the trend with these '98 shows, too much overbooked nonsense makes good matches worse and it was very present on this show. There's nothing on this show worth going back to watch, this was just another missed opportunity by Heyman's Home of Hardcore Henchmen.

MOTN: Lance Storm vs Jerry Lynn

#37: Crossing the Line Again, February 1st 1997. 37.5%

What a stacked show this is. I mean this isn't a great show, in fact it's a tale of two halves. The first half is not so good, the second half is quite good. The PPV name is in reference to the 1994 PPV "The Night The Line Was Crossed" which featured that 60 minute main event. The show began with Heyman announcing that ECW would have their first PPV very soon which would finally solidify their status as a big name promotion. This show has 3 very significant moments taking place, one of those being the debut of Lance Storm.

Speaking of Lance, he is in the opening contest against Balls Mahoney. Lance Storm was donning his buzzcut with a blonde ponytail look which is hilarious. Storm was good friends with Chris Jericho as they trained in the Hart Dungeon together, which may be why he got a gig in ECW. It goes about 5 minutes, some nice moves from both guys and Storm earns a victory with a spinning wheel kick from the top. Adequate opener, have a star. 1

Next up, Ricky Morton vs Big Stevie Cool. I was shocked to see legend Rock 'N' Roller Ricky Morton appear on an ECW show. The Blue World Order is at peak popularity here and Stevie is possibly the most over commodity in ECW right now. I would have loved to see him win the world Championship. Another 5 minute match, another adequately wrestled contest. Stevie gets the win with a Steviekick. 1.5

Axl Rotten takes on Dr Death Steve Williams aaaand gets squashed in a couple minutes. Alright then, don't really see a point to this except to get him in the ring for an interview, where he challenges Raven for a title match. 0.5

The champion Raven answers the call and an impromptu world title match is underway. A nice brawl between the two, both guys made each other look strong in their own ways. The bWo come out to cheer on Williams, Stevie offers Williams a spot in the bWo. Williams declines, so Stevie nails him with a Steviekick. Williams gets up immediately! Another kick, he gets up again! A third kick keeps him down enough so Raven can hit a DDT to retain. A bit nonsensical having Stevie inadvertently help his rival. This was still a decent match, a huge moment as this was Dr Death's first loss on American soil in 10 years, which did make Raven's win even more impressive. 2

The Sandman takes on D-Von Dudley. Sandman was in his "got nothing left to lose phase" while D-Von was going through his "I'm a massive prick" phase. D-Von was great at getting crowd heat early on in his career. This was a short, violent match ending with a Sandman victory who drops a diving leg drop on a chair to the face of D-Von. Not happy with the result, the Dudley steals Sandman's cane and beats the blood, sweat & beer out of him. Buh Buh Ray & Spike Dudley come out to stop the attack, until SWERVE. Buh Buh joins D-Von in the assault on Sandman. Spike tries to stop his brothers but falls victim to the first ever 3D by the newly formed Dudley Boyz. The Gangstas come out and they get beaten too. Not a great match, but the segment following it is an iconic part of history. 1

The Eliminators defend their tag gold against Sabu & Rob Van Dam. You'll either love or hate this match. There are some great spots on moments in this match but the selling is no where to be seen, especially by the Eliminators, especially by Kronus. He's fucking shite isn't he? He can bust out a good move I'll admit but he lacked understanding of how matches flowed, I often felt he was carried through a lot of his matches. Not surprised Saturn wanted to leave him behind. The lack of selling, plus the match being sloppier than a blowjob made out of baked beans, prevents this from being a truly great contest that at least 75% of this match are capable of. Sorry Kronus. 2.75

Terry Funk vs Tommy Rich is next and it's better than I thought it would be. A classic heel vs face match as the fans adore Funk & resent Rich, even to the point they're trying not to let him use their chairs against Funk. They have a fun, chaotic brawl around the arena before taking it back to the ring. Rich DDT's Funk & the referee for some reason, I guess because he's a tosser? They continue beating each other until Funk gets the upper-hand and wins via submission. This was a good brawl, especially since both guys are veterans, Rich is over 40 & Funk is over 50! Angry grandpa's doing angry grandpa things. 3

Our show closer is the Triple Threat taking on The Pitbulls & Tommy Dreamer. Pitbulls want revenge for Douglas breaking Pitbull 1's neck whilst Dreamer has a personal vendetta with Brian Lee. An entertaining brawl by all 6 men, just wild chaos until the Triple Threat isolate Dreamer and keep the Pitbulls out of the match. As the Pitbulls gain back some momentum, Triple Threat hit triple Rude Awakenings. This brings out the Masked man that Shane Douglas had been feuding with, who sounds & looks like Rick Rude but I'm sure is just a coincidence. Whilst Rude- sorry, the Masked Man gets his thrill spanking the soul out of Francine, Pitbull 2 superbombs Pitbull 1 through Douglas who is on a table, picking up a W. This was good fun and all of the moving parts worked in cohesion. 3.25

Overall, a bit of a throwaway show but with a solid ending. Dr Death's first loss in 10 years, Lance Storm's debut, ECW's first PPV announcement & the formation of the Dudley Boyz are all significant moments that all feel a bit washed away. Maybe too many big moments diluted the show.

MOTN: Triple Threat vs Pitbulls & Dreamer

#36: Heat Wave, 1996. 39.4%

Boy this show ended up lower than I expected. This might be my first show recommendation. Heat Wave '96 was the third annual Heat Wave event and it was actually streamed online as an iPPV event. The biggest selling point of the show was the "Rage in a Cage" Main event, a 6-man steel cage match. Funnily enough, that isn't what this show is remembered for, as there is a match on this card that is easily one of the greatest ECW matches of all time.

Let's start with some New Jack eh? A battle of gangstas here as THE Gangstas face off against the Samoan Gangstas. I'm surprised these two allowed ECW to book them to get battered, the Anoa'i Family notoriously like to be booked strongly. The Gangstas leather their opponents for a couple minutes before the match is thrown out as the Samoan's are incapacitated. A hot way to start the show I guess but not good viewing. The Gangstas challenge the Eliminators for a four-way match in the future, a match we will see on the "Doctor Is In" show. 0.25

Mikey Whipwreck defeats former tag partner Paul Lauria in a squash. Fair enough. 0.5

The Eliminators come out and give Mikey total elimination before accepting The Gangstas challenge for a future match. They then challenge Mikey & Sabu to come after their gold right now. Sabu is more than game to play.

The Tag Championships on the line in our first worthy match of the show. Sabu & Mikey earned respect for one another after a series of matches. We get a good tag match here, the champs get some good offence in and Mikey sells like a pro as usual. Things fall a part a little when Sabu comes in, gets a little botchy but far from terrible. Clever finish as Saturn dodges a table spot and Sabu wipes himself out, leaving Mikey alone to eat his second total elimination of the night. Poor fella. 3

After a long FBI promo introducing some new members, our next match sees them (Little Guido & JT Smith) face the Dudley's (Buh Buh & Big Dick). Before the bell, D-Von is in the Eagles Nest and picks a fight with Huge Penis Dudley. Dick obliges which leaves his family at a disadvantage to the FBI. D-Von runs away whilst Massive Willy searches for him. Buh Buh survives the 2-on-1 mounting a comeback until his well endowed brother returns. The Dudley's win the match when Giant Cock Dudley nails Guido with a chair shot. A bit of a mess, the FBI don't look great coming out of this match but it progresses the Dudley story further so that's nice. 1.25

Tarzan Goto takes on Axl Rotten next. Goto made a name for himself for FMW & AJPW in Japan, particularly with his exploding steel cage matches with Atsushi Onita. He and Onita actually had the first ever exploding Barbed wire match. They have a decent brawl of a match, Goto doesn't sell much for Rotten though, it feels a bit one-sided. Goto goes over with a naughty brainbuster on a chair. 2

We get a nice promo from a bloodthirsty Taz, he threatens Joey Styles who's trying to bring the promo to a close. 911 comes out and chokeslams Taz to a huge pop. Taz pops up almost Mike Myers-esque and makes 911 another victim. This made Taz look HUGE as a killer, 911 was the most protected character on the show. Not anymore.

Elimination four way for the TV Championship, Chris Jericho defending against Shane Douglas, 2 Cold Scorpio & Pitbull 2. All four guys hot potatoes the belt between them so this match is a culmination of that. I had high expectations, and they were exceeded. We have 3 good workers, and also Pitbull 2, so this flows spectacularly. Douglas continues to dodge Pitbull 2 throughout as they have a personal feud. A mix of styles make for an exciting contest with high risk dives, storytelling offence, technical wrestling. It has it all. The match goes 20-25 minutes before we get out first elimination, Scorpio hits Jericho with the tumbleweed to win. I don't mind Jericho going out first, it guarantees a new champion with is exciting and he had a stellar showing in this bout. Douglas tries to unite with Scorpio against Pitbull, which Scorpio responds by attacking both of them. Douglas then asks bitter rival Pitbull 2 to join forces against Scorpio. Pitbull is hesitant, but Scorpio has been in such a tear that he agrees and he superbombs Scorpio to eliminate him. Clever booking there. Pitbull then is poised to defeat Douglas, but Francine betrays her Pitbull client after 3 years of managing them to a chorus of boos. Pitbull 1 comes out and they murder Francine with a superbomb through a table for a loud pop, but it's a part of Douglas' plan. He plants Pitbull 1 with a DDT on the championship, reinjuring his neck, and then attacks Pitbull 2 with weapons to win the match. This was AMAZING. Near perfect booking and a near perfect match, I think if it shaved off a few minutes it could easily be a 5 star classic. 4.75

Louie Spicolli defeats El Puerto Riqueño in a quick squash. Whatever, I guess. 0.25

Don't really see the point of the squash, I guess it gets Louie over as dominant. Sabu then comes out wanting his match with Spicolli. I believe they replaced Sabu with El Puerto Riqueño. Not sure if that's storyline or Heyman actually didn't want injured Sabu to work. Probably the latter, Sabu never looked after himself. Spicolli demonstrates his wrestling ability but also sells really well for Sabu. Sabu hits his usual entertaining offence, there's some nice sequences like Spicolli countering the Triple moonsault by lobbing the chair at Sabu. Sabu gets the win with the Arabian Facebuster, but a well contested bout. 3

It is now time for RAGE IN A CAGE! Raven, Brian Lee & Stevie Richards vs Tommy Dreamer, The Sandman & Terry Gordy. Is this your standard 6-man cage match? Of course fucking not! Here are the rules. The stipulation is that if Stevie Richards is pinned, Raven loses the ECW Championship. Yes reader, that is silly. The madness continues, so Dreamer & Lee are fighting on the outside in a falls count anywhere match, Stevie & Gordy start at the stage area whilst Raven & Sandman start in the cage. Convoluted bollocks. Raven offers to return Sandman's son if he leaves him alone, but its merely a distraction to gain the upper-hand. The action is a very exciting and chaotic but there is 3 matches happening at once which is a tad distracting. Sandman gets his ass beat by Raven so Dreamer gets in to lend a hand. He's ready for a nasty chair shot but Raven drags Sandman's son Tyler on the way. Dreamer doesn't care but Sandman stops him leading to an argument, nice spot. Everyone goes in and out of the ring at one point, Raven wipes out Stevie and puts him by the ring apron so that he won't get pinned, prioritising his championship over his allies. A crazy spot when Brain Lee chokeslams Dreamer from the top of the Cage through a bunch of tables on the outside, a nasty looking bump. Sandman DDTs Raven and pins him to win the match but not the title. This was messy but entertaining. The convoluted stipulations made things difficult to follow but it was still enjoyable. 2.5

Overall, actually an enjoyable show to watch. It probably deserves a higher placement. If they trimmed the fat like the unnecessary squashes it would be a stellar show. I recommend the show, not perfect but it's a fun watch and that TV Championship match is definitely worth seeking out.

MOTN: Chris Jericho vs 2 Cold Scorpio vs Shane Douglas vs Pitbull 2

#35: Cyberslam, February 22nd 1997. 40%

Cyberslam '97 was a two day event, night 1 was held in New York whilst night 2 was in their Philadelphia home in the ECW Arena. The event follows the events of Crossing the Line Again, the Eliminators are deep in their feud with RVD & Sabu whilst Terry Funk & Tommy Dreamer look to continue the fight against Raven's flock on the road to ECW's first PPV.

What a way to open the show. A Tables & ladders match for the Tag Championships, the Eliminators defending against RVD & Sabu. We get some wrestling before it falls into predictable brawling and spots. A similar issue I had with a previous match I reviewed, significant lack of sell, this time especially by Saturn. So many spectacular moves that Saturn took but seconds later was back fighting normally, it takes me out of the match. When guys just hit moves for moves sake it loses its impact. The action is good but messy, enjoyable though. After a miscommunication between Sabu & Rob, total elimination is dished out twice to RVD for a title retention. 2.75

We have a Pitbulls promo leading to an attack by the Triple Threat before we have our next match, Little Guido vs Chris Chetti. Chetti is Taz's cousin, which is probably why the fans don't slaughter him with jeers. A standard little match, well worked but not very exciting. Guido misses a top rope move for Chetti to win with a ROLL UP OF DOOM!! Meh, it was what it was. 1.75

Balls Mahoney takes on Big Stevie Cool next. Balls hasn't reached his popular status just yet but that is in his imminent future. Anything is better than a sadistic gay biker gimmick, you heard me. Another serviceable match that got better as time went on but it still wasn't anything to wake your nan and tell her about. Richards scored the win with his signature Steviekick. 1.75

Next up we've got Spike Dudley against Axl Rotten. Short match here, Rotten beats on Dudley and Spike sells well. He makes a comeback and nearly gets the W but the Dudley Boyz cost him the match, as Axl hits a dominator to win. This was alright, more of an angle to build heat on the Dudley ladz. 1

Buh Buh, D-Von & Axl beat down Spike until the Gangstas come out to make the save. Some weapon-on-Dudley violence kicks off our next match which is a tag match between the two sides. Usual Gangstas stuff. Brawling, weapons, fighting, you get the jist. New Jack did something truly innovative and he did a big dive off the balcony onto D-Von (sarcasm). I say onto, he barely hit D-Von and once again nearly destroyed himself doing the spot. Buh Buh catches New Jack with a cutter to win. This went way too long, the excitement was drained out by the finish. Cool finishing spot I'll admit, at least the Dudley's went over. 1

Next up we see Taz against Tracey Smothers. Another quick Taz squash but Smothers got some good licks in against the suplex machine. Fuck Alfonso and his stupid, stupid, stupid annoying whistle. I hate it. I know I'm supposed to hate it. But I hate it enough that I would turn the volume down to near mute. Taz of course uses the Tazmission to win. I enjoyed this for what it was. Just want Taz to be in good, full length matches. 1.5

Penultimate matchup, tag action between Raven & Brian Lee against Terry Funk & Tommy Dreamer. If Funk pins Raven he gets a title match. Raven, who Dreamer has never been able to pin, lays down for him to cover him. Great storytelling and mic work from Raven. A good match by these 4 with Funk desperate to get the pin on Raven. Funk actually makes Raven submit but the referee is caught up in Lee & Dreamer brawling on the outside and doesn't see it. Lee & Dreamer get MURDERED with trash can shots, bringing out medical staff to carry out Funk. Stevie comes out, then Sandman all gunning for Raven. Sandman DDTs then pins Raven, even though he's not in the match. Hmm, I dunno about that. Was he put in as a replacement for Funk? Or is it just silly bollocks booking again? Could be either. Good match anyways, not a technical masterpiece by any means but brilliant storytelling and captivating from start to finish. This would all set up a three-way between Stevie, Sandman & Funk to determine a number 1 Contender for Raven's title. 3

Our main event is Sabu vs Chris Candido. This is a good match but it doesn't feel like a main event. Sabu is on a Collision course with Taz so he's obviously going to win to look strong going into that match. Candido keeps the match flowing well and provides some excellent heel work, Sabu does his usual spectacular stunt offence. Big Chris holds his own but he takes a triple jump moonsault and Sabu gets the win. Candido puts over Sabu post match but tells him to wrestle more instead of just using weapon spots. Good advice Chris. 3.25

Overall, a show built on storyline development, laying the foundations and putting the pieces together ahead of the first PPV event, Barely Legal '97. Nothing was terribly awful but a lot of the show was short filler matches for story reasons rather than match quality reasons. The last two matches were good, praise for Sabu doing 2 matches in 1 night but the main event lacked a little something to feel like a show closer.

MOTN: Sabu vs

That's it for part two, a significant improvement in show quality with some good matches worth watching. Come back for part 3 for 15 more reviewed & ranked ECW shows. See ya!


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