NFB Watches Wrestling #11: ECW Living Dangerously 1998

Back to the land of extreme for our first ECW PPV of this series. It is the 1st of March 1998 and we’re at the Asbury Park Convention Hall in Asbury Park, New Jersey for Living Dangerously! And boy will that title be apropos.

I mentioned in my previous entry on ECW – #2 – that I have a bit of a limit on how much of the ECW 90’s style of wrestling I can handle. A lot of people look back very fondly on those days, and find a certain charm or nostalgia kick from the Crash TV-style booking, the ravenous crowds and the frequently great wrestling. For me, I always find myself distracted, whether it is from the shoddy production values, the violence or the ECW ethos of “Why follow rules when you can have more blood?” That episode of Hardcore TV was a great example of the latter especially, wherein the main event tag rules were selectively enforced, a chaotic run-in dominated the ending and some crazy-dangerous spots with weapons were the order of the day. We’ll see if ECW can change my mind.

Outside the arena, a limo pulls up and out steps ECW Television Champion Taz. He enters the empty hall and has a look around. “I’m ready” he says. Fast forward a few hours, presumably, and the Asbury Park Hall is looking much more bright and much more full, with a throaty “ECDUB” chant from the packed crowd. Joey Styles in the ring to introduce the show, and he’ll also be our only commentator tonight. “For the next three hours, we are all living dangerouuuuusly!” Tonight’s main event: ECW Champion Shane “the Franchise” Douglas teams with Triple Threat partner, and one half of the ECW Tag Team Champions Chris Candido to take on the other half of the Tag Champs Lance Storm and TBA.

After the recycled ECW intro we go straight into our first match.

Chris Chetti and Jerry Lynn vs the F.B.I (Little Guido and Tracey Smothers) w/Tommy Rich

Styles reminds us that “the Big Don” Tommy Rich is a former NWA Champion, but he’s only back-up tonight as the Full Blooded Italians pay respects to the Italian flag in the ring. Jawing with the ringside crowd, with plenty of middle fingers being raised. Relative to other parts of ECW, this “Shut up a ya face” stuff is pretty tame really. No big response to them anyway. Styles notes that Lynn worked as “Mr JL” in WCW thanks to their “marketing monkeys”.

Chetti and Guido to start. Guido taunting the crowd, but only until he eats a spinning heel kick. Arm-wringer until a rake to the eyes, and in comes Smothers and Lynn. Duelling chops, Sunset Flip from Lynn for two. Crossbody off the second for two, and Guido comes in to break-it up and elbows Smothers by mistake. Stereo dropkicks from the faces send the Italians out, and Lynn with a plancha to both from the top. Back in, and Chetti nails a springboard double clothesline, to surprisingly little reaction.

The heels take over thanks to some interference from Rich, and Chetti is the face-in-peril. Pizon Elbow for two. Big delay suplex, then Smothers drops Guido on Chetti for two. General beatdown while the ref, in red-and-black for some reason, is distracted by Lynn, missing a small package from Chetti. Double flying shoulder-block for two. Chetti gets in a Sunset Flip but ref distracted by Rich, and then Chetti eats a big drop-kick from Smothers for two. Styles complains that Smothers “couldn’t find Italy on a map of Italy”.

Chetti trying to get something going, and eventually nails a double leg-drop on the backs of both of the FBI in a bit of an awkward spot. Hot tag to Lynn. Drop-kicks for all, then a Tilt-A-Whirl to Smothers and flying back-elbow to Guido. Rich gets knocked from the apron before Lynn walks into a Double Flapjack that looked very sloppy in terms of his counter. Things break down, Rich in and accidentally hits Smothers with the Italian flag. Lynn with the flip-cover and that’s the 1, 2, 3 in under eight and a half.

Winners: Chris Chetti, Jerry Lynn and the real Italian-American community.

Verdict: Basic tag to start, nothing too special.

Rich jaws with the other FBI members in the aftermath and Smothers shoves him to the ground as Styles ponders on a possible break-up.

A brief video package introduces Masato Tanaka from FMW, Japan’s version of ECW but extra yakuza links, ahead of the next match as a hard-hitting strong-stylish guy, which includes him executing a Dominator through a table to a very unfortunate looking opponent who hits the ground very hard.

Doug Furnas w/Lance Wright vs Masato Tanaka

Furnas is a replacement it seems, as scheduled opponent Wing Kanemura isn’t here. Lance Wright, a sort-of Bruce Prichard parody I think, with his associates “up in Stanford, Connecticut” like “my buddy Vinny Mac”, have bought out Kanemura’s contract and told him to stay in Japan, and have Furnas in as the guy who will destroy Tanaka. Why? Who knows. Furnas is indeed being loaned out by the WWF here, so this is an ECW PPV match featuring two guys from two other promotions.

Anyway Furnas I mostly know as tag guy from a run in WWF in the mid-nineties, Tanaka I know nothing about. Tanaka on top early with kicks and drop-kick, but then Furnas hits a spinning powerslam out of a corner charge. Big drop-kick from Furnas, then a Dragon Screw from Tanaka into a leg-lock, that turns into a lengthy spot. Eventually back up to hit a stiff-looking clothesline for two. Really dangerous looking Swinging DDT off the top from Tanaka where Furnas didn’t land right, good for two.

A sort of modified Death Valley Driver for two, then there’s a mess-up on what I presume was going to be a Tombstone spot where either Tanaka can’t get the lift or Furnas can’t lift him, to “You fucked up” chants. Furnas hits a Forward Piledriver for two, and Tanaka looks like he gets the back of his head bounced off the mat really hard in the process. Furnas follows that up with a Release German Suplex, and again Tanaka lands on his head and this is scary stuff. Wright on the apron shouting instructions, and Furnas hits a Frankensteiner, which looks awkward if not dangerous. Wright on the apron again, refusing to let Furnas get the pin and ordering more punishment.

Another mess-up where Tanaka runs at Furnas and neither man is on the same wavelength, and the crowd is picking up on the vibe and booing. It’s quite possible Tanaka is out of it here. He hits a Rolling Elbow OUTTANOWHERE for the 1, 2, 3 in just under six.

Winner: Masato Tanaka. Get this man an HIA.

Verdict: A real botch-fest. I don’t know if just one or both of these guys is at fault, but this was hard-to-watch and dangerous.

Crowd jeering heavily in the aftermath as Tanaka makes a quick exit. Wright back in to run down Furnas, dropping WWF names left and right, promises that Furnas will never work on Raw again. Furnas floors him, and that makes the crowd happy at least. Furnas grabs a mike, and tells him to tell Vince to “kiss my ass”, and puts on an ECW shirt for the cheapest of cheap pops. I know that this is playing to a certain demographic, but it’s hard not to look back at this “WWF invasion” stuff and not cringe, especially when I read that Furnas made no more appearances with ECW.

Backstage, Styles outlines that unnamed PPV providers have objected to the planned Sandman/Sabu “Duelling Canes” match later. That match was pre-taped, and they’ll show as much of it as they can. He runs down the rest of the card, but gets interrupted by Jason and Chyna, I mean Nicole Bass, who demand Styles show a tape of Dreamer taking his dog for a walk, or something? Bit confused, apparently he’s without his wife which is important for his match with Justin Credible later. I think.

Too Cold Scorpio vs Rob Van Dam w/Bill Alfonso

Scorpio getting a huge reception from the crowd during his entrance, he’s another WWF loaner tonight, though his career there is winding down. “Mr Monday Night” accompanied by his manager, who is also managing Sabu later (earlier?) tonight.

Someone has a whistle in the crowd, that’s fun. Early feeling out, arm-lock chains, some missed kicks. RVD takes a powder for a minute to get some advice from Alfonso. More locks and chains, and after a while this is getting a bit boring. Scorpio finally kicks things into gear with a dropkick that sends Van Dam to the outside, but Scorpio doesn’t follow and we have another minute of nothing happening.

Test of strength for a while. “Start the fucking match already” says a guy at ringside. A monkey flip chain where both men are equal. They’re trying to play-up how evenly matched they are, but it’s just a bit boring. Scorpio sends Van Dam out again and this time he follows. Some ringside brawling, RVD being put into the barricades and the crowd, and now the crowd is getting into it. Van Dam misses a ramp assisted moonsault and a barricade assisted sidekick, and Scorpio maintains the advantage. More barricading for Van Dam, until he chucks a chair at Scorpio. Back in, RVD hits a rope-assisted leg drop for two. “This match sucks” chants.

Van Dam with a running spinning heel kick, that looked a bit whiffish. RVD to the top, and the same move to the back of the head, for two. Van Dam was famous, or infamous, for those kicks, but he’s not hurting anyone with these at least. Rolling Thunder for two, and now we have “Boring” chants. Scorpio trying to rally back with kicks, but Van Dam hits the Corkscrew Leg Drop for two. “We want Sandman” chants. Van Dam going for a Tope Splash to the corner, but Scorpio dodges and starts laying in big shots. Scorpio hits a release powerbomb where Too Cold looked like he held on a bit too long. Crowd into that.

Somersault leg-drop, rope-assisted 450 Splash, but Scorpio not going for the cover. Another leg-drop, these guys love those. Reverse suplex, still no cover. Scorpio to the top, lands a splash on the back of Van Dam’s head, and you won’t see that nowadays. Only two though.  To the top again, lands a moonsault, but only two again. Corner punches spot, Van Dam shoves Scorpio off. Five Star Frog Splash, but Scorpio gets his knee up, but actually he didn’t in time, though Van Dam sells it anyway. Scoop Slam from Scorpio, back to the top, somersault leg-drop again, only two. Misses a Stinger Splash, and Van Dam hits a springboard side-kick. Follows up with a split-legged moonsault for two, then a Frankensteiner that sends Scorpio out.

Fighting onto the ramp, Van Dam calls for the chair and hits a Van Daminator. Scorpio ducks a heel kick, and hits a Piledriver on the ramp. Crowd just not feeling it. Scorpio hits another Piledriver, kneeling this time, to almost no reaction. Slowly back into the ring, Van Dam with the low-blow, Ref getting involved, Scorpio knocks them both back and then Scorpio splashes the ref unintentionally. Big Boot from Van Dam, to the top, misses a 450. Scorpio with a Jackknife Powerbomb, to the top, hits the 450, but the ref not there to count. A wild Sabu appears to hit an Arabian Facebuster with the chair on a prone Scorpio, ref with the slow count, and Scorpio kicks out at two. Sandman appears and chases Sabu away, to a big pop. Scorpio hits a spinning kick ala Trouble In Paradise, sudden roll-up from Van Dam and that’s all in just over 22 minutes.

Winner: Rob Van Dam and the small proportion of the crowd who were into it.

Verdict: Holy God this was way too long. So weird to see Van Dam getting “Boring” chants, but they were deserved.

Van Dam on the mike, says this was a great experience for the both of them, but primarily for him. Gives Scorpio the chance to shake his hand. Scorpio grabs the mike, says he’s the bigger man, but he’ll shake his hand even if Van Dam doesn’t shake his. “What?” says a guy in the crowd to that oxymoron. They shake hands, Scorpio decks him and they are off and brawling again. Sabu in, double-team on Scorpio, a table is produced. Scorpio set-up, Van Dam and Sabu to the top, but Sandman in to make the save again. Sabu set-up on the top, and Sandman goes for the “Frankensander” onto the table, but it’s too far away and Sabu only hits it with his feet, breaking off a portion. “ECDUB” chants anyway. As the heels retreat, Scorpio kicks the table over, which made me laugh. Scorpio on the mike thanks the crowd, thanks Sandman and shares a beer and a dance with him. What is happening right now?

A video package shows highlights of Lance Storm and Chris Candido’s feud, I think? There’s no words, so it looks like random clips really. When we come back the Dudley clan is making its entrance.

Chair Swinging Freaks (Axl Rotten and Balls Mahoney) vs New Jack and Spike Dudley vs the Dudley Boyz (Bubba Ray and D-Von) w/Sign Guy Dudley, Big Dick Dudley and Joel Gertner (Three-Way Elimination Tag Team Match)

There’s some garbage wrestling incoming with this line-up. Joel Gertner on the mike to rundown the crowd of “welfare recipients and vagrants” and introduce the Dudley’s. There’s Sign Guy who speaks the truth to the masses, Big Dick who had his way with your mom last night (Styles apologises), and “the quintessential stud muffin” Gertner himself. If you’ve seen Gertner before, you’ve seen this crass brand of promo before, so I won’t go into further details. He introduces the actual Dudley’s competing tonight, with D-Von not happy at being billed as over 200 pounds, before asking for the music for “tonight’s enhancement talent” to play, and I’ll admit I chuckled at that.

The Freaks out to an enormous reception, and a brawl breaks out straight away. Axl and D-Von left in the ring to start, exchanging hip-tosses and arm-drags. No sign of the third team yet, with Bubba and Balls fighting at ringside. Both in eventually, a super-kick from Mahoney, then misses a leg-drop attempt off the top. Bubba with a chair gets in a brutal looking unprotected shot on Balls. Ref distracted (as if it matters) and the other Dudley’s in to give Axl a beatdown, including a chokeslam from Big Dick.

Finally our third team shows up, with Spike and New Jack heading to the ring with weapons. Brawling, and D-Von gets wailed on by a crutch, then a bunch of sign-shots from New Jack. Spike sets up and executes a rolling Poisonrana on Bubba, and all the while New Jack’s hip-hop entrance music is still playing. I just remembered that this was part of his gimmick and I’m sad now. Pure chaos here, with weapons littering the ring and everyone brawling at ringside. D-Von and Balls exchanging chair shots, Axl giving them to Bubba. New Jack with a low-blow crutch shot to D-Von. Music is awful. Axl has been cut.

Everyone seemingly brawling into the crowd now. The camera pans out, so hard to take in anything. Trash cans are being thrown around. Eventually we get a better camera angle, and Axl has Bubba set-up on a table, while D-Von also set-up on another by Balls. Spike and New Jack to the tier above, and they do stereo splashes from a reckless height into their opponents, through the tables, to the concrete floor. Obviously the crowd going apeshit. And all the while, “In The Ghetto” by P Wilson plays over everything.

More crowd brawling as we slowly make our way back to the ring. Balls throwing chairs and a table into the ring. Balls delivers a snap reverse suplex to Spike, looked vicious. Sets up Spike on the table, then to the top, but Spike after him, and delivers a Tornado DDT through the table, cool move. Bubba press-slams Spike out, then he and D-Von deliver the Dudley Death Drop to Balls for the pin and the elimination in around 12 and a half. The music is obnoxious.

Spike and New Jack back in, and they have found some guitars somewhere, and both Dudley’s get it hard. Spike with the Acid Drop to D-Von, New Jack adds a diving “Chair Butt” as Styles calls it, and that’s enough for the 1, 2, 3 in under 13 and a half.

Winners: Spike Dudley, New Jack and the doctor’s who made it rich off this nonsense.

Verdict: Ridiculous, dangerous, pointless chaos. No stakes to this at all it seems, and yet people are taking likely brain injuries and crazy risks. And that song is still playing!

They don’t even stay with the aftermath of that, instead its straight away Styles trying to set-up the next match, but hard to when P Wilson is playing so loud. It finally stops, and we get thrown to a video package for Justin Credible. He likes to injure people, or so it seems, hard to tell with another narration/commentary-less package.

Tommy Dreamer vs Justin Credible w/Jason and Nicole Bass

Back in the arena, we have an intro for ECW’s newest reporter, and it is none other than adult film star Jenna Jameson. “Oh my God” says Styles when she comes out, like he’s 14. Well, he knows the audience I suppose. Justin Credible out for her first interview, but he doesn’t give her much, saying something about now that he has Beulah McGillicutty, who needs her? OK. Jenna keeps talking even though Credible’s music is still playing. Says she didn’t even want to talk to Credible, so she’s going to talk to Tommy Dreamer instead. Dreamer plants one on Jameson (“Boldly going where every man has gone before” says Styles) and hits the ring for the start of this one.

Dreamer back body-drops Credible and then sends them both out with a Cactus Clothesline to start, as Styles runs down again how Dreamer’s beau is nowhere to be found. Dreamer lands a big tope to the outside on Credible and his entourage. Dreamer dumps him over the barricade, and time for more crowd brawling, because the last bout was so long ago. Up onto the ramp, Dreamer sets up a chair and slingshots Credible through it. Going for the DDT into the crowd, but gets crotched on the barricade instead.

Back into the ring, Credible going for the crossbody but caught, then planted with a fallaway slam. Credible into a Tree of Woe and calls for a chair from the crowd. Running dropkick into the chair that’s been set-up next to Credible’s head, and that spot always looks brutal. Powerslam, Dreamer to the top, but Credible dodges the splash. Hits a drop-kick, sets up a chair and drop toe-hold’s Dreamer onto it. Wedges the chair in the corner, goes to Irish Whip Dreamer into it, but Dreamer counters for a Side Russian Leg-Sweep. Credible back-up quick enough to chuck Dreamer head-first into the chair.

Credible gives Dreamer a Reverse DDT onto the chair. To the top with the chair, goes for a top-rope nothing and eats a boot. Dreamer rallying back, crotches Credible again and then into an Airplane Spin/Spiccoli Driver. Credible basically no-sells that, hits the That’s Incredible spinning Tombstone, but before he can do anything Beulah is coming down the ramp. Cozies up to Credible, then gives him a low-blow. Jason in, Beulah gives him a DDT. Nicole in, Bear Hug to Beulah, and suddenly a leg-brace wearing Mikey Whipwreck is here. Gives Nicole a Whipper-Snapper for a huge pop, then gets nailed with a crutch by Credible. Dreamer in, DDT to Credible and that’s enough for the win in just under nine.

Winner: Tommy Dreamer and sudden chaotic overbooked finishes.

Verdict: Good show by both these guys, who deserved a better ending. ECW has now hit both “Female objectification” and “Male-on-female violence” on their bingo cards.

Straight into a video package for the next match, which happens to be the only title bout this evening. Paul Heyman narrates this one. Bigelow was screwed by Shane Douglas in a match with RVD. He went to Taz to look for a partner, Taz eventually agreed, the two of them beat the Triple Threat, but surprise! Bigelow was still with the Triple Threat and attacked Taz. Hence match. Hard to connect the dots for this feud. They make an effort to put the TV Title on the same level as the Heavyweight belt here, but who’s buying that?

Styles plugs the next ECW PPV, and wonders who will be TV Champ by then.

Taz (c) vs Bam Bam Bigelow (ECW Television Championship)

I was re-listening to some AEPodcast stuff recently, and Tazz in WWF/WWE remains one of the biggest wastes of enormous talent ever. Bam Bam is three years removed from headlining Wrestlemania, so no matter how you look at it this is a fall. Bigelow out first in his hometown to a good reception. Some boos for Taz, which is surprising.

Taz straight into an armbar, but Bam Bam gets to the ropes. Taz clotheslines him out in a cool-looking spot. When he goes to attack on the outside Bigelow chucks him into the ringpost. Brawling on the outside, then back in where Bam Bam takes over with a powerbomb for two. A bit of a beatdown until Taz floors him with a huge clothesline. Taz goes for a Tazplex but Bigelow adjusts in air for a splash. Neat, but only two.

Bigelow gets back body-dropped onto the ramp, then gets a Tazplex into the crowd, where it looks for all the world like Taz smacked his head hard off the barricade on the way down. The crowd isn’t paying attention to that, with a “Bam Bam’s Dead” chant. Bam Bam back up quick to nail Taz with a back chair shot, but then Taz up quick. The weapons spots lose something when you no-sell them guys. Crowd brawling for a bit, then Bigelow with a Cactus Clothesline back into the ringside area.

Into the ring with Bam Bam on offence. DDT, then Bigelow to the top, for a twisting moonsault where he barely makes contact, but Taz sells it anyway. Good for two, with Styles giving the 90’s version of “Didn’t get all of it” with “He only grazed him”. Bam Bam brings a table into the ring that’s already damaged from earlier. Slow stuff now. Bigelow going for the powerbomb through the table, Taz powers out and gives his opponent a very slow flapjack through it instead. “Choke Him Out” chants, but Taz goes for the pin instead, for two.

Back to the outside, where Taz starts using bits of table as a weapon. Bigelow with chair shots to the back as “Bam Bam Sucks!” and “Fuck Him Up Bam Bam” chants duel, making for a strange atmosphere. More crowd brawling, with chair spots, and this has gotten very slow now. Back ringside and some very tame looking weapon spots, but things enliven a bit when Taz starts demanding shots to the head. Bigelow slips on a wet floor, so they go back into the ring.

Bigelow going for Greetings From Asbury Park, but Taz powers out and locks in the Tazmission. Bam Bam clinging to the ropes but tapping out, Taz refuses to let go (or the ref doesn’t see the tap? Not sure what the rules are here), and when they fall they go through the ring in a spot I certainly did not expect, because this is not exactly Big Show/Lesnar in terms of mass. After a minute or so Bam Bam crawls out of the hole, as the crowd go from stunned to bemused. He drags Taz out of the hole, covers him and that’s the 1, 2, 3 in just over 13 and a half.

Winner (and new ECW Television Champion): Bam Bam Bigelow in a bit of a shock.

Verdict: Started good, one hideous looking move, got very slow, and then a totally bizarre ending. So let’s just call it even I guess.

In the aftermath Paul Heyman is in Styles’ ear, and says they are going to the Sandman/Sabu match because they need time to repair the ring. Styles makes a good show at insisting they can’t do this because of “the censors”, and they end up screaming at each other before Styles throws to that contest, filmed earlier.

The Sandman vs Sabu w/Bill Alfonso (Duelling Canes Match)

I’m guessing this is going to be a blood-fest. Sandman is in the ring already as this footage starts, Sabu in hot and eats a cane shot. He starts nailing the Sandman with cane shots himself before getting dropped on the ropes. It turns out that this isn’t Sabu but RVD, as the real Sabu comes in. RVD spin kicks Sandman and the two double-team the “hardcore icon” for a bit. Alfonso eventually dismisses RVD to the back to prepare for his match later, and he needed longer to save that mess.

Sandman to the ramp, Sabu with his patented chair-assisted plancha, then another off the ramp. Sandman sent into the barricade. Sabu sets up a table on a corner of the barricade, another cane shot to the head, Sandman onto the table, Sabu to the top and drops himself on Sandman. The table belatedly breaks but only after it falls over and dumps both guys into the concrete. Nasty looking spot, but the crowd loved it.

Back in the ring Sabu can only get two. Arabian Facebuster with a chair, for two. Sabu to the top for an “Atomic Arabian Facebuster” (he spins for this one), but no-one home. Sabu stays on top though, choking the Sandman, then throws him to the ramp again. Sabu blocks a suplex twist, then hits his own rolling version. Chair-assisted moonsault off the ropes. Sandman no-sells it though, and brings a table onto the ramp. Sabu goes face-first into that, and we have a ref bump at the same time.

Sandman chucks the table at Sabu, then sets him up on it, and then Van Dam comes racing up behind to hit a crazy looking running jumping sidekick to the back of Sandman’s head. Back in the ring, we have a new ref who “has been on the take since day one” claims Styles. Van Dam with the Five Star onto the Sandman with a chair. Sandman set-up on the table on the ramp, and RVD and Sandman with duelling drops onto him for the pop of the night. Rolling back into the ring where Sabu gets the pin in just over nine and a half.

Winner: Sabu, and Paul Heyman thumbing his nose at “the censors” (yeah right).

Verdict: Nowhere near as brutal as advertised, with not a drop of blood that I could see. Some stupid spots though.

Back “live”, Styles is apoplectic at Heyman for showing that match, and says that he’ll quit if put in that position again, real rambling promo that screams edgy in that stupid 14-year-old boy kind of way. Now, apparently our next match was supposed to be Al Snow vs Kronus, but for reasons that are not being explained that match can’t happen. Oh, and they’re still repairing the ring, but up next is our main event, a “Dream Tag Partner” match, but they’ve already announced who one of them is.

Lance Storm and ??? vs the Triple Threat (Chris Candido and Shane Douglas) w/ Francine

The booking here is all over the place. So Douglas is the ECW Champ, but isn’t defending that belt tonight for whatever reason. I mean, it’s a PPV, which for ECW happen every few months, so you would think they would want to have titles on the line, but whatever, this is par for the course from them. Instead, our main event will see the Tag Champs, Storm and Candido, in a tag match against each other, where Candido is teaming with Douglas as two parts of the Triple Threat heel stable. Oh, and because the ring cannot be fixed, they’ve have to cordon off that section of the ring with yellow tape. What a shambles this main event is.

Candido on the mike to run down Storm, and they haven’t once explained why the Tag Champs are fighting each other. Out comes Storm, accompanied by Candido’s girlfriend (?) Sunny, who proclaims she is the Storm’s partner, and then Storm is rushing in and away we go. I’ve seen stupid set-ups before, but this takes the cake.

Storm taking everyone down with kicks, drop-kicks and superplexes. Nails a reverse suplex on Candido, and tags in Sunny. Sunny and Francine jawing, Sunny grabs a metal something, goes to hit Candido, but then hits Storm instead. Like this convoluted mess needs a heel swerve on top of everything. The heels beat up Storm for a bit, Candido on the mike mocking Storm, asking “What are you gonna give me?” for the most obvious set-up when Storm answers “Heaaaadddd”.

Out comes Al Snow, who actually isn’t long for ECW at this stage, complete with Head. As if thing weren’t bad enough in the ring, the crowd starts throwing the customary styrofoam heads in the ring. Brawling, Storm with a plancha to Candido on the outside, Snow dragging Francine by the hair, and the up-close cameraman has his camera upside down because ECW are just leaning into the chaos at this point. Douglas Irish Whipped into the hole in the ring, comes back out, eats a Snow Plough for the 1, 2, 3 in, mercifully, less than five.

Winners: Lance Storm, Al Snow (and Sunny, technically?) and I suppose the crowd who are going mental at the bell.

Verdict: An absolute embarrassment.

Styles acting like Snow is Daniel Bryan at Wrestlemania 30 with this win, with the man himself celebrating in the crowd. Extreme close-ups on the crowd as the heels have a tantrum amid the styrofoam heads in the ring. And that is it, thank God.

Best Match: I suppose Dreamer/Credible was pretty good for the most part, and in comparison to some of the other matches its ending was actually pretty logical.

Best Wrestler: I don’t like focusing in on one match, but looking around I have to come back to Tommy Dreamer, who is good at what he does, and more importantly safe at what he does.

Worst Match: So many options here, but the tag triple threat was both asinine in its content, needlessly dangerous in some of its spots and aggressively irritating with the music.

Worst Wrestler: Looking for who to blame more in their contest, and I suppose I will give this to Doug Furnas over Tanaka. Sloppy, dangerous moves almost certainly gave Tanaka a concussion in my opinion.

Overall Verdict: A few average contests are matched by a huge amount of dross here, alongside all of ECW’s other problems: the ridiculous edgy tone, the low production values, the total lack of context for anything that is happening, the plot-deaf booking, female exploitation, on and on it goes. And that’s before you get to the dangerous style of wrestling, that could easily have caused multiple injuries in this show. It’s undeniable that the crowd loved it, but this is shocking stuff, that if a major company pulled nowadays they would be raked over the coals for. I sometimes wonder if my lack of appreciation of ECW marks me out as being contrarian, but then I watch stuff like this and realise that no, it’s the children who are wrong. Strong avoid.

To view more entries in this series, click here to go to the index.

This entry was posted in Reviews, TV/Movies, Wrestling and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to NFB Watches Wrestling #11: ECW Living Dangerously 1998

  1. Pingback: NFB Watches Wrestling: Index | Never Felt Better

  2. Pingback: NFB Watches Wrestling #64: Smackdown (11/04/2002) | Never Felt Better

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