November 12, 2007
ECW Review: 4/24/99 Handheld Queens, NYC
Hi again everyone, welcome back, its time for another ECW show review. Our selection today comes from the beginning of 1999. To set the scene, Taz was in the early months of his long built ECW title reign, dethroning Shane Douglas at January’s Guilty as Charged PPV, and taking the FTW title from Sabu at the more recent Living Dangerously event.
However, despite the build to Taz’s title win, there wasn’t exactly a depth of challengers. Bam Bam Bigelow, one of the few men in ECW to defeat Taz, had left for WCW, robbing the company of a potential PPV main event. This left Taz to feud off and on with the various henchmen of rookie blabber mouth Steve Corino, which included over the spring and fall of 1999, Rhino and Tajiri. At this early stage though, neither was the star they would later be, and so Taz’s ECW title defenses seemed to take a backseat to the company’s other singles belt, the World Television Title.
1999 was the year of RVD vs Jerry Lynn, and on this show we’re coming fresh off their Living Dangerously classic. I’m sure I don’t need to go into detail about this rivalry, but suffice to say, Rob and Lynn would be forever linked to each for the rest of their stay in ECW. Much like Rey Misterio and Chavo Guerrero Jr. today, when ever you needed a great match and neither had much to do, you would program in Lynn vs Van Dam. It was a winning formula.
Ok, let’s just get into this. We’re at the Madhouse of Extreme, which was slowly morphing into the new home base of ECW, a title it would unofficially get in late 2000. It looks only a billion times better than the ECW arena, yet without the dirty charm that makes that arena wonderful.
Match One: Jerry Lynn vs Taka Michinoku
In between WWF runs, Taka made a quick return trip to ECW, leading to a match with Super Crazy at the upcoming Hardcore Heaven PPV, and as we see here, meeting the newly appreciated Lynn. Big welcome back chants for Taka, and we start off with some basic chain wrestling before going to a knuckle lock followed by some more reversals. Lynn drills Taka with a clothesline, some chops, but is caught with a spin wheel kick and sent outside. Jerry side steps the first dive, Taka lands on his feet and they take turn trying to whip each other into the guard rail. Lynn gets the wrong end of that and stumbles down the aisle, giving Taka a chance to do his still amazing no hands spring board plancha. Back in, Jerry does a tilt the whirl headscissors and dropkicks Taka outside, and follows with a dropkick off the apron to send Michinoku over the rail. Lynn does a springboard off the middle rope over the guard rail, which is a lot “safer” (as safe as these things go), but not half as cool. Everyone still loves him, chanting “New F’N Show”. That was the real beauty of the RVD feud. It took Jerry from “guy who we used to put Justin Credible” to “guy who could be a star on his own”. Taka catches in coming into the corner, but gets launched off a Tornado DDT attempt. Taka back flips out of a german suplex attempt, goes up to hurricanrana Lynn, but get powerbombed. Gory Guerrero Special by Jerry, Taka slips out of it, but gets caught with a Tilt a Whirl Backbreaker. Michinoku makes a comeback, nailing a headscissors of the top and a brainbuster before missing a moonsault. Huge Tornado DDT by Lynn gets two for a big time near fall. Taka gets the running knee/spring board dropkick combo and signals for the Michinoku Driver, which gets reversed, then turned into the Driver again, which is countered and Jerry spikes him with the Cradle Piledriver for the win.
Thoughts: Awesome opener. Lynn had a new fond energy after the match with RVD, and the match really showcased him, as he cut off Taka at multiple points and in the end, out wrestled the world class junior. The fans are so into Lynn now, and you get the feeling he’s going places. This is an easy point.
1 for 1
Match Two: Tajiri/Pablo Marquez vs Super Crazy/El Mosco
Tajiri is a few months away from adopting his Muta like persona, still donning the clean shaven, blue and white gear. Pablo floated around the ECW undercard until the company closed. You know Super Crazy, and El Mosco disappeared after a few months, mainly just helping put over Crazy and Tajiri.
Crazy and Pablo starts out, and the crowd chants for Sabu. Was Pablo Marquez the former Ubas (who was also Babu in WWF)? I don’t think so, but I can’t understand the Sabu chants. Anyway, he and Crazy do some chain wok until Pablo eventually kills him with a rana, causing Crazy go out outside, where Pablo follows him with a huge summersault plancha over the post. This quickly shuts off the “boring” chants from the crowd. Back in Crazy and Mosco get an advantage, with Crazy doing the three moonsaults on Tajiri to take him out of the picture. Missile Dropkick/Powerbomb combo on Pablo. Things slow down for a minute, as they take this fight to the floor. Pablo seems to be hurt, and you can see the Ref crew come out and take him away…
And Spike Dudley comes out. I would guess he’s replacing Pablo. The match restarts with Spike and Mosco, and Spike looks puzzled by the back flipping lucha offense. Spike stops all the show boating backflips with a forearm and some women’s match quality head driving to the mat. Tajiri comes in and they clean out, sending Crazy and Mosco outside. Spike gets backdropped onto them by Tajiri, who then follows with his huge Asai Moonsault. Everyone regroups and Spike and Tajiri get hit by a Crazy spring board clothesline back on the inside. Mosco does his own Asai Moonsault after drop kicking them both to the floor, and Crazy dives out as well with a flipping plancha. Back in, Crazy singles out Tajiri, and I think we have order again. Tajiri does a big kick and hangs Crazy in the Tree of Woe. Eventually there’s a heat segment on Spike, but it’s hard to see because he’s on the floor. Back in, Crazy and Mosco double team poor Spike, but they do it so well the ref doesn’t seem to fit to get one outside the ring. Tajiri, being the good technico, abides by the rules though, only able to hope his partner makes a comeback. And he does, tagging in Tajiri who hits a pair of spin kicks and lets Spike rana Crazy to the floor. Huge sit out powerbomb on Mosco and that’s good enough for the three.
Thoughts: It took everyone a minute or two get back on the same page after Pablo went down. For a while it was mostly just “can you top this” high spots, which flowed into your basic tag match formula. Not that it was a smooth flow at all. Still, pretty enjoyable
2 for 2
Next we have the TV opening. Joey looks a million times more relaxed than he does in WWE. But his job is also so different now it’s not funny. He counts down the TV opening and the place is like a madhouse….how fitting. Joey introduces Chris Candido and Tammy. Chris is in a halo, much like Pitbull 1, and I can’t recall for the life of me what injury he had. Chris summer in ECW was spent losing short matches to Taz. Crowd chants “bullshit” so I’m guessing this is an act based of a confrontation and probably a suplex from Taz. Took me a minute to think about that one. Candido wants to talk with Taz, and runs down their relationship. He wants an apology. But it seems like Taz isn’t here. Everyone stands around for a very long time, with the crowd just jeering. Eventually, Taz arrives and reminds Candido to respect New York. Taz seems ok with Candido in a halo, like any good face, he has very little remorse. He throws an insult at Tammy. I’m not quite the point of this, but I think Chris says he has someone to challenge Taz tonight. The “you crippled me and I’m out for revenge” worked a lot better when it was the face that got a career ending injury.
Match Three: Taz vs Steve Corino
Taz mouths of to Corino and looks like we have a match that in a few short years would be more of a “ECW Dream Match”. Corino calls Taz a “scam” and “phony”. Never a smart idea. Taz slaps Corino down and goes to kill him, and Chris Candido spring into ring and drops Taz. Powerbomb and flying headbutt for Taz. Someone in the crowd seems amazed Taz would get beat up. I have to admit, so am I. I can see the intention here, but there was never any payoff. Taz beat Candido incredibly quickly at Hardcore Heaven and went on to fight Bubba Dudley even later on that PPV. Candido wasn’t a terrible choice as a challenger, but they never explored it like they could. Taz eventually gets up and spouts off his catch phrase.
No match. The segment was incredibly long as well.
The Real Match Three: Lance Storm vs Tommy Dreamer
I am completely lost on what the real start of this feud was, except for one angle where Storm brought his urine to the ring in support of his all natural physique, and had it dumped all over him by the “Innovator of Violence”. We begin with some chain wrestling, and I probably don’t need to tell you who wins that exchange, before it all deteriorates into a “show your tits” chants, directed at Francine, who was with Dreamer at this point. Dreamer gets a school boy for two, gets distracted by Dawn Marie, and gets caught by a flurry of offense by Lance “Thunder” Storm. Storm chokes away on the ropes and kicks Tommy to the outside. We get the obligatory Tommy Dreamer crotching on the guard rail, before Storm throws him back in to deliver some more mud hole stomps in the corner. The “show your tits” chants continue despite Lance’s exciting offense. Tommy battles back for a moment, taking Storm outside for some brawling! The brawling is most whips into the rail and beer cup shots. The point of those, of course, is to hopefully get Lance drunk mid-match, giving Tommy an easy road to victory. However, a sober Lance Storm recovers once the action gets back inside, taking Tommy down before going out to grab a table. That makes no sense. Northern Lights by Storm gets two. Storm goes for a roll up, but gets kicked off into a chair set between the top two ropes. Dawn breaks that pin up, and we have a catfight. Dawn breaks up a Tommy piledriver with the world’s weakest chair shot, showing that her team with Lance is really paying off. Storm breaks up a piledriver on Dawn with a chair to Dreamer’s back, and they exchanges reversals until Storm gets put through the table with a DVD. That’s good enough for the three. Post match has Justin Credible running in and caning Francine, Douglas attempting a save, and the Impact Players giving the ECW legends a major beatdown.
Thoughts: Pretty by the numbers Tommy Dreamer vs Anyone match. Once you see Lance Storm bringing a table into the match, you know he’s following a formula. Post match antics advanced the Players vs Douglas/Dreamer feud well enough. It hurts honestly to see Francine get caned in the face like she did.
2 for 3
Match Four: Danny Doring vs Skull Von Krush
Krush is eventual Baldy and WWE dress wearer Big Vito. He’s doing some sort of gimmick where he hails from the “New Movement”. Doring explains Roadkill has a manager’s license, and the New York crowd is HUGE behind Skull tonight. They must have seen that pin on Misawa. Doring questions Skull’s tights color tonight (purple)…the joking being that he is also wearing purple, and so, they’re both gay. “You suck dick” chants abound. Doring attacks while Roadkill has Skull distracted, and the mid show time filler match is on! Skull fires back with some karate offense, which is about on the level of Billy Graham’s karate offence. On the outside, where a Doring and Roadkill double team backfires, and we get a double noggin knocker! Back in, Doring begs off, but the New Movement has no mercy. “Goldberg” chants…I don’t know. Skull connects with The People’s Stomp, which surprisingly doesn’t get the three count. Crowd is still very much into this. Roadkill trips up Von Krush, allowing Danny to get the advantage. Hart Attack clothesline by Doring, and he hits the G-Spot Sweet for two. Skull comes back with some chops, but catches a thumb to the eyes, get suplexed, and almost has his leg crushed by an awkward springboard elbow by Doring. Roaring elbow by Doring, a move he sadly stopped doing. Top rope leg drop misses, and Skull pulls down the straps! Karate chops to Doring and huge back drop. Powerslam and a leg drop get two. Skull goes up top and hits a good elbow drop, bringing Roadkill in to the ring to break it up. That earns him a fist to the jaw, and Danny surprises Skull with the …I forgot the name. It’s Shane Douglas “Franchiser” move. It only gets two, and Skull hits the Implant DDT minutes later for the win.
Thoughts: To their credit, Doring and Vito worked incredibly hard to keep the crowd interested and involved. It made what could have been a pretty by the number undercard match that much better. Went just a little bit too long, but more entertaining than I expected.
3 for 4
Match Five: Balls Mahoney vs New Jack
Oh it’s a rare face vs face match up! I think both of these guys were in limbo, coming off of long runs in tag teams. They would be consistent enemies of the Dudleyz and later the Baldies in 1999. This is exactly what you would expect it is, with New Jack gaining an upper hand seconds in and busting Balls opening. Jack misses a charge, and Balls tears into him with I think a can opener. Balls leans in the corner digging that in to Jack for a while. Wire around Jack’s throat now, I guess that’s a heel move. Balls heads up top and hits a frog splash, but New Jack stops the count with a foot on the ropes. New Jack’s knowledge of the rules of professional wrestling is impressive. He invites Balls to hit him with a variety of objects, and the man from Nutley, NJ happily does so. Top rope leg drop misses, and New Jack begins his comeback with a Hoover to the crotch. The match spills outside and the camera misses most of the action, except for New Jack’s bloody head. Eventually, you realize he’s setting up the balcony dive, which I think tonight is an elbow drop onto a prone Balls. Y the way security is helping Jack back to the ring, you almost think he missed Balls entire. Mahoney btw, is first back into the ring, rolling in and playing dead. Jack finally covers for 2. I’m sure if New Jack asked the ref nicely to count his pin outside the ring, he would. Jack goes up top and Balls pulls him , hitting the Nutcracker Suite for the win. They shake hands afterwards, giving us a clear idea where Ring of Honor got the idea for it’s “Code of Honor”
Thoughts: Perhaps there’s some weird psychology to the New Jack match. If you can survive the balcony dive, you’ll win the match, cause New Jack kills himself doing it. The action beforehand, however, was your basic New Jack match. I so wish my face vs face, Balls vs New Jack match, to be more epic, yet it lacked a simple chair shot to Ball’s head even.
3 for 5
Post match the Dudleyz run in and lay out Balls and New Jack. What follows I the normal endless heel Dudleyz promo, where Bubba does his best to cause a riot while D-Von stomps around, and Gertner mugs for the TV camera. Bill Alfonzo comes out, bringing RVD with him, and I’m only a tad puzzled what the match is here.
Match Six: Rob Van Dam vs Bubba Ray Dudley
Rob is, of course, in the middle of his great TV title run, having fun matches with nearly everyone on the roster, and amazing matches with others. Tonight, he draws Bubba Ray Dudley! They tie up and back into the ropes, where Bubba sneaks in a few shots and goes to work. Tackle by Bubba Ray, but RVD catches him with an arm drag and a dropkick. Huge monkey flip to bring Bubba out of he corner, but Rob gets caught coming off the second rope and put in a Boston Crab. That turns into a single leg crab, which is broken up by Alfonzo. Yeah, I was thinking Rob would submit any minute to Bubba Ray Dudley. Ray keeps the heat on the corner with a few elbows and some loud, thundering chops! Ray jaws with the crowd a bit and shoves the ref, before going back to work with some forearms and a choke. Splash attempt is met with a foot, and Rob springs off the second rope with a thrust kick. Huge cross body gets 2. RVD grabs a headlock, but the comeback is ended with a huge back suplex by Bubba. More taunting and punching in the corner, followed by Bubba tossing him to the floor, so D-Von can get a few shots in. Rob is thrown back in and Bubba drops a huge elbow. Headbutt off the second rope and Bubba stops to mock RVD. Bubba nearly takes his head off with a clothesline and does an awkward cradle for two, placing poor Rob’s face under his ass. Rob finally punches Bubba down, which is probably the most unrealistic thing ever in a RVD match, and drops a leg which looks like it crushes Bubba’s throat. Ray stumbles into the corner, and boots Rob away, catching him pretty hard in the jaw. Tag title belt is thrown in and RVD takes a huge piledriver onto it. Bubba charges and gets dumped over the top, giving Van Dam a chance to hit a big time cross body off the top, over the rail, to the floor. Back in Rob goes up and hits a thrust kick, which gets two. He lays into Bubba with some kicks and forearms, than snapmares him out and crushes him with Rolling Thunder, for another two count. Bubba comes back with a samoan drop, but since he’s not from the islands, it only gets two. Elbow off the second rope connects for Bubba, but Rob gets a foot up on a corner charge. Alfonzo tosses the hair, Bubba catches it, but manages to duck the Van Daminator kick, drop the chair and give Rob a nasty Bubba Cutter onto it. That gets two, but an awesome near fall. Bubba goes to the second rop again, but Rob kicks him, goes for a Frankensteiner, but gets superbombed off. That gets two as well. Bubba grabs the chair and brings it down on RVD’s back, then slams him on it. He goes back to the second rope and misses the senton. Bubba staggers to his feet, catches the chair from RVD, eats the Van Daminator and the Five Star Frog Splash finishes it! D-Von comes in and starts to fight with RVD. Bubba grabs Rob from behind and hits a big German Suplex, and it’s chaos at the Madhouse of Extreme! Dudleyz hit the backdrop-neckbreaker combo, and Jerry Lynn comes into the make the save, taking the Dudleyz out with a chair before killing RVD with it. Justin Credible comes into attack Lynn, which brings out Sabu to go after him, which brings out Lance Storm. Sabu puts Credible on a table on the outside, but misses the dive, as the Dudleyz kill RVD inside the ring. Then we get a showdown between the Dudleyz and the Impact Players as they brawl to the floor. Sabu takes them all out with a dive down the entranceway. Rob follows him with a dive of his own. RVD stumbles around ringside, and gets crushed into the guard rail by a Jerry Lynn plancha. Everyone eventually gets behind the curtain, leaving just Sabu in the ring.
Thoughts: I’ll say up front that the post match is awesome, all the run ins make sense and the brawls flow into each one pretty smoothly. It’s a super hot ending to the show. The match before hand was also quite good once it strayed from Bubbas basic beat down in the corner offense. RVD took an awesome Bubba Cutter and piledriver, proving that he’s really made of rubber. Taking the whole match and post match as a whole, an easy point.
4 for 6
Overall: Match wise, this is a pretty good show. The opener and the main event both deliver. The only problem is the TV opening promo and nonsense with Taz, Candido and Corino, which didn’t accomplish much or set up any serious challengers to the World Title. That part can be skipped completely. You can see from this show who had direction in the company who (Lynn, RVD, The Impact Players) and who was floundering a bit (Taz, surprisingly, New Jack, Balls), but everyone is still working to the best of their abilities. An enjoyable show.