April 24, 2011
November to Remember 1997, November 30, 1997, Golden Dome, Monaca, PA
Announcer: Joey Styles
ECW month continues with a trip back to 1997, which was the beginning of their PPV era, for this show which was built around Shane Douglas coming (close enough to) home looking to regain the ECW World Title from fromer Triple Threat ally Bam Bam Bigelow.
Joey opens the show by announing that we have the biggest crowd in ECW history here tonight, and so he promises us all that we'll have a November to Remember before we go to the opening.
Opening Match: Tommy Rogers vs. Chris Candido
Candido is another member of the Triple Threat and here he faces the veteran Tommy Rogers, who would be best known as one half of The Fantastics team of the 80's. After a brief feeling out process, Rogers takes control with an armbar drawing "boring" chants from the crowd. Candido tries an ensiguiri, but misses and Rogers connects with one of his own. Rogers maintains control until Candido catches him coming back in the ring, but that just ends with Rogers blocking a suplex in and suplexing Candido out to the floor. Candido gets him in electric chair position, but Rogers nicely counters that to a rana for 2. Rogers then gets caught with a powerslam coming off the ropes to finally get his first real offensive flurry in, including a delayed suplex and a 2nd rope legdrop. Rogers fires back and nails a superplex for a close 2 count. Candido knocks him to the floor, and then gets him back in and hits a tope rope rana for 2. Candido goes up, but gets powerbombed coming off for another nearfall. This draws Lance Storm, who is the other Triple Threat member at this point, into the ring and he attacks Rogers. The double team is on until Jerry Lynn makes the save and now all four guys go at it. Of course there's no DQ's here, so instead the ref just adds the guys who ran in to the match. So it's now officially Candido and Storm against Rogers and Lynn. The action really picks up now with all kinds of fast paced double teams. Candido nails the top rope powerbomb on Lynn, but Rogers makes the save at 2. Storm takes the Tommykaze, but Candido prevents a cover and hits Rogers with a Northern Lights suplex for the 3 count at 16:43. Everyone involved here was good and so they had a very good match, both the singles part of it and the tag later on. ***
Justin Credible (w/Jason) vs. Mikey Whipwheck
The prematch video package is sure to highlight Mikey's win over Steve Austin two years ago, and tries to get Credible over by showing a recent win over Great Sasuke and noting that he's undefeated in ECW. Mikey quickly sends him to the floor and follows with a dive. He whips Credible to the rail and gets him back in where he takes a swinging DDT. Credible follows with a seated dropkick and the thumbs him in the eye just because he can. Top rope dropkick gets 2 and then he tosses Mikey to the floor so Jason can get a shot in. Back in, Credible sunset flips him off the top for another 2. They trade sleepers with Mikey jawjacking out and then hitting a superkick for 2. Top rope rana gets another 2. He then drags Jason in the ring and low blows him, but that lets Credible connect with an inverted DDT. Mikey kicks out a 2 though. Jason tries getting involved again, but once more it backfires and leads to Mikey hitting the Whippersnapper for the win at 7:16. So much for Credible being unbeaten. This was another pretty good match here as the show isn't off to a bad start. **1/2
We go backstage to Al Snow who rants to Head about a variety of random things. Then we get a video package on Sabu and The Sandman for their Tables and Ladder match later on, which doesn't really go into any details, but basically lets usknow it'll be brutal.
ECW TV Title Match: Taz vs. Pitbull #2 (w/Mr. Wright & Pitbull #1)
The story here is that Taz has been called out by Pitbull #2, and because he's the biggest bad ass there is he's gotta come and take care of business. #2 gets him with a powerbomb almost immediately, followed by a spin kick and a shoulderblock off the top for 2. Taz comes back with a belly to belly and a T-Bone Tazplex before hooking the Tazmission and getting the tap out at 1:30. Pitbull #1 tries him after the match, but gets laid out as well. Taz grabs the mic and issues a challenge to Brakkus, who was a jacked up WWF prospect at this point. A security guy gets between them so Taz beats him up instead. 1/2*
We cut to a clip of Bam Bam Bigelow throwing Spike Dudley into the crowd at the ECW Arena and then squashing him with a top rope splash. The crowd chants "one more time" so he obliges. That leads to a recap of his Title win over Shane Douglas with them claiming that there was a conspiriacy involving both Vince McMahon and Eric Bischoff to get the belt off of Douglas. That's a bit of a stretch to say the least.
Then it's back to ringside where the FBI is out with Tommy Rich ranting against the fans. The Dudley Boyz then join us and we get the Joel Gertner introduction which eats up several minutes of the show as each member of the entourage gets an extended, personalized introduction. Balls Mahoney and Axl Rotten finally come out swinging their chairs and we're underway.
ECW Tag Team Title Elimination Match: Little Guido & Tracy Smothers (w/Tommy Rich) vs. The Dudley Boyz (w/Joel Gertner, Sign Guy Dudley, & Big Dick Dudley) vs. Axl Rotten & Balls Mahoney vs. Kronus & New Jack
The Gangstanators haven't joined us yet, but I'm sure will do so in good time. It's just a wild brawl with all the corner men getting freely involved as well. The music hits around the 4:00 mark and here comes New Jack and Kronus with a garbage can full of weapons. Everyone's just killing each other and there's no way to follow it all. A cheese grater gets used and half the guys are bleeding shortly after that. Rich gets killed with a guitar shot from New Jack and is also busted open. Kronus then goes up, but leaps off right into a Bubba Cutter and he gets pinned at 10:06, so at least they can turn the music off now. The brawl continues regardless with Bubba accidentally getting powered by Gertner and he ends up hitting 3D on his own partner. Axl covers D-Von and eliminates The Dudleyz at 12:28. So it's The FBI and Balls & Axl left. Now the action is at least manageable with Balls and Axl killing the Champs. Balls gets Guido with the Nutcracker Suite, but bumps the ref in the process. A new ref, Jeff Jones, runs out and counts 2, but then goes to check on the original ref so I guess he was doing the heel ref deal here. We can also see a green shirt sticking out from under his ref shirt so I guess he's a Full Blooded Italian as well. Balls confronts him, but Jones kicks him low and then fast counts when Guido rolls Balls up at 14:34. The FBI retains the Titles in a match that was all over the place. 1/2*
Rob Van Dam (w/Bill Alfonso) vs. Tommy Dreamer (w/Beulah McGillicutty)
This is billed as an ECW vs. WWF deal with RVD representing the WWF based on a couple of appearances about six months earlier. The winner will get to raise the flag of their organization. After the intros, the video clips ahead to the match already in progress. They brawl on the floor where Dreamer gets crotched on the barrier and then kicked. Back in the ring RVD uses the chair assisted seated dropkick. He goes up, but Dreamer crotches him and then hits a neckbreaker off the top for 2. He then puts RVD in the Tree of Woe and dropkicks him in the face. Dreamer goes up, but Fonzie nails him. RVD hits Rolling Thunder and gets 2. H tries a split legged moonsault, but Dreamer gets a chair up. He follows with a DDT off the top, but Fonzie pulls the ref out at 2 and knocks him out. All the refs come out to deal with this as RVD clocks Dreamer with a chair, but then Dreamer blocks the Van Daminator by hitting him with it. Dreamer covers, with Jim Molineaux counting, but Jeff Jones breaks it up. They trade tries with the chair, and Dreamer gets him with it again. John Finnegan tries counting, but Jones takes him out as well. Beulah comes in and kicks Jones low, and then Molineaux and Finnegan take him out with a double DDT. Fonzie low blows both of them as they celebrate, so Beulah nutshots him as well. Beulah takes over as ref now, but RVD keeps kicking out of her counts. Dreamer drops him with a DDT and pulls out the flag, but now Doug Furnas and Phil LaFon come out, apparently to help RVD on behlaf of the WWF, but Dreamer deal with them. Then out of nowhere comes Stevie Richards and he puts Dreamer down with a Steviekick. A 4 on 1 beatdown on Dreamer follows and they all count a 3 count for RVD, which I guess is as legal as anything so RVD wins at 10:40 (shown). *1/2
The beating continues as they put Dreamer on a table under the WWF banner. Sabu comes out and Beulah tries stopping him, but she gets laid out and now it's 5 on 1. Sandman's music hits, seemingly so that he can make the save, but instead he just does his whole entrance routine and by the time he's done, everyone except Sabu has simply vanished. Meanwhile, the crew has been helpfully setting up the tables and ladders to prepare us for the match.
Tables & Ladders Match: Sabu (w/Bill Alfonso) vs. The Sandman
Sabu has finally had enough of waiting and dives on him on the floor to get things started. He follws with a Triple Jump Moonsault and shot with a garbage can. Sabu gets tossed and Sandman throws a ladder at him. They brawl for a bit on the floor. Sandman gets him on a table, which just breaks, so he goes to the other side for another one and drops him through it with a legdrop off the top. He then puts what's left of the table against the barricade, but gets whipped to it himself. Sabu gets him on another table and now Sabu legdrops him through it. They go in the ring for a bit and then back to the floor where Sabu puts him on a table and tries riding a ladder down onto him, but falls well short. Sandman then gets him on a table, but misses a flip off the top and goes through it himself. They continue fighting over using a ladder until Sabu finally nails him with it. There's no flow here at all, it's just move, move, move, ect. Sabu starts using a fork at one point, but Sandman just casually tosses him to the floor and does his next spot which misses so badly that I'm not even sure what the Hell it was supposed to be. Sandman catches him coming off the top and drops him with an electric chair, then puts him on a table and does a flip off th top through it. Ok Sandman, we've established that you can do that. Good for you. Fonzie distracts him so Sabu can prep the fireball, but it misses. Sabu takes over anyways and drops him through another table from the top. This match did not need to be this long if this is all they have for ideas. Thankfully Sabu hits him with an Arabian Facebuster using a ladder and that gets the 3 count at 21:04. Joey says we haven't seen the last of this, so I'll have to make sure I avoid any shows where it continued. So, to recap: They went through tables a lot. They hit each other with ladders a lot. I didn't like it. The End. -*
Main Event, ECW World Title Match: Bam Bam Bigelow vs. Shane Douglas (w/Francine)
They start with a staredown and then Bigelow shoves him to the floor off a lockup. Bigelow keeps taking it to him as Douglas can't really get anything going early on. Douglas gets a boot up on a charge and tries the belly to belly, but Bigelow easily blocks it and gets right back on him. Slam by Douglas also fails and Bigelow falls on top for 2. Next he tries a crossbody off the top, but gets powerslammed for 2. Bigelow continues the beating on the floor, splashing him against the barrier and thne gets him back in where Douglas hits a low blow, but even that's not stopping Bigelow as he soon nails Douglas with a suplex for 2. Bigelow grabs a table and sets Douglas on it in teh ring. He then goes up, but Douglas gets off and powerbombs him through the table instead. Douglas finally has him stunned, but even then he can't keep it going as Bigelow dumps him to the floor. Bigelow is actually selling for the first time here, so Douglas is starting to get to him. Douglas gets in a few more shots and then clotheslines Bigelow out. He tries a dive, but gets caught and powerbombed through a table. Back in, Bigelow hits a powerbomb, which won him the Title, but this time Douglas kicks out and the crowd is really starting to get behind him now. Bigelow calls for tossing Douglas into the crowd. Storm and Candido come out, but are held back by security so Bigelow throws Douglas on to all of them instead. He does make it back in, but Bigelow just continues killing him. Francine comnes in and nails Bigelow with a crutch, but that just backfires although she does aviod it when Bigelow takes a swing at her. He nails Douglas in the arm instead and then starts working that over. Douglas gets the belly to belly out of nowhere, but can't follow up and Bigelow recovers. He splashes Douglas in the corner and then grabs a chair and half a table. Douglas fights out of the powerbomb try and gets another belly to belly through that table. A quick cover gets the 3 count and makes Douglas the new ECW Champion at 25:03. The crowd goes nuts, and rightly so as that was a great main event and a great way to end the show. Both guys played their roles perfectly, they told a story that made sense and they gave everyone the payoff they wanted to see. This is wrestling. ****
Overall Thoughts: The undercard here was ok, led by the first two matches being pretty good. From there it kind of fell apart, as the Tag Title match was a mess, RVD/Dreamer had so much going on and no real ending and then we had Sabu/Sandman. If you like the idea of watching guys sloppily hit each other with ladders and go through tables for twenty minutes, then this was your match, but as far as I'm concerned it just sucked. But then the show was saved by that great main event, which I think is absolutely worth tracking down if you haven't seen it. So as bad as Sabu/Sandman was, I still think there's enough good here to call it a Thumbs Up for November to Remember 1997.