by Platypus Fool
ECWís first PPV was a breakthrough broadcast for much of the talent on the card, and for the wrestling industry as a whole. Although the show didnít go as perfectly as it could have done, it still changed the way the world looked at independent promotions. It enabled many fans to experience something that wasnít the WWF or WCW, and of course, to everyone reading this page, it presented a milestone in sports entertainment. I will review each match and award each one a rating out of five stars; with five being the highest accolade available.
Tag Titles: The Eliminators vs. The Dudley Boys ( c )
After Joey Styles introduces the PPV, and ECW, to the world, The Dudley Boys come out and interrupt him. They cut a short version of the typical Dudley promo, with Joel Gertner getting in his dirty limerick, and D-Von and Buh-Buh getting their usual cheap heat. A comment about them being ďthe best tag team in the world todayĒ brings out The Eliminators, Perry Saturn and John Kronus, to begin the match.
Sign Guy Dudley provides the opening interference, but gets the Total Elimination, and rolls out of the ring. The Dudleys attack from behind and get in some decent offence, including a sweet team move and a smooth sidewalk slam, before the Eliminators take control. From then, until the finish of the match, the challengers squash the champions, using every move in their arsenals against Buh-Buh and D-Von.
We see a number of Moonsaults, including a triple jump moonsault, and a moonsault plancha, all from Saturn. Kronus shows off his extreme talent with a number of aerial moves, including a hampspring moonsault plancha, and his 450 splash. The Eliminators also showcase their wonderful martial arts background with a series of kicks and takedowns, which provide great excitement between aerial spots. After many wonderful minutes of great, but one sided, offence, the challengers pick up the pinfall victory after a Total Elimination on Buh-Buh.
Post match, Gertner returns to the ring, and cuts a second promo on how the Dudleys are still the champions ďunder the studmuffin scoring systemĒ. Needless to say, he too gets a Total Elimination, and after celebrations, the Eliminators wander backstage, titles in hand. Although the match was a pure spotfest, with barely any technical skill or psychology, it was one hell of a fun battle. **1/2
Rob Van Dam vs. Lance Storm
The match is fairly fast paced, apart from RVDís typical stalling, with plenty of aerial offence, as well as the usual technical stuff we see from both men. Lance Storm is put over well as a fighter, kicking out of a great deal of RVDís chair based offence, including some very stiff drop-kicks in the corner. The rest of the match is fairly standard work from both men, which translates into very good stuff compared to any other worker. The only particular poor part being Stormís very weak looking chair shots, making him look amateurish. The crowd gets all of RVDís spots and a load of great wrestling from Storm, everyone goes home very happy, and the world is introduced to two great wrestlers. RVD gets the pinfall after his Van Damninator. ***1/2
Great Sasuke, Gran Hamada & Masato Yakushiji vs. Taka Michinoku, Menís Teioh & Dick Togo
From the word go this match is one hell of a contest. Numerous great spots and moves between all 6 of these men. The action is very fast paced, and to take the whole match in it requires many viewings. You get the whole bag in this match, aerial work, mat work, power moves, a little bit of hardcore wrestling, something for everyone. The whole match flows with the sort of genius you will only find in Japanese wrestling. Towards the end of the bout we see a fantastic missile drop kick followed by a number of great moves, finishing with a tiger suplex from Sasuke for the pin. Overall some brilliant examples of teamwork and psychology, making this one of my all time favourite ECW matches. *****
TV Title: Pitbull #2 vs. Shane Douglas ( c )
And if it wasnít for this match, this PPV would have been fantastic. Basically you have two men in the ring who have no business getting 20 minutes of PPV time without someone better to carry them. They really do nothing at all, just a huge amount of rest holds and headlocks. Shane wins after using his chain-hidden-in-the-boot followed by his belly-to-belly suplex. Post match Rick Rude and Brian Lee beat down on Douglas in a mostly pointless segment. ½*
Taz vs. Sabu
A fine match from two perennially good workers, spoiled slightly by some messy spots, a great shame considering that there was a huge build up for this match that wasnít really satisfied by the contest. Some good mat work between the two men progresses into a load of decent Sabu aerial moves, followed by the usual Tazplexes and the obligatory table spot. Sabu seemed to injure himself around the half waypoint of the match, which made the remaining minutes a pain to watch. For the finish Taz locked on his Tazmission and choked Sabu out. Post match, Tazís manager, Bill Alfonso, turned on Taz and sided with Sabu and RVD in a classic segment that went down in ECW history. **1/2
Sandman vs. Stevie Richards vs. Terry Funk
The match begins with a good slice of wrestling, and some inventive double team spots. Sandman disappears off screen for a while and returns wielding a ladder. From that moment on this match is pure hardcore gold. These three men invent, and take, some amazingly cool spots utilising the ladder, especially as this was my first experience of the Sandman. Stevie gets eliminated by a double powerbomb about ¾ way through the match. The contest is freshened once again by the Sandmanís use of a large dustbin, followed by barbed wire. The finish arrives when Sandman, wrapped in barbed wire, gets the dustbin stuck on his head, and Stevie delivers his Steviekick to the dustbin. This is followed by a moonsault from Funk, and a pin for the win. ****
World Title: Terry Funk vs. Raven ( c )
Raven runs out to challenge the new no.1 contender immediately. After several offensive moves from the fresh Raven, including something so nasty the censor got rid of it, but we see that blood is now gushing from Funkís head and stomach. Raven taunts Tommy Dreamer, and the Flock run in and beat on Funk. Tommy puts Big Dick Dudley through 3 tables, runs in and DDTís Raven so Funk can make the pin and gain the world title. A very slow and odd piece of booking to end the show, but it does take feuds further I guess. **
Three cool promos from the participants in the three-way dance appear at intervals throughout the show. Sandmanís is especially cool as he smacks himself in the fact with his cane, and is surprisingly entertaining. Terry Funk gets a video package detailing his fatherís death and gets built on Ďthe funkers last standí. Stevieís is very amusing, taking the piss out of Raven quite successfully. Also in the way of promos, Chris Candido cut a crack-fuelled promo previous to the RVD match, which is hilarious, but for all the wrong reasons. Taz also cuts a fairly good promo, very typical, but quality.
Overall, the show was really good, it highlighted the great things about ECW, and it made people want to come back for more. It was just a shame that the TV title match had to be so awful, and that numerous other little things had to happen to make the show imperfect. A great card though, and with the history behind it, definitely deserves a rating of: ****