Tape Recap and Review for ECW 2K

Hardcore Heaven ’97
by Platypus Fool

The supercard that followed Barely Legal was Hardcore Heaven, it had a lot to live up to. To put the card into context, this was in the midst of the ECW / WWF invasion angle, and because of this, it was possibly the best opportunity ECW got to attract the main stream audience to their product. Did they rise to the occasion? …

TV title: Chris Candido vs. Taz ( c )

The first match of the evening promised to be a decent match between two pure athletes, who can both work a great mat wrestling war when necessary. Lots of wrestling sequences begins the match, flowing into some stuff on the outside. The match loses its spark somewhere during the beginning sequence and never really gets it back. After a few guardrail shots on the outside the wrestlers roll back in for a few nice moves and a couple of high spots. Decent hurricanrana from the top for Candido, who follows by setting up for the Blonde Bombshell, but Taz reverses it into a belly-to-belly superplex. A few Tazplexes later and Candido is surprised by the Tazmission for a quick tap out. A decent match, but ever so slow and laboured, and it really didn’t hold the excitement of the crowd. **

Bam Bam Bigelow vs. Little Spike Dudley

A rematch of a TV taping from the week previous, where Spike got the upset victory, Bam Bam wants his revenge, and he gets it. Beat down by Bam Bam followed by a little offence from Spike. Spike takes a nasty drop onto a turnbuckle and falls to the outside, climbs back in only to be thrown into the third row by BBB. After some stalling by the big man, he goes and drags Spike back to the ring, piledrives him and then does some form of casual moonsault for the pin. Spike sold well as always during the match, and its never boring to see the little guy get beaten up. Unfortunately since then we have seen Spike take so many more ludicrous bumps and insane falls at the hands of other opponents, at the time this would have been fairly amazing, but now it has lost some magic. **

Rob Van Dam vs. Al Snow

The first of the Monday night orientated matches on the card, with Al Snow being shipped over from the WWF, where he was known as Leif Cassidy. Plenty of decent stuff to begin the match, including a sweet Ocean Cyclone suplex. The match flows very well, with Snow leading RVD through a well-put together bout. RVD does plenty of his usual somersaulting and messing with aerial moves, extra entertainment is added tonight as Snow has none of it, and punches RVD or side-steps him when he tries anything fancy. Al gets in his fair share of offence with a great clothesline from the top of the ramp and some chair shots. Snow takes a very nice Van-Damninator while crotched on the guard rail, gets rolled back in and takes RVD’s finisher again for the three count. Decent match, best of the night so far, highlighted by Snow’s piss taking of Van Dam, making him look like the asshole that he is. Great flow to the match as well, due to Al Snow carrying Van Dam, but still rather slow in places. ***

The Dudley Boys vs. PG-13

The Dudleys are with Jenna Jameson tonight, makes no difference to the match though, so I won’t bother to mention it. This match is a very typical Ricky Morton special, with plenty of heel offence to a lone face, the hot tag to the other face, and a quick victory for the heels. The whole contest feels like a Raw match, but lengthened so much the boredom factor is high. It’s not all bad though, there is actually some decent mat work at the start and the faces hit a sweet somersault plancha in the closing stages, it’s not enough to save the bout though. The pinfall comes after a 3D, and a win for the Dudleys. Such an amazingly slow match. *1/2

Tommy Dreamer vs. Jerry ‘The King’ Lawler
The ECW / WWF angle continues with Dreamer ‘defending the honour of ECW,’ by meeting Lawler in a match. Tommy begins the match with some hardcore offence, with tin bowls and baking trays, and a few crowd spots, to teach Lawler the true meaning of wrestling, or something. Lawler takes control, hitting Tommy with a little hardcore stuff of his own, before embarking on numerous heelish tactics to get himself over as an enemy of ECW. Control goes back and forth until the referee takes a bump and gets knocked out, after that Dreamer takes control until Rick Rude makes his interference with a trash can. This is followed by a kick out from Dreamer, a little offence from Lawler, and control handed back to ECW’s grappler. The sequence is then repeated twice, replacing Rick Rude with Jake ‘The Snake’ Roberts, and Tammy Lynn Sytch. After the final interference, Dreamer gets the DDT for the pin. A good heated match, with the odd decent piece of action. The problem is that the good points are too few and far between, and, as with most matches on this card, it was slow moving and dull. **

World Title: Terry Funk vs. Shane Douglas vs. Sabu ( c )

A rematch from ‘The Night The Line Was Crossed,’ the card which put ECW on the wrestling map. I’m not sure that they should have put this rematch on, maybe leaving the original match to stand alone as a classic would have been a better move. Funk begins by forcing the two younger athletes to start off against each other, before Sabu and Douglas realise this, and begin to double team Funk. Some great team wrestling follows as the three men try and outwit each other. A few high spots from a controlling Sabu is followed by a strange piece of booking which puts both Tod Gordon, and Bill Alfonso through a table. The match goes back and forth a little more, with the introduction of a guardrail and a ladder making it slightly more interesting. Sandman makes a run in and helps Funk and Douglas eliminate Sabu. This is followed by lots of dull and slow wrestling between the remaining two men, which Terry Funk loses after taking the Belly-to-Belly suplex four or five times. It was a very weak ending to the match, and it garnered a ‘bullshit’ chant from the crowd. Post match the Dudley Boys try to convince Douglas to join them, which brings out the Triple Threat. Then the entire locker room try and break up the ensuing fight, and to zero crowd reaction a huge brawl breaks out. A decent match, until Sabu was eliminated, taking away all the excitement and crowd heat. The terrible finish, and the overbooking at the end, made no sense and it only harmed the overall impression of the match. **1/2

Other Stuff

Numerous promos appear at intervals during this PPV, including two from Jerry Lawler, where he says almost the exact same things, once to the camera, once to the crowd. Also, the typical Gertner promo is aired before the Dudleys match, but the best promo of the night goes to the highly amusing words of PG-13, who raise laughs with their comments on the Dudleys. There is a small Rick Rude promo at the beginning of the night as well, but the promos pale in comparison to the antics of the Sandman. Between each match, a portion of a story is told, detailing how the Sandman helped the ICP fend off RVD and Sabu, resulting in Sandman’s trip to an ambulance. Our beer-drinking friend then hijacks the ambulance, and drives around the city looking for the venue. Just before the main event he arrives back at the PPV, kills a few police officers with his cane and gets back just in time to run in during the main event. The whole thing is absolute madness, but if you are a fan of the Sandman, it is highly entertaining.


The show could have been a whole lot better. On the evidence of Barely Legal, ECW could have made much better use of their locker room talent, and the booking throughout the show was silly, to say the least. A number of the matches here promised a lot more than they delivered, and the PPV in general was slow and dull. It felt like Heyman was trying to book like the WWF would, same sort of matches, same sort of promos, while making concessions to the hardcore fan. Unfortunately the whole thing just didn’t come together, and ECW had failed to make the most of the star power of Jerry Lawler, and the pull that Barely Legal had created. A passable PPV then, but only just passable. **