The SmarK Retro Repost – November To Remember 1998
I just finished watching the “Secrets of Pro Wrestling” special on NBC so I’m in a more cynical mood than usual.
– Live from New Orleans, LA
– Your host is Jo-Jo, who runs down the card for the fans. Terry Funk wanders out to do color commentary. In an interesting bit, he effectively turns heel by running down Joey and Paul E., and then Tommy Dreamer. You see, Tommy’s father was a crackhead and his mother was a whore. Tommy confronts him and Funk has more words for him and walks off.
– Opening match: Supernova & Blue Meanie v. Danny Doring & Roadkill. Roadkill has got the Big Bubba Rogers thing going on here. I’m betting on a comedy match. To summarize: Doring sucks, Meanie sucks, Roadkill sucks and Nova is pretty okay. Nova and Doring exchange some bush league stuff as Funk makes his way to ringside again, and beats up the timekeeper. Lots of comedy miscommunication spots ensue until a fight is teased by the heels and the faces clean house. Back in and Meanie hits…the People’s Legdrop! Then Terry Funk jumps on the apron and slaps Meanie around before getting popped. The heels attack on cue. The camera continues to follow Funk around as he acts insane. Roadkill is pounding on Nova back in the ring. I like the “N2R” logo in the ring. Very professional touch. Nova is playing Ricky Morton to Danny Doring. Joey has goofy names for every move done by Doring. And Nova. Meanie gets the hot tag and the faces hit a frog splash and moonsault combo. I leave it as an exercise for the reader as to who hit what. They finish it with the “Blue Light Special” — an inverted powerbomb / DDT combo. Terry Funk kills both guys with a piece of table afterwards. **1/2
– Funk continues the assault until Paul E. himself comes out to talk Funk down. Security hauls him off.
– Tracy Smothers (w/ the FBI & Ulf Herman) v. Tommy Rogers (w/ Chris Chetti). Gee, think this’ll become a tag match? I didn’t know there was a Nashville, Italy. Rogers looks 80 years old. Rich’s drunken rant gets the crowd going. Ulf’s shirt is off so he’s in the match. Tommy Rogers isn’t really that good on the mic. Herman trips Rogers about 4 seconds in and Chetti returns the favor. More stalling. They exchange some standard stuff and then Herman gets involved, triggering a fight with Chetti. Smothers chokes Rogers to waste time. Ref gets distracted again and now Guido lends a hand. Smothers continues the assault and again the FBI double-teams. Chinlock. A Smothers splash hits the knees and Rogers makes the comeback. He cleans house on the FBI but Smothers gets a rollup for two. Tomizake gets the pin. Feh. * FBI tease a breakup but pull a Buff Bagwell and beat up on Rogers until Chetti makes the save. Then, in one of the most depressing things that Paul E. could have done, Mabel comes out in an FBI shirt. And so Ulf and Mabel beat up on Chetti until Spike Dudley makes the save, but then he gets beat up on. Apparently this has segued into another match because Pee Wee is counting pins.
– Spike Dudley v. Ulf Herman??? Acid Drop for the pin. Yay.
– What the fuck was the point of that?
– Axl Rotten does a yelling and screaming interview. Tanaka and Mahoney are going to win. you see.
– Lance Storm (w/ Tammy Lynn Bytch) v. Jerry Lynn. Mikey Whipwreck and Tammy Sytch are special referees. Nice little promo package to set this up, because I had no idea why the hell they were fighting before. Really nice sequence to start as they trade holds before settling on an armbar, then going into a rapid-fire pinfall sequence which doesn’t work as well at the beginning of a match. Tammy favors Lynn, of course. I can just smell the hideous overbooking waiting to happen here. Storm takes control and the Sytch v. Bytch storyline dominates as the wrestlers rest. Back into another sequence of stuff that looks neat but doesn’t really build to anything. But that’s symptomatic of ECW in general. Sytch’s slow-fast counting continues. There’s zero wrestling between the spots here. No one really has control of the match as they trade stuff. Then the silliness breaks out as the ladies tease a catfight and Mikey gets involved, stunning Bytch and getting jumped by Lynn, then others beat up other combinations of each other before Lynn small packages Storm and Mikey pushes them over and counts the pin on Lynn to give Storm the win. Horribly overbooked and I don’t know what the fuck is going on. **3/4 It was just a bunch of spots.
– Terry Funk says he’s going home. Forever. Sure.
– ECW Tag team title match: The Dudleys v. Masato Tanaka & Ballz Mahoney. Joel disappoints by passing on the “ripped, chiselled…” bit. Bastard. Now why would an anarchist like Axl Rotten wear a KISS shirt? Dudleys get the advantage on Tanaka to start. D-Von does the second riff on the People’s Elbow on the night but misses. Ballz comes in with a big splash. Low blows abound. The Dudleys end up on the outside and Tanaka goes over the top with a plancha. Ballz tries one but gets crotched. That’s four on the match. Everyone gets in position and Buh Buh Ray wipes out everyone with a plancha. Tanaka takes him out with a chair and thankfully brings it back into the ring. Ref gets bumped on a spinning elbow, allowing Big Dick the chance to work over Tanaka. Axl attacks him. Gosh, I just love these mindless overbooked brawls. Sign Guy and Gertner gets beaten up. Then the big Chair Showdown begins as everyone grabs one. Tanaka and Ballz get a beating but come back and try for the pin but Jeff Jones runs in for two but injures his rotator cuff on the way to three. He pulls out a Japanese-English dictionary but gets taken out. Meanwhile, Tanaka takes the Deathdrop but kicks out at two. Then the Dudleys pick a fight with each other and get chairshots in stereo. Only gets two. The finishers on the chairs only get two. Lowblow #5 on Tanaka turns the tide. The Dudleys haul in a couple of tables. Then Sabu and Van Dam run in and put the Dudleys through the tables. The ref is presumably off on vacation here or something. Finally Molineaux remembers that he’s working the match and returns to count the final three. This was the big show-stopping technical masterpiece that was supposed to steal the show? Yeah, whatever. Tanaka and Ballz are the new champions. *1/2
– Justin Credible & Jack Victory (w/ the entire cast of “Rent”) v. Tommy Dreamer & the Mystery Partner. The Partner is Jake Roberts???? Like their aren’t enough alcoholic wrestlers in high places today. He’s not even dressed to wrestle. Dreamer beats up the entourage to start but Aldo takes control. There are times when a chaotic ECW brawl is called for and THIS IS ONE. Please, everyone stay out of the ring. Move, taunt, move, taunt. Justin Montoya tries something resembling a leaping DDT but doesn’t really follow Dreamer down with it. Dreamer gets beat up some more, including a DROP TOE-HOLD OF DEATH! I’m sure Raven is flattered. Jason seems to have taken Victory’s place in the match. Jake gets the hot tag and cleans house. Then Rod Price and One Man Gang run in and beat people up. OMG looks pretty svelte, actually. I notice Price has finally given up his dream of having hair. Okay, then New Jack and Kronus hit the ring with their garbage can of goodies and take out everyone. More ballshots. Jake Roberts has no idea how to respond to any of this and just gets out of the way. Dreamer tries his finishers on Credible but the entourage keeps interfering. Chastity gets piledriven. Nicole gets DDT’d. More ballshots. Credible gets a DDT on a ladder and pinned. The usual pathetic clusterfuck. -** If Justin Credible is the hottest young talent in wrestling then we’re all in deep trouble.
– Terry Funk comes out to further argue with Dreamer, and Roberts blows them off and leaves them to it. Funk says “asshole” a bunch of times. See, Funk is hardcore because he says ass. Dreamer turns his back and Funk destroys him.
– Shane Douglas, Chris Candido & Bam Bam Bigelow v. Sabu, Rob Van Dam & Taz. Douglas has his usual words with the fans before we start, then does the ring intros himself. The Dudley Boys jump Sabu and Van Dam as they come out, just to get the requisite run-in out of the way. Taz makes his entrance and cleans house on the Dudleys and we’re underway. Candido and Sabu do the honors inside while the rest brawl outside. Douglas joins in for a double-team. Sabu fights back and fucks up a simple chair spot. Van Dam gets some serious hangtime on a tope. The Triple Threat beat on Sabu. Why is the heat segment on Sabu when Taz has the issue? Piledriver gets two. More triple-teaming. Finally an actual tag match breaks out as the others go the apron. Van Dam gives Sabu the ol’ short-arm tag attempt but the tag format gets thrown out about 2 seconds later so it doesn’t matter. Taz goes through a table off-camera. Chaos ensues again as more spots erupt (only about half of which hit). Taz gets the hot tag and cleans house. This is getting ugly and is completely breaking down. Do they even work on spots before the match or just make it up as they go along? Finally it’s just Taz and Shane while everyone else plays outside. Taz gets the chokeout, but Sabu comes off with a chair on Douglas to break it up and pin Douglas himself. The crowd is just totally dead for the ending. Douglas is such a lame-duck champion it’s not even funny. The New Triple Threat argue amongst themselves as we end the show. This nonsense is beneath me to rate so I won’t even bother. It was somewhere between * and ** but I don’t really care where it falls.
The Bottom Line: So now what? Taz v. Sabu AGAIN? How long can Shane duck losing the title he doesn’t deserve and can’t defend?
I’m sure Otto Heuer will give this show $459.39 but I thought it was a steaming pile of horseshit. Maybe I’m just not sophisticated enough to appreciate the subtleties involved in having Mabel and Jake Roberts as surprises and using 14 run-ins for every match, but if you are then more power to you. Heatwave was a fluke as ECW goes back on the downward spiral with yet another shitty PPV.