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Views from the Hawke’s Nest: ECW Hardcore Heaven 1997

July 28, 2014 | Posted by TJ Hawke
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Views from the Hawke’s Nest: ECW Hardcore Heaven 1997  

August 17, 1997
Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Joey Styles was running down the lineup for the show, but he was interrupted by Rick Rude. Rude ran down the crowd and then introduced “No Gimmicks Needed” Chris Candido. Todd Gordon came out to chew out Rude. He informed Rude that he did not have a manager license and would have to leave the ringside area. Rude was upset but eventually left so Candido would not have to forfeit.

Taz© vs. Chris Candido [ECW Television Championship]
Candido tried to cheap shot Taz, but Taz quickly sent him scurrying to the floor. Candido cut him off with a folding powerbomb. Candido worked him over after that. Taz was fighting back, but Candido continued to be in control. He was targeting the neck a lot. Taz looked to be finally coming back, but Candido snapped off a super ‘rana and then hit a diving headbutt. Taz connected on a lariat and got a submission, but Candido got to the ropes. Candido then hit a powerbomb for a nearfall. Taz hit a superplex and then finally started to come back. Candido was close to cutting him off again, but Taz got the Taz-mission.

This match felt like it was going on forever, which is not what you want from your opener (or any match really). I’ve always appreciated the appeal of Taz as a character, but his in-ring work left so much to be desired.
Match Rating: **

We got some clips of RVD and Sabu beating up the Insane Clown Posse. I thought RVD and Sabu are supposed to be heels??!?!?!?

Spike Dudley vs. Bam Bam Bigelow
Bam Bam mostly dominated Spike early on (obviously). He even tossed Spike from the ring into the crowd. That was awesome. Spike was bleeding from his forehead badly by this point. Bam Bam then did a cartwheel. Five fucking stars. Bam Bam brought him back to the ring to beat him up some more and then hit a corkscrew splash: 1…2…3!

So far, my two favorite ECW PPV matches have been squashes. I am very, very okay with this. Bam Bam Bigelow looked like a goddamn star after this match.
Match Rating: Squash

We then got footage of RVD and Sabu brutally assaulting The Sandman to the point of him needing to be rushed to the hospital.

Rob Van Dam (w/ Bill Alfonso) vs. Al Snow [Monday Night Rules]
They went back and forth for a while. Al Snow dropkicked him to the floor and then connected on a pescado. Snow was just running through RVD for a relatively long time. RVD finally came back with a moonsault off the guardrail to a standing Snow. RVD followed that up with a tope con hello. Snow came right back with a superplex. RVD hit a diving thrust kick and then the frog splash, but Snow kicked out. I guess the frog splash was not five stars yet. They continued to go back and forth. This match has had some cool stuff, but it’s also not very good at all. Snow dropkicked RVD to the floor again. They went back and forth a lot more. Finally, Alfonso tossed in a chair so RVD could hit the Van Daminator: 1…2…3

This was utter shite. RVD had no idea how to put together a good match at this point. He did a lot of cool shit to be sure, but it’s amazing how it would add up to pretty much nothing.
Match Rating: *1/2

We got footage of The Sandman COMANDEERING an ambulance, while it was being tracked by ECW’s helicopter. This was some great Wrestle Crap.

Jerry Lawler cut a promo about how all of the WWF is behind him tonight as he takes on Tommy Dreamer.

Joel Gertner, The Dudley Boys, and Jenna Jameson were in the ring. Gertner said that since the Gangstas were not at the show, the Dudleys were the tag team champions.

The Dudley Boys (D’Von & Bubba Ray Dudley)© vs. PG-13 (Jaime Dundee & Wolfie D) [ECW Tag Team Championships]
PG-13 made fat jokes and mom jokes. Dundee left the ring at one point and kissed Jameson. Sigh. The Dudleys could not get anything going for a while. The Dudleys distracted themselves, and Sign Guy Dudley distracted the referee. Big Dick Dudley then gave PG-13 a double chokeslam. Dundee was worked over for a while. Dundee eventually escaped and made a big hot tag to Wolfie D. Dundee got caught by the Dudleys on a dive attempt, but Wolfie D saved him by hitting everyone with a dive. Woah, Dundee got attacked by the other Dudleys, and Wolfie D ate the Dudley Death Drop: 1…2…3

This was surprisingly fun. It’s a shame that the match ended in such an anti-climactic way because they were definitely building to a really good tag match.
Match Rating: **1/2

After we got another update on The Sandman, Jerry Lawler came to the ring to plug a WWF PPV. He also ran down ECW and put over WWF in general.

Tommy Dreamer (w/ Beulah McGillicutty) vs. Jerry Lawler
Lawler tried to cheat for an early advantage, but Dreamer was running through him soon enough. Lawler gut busted open very quickly. Dreamer was choking him with a belt. Lawler eventually managed to crotch Dreamer and then use a steel chair on him. Lawler was in control for a long time after that. He whipped Dreamer with a belt. He choked Dreamer and then tied him with the belt to a ring rope. That didn’t lead to anything though. Lawler hit the piledriver: 1…2…no. You would think that would be a massive nearfall, but the crowd didn’t react. Lawler pretended to wipe his ass with Dreamer’s ECW shirt. Dreamer started to no-sell Lawler’s punches after that. Tommy Dreamer is to hardcore wrestling what Bob Saget was to raunchy comedy. It’s an awkward kid trying to act cool. Dreamer punched Lawler several times. Lawler pulled the strap down but then just collapsed. Lawler gave Dreamer a double axe handle to the balls. Lawler took out the referee with a DDT. Dreamer managed to send Lawler into a ring post and he set up to ram his balls into the same post. The lights went out though. The lights finally came back on, and Rick Rude hit Dreamer with a trash can twice. Lawler covered him, but Tommy kicked out. Dreamer came back and set up for a piledriver. The lights went out again, and Jake Roberts gave Dreamer a lariat. Lawler looked surprised. DDT to Dreamer. Roberts then gave Lawler a lariat that caused Lawler to fall on Dreamer: 1…2…NO! Well, this match is odd to say the least. Dreamer went for a DDT but the lights went out again. Sunny showed up and sprayed Dreamer in the eyes with something. Beulah and Sunny did the catfight spot. Lawler went to piledriver Beulah, but Tommy saved her. Beulah kicked Jerry in the balls, and Dreamer hit the DDT: 1…2…3

I’ll give the match credit for being put together in a way that would have been awesome if anyone in the crowd responded to any of it. Instead, no one gave a fuck and the match was as dead as ECW is now. As a result, the match felt lethargic and outdated, and the interference felt like cheap pops to cover for a shitty match instead of fun moments to make a blood feud match seem more chaotic.
Match Rating: 1/4*

We got another Sandman update. It looks like he has arrived in the building. He was caning everyone near him.

Sabu© (w/ Sabu) vs. Terry Funk vs. Shane Douglas (w/ Francine) [ECW World Championship]
This is a rematch of the infamous three way dance from The Night the Line was Crossed. Sabu had recently won the title from Terry Funk in a barbed wire match.

Douglas tried to pay off Funk, but it obviously did not work. Douglas and Sabu actually attacked Funk together at the start. That went on for a while. Douglas got bored of that eventually and hit Sabu with a chair. Sabu gave him the triple jump plancha into the crowd. The three of them continued to brawl. A couple of chairs were the popular weapons for a while. Terry hit Sabu with a scary looking piledriver. Fonzy was blowing his whistle the whole match by the way as he was wont to do. It’s one of the most annoying things in the history of professional wrestling. Douglas brought in a barricade, but he was the one who got sent into it repeatedly. They continued to brawl a lot. Fonzy got involved again, but Todd Gordon came out to attack him. Douglas placed Gordon on a table. Terry placed Fonzy on the table. Sabu decided to legdrop both of them through the table. Sabu started using a ladder as a weapon, but The Sandman showed up and attacked Sabu with the ladder. Security eventually pulled Sandman away, as Funk and Douglas double pinned Sabu: 1…2…3!

Sabu was eliminated, but he decided to hit Sandman and security with a triple jump moonsault. Douglas and Funk will go at it for the title. Douglas hit the belly to belly suplex, but Funk kicked out. Douglas then hit a piledriver. The ECW locker room emptied out to watch the match. Francine was interfering, but Dory Funk, Jr. chased her off and attacked Douglas. Schoolboy from Terry: 1…2…NO! Back suplex from Douglas. Funk took Douglas with him through a table. Douglas hit two belly to belly suplexes, but Funk kicked out both times. Small package from Funk: 1…2…NO! Douglas hit another belly to belly: 1…2…3

While all three of these wrestlers could be used in an effective role at this point in their careers, putting them together for an extended brawl was just tedious. I understand the desire to try to sell a PPV with a main event rematch of a very famous ECW match, but that’s not necessarily a good way to have a great main event.
Match Rating: *

Joel Gertner and The Dudley Boys came out. Gertner wanted Douglas to leave behind the Triple Threat to align himself with the Dudleys. Chris Candido and Bam Bam Bigelow promptly came out. There was a brawl between the two stables. The locker room tried to separate the two stables. The Dudleys were able to clear the ring. Everyone fell to them…until New Jack and John Kronus came out! Perry Saturn stumbled out on a crutch. New Jack and Kronus ate a double chokeslam from Big Dick. Saturn gave him and D’Von cutters though. Bubba was then overwhelmed by the numbers. Balls Mahoney, Axl Rotten, and Terry Funk remained until the end as well. New Jack gave Gertner a big chairshot to the head. Kronus gave him a 450 for good measure. I think this was a great way to end the show for the live crowd, and they absolutely ate it up.

Thanks everybody for reading! You can send feedback to my Twitter or to my email address: [email protected] Also, feel free to check out my own wrestling website, FreeProWrestling.com. Also, check out my Best of Chikara blog and an archive of all my 411 video reviews.

The 411: This was a bad show. The only thing the crowd seemed to actively care about was the post-main event brawl. That is not a good sign for the quality of a show. The only match from this show that I would encourage someone to check out is Bam Bam vs. Spike. That was awesome. Also, if you're into Wrestle Crap, the Sandman stuff was classic.
Final Score:  3.0   [ Bad ]  legend

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