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/10 September 1999

ECW on TNN by Chris Palacios




This week opens with a recap of the closing moments of last week's show...the return of Raven leads to the crowning of new ECW World tag champs in Raven and Tommy Dreamer, but with the history between those two men, is this team headed for disaster? Either way, the show's opening features new shot of Raven holding the tag title belts.

Joey Styles and Joel Gertner introduce themselves before sending us to the ring, where Super Crazy will meet Rhino, who is led to the ring by Steve Corino. Joey finds a new way to plug house shows, merchandise, magazines, etc. by inserting the plug between the entrances of both wrestlers. Jerry Lynn vs. Rob Van Dam and the history between Raven and Tommy Dreamer is teased before going to commercial.

Hey, there's an ad for the ECW action figures! (I have a complete first set with Van Dam, Credible, Taz, Sabu, Shane Douglas, and Chris Candido. And yes, I do have no life.) The commercial has some definite lighting problems, but you have to like seeing Rob Van Dam call his own five star frog splash and send his action figure flying through the air. The ad shows the new Tommy Dreamer and Lance Storm figures along with a figure that I can't make out.

Insert "Anarchy Rulz" PPV ad here.

Rhino is "Steve Corino's rookie monster". Just remember that phrase, it comes in handy later. Has anyone noticed that the ECW ring announcer is really geeky and annoying? Where's Bob Artese when you need him? A loud "Super Crazy" chant starts up before the match begins. Gertner is cracking me up by rattling off a few sentences in Spanish, first welcoming everyone to the show, then calling Styles very stupid. A Crazy quebrada is caught by Rhino, who turns it into a powerslam. Rhino then makes a mistake, which leads to Crazy hitting a springboard dropkick, a springboard leg lariat, and reversing a tilt-a-whirl by Rhino into a leg scissors takeover. Crazy hits an Asai moonsault while Joel orders some hamburgers in Spanish. An angry Joey is calmed by Gertner, who meant to imply that the match is simply hotter than a Mexican lunch plate. Back in the ring, Rhino presses Crazy and drops him face first. A Rhino powerslam gets a 2 count, but Crazy quickly responds with a tornado DDT and a quebrada for a 2 count of his own. Rhino blocks a Crazy moonsault with his knees, then follows up with a pump handle slam. Joel notes that if Joey is going to call Rhino a "cookie monster", then Rhino should be wearing blue and not red. (Told you to remember that phrase!) Joey then notes that all of Joel's talk about food should stop, since Joel can eat from the catering truck after the show ("almost like a real company" according to Joey). Rhino attempts his Rhinobomb, but Crazy reverses into a sloppy hurracanrana for the pin. Rhino and Corino tease a split, and Rhino offers Crazy a handshake, only to end up attacking Crazy and landing his Rhinobomb. We'll be back with Lynn vs. Van Dam and the history between Dreamer and Raven!

We return to discover that Taz will defend his ECW World title at Anarchy Rulz against his "stiffest competition" yet in Japanese superstar Masato Tanaka. Then, courtesy of an ECW flashback, we join Mike Awesome vs. Masato Tanaka from Heat Wave '98 in progress. Quite honestly, this was one of the best matches of 1998, so I'll simply give a rundown of the spots.

Awesome is whipped towards the corner by Tanaka, but Awesome runs up the turnbuckles and hits a back elbow on Tanaka. A Tanaka leapfrog is caught by Awesome and turned into a overhead belly-to-belly suplex. Awesome lands a slingshot shoulderblock and a splash en route to a 2 count. Tanaka is tossed to the outside, then gets hit by a flying Awesome, who hits a missile tope over the top rope and to the outside. Awesome rolls Tanaka back into the ring, then hits a top rope clothesline for a 2 count. Awesome then tosses Tanaka with a release German suplex...but Tanaka jumps up! It must be commercial time!

Tanaka and Awesome are now outside of the ring in the middle of a "dueling chairs" scenario that sees Tanaka land the first chairshot onto Awesome's back. Awesome is then whipped into the guardrail, but a running Tanaka is backdropped into the front row by Awesome, who then climbs into the ring and hits a springboard plancha into the front row. Tanaka is rolled back into the ring, and Awesome grabs a chair and hits Tanaka with a NASTY chairshot that literally bends the seat of the chair into a 45 degree angle. Tanaka is able to take the full brunt of the chairshot WITHOUT FALLING, but a second nasty Awesome chairshot sends Tanaka down. Tanaka ducks an Awesome lariat, but then falls prey to a third nasty chair by Awesome, who follows that with a running powerbomb (well, more of a fast walking powerbomb). Awesome then sets up a table at ringside and motions that he is going to climb in the ring and powerbomb Tanaka from the inside of the ring through the table on the outside. Awesome makes the attempt, but Tanaka slides away...Awesome grabs Tanaka again, but this time Tanaka slides out and then powerbombs Awesome to the outside and through the table in one of the nastiest bumps I've ever seen. Somehow, Awesome is able to kick out after getting a few moments of rest after the fall. Tanaka then hits a few of his "roaring elbows" to Awesome's face for another 2 count. Finally, Tanaka sets up 2 mangled chairs in the corner, then hits a tornado DDT onto the chairs to pin Awesome.

Trust me, my words can not possibly do this match justice.

Joel announces that Tanaka will be at the TNN TV taping in Buffalo before listing more house show dates and teasing Lynn vs. Van Dam. (What about the Dreamer/Raven history?)

The entrances of Jerry Lynn and Rob Van Dam are shown. We get some clips from the great Lynn/Van Dam match at Hardcore Heaven '99 (plug!) before the match begins. Lynn and Van Dam trade some nice chain wrestling, including a crossbody by Lynn off of the 2nd rope. As RVD climbs onto the second turnbuckle to do his trademark pose, Lynn dropkicks RVD's back, which sends RVD to the outside. Lynn hits a baseball slide on RVD, then follows with a plancha as we head to commercial.

Insert Hardcore Hotline ad here. (Who's leaving WCW? Who might be on their way to ECW? And what shocking news about the Rock is there to be heard?) While you're at it, insert an "Anarchy Rulz" PPV ad here too.

Jerry Lynn is whipped into the front row by RVD, who then attempts to hit a Van Daminator off of the guardrail, but ends up eating the chair courtesy of a Lynn chair toss. RVD quickly recovers and hits a front flip off of the guardrail onto Lynn, who is still in the crowd. RVD sets up Lynn in the ring by rolling his body inside the ring but positioning Lynn's head on the ring apron. RVD then places a chair over Lynn's head and hits a slingshot legdrop onto Lynn's head via the chair. RVD then hits a top rope side kick to Lynn's head and gets a 2 count. In an excellent spot, RVD tosses a chair to Lynn to set up the Van Daminator, but Lynn dodges the chair, which ends up in the hands of Bill Alfonso. Lynn catches Fonzie's attempted chairshot, ducks a Van Dam kick, and drops the chair, which allows RVD to pick up the chair and dropkick it into Lynn's face, garnering a nice pop from the Queens crowd. RVD then lays the chair over Lynn and hits a tumbling senton onto Lynn for a 2 count. After laying the chair on the mat, RVD attempts a monkey flip, but Lynn is able to land mostly on his feet and hit his version of the Van Daminator on RVD. Lynn follows with a tornado DDT onto the chair for a 2 count, then attempts a cradle piledriver. RVD counters, but Lynn turns it into a rollup, which then turns into each man reversing the rollup into a different rollup in an impressive sequence of 2 counts. A double clothesline leaves both men exhausted and on the mat when the Impact Players (Lance Storm and Justin Credible) hit the ring and attack both Lynn and RVD. (Smells like a no contest to me, but I didn't hear a bell ring or an official decision.) Jason and Dawn Marie join the Impact Players, who say that they (and not RVD and Lynn) are going to close this week's show. Oh yeah, Justin does that lame-ass tagline of his (which is helped by Storm tossing in a "Calgary, Alberta, Canada"). Joey is apologizing for the lack of a finish to the match ("that's not what we do in ECW") while clips of the Impact Players working over Shane Douglas, Sid ("master of the imaginary win streak"), Jerry Lynn, Tommy Dreamer, and the Dudley Boyz. Joey also notes that they got Sabu banned in the United States.

A quick clip of Paul E. Heyman addressing the Queens crowd is shown. Joey tells us that ECW will produce a better show than what's currently seen on Monday nights, and that next week's show will have a Lynn/RVD rematch with a guaranteed winner. Gertner runs down some house show dates, then clips of Raven and Tommy Dreamer brawling are shown as Joey tells us that Raven will break his silence on next week's show.

As much as I enjoy the Lynn/RVD matches, it is becoming pretty obvious that ECW is covering up the lack of a deep roster by featuring Lynn/RVD on three of their first four TNN shows. I am sure this will backfire on them to some extent.

Throw in a very un-ECW finish to Lynn/RVD on this week's show, and I am a bit disappointed with this week's effort. Sure, Tanaka vs. Awesome is great stuff for any ECW viewer, but why hype Dreamer/Raven footage and not deliver?

With one more TNN show before "Anarchy Rulz", ECW is almost guaranteed to deliver next week.

I just hope I'm right in assuming they will.

Christopher G. Palacios
[slash] wrestling

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