/ECW on TNN
/27 August 1999
ECW on TNN
|by: Chris Palacios
It was five years ago when I first saw an ECW live event. I was in the
front row in Hamburg, PA, the night that Sabu hit an Asai moonsault onto a
guardrail, then defeated Cactus Jack with seven shots to the head with a
I had traded for ECW television shows for about a year prior to seeing my first live event. (Hey, I live in Texas, and airfare to Philly isn't that cheap.)
If anyone was as proud of what was going to happen at 8 pm EST on Friday, August 27, I was.
With that psuedo-intro out of the way, on with the show.
The show opens with a shot of a wrestling ring. There is a table burning in the middle of the ring, and the Dudley Boyz powerbomb Balls Mahoney right into the middle of it. This isn't the WWF. This isn't WCW. THIS IS ECW!
For anyone who has seen the ECW syndicated show, the opening of the TNN show didn't floor you. A slightly remixed version of the ECW theme plays while clips of highspots and ECW stars hammer your eyes. The letters "E", "C", and "W" fall onto a computerized block, which reveal the word "wrestling" when the 3 letters fall into place. The TNN logo appears as the screen pulls back and reveals the logo of the new show.
Joey Styles stands in front of a "ECW Hardcore Wrestling" banner and welcomes us to the show. What better way to start the first ever ECW show on TNN than by putting the ECW TV title over? The title lineage is impressive...Malenko, Guerrero, Scorpio, Bigelow, Taz...but the most impressive champion is the current champion, Rob Van Dam.
This leads us to Rob Van Dam defending his ECW World TV title against Jerry Lynn in a match from the Hardcore Heaven '99 pay-per-view. Joey informs us that RVD won the title on April 4th of last year and is the longest running champion in wrestling today. Jerry Lynn may have RVD's number, but Joey is kind enough to inform us that the number is not 420. The match starts with a nice chain wrestling spot, but then we get a few clips of Jerry Lynn winning some matches with his cradle piledriver finisher. Back to the match, RVD has blood trickling near his eye, and Lynn hits a dropkick on RVD, which sends Van Dam from the apron to the floor. Lynn hits a top rope plancha to the outside, then nails RVD with a guillotine legdrop as Van Dam makes his way back into the ring. Lynn takes Van Dam to the top rope and hits a nice looking bulldog. Lynn heads up top again, but RVD's manager Bill Alfonso pushes Lynn, causing Jerry to crotch himself on the top rope. RVD attempts a Van Daminator (tossing a chair to Lynn, then kicking the chair as Lynn holds it in front of his face), but Lynn spots it coming and ducks the kick. Lynn hits a weak chairshot, but RVD recovers quickly, picking up Lynn and crotching him again on the top rope. This time, RVD hits a leg lariat on Lynn, who falls HEAD FIRST to the floor...OH MY GOD!
By the way, the ad tells us the next ECW pay-per-view is Anarchy Rulz, September 19th, live from Chicago.
The Hardcore Hotline ad is next, with a tease of the Warrior possibly coming to ECW? (Yep, I can confirm that Warrior's web page had some grumblings to that effect.) Call 1-900-RUN-4ECW to find out more!
At this point, what appears to be real commercials pop up on my TV. I never thought I'd see the day where I missed the ads for Tod Gordon's store or the ads for GNC competitors. Instead, I get Kevin Nash in the worst video game ad ever.
Back to the match, where RVD is on the floor. Van Dam runs towards the guardrail, then leaps over it onto a seated Lynn. The Extreme Replay shows us that RVD did not let up on Lynn after the wicked head-first bump. We return to the match, where Lynn is back in the ring attempting a tornado DDT, only to be reversed by RVD into a Northern Lights suplex. Lynn recovers quickly, soon hitting a sunset flip into a powerbomb from the top rope. Joey is talking non-stop at this point, most likely to cover some questionable words in the crowd's chants. Back out to the floor, where Lynn sets up a table, then runs towards RVD, who backdrops Lynn into the front row. Fonzie tosses a chair to Lynn, and RVD leaps on top of the guardrail and hits a Van Daminator onto Lynn.
The commercials are over, and RVD does a backflip, picks up a chair, holds it in front of Lynn, then kicks the chair. Lynn recovers quickly and hits a sweet sunset flip into a powerbomb, which takes RVD from the apron through the table outside of the ring. After a replay, we're back in the ring, where Alfonso tosses Lynn a chair, but Lynn ducks the Van Daminator and throws the chair into Alfonso's head in a great spot. Lynn's belly-to-back suplex gets a 2 count. A flubbed up spot sees both men on the top rope, but Lynn falls before the move develops. Lynn hits a version of the Van Daminator for a 2 count. Lynn's cradle piledriver attempt is countered by RVD, but Lynn holds on and gets a rollup for a 2 count. RVD hits a split-legged moonsault for a 2 count. RVD hits his 5 star frog splash, but the pinfall attempt turns into a Lynn rollup for a 2 count. Fonzie finally gets the Van Daminator to work, and RVD follows it with a second 5 star frog splash to get the pin. Great highlight package from a great match, but this took up HALF of the show.
Joey does a quick plug for the merchandise line (800-523-5684) and for ecwwrestling.com, then promises to give us a look at the title belt that Steve Austin wanted, but never gained.
Joey quickly returns to plug the RollerJam season premiere, featuring a rematch from last year's Founder's Cup. (Poor Joey.) Joey then runs down the list of people who wanted the ECW World title, but never won it...Konnan, Rick Steiner, Benoit, and Steve Austin are listed, among a few others.
The show returns to find a much slimmer Shane Douglas throwing down the NWA World title and proclaiming the ECW belt as a World title belt. I'm starting to wonder if Ric Flair was right about Shane and what's in his bloodstream after seeing the 1994 model of the Franchise.
Joey notes that Shane made that speech on the exact same night five years ago (talk about things lining up nicely). Joey runs down the ECW World title lineage...Raven, Sandman (now Hardcore Hak), Terry Funk, Sabu...but of course, none of them are as good as the CURRENT champ.
This brings us to Chicago, where Taz defends the World title against Steve Corino's buddy Rhino. Taz starts off by ragging on Rhino and drawing the first bleep in the history of the ECW/TNN show. Taz does the "beat me if you can, survive if I let you" tagline, and we're off and running. Rhino hits a powerbomb, but Taz no-sells and appears to flip him off (either that or Taz actually does have one arm that looks blurrier than the rest of his body) before clotheslining Rhino to the outside. Taz follows, sends Rhino into the guardrail, then tosses Rhino back into the ring. One head-and-arm Tazplex, one overhead belly-to-belly from the 2nd rope, one head-and-arm through a table, sprinkle with the Tazmission, and the match is over. Taz sends Rhino back through the table remnants for good measure, then lets the tagline fly one more time.
Back to Joey, who says Taz can't wait to get his hands on Steve Corino, but that Taz's toughest rival must be Sabu. That takes us to a clip package of Sabu highspots narrated by Paul Heyman, who gets the "suicidal, homicidal, genocidal" gimmick and the "banned from wrestling in the US" angle over.
Another Anarchy Rulz PPV ad follows, along with an ad for the Hotline (Canadians call 900-561-4ECW!) and a tease of a top WCW star going public with his desire to return to ECW. If you don't know who it is by now, I'm not telling.
The show returns, this time from Queens, NY. "Little" Spike Dudley is in the ring with Sal E. Graziano, who is pretty fat. This "match" lasts all over 10 seconds, with Spike hitting a low blow followed by an Acid Drop (headlock, run up turnbuckles, spin into a bulldog) for the pin.
We then are in an unnamed hotel lobby, where Jason introduces himself as the Sexiest Man on Earth. Justin Credible introduces himself, as does Lance Storm and Dawn Marie (who I believe has a problem with her voice as she can't quite spit out the whole "personal Bytch" line). Finally, we meet Cyrus, who claims he should be Joey's co-host. Meanwhile, the camera is trying to focus on Dawn Marie (hey, wouldn't you?) to the dismay of Cyrus. You see, Cyrus is trying to get over in ECW, but nothing seems to be working. I think it's probably due to the fact that he doesn't have a vagina. A disgusted Cyrus leaves, which allows the Impact Players (Storm and Credible) to cut a promo while clips play of their highlights. We see the Impact Players working over the Dudley Boyz, Sid, Shane Douglas, Tommy Dreamer (chairshot to a cinder block on Dreamer's groin), and Jerry Lynn before returning to Lance, who tosses out his "Calgary, Alberta, Canada" tagline. (Gotta love how he got over by pushing a Canadian city.) Justin gets his "not just the coolest, not just the best, that's Justin Credible" line to close out a segment that seemed a bit off.
Joey Styles is backing, running down ECW live event dates and plugging the ECW magazine. Kid Rock's "Bawitdaba" is playing in the background for a reason, as it leads into a trademark ECW music video with clips of ECW stars. Here, we see glimpses of Tommy Dreamer (The Innovator of Violence), Francine (The Head Cheerleader), Balls Mahoney, Super Crazy (Insane Luchador), Little Guido with Sal E. Graziano, Chris Chetti, New Jack (The Original Gangsta), Uganda, Little Spike Dudley (The Giant Killer), Axl Rotten, Nova, Danny Doring (The Dastardly One), Roadkill (The Angry Amish Chicken Plucker), Lance Storm (Calgary, Alberta Canada), Dawn Marie, Justin Credible, Jerry Lynn, Rob Van Dam (ECW World TV champion), Sabu (Banned in the US), Tajiri and Steve Corino, and Taz (ECW World champion). (This segment is great if only because Dawn Marie's dress was perfect in that it didn't leave much to the imagination...must have been cold that night.)
The show closes with an interview from Taz. The word is that ECW is going to take TNN to the Extreme, but he notes that behind all of the flaming tables and chairsots is a wrestler with the 2 most feared weapons in ECW...that wrestler is Taz, and the weapons are his hands. Taz says to ask the "Minellia Man" Chris Jericho (insert clip of Jericho tapping out to the Tazmission), Shane Douglas (see clip of Shane passing out from the Tazmission while Taz notes that Shane's back isn't strong enough to carry WCW), and Bam Bam Bigelow (insert Bigelow clip here) The list goes reads like a "Who's Who" of wrestling...Scorpio, Candido, Lawler (that was easy, a night off for Taz). Taz then tells viewers that he's the guy your parents warned you about...he's not the role model for your kids...he won't go on a TV show for a guest appearance...he won't mingle with the media... he's too busy training for all of that stuff. His motto is "kill or be killed", and we should all stay tuned because the action is just about to start. "Beat me if you can....SURVIVE if I let you."
The first ECW show on TNN was history after that. As a long time ECW fan, I was a little disappointed by the show, but that's because I knew about these guys coming into the show and didn't need the introductions.
Looking at the show through the eyes of a new viewer, the show probably came off fine. The test really came during the RVD/Lynn match, where the viewers either got into the action despite the length of the match or changed the channel.
Only time will tell.
Christopher G. Palacios
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