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Alex Carnevale

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ECW PATH OF DESTRUCTION

I have the DVD version, which may or may not have extra matches on it. I neither know nor care. Shine on!

Four corners match: Chris Jericho (c) v. 2 Cold Scorpio v. Pitbull #2 v. Shane Douglas (ECW Television Title 7.13.96)

Say what you want about ECW, they've always been able to make their titles mean something. This match has a reputation, but I have never viewed it in its entirety, and it was one of the reasons I was eager to buy the DVD.

The story of this match is that Scorpio is dominant over Jericho, who is the champion, while Shane fears Pitbull #2 and thus won't tag in to fight him. Jericho and Scorpio roll around for awhile with some quote-unquote mat wrestling, and then Scorpio rolls out. Shane teases getting in the ring, but Pitbull 2 kicked his ass before the match, so the crowd knows he's bullshitting. They do a sequence that ends in a Scorpio dropkick. Scorp does a standing somersault legdrop. Show-off. Jericho hits a double-underhook powerbomb for two, and then locks on an octopus-type move. That's not out of place or anything. Neither guy is doing a very good job of reigning in the other's spotty tendencies. Chopfest, and Scorp hits a spinkick and tags Shane "The Opportunist" Douglas in. He tries a suplex but gets suplexed. Jericho works Shane over, pulling out that cool leg rollup that I wish he would still do. He hits a springboard whatever. He takes Shane to the turnbuckle at least 15 times. Jericho has even more muscle on his small frame then he does today. Chops in the corner erupt. Superkick and second rope moonsault get two, and Jericho is blown up. He tags Pitbull 2, and Franchise runs away, so now we have Scorpio and PB 2. Big PUSSY chant, showing you how over Shane was as a heel. PB 2 walks in to the match BLEEDING from being hit by Shane pre-match and wiping a razor across his forehead to generate blood. He's hardcore, I guess. I like watching PB 2 for some reason. He press-slams Scorp, but Scorp reverses to sunset flip. He then press-slams him successfully. Scorp tries a rana but PB 2 powerbombs him. Scorp sells for NO ONE. Scorp's penis alone gets two. Scorpio pulls out a nice spot, bodyscissoring Pitbull 2 outside into the guardrail. Scorp kicks PB 2 in the face, running off the ring apron and smashes his face against a chair. Scorp does a nice job working both styles. Scorp with a running knee, and, he tags in Shane, who is delighted to work Pitbull 2 over. Belly-to-back gets two. Tag to Jericho, who kicks Pitbull 2 around and then takes Pitbull 2's comeback for Shane. Powerslam gets two. Jericho hits a spinning wheel kick and a kickass german suplex for two. I think the reason I like Pitbull a lot is because I only see him in matches with talented workers, and he is always willing to sell for them—to a point. I respect that. Pitbull 2 gets a ranabomb, and Scorp comes in. He goes to the very top but takes a SUPER huracanrana to the mat. Sweet. Franchise tags Jericho, who is making the cover, and tries to pin Scorp but that only gets two. Scorpio begins destroying Shane, with punches in and outside the ring. Shane does his usual great sell job. He slams him on a chair, and for some reason Shane actually has dirt on him now. His tights and legs are covered in a mud-like substance. Shane takes a bulldog on a standing chair for two. Pitbull gets the tag, but Shane runs away. Rollup by Jericho gets two on Pitbull. PB reverses a slam for two when Jericho's knee collapses. Pitbull #2 administers the beating we all knew he could. Powerbomb gets two. Scorp in, and he sells for NO ONE. Butterfly suplex, but Jericho rolls out of the ring. Cue brawl. Scorpio has not sold one move besides that super rana in the match. Jericho hits a DDT and tries to tag out, but Shane won't accept it. Pitbull 2 comes in and fallaway overhead suplexes Scorp hard off the top rope. Shane tags Scorp, who is down, and works Pitbull 2 over on the outside. Plancha by Jericho and then another one by Scorp and his big penis. Scorp takes Jericho down, and they brawl into the crowd. Shane crotches PB 2 on the railing. They pair off and fight simultaneously. Franchise bulldogs PB 2 on a chair for two. Shane tries to tag 2 Cold Scorpio, but he won't tag, and Pitbull 2 will not sell. Pitbull kills Shane, and Jericho gives him a whompass dropkick form the top rope. They fight over the pin and don't get it. Jeri

I rest after that and watch the promos featured on the disc. Extreme Evolution had a hidden kickass Cactus Jack promo that I love, but this disc outdoes it with an AWESOME Steve Austin with a bad attitude interview that is quite precognizant. It's one of the greatest shoot promos ever, and it's an excellent addition to the disc. There's also some other short stuff that isn't bad, including a weird Eliminators promo and a horrible Public Enemy thing. I'm sure the next video will feature Austin v. Sandman v. Whipwreck, not that I'm looking forward to it.

Rob Van Dam v. Bam Bam Bigelow (c) (ECW Television Title 4.4.98)

I think I remember seeing this match on ECW Television a year ago on a replay they did on Hardcore TV, but it certainly didn't stick with me if I did. Van Dam is supposed to soften Bigelow up for Sabu's title shot. I don't bother to go into a ridiculous amount of detail in the play-by-play for this one, but suffice to say it's not that much different from every other Van Dam match you've ever seen. Van Dam stalls to start (surprise!) and they get it going. Notable events include Van Dam doing two fucking insane planchas into the crowd on Bigelow. That was some crazy shit. Bigelow comes back, and whips out some cool powerbomb stuff in the process. I wish he had this repertoire today. Bigelow powerbombs Van Dam on a table at ringside, and then elbowdrops him off the apron. More spots follow, but Bigelow does a nice job of pacing the match, so it's very watchable. Sabu interferes when Bigelow tries to finish, and Van Dam hits the Van Daminator for the title, which he would go on to hold for two years. *** In hindsight, this was a good time to give RVD the title. The match was fun and Van Dam worked hard, which he certainly doesn't today. Of course, he's not really working, but that's besides the point. Next!

Sabu v. The Sandman (Stairway to Hell Match, House Party '98, 1.10.98)

This is from the ECW Arena House Party '98, and the match has quite a reputation so I won't quibble with its inclusion on the video. The setup is a ladder in the center of the ring that allows a wrestler to grab a coil of barbed wire. Sandman looks sharp here for some reason. Ladder starts out in the middle of the ring, because god forbid they should do some wrestling before they go spot-spot-spot. Jim Fullington's entire career is predicated on the fact that not knowing how to wrestle isn't important in this business. Crowd is pretty hot to start. The ref takes Fullington's cane away. Sabu throws the ladder at the Sandman for awhile, as I yawn. Sabu does a legdrop on a chair, on the Sandman, on the ladder propped on its side to get us underway. He lays the ladder on top of the Sanman and hits the Arabian facebuster with a chair on the ladder. Baseball slide somehow causes Fullington to leap literally in the first row. Sabu hits a tope...chair-assisted, of course. Weak chairshot by Sabu in the crowd, and they brawl further in. I hate that spot. Lots of head dolls in the arena tonight. They get all of the way to the platform near the Crow's nest, and do some spots there. Sandman gets put through a table from the Crow's nest with a legdrop. Why does Sabu wear a band that says his own name on it? They get all kicky punchy, and Sandman starts a brief comeback consisting of backyard elbow drops and the like. Tables get put all outside the ring, so they don't have to spend hours setting up each spot. I thank whoever did that. By the way, I hate the fucking Public Enemy. Who EVER thought they were good? A few years ago in RSPW, they were one of the top tag teams. Perhaps that's kind of like the internet's love affair with Hardcore Holly, for instance. Sandman throws the ladder into the crowd at Sabu. He then hits a Jeff Hardy but not as cool teeter-totter spot. Suplex onto the table, and Sandman drops an ugly leg, but doesn't break the table. He bridges a table and then bridges a ladder next to it, both from the apron to the guardrail. He hotshots Sabu onto it, and hits a slingshot legdrop. They should have just done a straight ladder match and been done with it. God, Sandman's fat. He sets up the ladder in the ring, which does not look safe to climb. Sabu stops him by pushing the ladder over as Fullington grabs the barbed wire. Sandman goes over the rope through two tables. Whoa. That makes me cringe. Sandman slows himself down nicely. What is even more amazing is that Christian did that spot with no table to cushion the fall on the first RAW on TNN. I still think my favorite spot of all time is Jeff and Christian going off the ladder at Wrestlemania onto the entranceway. Sabu tries a plancha with the barbed wire, but his jaw hits pretty sick on the guardrail. He sell that, and Fonzie even tapes his jaw up. Sandman, instead of capitalizing, sets up the barbed wire in the corner. Sandman drops the UGLY elbow, and Sabu is bleeding out of his mouth. Chairshot by Sabu, and Sabu works Sandman over with the barbed wire. He then stabs Fullington in the face with some scissors. Sabu puts him in the barbed wire tree of woe, puts 2 chairs on his face to cushion the spot, and kicks it hard. Sandman's bleeding, natch, and it's about .5 Muta, by my estimate. Maybe .6. Sandman takes the cane to clock Sabu. Sabu is still holding his jaw, for the record. Whip to the corner, and Sandman rolls in the barbed wire. Sabu misses a moonsault, and he hits a legdrop on Fullington's face with the barbed wire. Sandman bleeds pretty badly. Arabian facebuster, but the crowd is dead by now. Maybe it's a hushed silence, maybe not. Cane-shot gets three. Kind of an anticlimax, but what can you do. ***1/4 Looks like they cut it short because of Sabu's injury, but I have no idea what happened there. All spots here, but strung together nicely enough to keep me entertained. This didn't hold up too well because

Man, I wish this wasn't the next match.

Axl Rotten v. Ian Rotten (Taipei Death Match 1.1.95)

Oh lord. Gordon asks Bill Alfonso to ref in his capacity as rule-upholding official. Both men are fat sacks of shit, it should be noted. Ian punches Axl in the forehead, and he bleeds. Fonzie stops the match because Axl can't continue. God, that's really funny stuff. That's 1/4* right there. Alfonso has to stop to arrest the Gangstas and Public Enemy, though, so he's out of it and the match continues. They just take turns hitting each other. No wrestling moves. Ian bleeds a lot, more than Axl, if it matters. It didn't in him getting a job, that's for sure. Although neither man is really doing anything right now. Whatever gets two for Axl. Oh my, a DDT! A wrestling move. Ian brings thumbtacks into the ring for the *big* finish. Axl backdrops him on the thumbtacks and splashes him for three. I'm tempted to go ****, but I'll go DUD instead.

Jerry Lynn v. Tajiri v. Super Crazy (November 2 Remember 11.7.99)

They start out with some token sequences as the faces destroy Tajiri, and then lock up. They go through a long wrestling sequence with Jerry Lynn getting a flying headscissors, and Super Crazy recovering. Jerry takes the Tarantula but Super Crazy breaks it up. Tajiri gets it on Crazy and then Jerry Lynn breaks it up. Super-contrived, but well done. Tajiri hits a nice kick, and then put Lynn on the top, but Lynn pushes him off and hits a plancha on the outside. One of those weak ECW chants. Tajiri then hits a moonsault off the second rope to the outside. Nice. Super Crazy goes into the guardrail, and they fight in the crowd. Tajiri hits a suplex. Why, oh why, do they fight in the crowd. Lynn clotheslines both men in a neat spot. They go up to the entranceway a la Jeff Hardy at Madison Square Garden, and Crazy hits moonsault onto both men. Nicely executed. Crazy slaps on an inverted surfboard. Nice, but what's the point? Lynn bulldogs Tajiri out of a bulldog in a cool spot. Lynn hits the Gory special, but Crazy flips out and hits a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker. Tajiri attacks Lynn, and then hits a rana on Crazy. God help me, I think Tajiri could get over in WCW. Crazy hits on moonsault on Lynn, and Tajiri breaks it up, so Crazy hits a foldover powerbomb on him. Lynn hits the cradle piledriver on Crazy, but Tajiri kicks Lynn in the face and drops Crazy with a brainbuster to eliminate him. Crowd is totally deflated when you want them to be interested. Crazy had no business in this match. Tajiri whips out a handspring elbow. Tajiri sticks Lynn in the tree of woe, and takes the dropkick to the face. Remember those Crazy-Tajiri death matches? Those were pretty badass. Jerry tries a German suplex, but Tajiri flips out, so Lynn tries it again and hits it for two. They do a tombstone reversal spot but Lynn eats a backbreaker off it to work on his back. Tajiri misses a moonsault, and they works up to Lynn tornado DDT. This gets two. I'd like to see a Tajiri-RVD match. Tajiri gets two with a bridging german suplex. Kicks to the face from Tajiri, and he goes for the brainbuster. Lynn reverses and tries the piledriver. Tajiri kicks him, but Lynn no-sells, and asks for more. When Tajiri tries it again, Lynn catches it and clotheslines him. He then hits the cradle piledriver for three. Not bad, but I would have preferred to see something from Tajiri-Crazy without Lynn. Maybe a recap of the feud, or something like that. This match itself suffered from Crazy's pointless inclusion because he was not involved in the feud, and its very spotty nature, but Tajiri held it together nicely. ***

Dean Malenko v. Eddy Guerrero (2/3 Falls Match, ECW Arena 8.26.95)

"Both Eddy Guerrero and Dean Malenko have contracts with New Japan wrestling, and both Eddy Guerrero and Dean Malenko will soon be plying their trade in WCW. Therefore the match you are about to witness wil be the last time these two world class atheletes will be able to face each other with no boundaries, with no limits, in short, this will be the last time they will be able to take it to the extreme." -Joey Styles

That speech isn't included on the DVD, but I have this match on tape.

FIRST FALL: Interesting note: Dean tries to bounce off the ropes as he does before every match up, but he slips and Joey gives him a look like he's crazy. They don't catch this on the DVD, but it's too funny. Dean just looks a little younger, but Eddy is a LOT sleeker and more built now in the Federation. Lock up, and a "PLEASE DON'T GO" chant to start. They roll around for a bit. Eddy tries a crucifix but Dean just keeps bridging, and Eddy can't get him down. The Shooter grabs the leg in kind. Dean tries a roll up variation and gets two. A really, really beautiful wrestling sequence leads to Eddy grabbing an armbar. Eddy runs to the top turnbuckle and armdrags Dean to the ground. Uranage from Eddy, a move I've never seen him use outside of ECW + Japan. Fisherman's suplex gets two. Why doesn't he use that anymore? No one has it as a finisher in the WWF. Eddy works Dean's arm like the savage rapscallion that he is. Then Dean locks on a crazy bow-and-arrow like maneuver where he can roll Eddy over for pinfall attempts. He moves that into a vicious STF. Eddy grabs the rope, as Joey refers to Malenko's Stone Cold face. They trade stomps to the face. Whip to the ropes, and Malenko rolls out, reminding me of the time that he was wrestling Kidman in the first of a Gauntlet series of matches and he rolled out, ignoring the touch the floor stipulation. Oh man, that was funny. Belly-to-belly suplex gets two. Enziguiri for two. Superplex for two. Tilt-a-whirl backbreaker, but Deano gets two with a backslide. Eddy then schoolboys Dean up for the first fall at 10:22. Thirty second rest period.

SECOND FALL: Dean works the leg, but Eddy hits a german suplex for a deuce. Then Dean dropkicks the knee like he wants to hurt Guerrero's children. Dean works a leglock. Joey tries to put over the story. Dean gets a nice spinebuster to set up the Tejas cloverleaf, and Guerrero submits at 13:20. That was quick.

THIRD FALL: Joey goes on about how “the questions remain, who is a better man?” Guerrero walks around the outside to sell the injury. Eddy gets clotheslined in the corner and brainbustered by Malenko. So nasty. So nasty. Malenko dropkick and Eddy rolls out of the ring. Whip to the steel barricade follows that. Dean rolls him right back in and hits the vicious sit-down tigerbomb for two after a forearm levels Eddy. This gets two. Dean takes him up the top, but Eddy fights out and hits the tornado DDT, which gets two. Brainbuster from Eddy sets up the frogsplash, which hits for two. Rana gets two. A sequence leads to a sunset flip powerbomb for, you guessed it, two. Eddy tries another DDT, but Eddy throws him off Lynn-Van Dam style. I only cite that occurence because it's the most relevant occurence of the move. Press slam into a rib-breaker from Dean to Eddy's prone anatomy gets two. Roll-up gets two. Another bridging roll up has both of their shoulders pinned to the mat, and that secures a draw at 19:32. ****1/4 Good ending. Who could deduct for a draw on this match?

They include some of what happens after the match, but I did the play-by-play from my copy on tape, so here it is.

Eddy talks after the match, giving a heartfelt speech to the ECW Arena fans. Then Deano asks for the mic, stepping outside of his Shooter character that never talked. This stuff would be so over if they did it today. Dean says some nice things about the ECW fans, which I am hard-pressed to believe. Some guy in a Public Enemy jersey tries to start up a “Shooter” chant. That, in a nutshell, is the ECW Arena fan. In any case, the match here lacked a certain sense of immediacy, as the crowd wanted it to continue, and didn't really pop for the near falls. Nevertheless, the historic nature of the match does, I suppose, lend it a certain atmosphere. Not as good as some of the other matches they had in ECW and Japan, but still a definite classic. Malenko-Guerrero shows us what a sloppy series of encounters those Van Dam-Lynn matches were and how talented these two atheletes really are at what they do. I pause, and survey the rest of the DVD. The DVD also has a bunch of bios, which are okay.

Psicosis v. Rey Mistero, Jr. (Debut match, ECW Arena 9.16.95)

This is from Gangsta's Paradise, if I'm not mistaken. I've also seen this one before, and it's very good. This is the first match these two would have, which they would go onto eclipse in the amazing 2/3 Falls match. Time considerations probably got this one chosen. You also don't want to blow your wad on the second video. Psicosis has his excellent "big" hair. They do some token wrestling and acrobatics at the beginning. They both adapt their style nicely to the Arena. Psicosis hits a powerbomb and a press slam. This match never really clicks for me, as it seems to be structured as an introduction to the style and a setup for the feud, rather than a complete match. Crowd is REALLY hot for this stuff, though. Rey finally makes the comeback with a bunch of ranas, and they then start to pace the match nicely. Psicosis does my FAVORITE spot, doing a tope right into a chair that Rey is holding. Psicosis then hits his head on the railing. Brutal. Psicosis hits a twisting senton, and Rey then doubles the plancha count by doing a crazy springboard plancha into the second row. Psicosis goes up top and Rey nearly kills him with a rana for three. Default rating for a Psicosis-Misterio matchups when their names were spelled that way is ***1/2 and it gets that. Worth seeing, just for the crowd's reaction and especially if you haven't seen any of their ECW stuff. Just really entertaining in general. I tried to get into some 95-96 Rey-Psicosis and Rey-Juvy stuff, and I did, to a certain extent, but this cage match in Aguilascalientes (that's spelled wrong) that I saw betwixt Rey and Juvy was spectacular. One of the best cage matches I've ever seen, and only rivalled by Owen-Bret, and even then it's close. It hurts me watching Rey today, knowing what injuries did to him.

Except for the Rotten debacle, every match on this tape is good, including some nice, nice, old ECW stuff. No complaints here. I have Malenko-Guerrero and Psicosis-Mysterio on tape; but even if you do as well, the DVD's a good buy. They did a pretty good job with the transfer. For the next video, I'd like to see Malenko-Guererro from Hostile City Showdown, some Benoit stuff, another Tanaka-Awesome match, and a review of the Raven-Dreamer feud. They hyped Taz-Douglas from Guilty as Charged as a possible match, but god knows I don't want to see that on a best of tape.

This DVD is an easy recomendation.

Send me feedback at gould41@aol.com,

Alex Carnevale
freelance

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