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By Sean Radican, Torch columnist
RADICAN’S ECW FLASHBACK SERIES
“LIVING DANGEROUSLY ‘99
ASBURY PARK, N.J.
With RF Video releasing all of the ECW PPVs on DVD, I will be looking back in no particular order at several of ECW PPVs in the coming months in this series.
Steven Prazak interviewed Taz outside the arena. Taz said he would be going after Sabu’s broken jaw tonight. He then asked 50 year old Ric Flair. He called Steve Austin a great entertainer, but said he could beat him, The Rock, Hulk Hogan, and Mankind.
(1) Super Crazy beat Tajiri. This was the blow off to their series of matches. The match started hot and there were some good exchanges, but it seemed to fizzle down the stretch. Crazy rolled through a hurricanrana and got the pin. (**3/4)
They went to a promo with Bill Alphonso, Sabu, and RVD. Sabu got mad during the promo when RVD said he likes to watch him wrestle. Alphonso separated them, but Sabu got mad again when RVD asked how he was going to carry all the belts and his partner after Sabu beat Taz. This was pretty funny.
Steve Corino came out and cut a promo saying he could do a better job in the ring than Super Crazy and Tajiri. Balls Mahoney and Axl Rotten then made their down to the ring.
(2) Balls Mahoney (w/Axl Rotten) beat Steve Corino. The crowd just didn’t care much for this match. At one point Corino teased using a chair, but ended up sitting down on it and grabbing a headlock. Balls ended up nailing Corino with a sick chairshot to the head for the win. (1/4*)
-A video package on the New Jack-Mustafa aired with Wu Tang Clan’s C.R.E.A.M. playing in the background. I really miss the ECW video packages. This was fantastic.
(3) Little Guido (w/Big Sal) beat Antifaz Del Norte. Del Norte went for a dive midway through the match, but Sal caught him and slammed him through a table at ringside. Guido then locked in the Sicilian crab for the win. (*3/4)
After the match, the Don and Tracy Smothers came down to ringside. Smothers ended up decking Guido and the Don tried to hit Sal with his flag, but Sal no sold it and the Don and Smothers bailed. Styles said this was the end of the F.B.I.
(4) ECW TV Champion RVD (w/Bill Alphonso) beat Jerry Lynn. This was their first encounter on PPV and one of my fonder memories from watching ECW. This match really held up over time and was a blast to watch. They pulled off some fantastic spots, especially Lynn’s counter of the Van damninator. The time limit expired and the ref told Lynn he was going to award him the decision since ECW was hammering on a draw that occurred in boxing during that period. They ended up going into a five minute overtime that saw RVD pick up the win with a five star frog splash. (****1/4)
They went to a video package for the ECW Champion Taz vs. FTW Champion Sabu main event.
Footage of adult film star Jasmin St. Clair being taken out by Francine before the PPV was shown. Heck, how did St. Clair not make the main show? Francine also nailed Mr. Right with a low blow, which the crowd seemed to eat up.
(5) New Jack vs. Mustafa. Style emphasized that New Jack would hurt himself to hurt Mustafa after he had paid the Dudley Boys to take him out. They brawled all over the place and exchanged weapon shots in the ring. They brawled on the outside again and New Jack ended up taping Mustafa to a table. Jack then climbed up into the stands and hit a crazy dive onto Mustafa. Officials came out and helped both men get into the ring. New Jack then covered Mustafa for the win. That was nuts and not in a good way. (*1/2)
Buh Buh Ray and D-Von ran down and took out New Jack after the match. Joel Gertner got on the mic and did his shtick with Sign Guy Dudley in the background. Buh Buh got on the mic and said ECW didn’t have anyone for them to wrestle.
Nova and Spike Dudley came out to face the Dudley Boys.
(6) Sid & Spike Dudley beat Buh Buh Ray & D-Von Dudley. The match started with Spike getting tossed into the crowd. The Dudleys put a beating on Nova. Judge Jeff Jones then came out with Sid and the crowd went nuts. Sid eventually hit a double choke slam on the Dudleys. Sid then hit a powerbomb on D-Von. Spike eventually came back and helped Sid finish off the Dudleys with an acid drop on Buh Buh. (**)
After the match, Sid turned on Spike and eventually powerbombed him through a table on the outside.
They went to another good video package that set the stage for Justin Credible & Lance Storm taking on Shane Douglas & Tommy Dreamer. The idea here was Credible wanted to be the new franchise and he had put a beating on Dreamer and Douglas with Storm recently after Douglas said he was hanging up his boots.
(7) Tommy Dreamer & Shane Douglas (w/Francine) vs. Justin Credible & Lance Storm (w/Beulah, Jazz, Jason). The most surprising thing about watching this match again was the lack of heel heat for Credible and Storm in this match. The crowd seemed to not care about any of Douglas and Dreamer’s comeback attempts. Douglas tried to set up a big moment where he teased forming the triple threat with Credible and Storm to turn on Dreamer, but even that failed. The only thing the crowd enjoyed was Beulah (Dawn Marie) and Francine rolling around on the mat at one point. The match wasn’t bad, but the crowd just wasn’t into Dreamer and Douglas. Douglas ended up getting the win when Francine took the cane away from Credible and Douglas nailed him with the Pittsburg plunge. (**1/2)
After the match Cyrus came out and talked to Francine. Credible and Storm then took out Douglas and Dreamer inside the ring. Cyrus ended up nailing Francine with a headbutt to the crotch and the heels posed to end the segment. Why did Styles give Cyrus the “Cyrus the Virus” moniker right off the bat?
They went to highlights of the Lynn-RVD match narrated by Styles. The ref of the RVD-Lynn match was interviewed and he said he was going to award the match to Lynn after the time limit had expired because draws didn’t happen in ECW. RVD then interrupted and said Lynn had given him a heck of a match. RVD said he didn’t care about storylines and he wanted to wrestle against opponents that gave him good matches. RVD said he would challenge Lynn to challenge him at the next PPV.
Sabu and Taz came out for their match, which Styles said would determine the undisputed ECW Champion. Taz cut a promo before the match and said he wanted an Extreme Death match with falls counting anywhere in the building.
(8) ECW Champion Taz beat FTW Champion Sabu (w/Bill Alphonso). This was a pretty darn good main event. Despite having to follow previous matches filled with weapon shots and tables breaking, Taz and Sabu engaged the fans during the match, but it didn’t feel like they did anything cutting edge or new. At one point, Taz backdropped Sabu out of the ring through a table on the outside. Sabu fired back and hit some nice triple jump maneuvers on Taz. He also put Taz through a table with a dive from the turnbuckles to the outside. Taz hit some really impressive suplexes leading up to the finish. Down the stretch, Taz connected with a Tazplex through a table. He then applied the Tazmission and Alphonso tried to throw in the towel, but Sabu stopped him by grabbing the towel. Sabu tried to free himself, but eventually passed out and the ref checked his arm three times before calling for the bell. (***1/2)
After the match, Taz said he didn’t care about the belts and only wanted to shake Sabu’s hand. They ended up shaking hands.
Styles then narrated a nice video package running down highlights from all of the matches on the PPV before plugging the next PPV in May.
Overall thoughts: Looking back, the undercard of this show was awfully thin. RVD-Lynn was a blast to watch again and is well-worth watching in this context. Other than that, nothing on the show resonated with me outside of the main event. The matches weren’t all that good, but it’s not like they were terrible either. This certainly wasn’t ECW at its creative peak.
The apathy of the crowd for much of the night told the story here. The fans only popped for really big spots and cat fights. Credible and Storm just couldn’t get any heat beating down Dreamer and Douglas during or after their match. ECW seemed to be lacking top heels during this time and that also contributed to the lack of heat for many of the matches.
RVD-Lynn was as good as a remembered. It was just a fantastic match with both guys going all out and putting together some really nice sequences that popped the crowd. It was fun hearing the crowd chant “The New F’n Show” at Lynn during the mid-point of the contest.
The main event was also very good, although it seemed to drag during certain portions of the match. Seeing Taz throw a variety of suplexes brought back a lot of memories and he had a real presence in the ring as a legit badass. Sabu pulled off some crazy maneuvers and took some crazy bumps as well, but when the undercard is filled with matches with similar spots, it’s hard for them to come off as innovative.
I would give this DVD a solid recommendation. It’s definitely worth picking up, especially given that it has the entire PPV uncut complete with all of the video packages , plugs, and backstage interviews. During this era, Heyman wasn’t at his creative peak and it shows here with how thin the undercard is, but if you watched ECW up until it closed up shop, this is a DVD worth having in your collection.
You can purchase this DVD at RFVideo.com under the ECW PPV section.
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