Official VHS with original case. 2001. NTSC, Region 1, US. Below is a review NOT written by us. But, it tells the story of the tape.
This is the third in the ECW “Best of” series and in the future when I review stuff like this, I’ll try to do them in order. But there’s a particular reason I wanted to do this one, and you’ll see as I go through this.
Also, this is the DVD I’m reviewing. So this has EVERYTHING on it. All right, here we go.
My ECW viewing started in 1997 around the time their first PPV aired. My city didn’t get the syndicated show, so I had to rely on trading to see it. So it wasn’t until the PPVs that I knew what was going on, so forgive me for not giving the complete history of some of these matches.
Mikey Whipwreck vs. The Sandman vs. Steve Austin (3 Way Dance)
But first let’s take a look at how all this came about. Austin interfered in a previous Whipwreck/Sandman match and later attacked Sandman before the rematch, and then took his place only to have Mikey beat him in a match ECW typically milked for all it was worth once Austin became famous.
This is the blow-off, and if I’m not mistaken, Austin’s last match before starting in the WWF. Austin flips the crowd off, and Joey Styles points out how “he won’t make money doing that” just to let us know that the commentating was being redubbed. Austin’s in post “Hollywood Blond” mode here with a severely cropped but not quite shaved head. Whipwreck and Austin exchange slaps, and then shake hands. Sandman is nowhere to be found at this point. Both men trade headlocks, and Austin gets the advantage with a few knees and some chops. Whipwreck gets a near rollup and at that point, the Sandman realizes he probably should come to the ring pretty soon. He distracts Austin by spitting beer in his face, and Whipwreck hits Austin with a top rope dropkick, and a clothesline over the top rope. Austin yanks Mikey with him and piledrives him on the concrete floor. He waits patiently for Sandman, who wants to finish his beer first, or at least let the song play out. Sandman chugs, and Austin blindsides him on the way in. Mikey returns with a hurricaranna on Sandman, and tries one on Austin, but Austin powerbombs him instead for a 2 1/2 count. Austin bounces against the rope only to have Sandman pull the top rope down. The two exchange chops on the floor, but Mikey hits both of them with a somersault plancha. He throws them both in and gives a double low blow. Mikey then hits a bodypress on Sandman. Austin hits a second piledriver on Mikey, and then a stun-gun for a 3. Mikey has been eliminated. Sandman drags Austin out for another slugfest, but Austin has other ideas and instead hits him over the head with a chair. Sandman decides not to sell it too much and throws Austin into the crowd and gets a table. But Austin throws him into it instead, and Sandman does sell that one, and then hits him with an unfolded chair, and then stun-guns him on the railing. Okay, that’s THREE vicious moves, and Sandman doesn’t sell ANY of them. He just grabs a chair and hits Austin with it. I guess it’s the alcohol. Sandman slams Austin on the floor, and tries to throw Austin into what’s left of the table, but Austin reverses it again, and Sandman goes into the table a second time. And I’m guessing Sandman must have misplaced his blade or something, because he’s dry. And as soon as I write that, a “We want blood” chant starts. Back in the ring, Austin hits a face-first suplex, and drops a knee. Sandman lies motionless. So a table, chair, and steel railing do nothing, but the dreaded knee will get Sandman every time. Austin commits the ultimate insult by drinking Sandman’s beer, and spitting it back in his face. Austin stands around, so Woman can pull the old “Popeye and his spinach” routine by pouring beer down Sandman’s throat to revive him, and it’s on. A bit too much as the ref gets bumped. Austin smacks Sandman with knucks, but the ref won’t count because he saw Austin use a foreign object. And the ref isn’t Bill Alfonso either. The ref gets bumped a second time, Sandman hits Austin with the knucks, covers him, Austin put his foot on the rope, but the ref counts three anyways. Sandman wins the ECW title. Blah match.
Sabu vs. Terry Funk (Barbed wire match)
I first saw this match on a Terry Funk shoot interview a few years ago, and this is just one of those matches where you watch it, are shocked by it, and then later wonder “Should I really be ENJOYING this?”
Funk gets a standing ovation before the match starts. Sabu gets a camel clutch on Funk to start things after the initial “I try to push you into the wire, but can’t QUITE do it” phase. Neckbreaker and a nasty looking piledriver from Funk get two. Sabu responds with a hurricarana (a move that I believe appears in every match on this video) but Funk launches Sabu into the wire, which breaks the rule of “whoever wears the shirt goes into the wire first.” Funk grinds Sabu’s face into the wire, opening him up, and then throws him into the wire again. He then lifts him up for an atomic drop, but crotches him on the wire instead. And the fans are noticeably uncomfortable at this point which is saying something. Sabu’s pants are ripped to shreds by the wire, as Funk AGAIN throws him into the wire, and Sabu really gets caught this time, as he yells, and stops in mid-yell just so he can untangle himself. His arm and back are all ripped up at this point. Several Funk chops, and Funk tries to toss him again, but Sabu reverses it and Funk goes into the wire. Funk’s caught so Sabu bashes him with a chair. He grinds Funk’s face into the wire, pulls out a spike, and starts stabbing Funk with it. With Funk laying against the wire, Sabu jumps from a chair and shoves Funk even further into the wire. Funk collapses, but Sabu only gets a 2. Sabu props Funk in the corner and runs towards him, but Funk moves out of the way, and Sabu splatters himself all over the wire, ripping open his arm in the process. And he’s sputtering blood at this point.
Alfonso runs to get him some gauze, and Funk hits a neckbreaker while Sabu is wrapping up his wound. Sabu “Hulks up” but Funk knocks him back down again, and Sabu goes to the floor. Sabu hits Funk, but his arm is hurting too much. Funk grinds Sabu’s face into the wire again, and then suplexes him on the wire. Alfonso gets thrown into the ring, and Funk wraps some wire around his hand, and punches Fonzie. He then rips his shirt off and rips the wire down his back. Wire cutters get involved in the match as each man cuts off wire, but Funk gets the initial shots. But Rob Van Dam runs in and attacks Funk, to ZERO reaction, I might add. He then wraps Funk up in barbed wire, and puts him on a table outside the ring. Sabu does what any smart man would do if he saw his enemy wrapped in barbed wire lying on a table, he drops a big leg on him, breaking the table. Tommy Dreamer runs in with a trash can lid and takes RVD out of the equation. Funk kicks out, so Sabu puts Funk on a SECOND table, wraps HIMSELF in wire, and then legdrops Funk AGAIN. And now both men are stuck together because of the wire. Sabu with a cover but Funk kicks out. But at this point, it becomes obvious that both men are too wrapped up in wire, and it looks like any movement from one is bringing pain to the other, so Sabu covers him again for the 3, and the championship. The fans give a standing ovation while paramedics come out to cut the two loose.
An intense, F’ed up match with some of the sickest ECW spots I’ve ever seen. Though I admit I haven’t seen the Mass Transit Incident yet.
Taz vs. Bam Bam Bigelow
I’ve gotta get used to one “Z” for Taz. Hell, even the DVD uses Tazz in it’s description. This is off the 1998 Living Dangerously PPV. Joey Styles lets us know this match isn’t “for a big paycheck” as if we didn’t already know that. Taz starts with an armbar, a beel throw, and a clothesline over the top rope which causes Bam Bam to accidentally break a pre-cut table. Seriously, his foot glances off of it, and it breaks in two. Bam Bam plays off it by pounding his fist through the other part of the table. Bam Bam brings Taz out to the floor with a few shots into the post and the railing. Back in, with a thunderous powerbomb that causes Taz to bounce. Bam Bam goes for an avalanche in the corner, put Taz hits a nasty clothesline counter. Taz tries a Taz-plex, but Bam Bam counters, and they end up fighting on the ramp. And in a sick spot, Taz Taz-plexs Bam Bam off the ramp into the crowd, and Bam Bam comes dangerously close to missing the crowd and hitting the guardrail instead. And since this IS ECW, the sicker the spot, the faster one recovers from it, so Bam Bam’s up before Taz is and hits him with a chair. They brawl into the crowd, and Taz falls on a fan, probably the highlight of that guy’s life. They work their way back into the ring, and Bam Bam hits a DDT. Bam Bam does his “pseudo moonsault” where he doesn’t actually flip over, but he just turns around instead, and actually HITS it to my shock. What’s not shocking is that it only gets 2. Bam Bam goes for the table, but then remembers that he already broke it, but he brings it in anyways. He tries to powerbomb Taz through it, but Taz counters and drops him face first through it. That only gets 2. Back to the floor, more chairshots, and back into the crowd they go. Taz screams “Hit me!” so Bam Bam lowblows him and then falls on his ass slipping on the concrete. Back in, and it’s KATAHAJIME!!!!!! Bam Bam taps but the ref doesn’t see it, and in one of the more famous ECW moments ever, Bam Bam falls back and the two fall through the ring, and the crowd flips out. The ref sells it perfectly, with the perfect WTF? look on his face. Bam Bam crawls out, pulls Taz out, and pins him. Very cool finish to a somewhat standard ECW brawl, though I realize the finish has been done a lot since then.
Now we come to the Hardcore segment of the video, though if the Barbed Wire match wasn’t hardcore enough, what would be?
Terry Funk & Sandman vs. Cactus Jack & Shane Douglas
Old school ECW as it’s the red, yellow, and blue ropes. Shane starts by caning Sandman and Funk and accidentally whacks Cactus too. Cactus gets pissed, so Shane bails. Sandman and Funk jump Cactus and as they do, the “CANE DEWEY” sign makes its infamous appearance. Funk whacks Cactus twice with a chair, but Shane makes the save, this time NOT hitting Cactus with the cane, but everybody else instead. Cactus over-the-top clotheslines twice to both Funk and Sandman. Let me also mention that Sandman is wearing Lex Luger USA sweatpants which I hope is some inside joke I’m not aware of. Cactus nails Funk with an elbow from the second rope to the floor, and Funk blades for the hell of it. Funk grabs a chair from the crowd that has someone’s jacket still on it, so Funk kindly tosses the clothing as far away from the owner as he can. Cactus and Shane with a doubleteam atomic drop into a legdrop that both guys look very uncomfortable doing. Funk and Sandman doubleteam Cactus again, and the two take a section of the guardrail and throw it into the ring. They pick it up and drop it on Shane’s back. And they do it again. Funk then throws a chair from a ring and hits Cactus in the head on the floor. Shane gets catapulted into the rail again, and I’m surprised to see Shane take so much abuse. Sandman clotheslines Shane over the rail which was much better in theory then execution. Funk bashes Shane with a chair, and hits Cactus when he tries to make the save. Cactus retaliates with his own chair. Sandman charges Shane, but Shane launches Sandman out of the ring. All four men brawl on the floor. Funk grabs a toolbox to hit Shane with, but the toolbox opens up and the tools all fall on Terry. He collapses and Cactus bashes Funk with a trashcan. Shane vanishes into the dressing room, and it’s down to Cactus and Sandman. Sandman gets legdropped on a chair. Sandman returns the favor, except from the top rope. Shane breaks up the three count, and hits a plancha (?) on Sandman. And here comes the flaming branding iron. Funk and Cactus fight over the flame, but Funk wins and Cactus gets the fire to the chest. Shane tries to help, but Sandman intervenes. Funk piledrives Cactus on the fire, and gets the three. Shane canes Sandman and Funk after the fact. Shane asks for help, so a helpful fan throws a chair in the ring, pissing off Shane. Another good brawl as always from Foley and Funk.
Mike Awesome & Justin Credible vs. Masato Tanaka & Jerry Lynn
The battle of four former ECW champions. And I didn’t even realize that until just now. Justin’s got Jason and Chastity with him, hoping their heat will rub off on him. Awesome and Tanaka start, and frankly, I’ve never seen these two in a bad match together ever. Brawl to the floor, and Awesome rests against the post while Tanaka runs from the dressing room to the ring with a chair and just NAILS him in the face with it. Lynn tags in and Awesome no-sells two dropkicks. Awesome throws him around and tags Credible in. Out of Credible and Lynn, the WWF keeps Credible? Credible flips the crowd off, screams obscenities, and STILL gets no reaction. I mean, if you go for the cheapest heat possible and get silence, then there’s a problem. And I give Paul Heyman all the credit in the world, but what was he thinking pushing this guy? Lynn tags Tanaka back in, but Justin wants no part of him and tags Awesome back in. Brutal German suplex from Mike followed by a slingshot plancha. Awesome sets up a table and tries Awesome-bombing him through it, but Tanaka blocks it. Both guys tag out, and Lynn sends Credible into the front row and dives from the ring onto him. Awesome returns the favor with a springboard plancha onto Tanaka. Just let Awesome do that ONCE in the WWF, and he’s set. Back in the ring, Awesome hits a top rope splash, but Lynn breaks the count. Three STIFF chairshots to Tanaka’s head lays him out, but he won’t stay down. Credible takes a shot, but Tanaka powerslams him. Lynn back in with a top rope legdrop. Lynn goes for a rollup but Credible crotches him. Awesome back in with a splash, and a belly to belly suplex that almost sends Lynn out of the ring. A bald man tries to start a “Justin” chant to no avail. Lynn becomes the face in peril until a well placed crotch shot gets the tag to Tanaka, who destroys Credible. Tornado DDT on two chairs brings Awesome in for the save who decides he’s had enough and Awesome bombs Tanaka from the ring to the table on the floor eliminating him. Awesome and Credible work over Lynn, and Credible goes for the tombstone. Lynn reverses it into his own, drives his head into the mat, and gets the pin. Very good match, with only one slow spot, and everybody working their ass off.
Psychosis vs. Yoshihiro Tajiri
This in my opinion was the last great ECW match. And when people ask me why I like wrestling, I tell them that if they ever saw a good match they wouldn’t have to ask. And this is the perfect example of that.
I worked nights at my job back in the day, and people knew me and a few others at work as “the wrestling guy.” Monday was RAW, Wednesday was Thunder, Thursday was Smackdown, Friday was ECW. And it got to the point that people knew what the shows were, but nobody ever watched it, they just knew I did. But anyways, towards the end of ECW’s TNN days, they were showing this match from their Hardcore TV show, and I was just floored by the match. But it wasn’t just that. People who usually just walked by and saw that wrestling was on and would make their snide remarks, paused and actually watched what was going on in the ring. And stayed. And by the time the match was over, there were about five people gathered around, guys who had probably NEVER really watched a match, commenting on how impressed they were. And how maybe they had the wrong idea about wrestling.
So for a brief moment, they understood.
That’s my little tangent, on to the match, which I’m sure I’ve built up way too much.
Tajiri rules it, BTW. I realize it’s a clichй to say that, but he does. And I’m hoping for a heel Tajiri very soon.
They battle for a lock up, Psychosis gets a modified leg scissors that Tajiri turns into a partial Boston crab, which in turn gets reversed into a surfboard. Test of strength leads to about five or six moves that ends up in a stalemate. Amazing sequence featuring about three or four moves I can’t even describe leads to a second stalemate, and the crowd is eating it up. Psychosis kicks Tajiri in the chest, Tajiri delivers a nasty kick to the face, and speaks two words of English “Fuck you” to the roar of the crowd. Psychosis blocks a tornado DDT and drives Tajiri to the mat, and returns the gesture. Psychosis with a sunset flip into a pin that Tajiri reverses into another hold I don’t know, and then headbutts Psychosis in the crotch and delivers another stiff kick to the face. Tajiri gets several chops in the corner. He throws him into the corner but Psychosis reverses, charges Tajiri with a shoulderblock, misses Tajiri and the post and just flies out of the ring to the floor. Tajiri follows with a somersault plancha to the floor. Psychosis recovers, throws Tajiri into ringside and hits his own plancha to the floor. A chairshot for good measure, and Tajiri gets tossed back in the ring. Psychosis goes for a top rope move, but Tajiri barely catches him turning it into a powerbomb. Handspring elbow from Tajiri gets 2. Powerbomb blocked, Tajiri tries a bodyscissors, but Psychosis blocks that and hits a wheelbarrow suplex for 2. Dropkick to Tajiri’s face, but a second dropkick misses and Psychosis ends up in the Tree of Woe and gets a baseball slide to the face (a move nobody in the WWF but Crash and RVD have the balls to take). Crowd chants “One more time” but Tajiri just stares blankly and nods. Hurricarana attempt is reversed for 2, and Psychosis gets a quick victory roll for 2 and 3/4. Double clothesline, and the fans are getting rabid. Tajiri delivers a stunner to Psychosis, and kicks him in the face before he goes down. That only gets two. Psychosis blocks a superplex and hits a face-first superplex instead, followed by a top rope legdrop and THAT only gets two. Psychosis goes for a bodyscissors and gets a groin shot. Two stiff kicks to the face followed by a running dropkick to the face seals the deal and Tajiri gets the pin and a standing ovation.
****, one of my personal favorite ECW matches.
Match # 7
Francine vs. Beulah