ECW House Party 1998 (1/10/1998)- Philadelphia, PA
GOOFY FBI COMEDY PROMO- They’ve got a bowling trophy with them, which Tommy Rich claimed was from having beaten various late-80s trios teams, leading to Bob Geigel giving them the trophy. The fans ran out of patience with this shortly after I did. Unfortunately, their promo kept going after that point.
This all eventually died down and we got our official introductions and everyone is going to their corners and picking of is going to start the match, so it’s finally time for the…
AXL ROTTEN PROMO?!- NO! You don’t need to respond to anything they said. Put the mic down, shut the f*ck up, and just tag Tommy in like Guido wants so we can start the match already!
THE FBI (Tracy Smothers, Little Guido, & Tommy Rich) vs. AXL ROTTEN, BALLS MAHONEY, & TOMMY DREAMER (w/Beulah McGillicutty)- 4/10
The match finally started, with our first actual action on this show coming in at just before the FIFTEEN MINUTE MARK. And you people have to the gall to tell me that WWF and WCW are boring? At last I don’t have to wait fifteen minutes before I see some action their big shows.
We got some good comedy for the first few minutes with the babyfaces outwrestling the heels in ways that made the heels look foolish and keep hurting themselves and their partners. Crooked referee Jeff Jones ran in to throw powder and nuts shots to let the heels take control. Joey yelled about how obvious it was that Jeff Jones is taking payoffs from the heels, which makes you wonder why the state athletic commission hasn’t done anything about him yet.
The babyfaces made their comeback but Jones broke up the pin by attacking Jim Molineaux. They faced off and Joey screamed “REF FIIIIIGHT!” Then, instead of the babyface referee taking care of himself, Beulah McGillicutty got into the ring and kicked Jeff in the nuts, from behind. The only way this could have been more heelish was if she had been wearing a WCW t-shirt and talking about how much she hated the fans while doing it.
Molineaux then gave Jones a DDT… and inexplicably went to cover him even though Tommy Dreamer was pinning Guido right next to him. Then Beulah counted the pinfall for both of them, and this was apparently official because the timekeeper rang the bell, Joey Styles celebrated on commentary, and the ring announcer announced the babyfaces as the winners. That last bit right there was completely f*cking moronic. Why can’t Molineaux just take Jones out himself and then count the babyface’s pin? Beulah is a valet, not a wrestler. She does not need to get a spot in in a match which has nothing to do with any feud she is involved in, and there is absolutely no reason why Jeff Jones had to get pinned here. He’s not in the f*cking match and he’s not even a wrestler! Getting taken out by the person he has been causing trouble for is all the humiliation he needs.
After the match, Tommy Rich cut a promo insisting that their stupid fake trophy championship wasn’t on the line in this match, as if anyone could possibly give a sh*t. I could be wrong, but I believe fans were chanting “EAT HER ASS!” when Beulah got her turn to do a celebratory post-match pose. Referee Jim Molineaux got to close out the celebration by doing Dreamer’s pose and shouting “E-C-F*CKING-W!” and the crowd cheered, because Heyman had them fully indoctrinated at this point.
JERRY LYNN vs. CHRIS CANDIDO- 6.5/10
They did a bunch of big athletic moves, but with a good babyface/heel dynamic. I got a kick out of Lynn taking advantage of the lawless ECW environment to counter a Candido leapfrog with a low blow. Lynn almost killed himself on a dive. There was a bit of a story of Candido showboating too much early on. The match came to a relatively abrupt end when Joey Styles mentioned to us that Candido’s bicep was taped up due to an injury, then, a few moments later, Lynn hit a diving leg drop onto the injured arm, then locked in an armbar to which Candido tapped immediately. Medical personnel came out to check on Candido and put his arm in a big brace, while Joey Styles put Jerry over for being such a sportsman and releasing the hold the moment Candido tapped out, then staying around and showing genuine concern for Candido’s health.
GRAN HAMADA vs. GRAN NANIWA- 6/10
The fans immediately begin chanting “USA! USA!” Of course.
The stories of the match were Naniwa working over Hamada’s leg, and Naniwa squandering his advantages while showboating. They did a spot that both Joey and the referee (and I) thought was the finish because Naniwa pretty clearly failed to get his shoulders off the ground when he tired to kick out of the pinfall, but the wrestlers decided it wasn’t the finish even through the bell rang and did a Frankensteiner and then Hamada made another cover, which the referee eventually counted. Joey recovered nicely and insisted that this was Hamada humiliating Naniwa as payback for all of Naniwa’s show-boating, but the awkwardness of the whole thing made it pretty clear what actually happened.
There is a fan in the second row randomly dressed as a nun.
AL SNOW vs. ROADKILL (w/Paul Diamond & Madame Chastity)- 1.25/10
This was supposed to be Al Snow vs. Paul Diamond but Paul claimed he was injured and had pre-Amish Roadkill wrestle in his place. Roadkill jumped the bell on Al and beat him up for a while. Al started making his comeback when first Diamond (who wasn’t really injured) and then Chastity tried to interfere, but Al outsmarted them at every turn, making them bump into each other all the time and beating them up despite the numbers. The crowd cared so much that they chanted “TAKE YOUR TOP OFF!” at chastity. This started right before what I guess was going to be the finishing sequence, so I’m pretty sure that Al going over to Chastity and hitting her with the Snow Plow was an ad-lib to get the crowd to actually pay attention to the match (Al held onto her for a long time fore before picking her up for the move, and after he hit it, he went right back to doing the same thing he was about to do before he went over to Chastity). Some of the spots where Al used Head as a weapon looked good, but others looked really bad. The gimmick is fun, but that doesn’t mean you have to use the thing as a weapon all the time.
THE GREAT SASUKE vs. JUSTIN CREDIBLE (w/Nicole Bass & Jason)- 6.5/10
This match had some really weird stuff going on that clashed with the usual psychology in a way that… while it still technically makes sense in that everything was plausible, just came off as a very weird way to do things.
They started off with a HUGE, CRAZY dive by Sasuke… and then just wasted 90% of that moment by having Sasuke put Justin in a headlock, and just walk through the crowd with him, not doing much else than dragging and occasionally punching him.
That did wind up kind of fitting in with what the story of the early part of the match seemed to be. Said story was Sasuke using submissions like wear-down moves rather than something that he thought had a chance of winning the match for him. He kept slapping them on, then eventually breaking them to go to the next one. I don’t think I’ve ever seen that before and maybe it could be an interesting story to tell with someone who doesn’t have a submission finisher, but then they just abandoned that for the next bit of weirdness.
Justin finally fought out of a submission and we got a good action sequence ending with Sasuke knocking Justin out of the ring with a big jumping spinning kick. Then Sasuke went to hit the ropes to get momentum for a dive but Jason tripped him up… but then Sasuke got up and hit the Space Flying Tiger Drop anyway. Then Sasuke went for ANOTHER dive and Jason tripped him up yet again, and while Sasuke got right back up to try his dive (not a Space Flying Tiger Drop this time) this time he missed and hit his knee on the concrete floor. It’s not like Sasuke didn’t sell or anything. He got tripped up, went down, sold while the referee was yelling at Jason, then got up again and did what he was trying to do anyway. Both times.
From there, the story of the match became Justin working over Sasuke’s knee in a very vicious manner, and they told that story well. Sasuke’s selling was f*cking great. The only odd bit here was a spot where it seems like you can still get DQed for not breaking a rope-break on five, even though it’s ECW and there are no DQs.
I usually like Joey Styles, but during this match I thought he made a big misstep by insisting to me that Justin’s work on Sasuke’s knee was “trying to end his career!” The story here is that Justin got a big upset win over Sasuke back at Beast of the Extreme in October, and Sasuke has come here to prove that Justin’s win was, in Joey’s own words “a fluke” (personally, I would have said it was “just an accident of chance.” See what I did there? “Just an accident.” I sure am clever). Justin was motivated to prove Sasuke wrong, and there are no DQs here in ECW, so what was over the line about anything Justin did during the match? He has every right to work over an injured body part in the hopes that it will help him win a match. The fact that Joey was proved right by the post-match attack is irrelevant to the morality of Justin’s actions while the match was still in progress. Justin’s actions only become morally wrong when the bell rings and we cross the threshold into the…
POST-MATCH SEGMENT- good
Justin Credible and Jason work over Great Sasuke’s leg some more, and Justin tries to rip his mask off. Gran Hamada runs out to try to make the save. He takes Jason down and starts beating the crap out of him, but Justin attacks him from behind and lays him out with That’s Incredible. The heels go back to working over Sasuke, but an army of undercard babyfaces comes out to run them off.
BAM BAM BIGELOW vs. ROB VAN DAM- 7.5/10
I really liked the story they told here, establishing both Bam Bam’s power and quickness early on, and setting up the idea that Rob using the usual smaller athletic guy tactics to take on a giant weren’t going to be enough. Instead, Rob would have to really build up momentum (both physically and metaphorically) before he could really start doing some damage, and then capitalize on each move by hitting another one before Bam Bam could fully regain his footing. I didn’t even hate the overbooking at the finish, with Candido, Sunny (a surprise, I believe, as she was still under WWF contract at the time and hadn’t been working too much ECW), Francine, and finally Shane Douglas running in, with Shane providing the final distraction that let RVD hit a flying kick off the top rope to the back of the head to set up for the Five-Star Frog Splash and get the win (although Candido taking a bump while being legit injured is something that I definitely could have lived without). Even though it was dirty, this did come across as the big win for RVD that Joey sold it as, while also succeeding in building up the Douglas vs. Bigelow rematch for the title which would never wind up happening because Bigelow got moved into the Taz program instead. I’m pretty darn curious why they never blew this feud off, considering that they had two big shows between this one and Living Dangerously 1998 on which to book it.
LANCE WRIGHT INTERRUPTS JOEY STYLES INTERVIEW WITH TAZ- bad
I get that the idea is that I’m supposed to hate Lance Wright, but I don’t hate him so much as think he’s pathetic and don’t want to see him on my wrestling show. He’s a grown man talking about his “mommy.” I don’t want to see him get beaten up, I just want him to not be there so that I don’t even have to think about him.
Anyway, he’s bringing “Flash Funk” in from the WWF. The crowd is ecstatic to see 2 Cold Scorpio, and Scorpio decides he wants to be Scorpio and not Flash Funk, so he turns on Lance Wright and hits his moves on him. We then proceeded with our…
ECW TV TITLE MATCH: Taz(c) vs. 2 Cold Scorpio- 6.75/10
I was really looking forward to this one and wanted to like it, but it just seemed a little off to me. I was into the nearfalls and the big spots, but they seemed very disjointed, like they put the outline of a match together, but didn’t fill the spaces in between with much of anything. It was just some punches and kicks rather than anything that made the other stuff flow together well.
POST-MATCH SEGMENT- good
After Taz leaves, Doug Furnas jumps Scorpio, which Joey tells us is revenge for Scorpio attacking Lance Wright earlier. They had a nice little brawl that really made me want to see a match between them. Furnas won the brawl with a belly-to-belly superplex. Taz then came out to attack Furnas, which Joey told us was because he was angry that Furnas used a suplex. Yes, really. Dude… you’re a pro wrestler, and it’s a wrestling move. You can’t expect no one else to do Suplexes just because you do them a lot.
Lance Wright’s unnamed bodyguard (Brakkus) came out to attack Taz but Taz gave him some manner of Tazplex while Scorpio disposed of Furnas. Wright, Furnas, and their large friend scampered away. Taz then cut a promo saying “I ain’t never heard of anybody named ‘Flash Funk,’ but I know someone named ‘2 Cold Scorpio’ and tonight 2 Cold Scorpio showed up.” He proceeded to put Scorpio over and tell him he was welcome in the ECW locker room any time. Signs of mutual respect were exchanged and Taz left the ring, allowing Scorpio a moment with the fans. Other than Taz’s motivation for making the save, I really liked all of this (I assume by this point they figured that the bodyguard was never actually going to amount to anything in the ring and so it wasn’t worth protecting him).
DUDLEYS PROMO- meh
The usual stuff. Devon said something to a fan so rude and obscene that they muted it. And whatever it was, it must have been quite the doozy, as they didn’t mute Gertner making a joke about the recent death of Sonny Bono. Gertner cut a promo playing off of the FBI’s stupid bullsh*t from earlier. This was also stupid.
SPIKE DUDLEY & THE GANGSTANATORS vs. THE DUDLEY BOYS (Buh-Buh Ray Dudley, Devon Dudley, & Big Dick Dudley) (w/Joel Gertner & Sign Guy Dudley)- 6/10
They hit each other with things and much bleeding happened. It was fine for what it was and we hadn’t seen anything like this earlier so it was a nice change of pace, but it wasn’t anything we haven’t seen a million times before and will see a million times in the future.
STAIRWAY TO HELL MATCH: The Sandman vs. Sabu (w/Bill Alfonso)- 8.5/10
I’m going to give these guys the rating they earned with their hard work and insane threshold for pain, but I never need to see a match this scary again. There were so many scary spots in here and spots where guys were clearly legit hurt that after the match ended, I rushed to the archive of the F4W/WON website to check the week’s observer to see just how banged up they were afterward (there were no specifics given). This felt like two men legitimately trying to knock the other one out.
This was a good show from ECW. Not spectacular or anything and not particularly significant, but it was some solid, fun ECW action, with match-ups that you don’t see particularly often getting a fair amount of time, like RVD vs. Bigelow and Taz vs. Scorpio. If you just want to pop in a random ECW show to watch some ECW, this is a fine choice.
WCW, ECW, UPW, etc
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