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Rewatching ECW - discussion of various bits and bobs


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I see the Network thread got locked, didn’t know whether to start a new one or what so I’ll just post this here.

Got the urge, for the first time in forever, to watch a bit of ECW. But I wanted to see something I haven’t watched already. Started randomly flicking through the Hardcore TV episodes from 2000, stumbled across the Feb 5th show and noticed Rob Van Dam vs Masato Tanaka listed in the description. Didn’t know that match happened so I stuck the show on. It was a decent. A highspots, chairs and tables fest that was typical of ECW at the time. A lot of fun if you like that ECW style. And RVD makes Tanaka’s offence look absolutely devastating. I don’t think I’ve seen anyone make the Diamond Dust look better than this;

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RVD had a knack for that, didn’t he? Must’ve had a coiled spring for a neck the way he took DDTs and piledrivers. 

Anyway, before all that in the opening segment of the show, there’s what I’m guessing was part of the beginnings of a Mike Awesome vs Rob Van Dam feud. I always heard the plan was for these two to feud over the belt in 2000 but didn’t know they’d actually started the ball rolling on TV. Probably common knowledge to most of you but I only saw the PPVs/DVD releases from this time and had no idea. But of course, RVD broke his leg right around this time (it was announced on this show actually) and that was that. 

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Shame it never happened. Of course, by the time RVD came back from the injury, Awesome was in WCW thrilling fat chicks and stuff. In early 2000 though, I think this would’ve been ace for that style and that time. Still kind of surprised they didn’t elevate RVD into the world title picture when he came back. You’d have thought him taking it off Justin Credible would’ve been better than hot potatoing it around between Jerry Lynn, Steve Corino, Sandman and Rhino. But the company was on its last legs anyway by that point. 

Quite enjoyed this though. Sure, it doesn’t hit the spot like it did back then, but I’m not 15/16 now either. Might watch some more of these ECW TV shows. There’ll be a ton a cack no doubt but the shows are only 45 mins or so and there’s bound to be some hidden gems I didn’t know happened. 

Edited by wandshogun09
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"Mike Hunt? I've got a call for a Mike Hunt? Awww, there's no sign of Mike Hunt"

This is what's so great about it. Anyone saying that these matches lacked psychology is missing the point - they were purposefully subverting that psychology, by giving you something that still follow

Mike? 

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RVD wasn't back long when he returned from his leg injury, maybe 4 months? He pissed off sharpish after they couldn't make his pay. I'm guessing they didn't put the title on him because they knew he wouldn't stick around while the company collapsed. He had a cracker against Rhino on PPV though. 

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My thoughts on Van Dam vs Tanaka from when I rewatched it a few years back.

Quote

A bit of adequate wrestling and exchanges, and Van Dam looks to the crowd for approvement. Christ, not this again? Really cool leg scissors takedown into a pin for two and he then bows to the audience. Seriously fuck off with this shit! Tanaka with a sit out powerbomb and RVD rolls to the floor. Side headlock and he shoots Tanaka into the ropes, split legged drop down, leap frog attempt, Masato catches him and goes for another powerbomb, but this time RVD counters with a huracanrana. Then he… you know what! A Blue Thunder Driver plants Van Dam to the canvas with authority. Belly to back suplex over the top rope to the floor but RVD lands on his feet. He gets up on the apron only to be met with a huge forearm that sends him flying backwards into the aisle. Tanaka whips him into the guard rail and nails him with a running chair shot. Back in the ring he sits Van Dam on the top turnbuckle and hits a spinning DDT for a two. Masato sets up a table, again sits RVD on the top turnbuckle and a suicideplex into a DDT through the table in what was a nasty looking bump. This also only brings a two, and Tanaka then misses an elbow off the top. RVD ducks a forearm, spinning dropkick and he starts to unload on Tanaka. No selling from RVD here today! Great side kick off the top, and whilst he can’t sell, he can still look to the crowd for acknowledgement after a move! Cartwheel into a backflip, and ‘Rolling Thunder’ onto a chair as Tanaka kicks out on two. Van Dam dropkicks a chair into the face of his opponent and it’s still only enough for two. Tanaka with a DDT onto the chair for ‘what’s between one and three’? RVD counters a tornado DDT onto the chair into a rough looking Northern Lights suplex. Tanaka ducks the Van Daminator and brains RVD with a stiff chairshot to the head for a near fall, with a further two count after a modified Ace Crusher. ‘Diamond Dust’ (Buff Blockbuster into a stunner) which looked uncomfortable as hell the way RVD took it, is still not enough to put Van Dam away. Tanaka charges at RVD with a chair but he ducks out the way and hits the turnbuckle instead. Van Daminator, ‘Five Star’ frog splash and RVD retains his TV title.

I hated the opening to this and have had a gutful of Van Dam’s incessant looking for approval from the crowd after a move. I got into the match more with all the near falls, but change it up a bit guys! There were a lot of pinfall attempts, and every time the kick out would occur just after the referee hits the mat for the second time; no kick outs on one, no kick outs at the last split second, it was all so predictable. RVD’s selling was non-existant, he’d take a beating and next thing he’s all fine and leaping off the top turnbuckle. The liberal use of the chair in this match bothered me more than at any other time too. A couple of very uncomfortable looking bumps along the way too with the DDT through the table and the ‘Diamond Dust’. As with Sabu, I’m not digging the RVD re-watch in the slightest.

Van Dam was probably the person who's stock dropped the most for me when rewatching 2000, and was borderline impossible to watch come the end.  I used to despise the constant showboating, looking for approval from the fans after every move, he'd even hop out the ring after a move or sequence to go and hi five with the crowd before returning to the action.  His opponents would always fall into perfect position for one of his spots and then they would have to sit or lie there for what seemed like an eternity (the Van Terminator or the Fonzie assisted Van Daminator where his opponent is crotched on the top rope) while the idiot mugged to the crowd or did his crowd participation stuff.

Some TNN stuff I liked if you're after any primers (dates might be off by a day based on where and when they originally aired at the time):

Yoshihiro Tajiri vs Jerry Lynn (TNN 1/14)
Yoshihiro Tajiri vs Super Crazy (Mexican Death Match) (TNN 1/21) 
Raven & Tommy Dreamer vs Impact Players (TNN 2/25)
Gedo & Jado vs Impact Players (TNN 3/10)
Yoshihiro Tajiri vs Super Crazy (Japanese Death) (TNN 3/24)
Rhino vs Super Crazy (TNN 3/31)
Yoshihiro Tajiri vs Little Guido (TNN 3/31)
Super Crazy vs Yoshihiro Tajiri vs Little Guido (TNN 4/14)
Tommy Dreamer & Sandman & New Jack vs Jack Victory & Steve Corino & Yoshihiro Tajiri (TNN 4/21)
Yoshihiro Tajiri vs Steve Corino (TNN 6/23)
Mikey Whipwreck vs Little Guido (TNN 8/4)
Rob Van Dam & Kid Kash vs Justin Credible & Rhino (TNN 8/25)
Mikey Whipwreck & Yoshihiro Tajiri vs Little Guido & Tony Mamaluke (TNN 9/8)
Justin Credible vs Steve Corino (TNN 9/15)
Little Guido & Tony Mamaluke vs Roadkill & Danny Doring (TNN 9/22)
Justin Credible vs Steve Corino vs Jerry Lynn (TNN 9/29)

Edited by Magnum Milano
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I signed up to Bix's patreon after he posted the first episode of his deep dive into the ECW TNN years for free on the Between the Sheets feed. Some of the stuff you find out about the last 2 years of ECW is amazing. Heyman is such a con artist. The fact he made Chris Candido the booking agent, got him to run up a $150,000 debt on his credit card to book the travel for the wrestlers and then would only release him to go to WCW if he signed something that said he'd not come after him for that money is rotten.

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@Magnum Milano Definitely with you on RVD’s incessant showboating/stalling. I get that it was basically his whole gimmick that he was a show off but it does get annoying after a bit. It didn’t bother me so much here because I haven’t watched him in yonks but if I was watching week in, week out and going through a load of his matches it would quickly do my swede in.

Cheers for the list. That’ll be very helpful because I’m not planning to watch everything and every show. I’ll probably just flick through and pick things I like the look of at random. Your list looks like stuff I’ll mostly enjoy.

I’ve noticed Psicosis listed on a few shows in 2000. Completely forgot he went back to ECW. Was any of his stuff worth a watch? 

Edited by wandshogun09
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12 minutes ago, wandshogun09 said:

I’ve noticed Psicosis listed on a few shows in 2000. Completely forgot he went back to ECW. Was any of his stuff worth a watch? 

I didn't watch everything for the year, but probably the match against Tajiri on the 8/27 episode of Hardcore TV is the only thing I would say to go out of your way to watch (and I thought it was the best ECW match of that month).  Although Tajiri was a phenomenal worker throughout all of 2000.

Psicosis came across more often than not as someone who had the enjoyment beaten out of him by WCW.  There was a six-man (FBI vs Mikey & Tajiri & Psicosis) on the 8/18 TNN episode that was decent, but Psicosis was a step behind everyone else, with the exception of Big Sal, in that match.  He has a televised singles match with Mikey in October that is awful. 

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16 minutes ago, LaGoosh said:

I don't think Tajiri had a bad match in 2000. He was amazing and probably the highlight of the dying days of the company. 

I had him having the best match in ten of the twelve months of 2000 for ECW.

  • Yoshihiro Tajiri vs Super Crazy (Mexican Death Match) (TNN 1/21)
  • Super Crazy vs Yoshihiro Tajiri (Japanese Death Match) (Jacksonville, FL 2/4)
  • Super Crazy vs Yoshihiro Tajiri vs Little Guido (TNN 4/14)
  • Yoshihiro Tajiri vs Steve Corino (Hardcore Heaven 5/14)
  • Yoshihiro Tajiri vs Steve Corino (TNN 6/23)
  • Yoshihiro Tajiri vs Psicosis (Hardcore TV 8/27)
  • Mikey Whipwreck & Yoshihiro Tajiri vs Little Guido & Tony Mamaluke (TNN 9/8)
  • Little Guido & Tony Mamaluke vs Mikey Whipwreck & Yoshihiro Tajiri (Anarchy Rulz 10/1)
  • Little Guido & Tony Mamaluke vs Mikey Whipwreck/Super Crazy & Yoshihiro Tajiri (November to Remember 11/5)
  • Mikey Whipwreck & Yoshihiro Tajiri vs Little Guido & Tony Mamaluke (Hardcore TV 12/24)

Additionally, he placed second in six months (including March, for a Japanese Death Match against Super Crazy, behind the Gedo & Jado/Impact Players tag) and third in three months (including July, for an Unholy Alliance/FBI tag, behind two matches from the Heatwave PPV). 

He really had an astonishing output of quality that year.

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It's odd how little ECW I've used the Network for in the 6-7 years of its existence, given I used to think it was the coolest thing ever, and still have great nostalgia for it being a time-and-place special deal rather than the glorified indie fed revisionism it's suffered in some quarters. This thread's given me a bit of impetus to go back to it, though. I remember trying to watch some of the Hardcore TVs from 1996 on it a few years ago alright and found the format of it a little jarring. I recall it jumping about the place a lot - "Here's what happened in the ECW arena last Saturday" - whereas I prefer wrestling shows to feel like I'm spending the night in a particular building, be it live or taped. 

That year is still considered to be its creative zenith, right? I've only ever watched the supercards/PPVs they produced but on a week to week basis I'd be more inclined to go through some 99/00. At least that's my temptation right now. It seems a bit snappier, crisper. Masato Tanaka, Rhyno, Tajiri, Jerry Lynn, Storm & Credible. I loved when ECW was falling back on all those guys. 

Any particular blocks of TV you guys would recommend getting stuck into?

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13 hours ago, DavidB6937 said:

What's the difference between a Mexican and Japanese death match?

From what I remember, nothing.  Just one of those wrestling quirks to give the idea that the match was "favouring" one of the men.  Similarly to how the Road Warriors always fought in "Chicago Street Fights", which were exactly the same as a regular Street Fight.

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3 minutes ago, Gay as FOOK said:

I've only ever watched the supercards/PPVs they produced but on a week to week basis I'd be more inclined to go through some 99/00. At least that's my temptation right now. 

Same, that’s the period I’m currently being drawn to for some reason. That last year or so of ECW is a bit of a blind spot for me. All I’ve seen from 2000 is the stuff Delta put out on DVD later but there were some guys I really liked on the roster at that time like Tajiri, early Rhino and even Dusty’s short run. I’m not going to watch the week to week full shows, just can’t be doing with sitting through Chilly Willy and cack like that. I’ll just be cherry picking from that period. I might dip into some earlier stuff as well. I’ve never seen Tully Blanchard’s little spell in ECW in 94 or 95 whenever it was, for example. Odd bits like that intrigue me.

I watched that Tajiri vs Psicosis match this morning, from the 26th August 2000 episode of Hardcore TV. Loved it. I’ve always been a bit of a Psicosis fan, loved his look. But I often found him a bit hit and miss in the ring. He was incredible opposite Rey Mysterio, they had their shit down and great chemistry. And if he was in with someone he gelled with he was great. I always enjoyed his matches with Ultimo Dragon and Eddie Guerrero in WCW. I even recall a couple of decent matches with Regal on Nitro in 96 that you’d think wouldn’t work but they did. He looked a bit off sometimes to me though when he wasn’t facing those guys.

This match with Tajiri was one of his good ones though. The styles seemed to mesh well and, as mentioned above, Tajiri was on fire at this time and having quality matches with pretty much everyone. Really enjoyed this. Psicosis should’ve gone back to wearing the mask though.

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Yes.

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Not so much. Although to be honest, it’s debatable which version looks creepier. Masked Psicosis looked way cooler though. 

Anyway, I liked this. It’s kind of a throwback to the glory days of the WCW Cruiserweights in the mid to late 90s but with a bit of a wild ECW twist. Tajiri working with Psicosis’ future Mexicools running buddy Super Crazy almost non-stop for about 18 months leading into this probably helped these two get on the same page quicker as well. Psicosis busts out some sweet dives, including a massive one into the crowd that looked scary as he appeared to come down head first. He also took a nasty spill to the concrete at one point. And Tajiri is his usual awesome self. Loved this especially;

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Then he murders Psicosis with a series of kicks for the finish. No Tarantula though which is a shame, always loved that. 

It’s weird but when I think of Tajiri my first thought is always his backstage skits with Commissioner Regal in the WWF. Then I remember how much fun he was to watch bell to bell. Definitely going to check out those ‘death matches’ with Crazy and the tags with Mikey against the FBI. 

Last thing on Tajiri vs Psicosis though, I stumbled across this picture;

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When is this from? I assumed they might’ve met in the WWE during Psicosis’ brief run there in 2005ish but that was when he was in the Mexicools. I’ve got zero memory of him wrestling in the mask in WWE. Looks ace though. Anyone know when this photo is from or was it a dark match or something? 

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47 minutes ago, Gay as FOOK said:

It's odd how little ECW I've used the Network for in the 6-7 years of its existence, given I used to think it was the coolest thing ever, and still have great nostalgia for it being a time-and-place special deal rather than the glorified indie fed revisionism it's suffered in some quarters. This thread's given me a bit of impetus to go back to it, though. I remember trying to watch some of the Hardcore TVs from 1996 on it a few years ago alright and found the format of it a little jarring. I recall it jumping about the place a lot - "Here's what happened in the ECW arena last Saturday" - whereas I prefer wrestling shows to feel like I'm spending the night in a particular building, be it live or taped. 

That year is still considered to be its creative zenith, right? I've only ever watched the supercards/PPVs they produced but on a week to week basis I'd be more inclined to go through some 99/00. At least that's my temptation right now. It seems a bit snappier, crisper. Masato Tanaka, Rhyno, Tajiri, Jerry Lynn, Storm & Credible. I loved when ECW was falling back on all those guys. 

Any particular blocks of TV you guys would recommend getting stuck into?

I feel the same. I started watching ECW in 2000 so to me the Rhino, Tajiri, Lynn era is my ECW. Anything pre 98 I never really got along with.

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