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   Fri, March 17, 2006



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Blood Sport one messy compilation
ECW saluted in latest WWE DVD
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Bloodsport - ECWs Most Violent Matches DVD

WWE has plunged into the ECW vault one more time and pulled out some of the best matches in the company's history.

Titled Blood Sport: ECW's Most Violent Matches, the DVD is jam-packed with what would presume to be the best matches in the history of the rebel wrestling league. Whether or not these matches are the epitome of what was the best hardcore wrestling of the 1990s is a matter of viewer opinion.

To represent SLAM! Wrestling's thoughts on this compilation, two staff members have been enlisted to share their thoughts - "Wildman" Jon Waldman and "Bloodthirsty" Bob Kapur. Here now are their thoughts on Bloodsport with two ratings systems -- a maximum 10 stars for enjoyment, and a maximum of 5 scars for violence.

Match 1 -- ECW World Tag Team champions The Public Enemy vs. Cactus Jack & Mikey Whipwreck (August 27, 1994 at ECW Arena)

Jon
The initial story of the match started that Whipwreck was too scared to fight. Only about a minute or so in, he changes his mind. That story could've been drug out more in my opinion. The match, while decent, is poorly shot with a single hard camera, really taking away from the bout.
Rating: 3 out of 10 stars, 1 out of 5 scars

Bob
This match really demonstrated that, no matter how violent or extreme the match, it meant nothing unless a good story was told. This story was Mikey's transformation from inexperienced punk to hardcore boy wonder. Good fun match, though a bit tame to be considered one of the company's most violent. Still, I'm glad to see Public Enemy as part of this set, particularly after Johnny Grunge's recent passing.
Rating: 6 out of 10 stars, 2.5 out of 5 scars

Match 2 - The Sandman & Terry Funk vs. Cactus Jack & ECW World champion Shane Douglas (March 17, 1995, ECW Arena)

Jon
Douglas, a fine technical wrestler, seems out of place in this mix. The bout starts off well, but quickly becomes a hardcore spotfest, which isn't bad since there are a variety of weapons used, including a branding iron. Sandman was completely useless, however.
Rating: 4 out of 10 stars, 2.5 out of 5 scars

Bob
This one was a plunder-filled brawl that probably shortened the careers of all four men. Shots from chairs, canes and a section of guardrail were the main offensive moves used throughout. That is, until Funk introduced a flaming branding iron into the mix. Amazingly, if they had to, I bet these four would do it all over again even today.
Rating: 7 out of 10 stars, 3.5 out of 5 scars

Match 3 - Axl Rotten vs. Ian Rotten - Taipei Death Match (Hardcore Heaven '95, July 7, 1995)

Jon
Technically speaking, this match is almost Gayda-bad, but this one was brutally forthright about its bloody nature. It definitely served its purpose and entertained the fans. Ian was by far the bloodier of the two here and did an overall better performance.
Rating: 4 out of 10 stars, 5 out of 5 scars

Bob
This was a gruesome bloodbath, and for some, the shots of these two carving each other up with shards of broken glass may be too disturbing to watch. Hearing about this match was what started my ECW obsession, so it’s got a special place in my heart. All these many years later, it’s still one of my favourites.
Rating: 7 out of 10 stars, 5 out of 5 scars

Match 4 - Rey Mysterio Jr. vs. Psicosis - Mexican Death Match (November to Remember '95, November 18, 1995)

Jon
I've loved Mysterio/Psicosis bouts from the first time I saw them fight, so you'd think this to be one of my faves here. The psychology of the death match here adds to building Mysterio's reputation for resilience. Rey only pinned Psicosis once in the match, however, for the one that counts, which I thought was a bit too sudden.
Rating: 5 out of 10, 1 out of 5 scars

Bob
Though most people associate the term “hardcore” with an abundance of weapons and blood, it can also be used to describe a match where the participants just give it their all in terms of guts, determination and passion. This one is the latter. An effective mixture of fast-paced aerial acrobatics and well-timed chairshots and hard spots.
Rating: 8 out of 10 stars, 2 out of 5 scars

Match 5 - ECW World Television champion Chris Jericho vs. Shane Douglas vs. 2 Cold Scorpio vs. Pitbull #2 (ECW Heatwave '96)

Jon
While this elimination-style bout is good and stayed true to the Pitball-Douglas storyline, it was way too long. Simply put, this one felt like a marathon to watch, and it was truly not the best choice for this DVD, seeming more like an excuse to get Jericho on the disc.
Ratings - 0 out of 10 stars, 1 out of 5 scars

Bob
This was one of the set’s longer matches, and I found that it dragged a bit in the middle. The buildup goes on too long, with decent in-ring action, but nothing too spectacular. The only major hardcore spot, Francine’s infamous table bump that happens near the end of the match, is fantastic even by today’s extreme standards. Otherwise, it’s just okay.
Ratings - 5 out of 10 stars, 2 out of 5 scars

Match 6 - Tommy Dreamer vs. Brian Lee - Weapons Match (ECW Hardcore Heaven '96)

Jon
A decent bout, this one was, by no means, a wrestling match. It was, however, one of the best blood brawls I've seen out of the east.
Ratings - 6 out of 10 stars, 5 out of 5 scars

Bob
A wild, weapon-filled brawl that mostly took place outside the building, this match is what the WWE’s Hardcore Division turned into a goofy parody. Some ugly moments here, including Tommy’s head getting bashed repeatedly into a metal door and the final spot, where Dreamer got chokeslammed through a tower of tables. No actual wrestling takes place, so purists won’t like it, but that’s clearly not the point of this one anyway.
Ratings - 6 out of 10 stars, 4 out of 5 scars

Match 7 - Sabu vs. Rob Van Dam - Stretcher Match (The Doctor is In, August 3, 1996)

Jon
Believe it or not, this was a great wrestling match. The perfect blend of grappling and gore, RVD and Sabu put on a match for the ages here. It should be noted, as well, that RVD does more wrestling manuvers in this one match than he's done in his entire WWF/E tenure.
Ratings - 9 out of 10 stars, 2.5 out of 5 scars

Bob
Like all of their many encounters, this one is pretty much a spotfest, with both guys using their bodies as weapons and producing several cringe-worthy moments. This wasn’t the greatest match these two had over the course of their on-again-off-again feud, but it was still pretty good.
Ratings - 6 out of 10 stars, 3 out of 5 scars

Match 8 - Terry Funk vs. Sandman vs. Stevie Richards/Winner vs. Raven (ECW Barely Legal)

Jon

Well, we all know the drama here. This was a big, fat thank you to Terry Funk for bringing ECW to the point where it was able to get on PPV. The matches themselves are decent, but the story shines through here, especially in the Raven bout.
Ratings - 6 out of 10 stars, 2 out of 5 scars

Bob
I always found ECW’s three-way matches to be excellent, since they always managed to find a way to keep all of the combatants busy in the ring at the same time; this one is no exception. The violence level was turned up for this one, with a ladder and barbed wire being used especially well. Funk steals the show, fighting like a man half his age. The visual of him at the end of the match, wearing a huge smile under his crimson mask, captures everything ECW was all about.
Ratings - 9 out of 10 stars, 4 out of 5 scars

Match 9 - ECW World champion Terry Funk vs. Sabu - No Ropes Barbed Wire Match (Born to Be Wired)

Jon

The story is obvious here - avoid the barbed wire at all costs. Well, that would be the story if it wasn't for Funk and Sabu. Initially that was the story, but quickly we see the sadistic sides of these wrestlers. Sabu's performance, which includes some mid-match patch-work on his arm, is applauded. This one is a great view, but not for the feint of heart.
Ratings - 6.5 out of 10 stars, 5 out of 5 scars

Bob
Forget the proverbial human chess match – there’s little room for strategy when you’re carving up your opponent like a holiday turkey. This was a bloodbath, plain and simple. If you’re looking for a great wrestling match, this isn’t it. But if you have an appetite for gratuitous violence, well, dinner is served.
Ratings - 6 out of 10 stars, 5 out of 5 scars

Match 10 - Beulah McGillicutty vs. Bill Alfonso (As Good as It Gets, September 1997 at ECW Arena)

Jon

I didn't understand the appeal of this match when it was discussed in The Rise and Fall of ECW and I still don't. It's funny how accepting some fans are of this match, yet they hate the idea of someone like Torrie Wilson having bouts. This was a terrible skirmish that's only famous because Fonzie hit a major artery while blading.
Ratings - 0 out of 10 stars, 1 out of 5 scars

Bob
Don’t let the fact that they aren’t wrestlers fool you – these two put on a great hardcore battle that is totally worthy of being included on this set. Beulah pulled off a number of extreme moves, including a Tree of Woe chair spot, and Fonzie… well, Fonzie bled bucketfuls. A really short match, but any longer and it probably wouldn’t have come off so well.
Ratings - 5 out of 10 stars, 2.5 out of 5 scars

Match 11 - Taz vs. Bam Bam Bigelow - ECW Death Match (ECW Heatwave '98 PPV)

Jon
This is Taz at his shooter best. There is some plunder and outside the ring gimmickery here, but it doesn't take away from the bout at all. Winning this bout solidified Taz as one of the best pure wrestlers in the business, and the spot at the end was a nice touch of continuity from a previous match between the two (no, I won't spoil what happens).
Ratings - 6 out of 10 stars, 1 out of 5 scars

Bob
This was pretty much a power brawl, with some mixed martial arts moves thrown in by Taz, and a few hard table bumps. The fighting in the stands wore a bit thin after some time, though the visual of them crashing through the ramp is pretty cool.
Ratings - 5 out of 10 stars, 2.5 out of 5 scars

Match 12 - ECW World champion Shane Douglas vs. Taz (Guilty As Charged '99 PPV)

Jon
One of Douglas' last bouts in ECW, this was a technical masterpiece with Douglas putting Tazz over big time and putting on an unforgettable show. Taz shows off his mad skills here, coming together for a great all-around bout.
Ratings - 7 out of 10 stars, 2 out of 5 scars

Bob
A good match that was highlighted by some sound mat wrestling at the beginning mixed in with a wild brawl in the stands and the merchandise area. Douglas impressed with some uncharacteristic high spots and Taz delivered some nasty table-enhanced suplexes throughout. The crowd reactions, like with all of the matches on this set, help make both men shine even more.
Ratings - 7 out of 10 stars, 3 out of 5 scars

Match 13 - The Dudley Boyz vs. Spike Dudley & Balls Mahoney - Chicago Street Fight

Jon
Well, you knew this had to be on here. Nothing says ECW like the Dudleys, who are more than decent wrestlers, who just happen to have an extremely violent side. Mahoney matches Bubba and D-Von here, while Spike is decent for storyline purposes. This is as extreme as it gets folks.
Ratings - 6.5 out of 10 stars, 5 out of 5 scars

Bob

Total and utter carnage that had all four men bleeding within the first minute. Spike took one of the patented ECW high dives off the balcony which looked amazing. The climax was a flaming table spot which always look amazing.
Ratings - 7 out of 10 stars, 4.5 out of 5 scars

Match 14 - ECW World champion Mike Awesome vs. Spike Dudley (Guilty As Charged 2000 PPV)

Jon

Let me say this - I absolutely hate Spike Dudley in this role. I detest the "giant killer" matches, especially when the supposed "killer" is a pipsqueak. I use this measure - if he's just about the same size I am, then he does not belong in a wrestling ring, especially with behemoths like Awesome.
The bout very quickly becomes an opportunity for bloodthirsty gore-mongers to see a little guy get the snot and nose cartilage beat out of him, something I really don't need to see.
Ratings - 1 out of 10 stars, 3.5 out of 5 scars

Bob
This was a spotfest that highlighted both men’s specialties: Mike Awesome’s dominant power game, and Spike Dudley’s ability to take bumps like a crash test dummy. Lots of “Oh my God!” moments as one table after another is destroyed by one of the two crashing through them.
Ratings - 7 out of 10 stars, 4 out of 5 scars

Match 15 - Rhino vs. The Sandman (ECW on TNN, February 2000)
If you can believe it, WWE managed to top the Beulah/Fonzie match for worst choice on this disc. Aside from the fact that it's incredibly short, the match ends in a WWF/E style clusterfrick with interference a go-go. This feels too much like a token "let's get Rhyno on the DVD" bout than a greatest match candidate. Absolute waste of time.
Ratings - 0 out of 10 stars, 0 out of 5 scars

Bob
A bit of a disappointment, in that the two of them put on many better, more violent matches than this. Some decent use of a ladder and a table, but the match ends in a schmozz too quickly to become anything memorable.
Ratings - 4 out of 10 stars, 2 out of 5 scars

Match 16 - Super Crazy vs. Yoshihiro Tajiri vs. Little Guido (ECW on TNN, March 2000)
Jon
Well, these guys were the main reason why I tuned into ECW on TNN week after week, so you know how I feel about this bout. As always, Guido got eliminated first here. I honestly think the only reason he was included was so the Crazy/Tajiri feud would have a little bit more run time. This was light on violence, heavy on action.
Ratings - 7 out of 10 stars, 0 out of 5 scars

Bob
The series of matches that these three put on during ECW’s TNN era were some of the company’s best in its later years. This exciting frenetically-paced match is a great example of how a match can be hardcore without reliance on gimmicks and weapons (not including Tajiri’s ridiculously stiff kicks).
Ratings - 8 out of 10 stars, 3 out of 5 scars.


Match 17 - Tommy Dreamer vs. CW Anderson - "I Quit" Match (ECW Guilty as Charged 2001) with Alternate commentary featuring Tommy Dreamer and Jonathan Coachman

Jon

This one starts with strong submission psychology and quickly dissolves into the Foley-style, hardcore filled I Quit format. Dreamer's blood spout is pretty gory, at Bret Hart In You House levels here. For apparent storyline reasons, "Towel Boy" interferes on Dreamer's behalf. This was an absolutely wicked bout that, had ECW survived past this PPV, would have served as Anderson's initiation and sky-rocketed him in popularity.
Ratings - 8 out of 10 stars, 3 out of 5 scars

Bob
The storyline for this match was supplemented very effectively by the use of weapons – that’s not something you can always say about ECW matches. The wrapping of the table stripping around CW’s eyes looks legitimately painful, and was the right way to finish the match.
Ratings - 7 out of 10 stars, 3.5 out of 5 scars

Match 18 - Mike Awesome vs. Masato Tanaka (ECW One Night Stand PPV)

Jon
This one is quite possibly the best hardcore match that has ever been on a WWE-run pay-per-view. No blood spilled here (save for a slice through Tanaka's arm that had already been injured), but this as violent as you get. Styles' shoot on Awesome is also a must-hear.
Ratings - 8 out of 10 stars, 4 out of 5 scars.

Bob
Other than the WWE stars' mocking of the match from the sidelines, this is a perfect representation of all that made ECW great. A hard-hitting war that kept the fans in a rabid frenzy from bell to bell. Some of their matches when they were actually in ECW might have been more appropriate to put on the DVD, but that’s a minor complaint.
Ratings - 9 out of 10 stars, 4 out of 5 scars.

Match 19 - Gangstas vs. The Public Enemy (House Party 1996)

Jon
You get an interesting dynamic in this bout. On the outside, Johnny Grunge and New Jack get the blood stuff going, while Mustafa and Rocco Rock actually get a wrestling match going in this tornado tag bout. You almost wish that there was a split-screen view of this tornado match. There is a definite lack in psychology, in terms of saving your partner when needed, but the combatants entertained nonetheless in TPE's final ECW bout.
Ratings - 5.5 out of 10 stars, 2 out of 5 scars

Bob
As expected from these two teams, this was simply an orgy of violence. Weapons ranged from chairs and tables to a cheese grater and what appears to be a banana cream pie. This was Public Enemy’s last match in ECW, and together, the two teams certainly made it one they could be proud of.
Ratings - 6 out of 10 stars, 4.5 out of 5 scars

Overall Thoughts/Observations

Jon
Well, if WWE is only keeping Paul Heyman on the payroll essentially to keep doing ECW events, then it's money well spent. Having Paul E. do the intros and extros for each bout is the only way to do so.

I'm a bit dissapointed that some of the matches I'd consider to be extreme aren't on here, most notably Jerry Lynn vs. Steve Corino. I'm also a bit surprised that the Chris Benoit/Sabu broken neck match wasn't included, since having Heyman comment on the bout would've been interesting. Other notable missing names included 911 and Rhyno from anything that was of any significance.

Overall I can't be upset with this DVD. Yeah, some matches were wastes of digital space, but you're not always going to like every bout on a compilation. Enough matches were worth watching here that this one will be staying in my collection.

Bob
Paul Heyman introduces the matches, providing the context for each match – an excellent feature that should be done for all future DVD releases.

It was disappointing to not see a Steve Corino match. His cowbell match against Dusty Rhodes would certainly meet the criteria of being a violent match.

Some WWE detractors will undoubtedly criticize some of the picks and say that using matches featuring the Dudleys and other former and/or non-WWE stars is exploitative, particularly when McMahon’s also blocking the wrestlers from using these names outside of the Fed. While that may be a valid point, I think it would be more offensive to try to exclude them entirely, since it would dismiss their ECW accomplishments entirely.


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  • Bloodsport - ECWs Most Violent Matches DVD