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READER ALERT: For all the latest wrestling happenings, check out our News & Rumours section.

ECW pulls off respectable show


By JOHN MOLINARO -- SLAM! Wrestling
Paul Heyman's back was against the wall last night. Many in the ECW locker-room have become disgruntled over the bouncing of their paychecks as of late. Chris Candido is rumored to be leaving ECW and signing with WCW. Axl Rotten was nowhere to be found last night, originally scheduled for a tag-team match with Balls Mahoney was ECW Tag champs the Dudleys. And of course, the Franchise, Shane Douglas, perturbed over low payoffs and being taken out of the ECW World title picture, is reportedly negotiating with the WWF.

And yet, somehow, Heyman was able to pull off a respectable show that was far better than the recent PPV efforts of the WWF and WCW. Heyman, displaying the resiliency that he has become so famous for, delivered a respectable and entertaining show as ECW presented its annual Hardcore Heaven spectacular last night on PPV.

ECW World Champ Taz vs Chris Candido:

Joey Styles, the voice of ECW, opened the show only to be interrupted by Chris Candido and Tammy Sytch. Candido introduced the Dudleys as his insurance policy for the night, ensuring he would get a fair fight with ECW World champ Taz. The match, originally scheduled for the main event slot, started up as Taz made his way to the ring. He takes out the Dudleys and then plants Candido with a series of German Suplexes before forcing him to submit with the Taz-mission. The Dudleys recuperate and lay out Taz with the Dudley Death Drop.

  • Winner: ...and still ECW World Champion... Taz at 1 minute and 10 seconds.
  • Match Rating: 4 / 10.

    ECW World Tag champs the Dudleys vs Balls Mahoney and Spike Dudley:

    Mexican star Super Crazzy on his way to the ring.
    Cyrus the Virus, the WWF's Jackyl, accompanies Joey Styles in the booth and provides colour commentating for the next few matches. Buh Buh Ray grabs the mic and boldly claims no one in ECW has the "balls" to face them. Of course, Balls Mahoney comes out. He goes at it two on one for a while before Spike Dudley's music plays and he makes his way to ringside. Spot of the match was Buh Buh Ray executing a Tiger Bomb on Spike off the top turnbuckle through a table! Manager Spike Dudley throws lit matches at Mahoney, only to have Balls retaliate with a fireball, nearly singing Gertner's hairline. The Dudleys then grab Mahoney and execute the Dudley Death Drop for the pin.

  • Winner: ...and still ECW World Tag Champions... The Dudleys in 7 minutes and 50 seconds.
  • Match Rating: 2 / 10.

    Super Crazzy vs Taka Michinoku:

    Some mat wrestling starts this one off before Crazzy delivers a leaping DDT on the floor. Taka answers back with a vicious Tornado DDT. He tries for another but Crazzy turns it into a power bomb. With Taka stumbling in the crowd Crazzy executes a picture perfect Asai moonsault to the floor. Back in the ring, Taka nails Crazzy with his patented Michinoku Driver II. He tries for another one but Crazzy blocks it. Moments later Crazzy scores the pin with an incredible Tiger Bomb.

  • Winner: Super Crazzy in 8 minutes and 29 seconds.
  • Match Rating: 8 / 10.

    Backstage, they show the Dudleys hovered over Gertner and they find a "hit list" in his coat pocket. Nova is the first name on the list so they go an take him out.

    Little Guido (w/ Big Sal E Graziano) vs Yoshihiro Tajiri:

    They wrestle for a bit before Tajiri unleashes those vicious, stiff kicks of his. Tajiri turns a sunset flip attempt by Guido into his incredible Tarantula move. Tajiri nails Guido with a spin wheel kick and pins him with a brainbuster.
  • Winner: Yoshihiro Tajiri in 11 minutes and 5 seconds.
  • Match Rating: 7 / 10.

    Yoshihiro Tajiri puts the Tarantula on Little Guido.
    The Dudleys are shown backstage and take out the next victim on their list, Rod Price.

    Tommy Dreamer (w/Francine) vs Lance Storm (w/"Beulah"):

    Your typical ECW match with brawling in the stands, garbage can shots and cat fights between the two female managers. Ladders and tables are also used in the match before Lance scores the upset pinfall with a spinning wheel kick from the top turnbuckle.

  • Winner: Lance Storm in 13 minutes and 44 seconds.
  • Match Rating: 7 / 10.

    Dudleys go down the list again and attack Jack Victory backstage. Taz is interviewed backstage and says he wants revenge on the Dudleys.

    ECW TV Champ Rob Van Dam (w/Bill Alfonso) vs Jerry Lynn:

    These two really put on a show, outdoing their effort on Living Dangerously, ECW's last PPV. Some incredible highspots, mixed in with brawling in and outside the ring made this match of the night. RVD scores with a Five Star Frog Splash and nails Lynn with a chair thrown to him by manager Bill Alfonso Before pinning Lynn.

  • Winner: and still ECW TV champ Rob Van Dam in 26 minutes and 30 seconds.
  • Match Rating: 9 / 10.

    Justin Credible vs Sid (w/ Jeff Jones):

    Originally scheduled to face Shane Douglas, Credible squared off against the returning Sid who kills Credible for two minutes before Lance Storm comes down and makes the save, leading to a DQ win (one of the very few in ECW's history) for Credible. Sabu comes out and attacks Credible and puts him on a table and attempts a triple jump leg drop put sends Sid crashing through it instead. Sabu then attacks security who is trying to remove him from the area while Sid powerbombs manager Jeff Jones.

  • Winner: Sid in two minutes
  • Match rating: 4/10.

    Main event

    ECW World Champion Taz vs Buh Buh Ray Dudley:

    They get in the ring and Taz immediatly makes it a Falls Count Anywhere match. They start to brawl in the stands and around the arena as Taz is cut open and starts bleeding a gusher. They make their way back into the ring from the concession lobby where Dudley executes a Hangman neckbreaker for a near fall. Running out of gas, they go home as Taz locks on the Taz-mission and secures the victory.

  • Winner: and still ECW World Champion Taz in 12 minutes and 17 seconds
  • Match rating: 7/10.

  • Total Event Time: 2 hours and 38 minutes.
  • Overall Event Rating: 7.5 / 10.