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

ECW receives a roar of approval


By BOB KAPUR -- For SLAM! Wrestling
 If Paul Heyman was using Saturday's show at the Hershey Centre in Mississauga to test the viability of ECW in Canada, it's safe to assume that we'll be seeing a lot more extreme action north of the border in the future.

 Extreme Championship Wrestling made its Canadian debut tonight, and fans who have been waiting couldn't have been more receptive. For four hours plus, the packed crowd voiced their approval for the hardcore action that ECW pioneered in the wrestling industry.

 The response was well-deserved, as ECW put on a spectacular show, with the quality of the matches rivalling those on a Pay-Per-View.

 Highlighting the card was the crowning of a new World TV Champion, as man-beast Rhino gored his way through former champ Kid Kash. The match featured some great aerial moves from Kash, including a suicide springboard somersault on Rhino who was standing on the floor. In the end, however, it was the power game of Rhino which triumphed. After folding Kash in half with a brutal spear, Rhino gored him through a table propped in the corner to finish him off for the 3-count and capture the gold.

 Other notable events included the return of New Jack after an injury-induced absence, matches for the World and Tag Team titles, and an appearance by the promotion's number one man, Rob Van Dam.

 Whether or not ECW returns to the Great White North ultimately depends on Paul Heyman's impressions of how well received it would be. Having lost its major TV deal with TNN, the promotion won't have very high visibility in Canada in the near future.

 If the reaction from the fans tonight are any indication, ECW is definitely wanted in Canada. Hopefully, tonight's show will prompt a Canadian network to pick up the syndicated Hardcore TV program and bring ECW to Canadians sooner rather than later.

 Complete Match Results

 ----------------------
  • Before the action started, the crowd got vocal for pro-Canadian signs and the obligatory "E-C-Dub!" chants.
  • Mitch entered the ring to thunderous applause - not for him, but because the wait for ECW on our turf was finally over.

     Match 1: Julio Dinero vs. Psicosis
  • Good match, both men gelled well together. Psicosis nailed a top rope German suplex on Dinero, and followed it up with a legdrop off the top for the pinfall victory.

     Match 2: Simon Diamond & Swinger vs. York & Matthews
  • Diamond and Swinger get the first cheap heel heat by dissing the Toronto Maple Leafs.
  • Both teams make a good effort, showing off some creative double-team moves.
  • CW Anderson, in the corner of Diamond & Swinger, gets involved, turning it into a virtual 3-on-2.
  • York & Matthews fall victim to the odds. A Problem Solver earns the victory for Simon & Swinger

    Match 3: FBI vs. Danny Doring & Roadkill - Tag Team Title match
  • Roadkill gets one of the biggest pops of the night. It's funny, since his gimmick is better suited to the cartoon character-filled 80's wrestling over today's edgier product.
  • Tony Mamaluke gets better every time he's in the ring. He gets a chance to showcase his offensive skills for a while before taking his share of brutal bumps.
  • Roadkill takes the first table spot of the night, crashing face first through the ringside announcer's table from the top turnbuckle.
  • With Roadkill out of the way, Sal E. Graziano flattens Doring, leaving him prone for Guido to pin him and retain the belts after an awesome match.

    Match 4: Chris Hammerick (w/ Elektra) vs. Nova
  • The match was quickly paced, although not a lot happened. There was a series of 5 or 6 criss-crosses leading up to... a punch. After the last match, the crowd seemed to be a bit less into this one.
  • Hammerick displays some skills, hitting Nova with a top rope superplex and a very high elbowsmash off the top.
  • Elektra gets involved, until Jazz comes to the ring to help out Nova.
  • Jazz interferes, allowing Nova to capitalize. He hits Hammerick with the Novacaine and gets the pinfall.
  • After the match, Chris Chetti takes out Nova and Jazz with chair shots. He grabs the mic, and professes that he's the best wrestler in ECW. He claims that he can do anything better than everyone else, including swinging a chair. This claim draws the ire of Balls Mahoney who has a reputation of his own for being able to wield the metal. Balls comes out, sending Chetti running back to the locker room.
  • The Baldies attack Balls, and work him over until Chilly Willy runs in for the save. Suddenly, we've got...

    Match 5: Chilly Willy & Balls Mahoney vs. The Baldies
  • A brutal, bloody brawl is the only way to describe this one.
  • The two teams fight all over the Hershey Centre, into the crowd and in the stairways.
  • All four men bleed profusely, mostly thanks to the use of a dinner fork as a weapon.
  • Oh my God! moment, when Willy is thrown from the second tier above the stairway to the floor.
  • When the match finally makes its way back to the ring, Balls hits DeVito with a top rope Nutcracker Suite for the pinfall victory.
  • Joey Styles and Joel Gertner make their entrance, and introduce Hardcore TV. They both seem impressed with the frenzied crowd response. Joel works the crowd with a Canadian-themed dirty poem (although I was disappointed with the lack of a "Canadian beaver" reference).
  • J&J introduce Jerry Lynn as their special guest. Before Jerry can say a word, his opponent at the upcoming Anarchy Rulz, World champ Justin Credible enters the ring and trashtalks him. Old School Hero Steve Corino joins the party, and demands to enter the title situation.
  • Little Spike Dudley hits the ring. As specially-appointed guest commissioner, he books a 3-way dance for the title tonight. Before he can name his specially designated guest referee, who will also ref the Lynn-Credible affair at the PPV, Rhino runs in and nails him with a spear.
  • New Jack makes his way to the ring with his usual garbage pail full of plunder. He pummels Credible with some weapons, but can't use his staple gun before being stopped by Rhino. Credible and Rhino cane New Jack into oblivion. Intermission Match 6: Mikey Whipwreck (w/ SinMin) v. Kid Kash -TV Title Match
  • A quick encounter which never really goes anywhere. A few high-impact moves are made by both men until Rhino crashes the party. He spears both men, and leaves the ring. The match is presumably thrown out as a No Contest.
  • Kash challenges Rhino to return to the ring, as he feels that Rhino has cheated the fans out of a title match. A couple of insults later, and Rhino accepts.

    Match 7: Rhino vs. Kid Kash - TV Title Match
  • Rhino wins after goring Kash through a table, thereby becoming the new TV Champion.
  • Joey Styles returns to the ring. He is interrupted by Lou E. Dangerously, who announces that Joey will be his special guest in "The Danger Zone". Joey leaves in disgust, leaving Lou E. to interview himself.
  • He announces that Joel Gertner will face off against arch-enemy Cyrus at the Anarchy Rulz PPV. Gertner comes to the ring.
  • In the exact same promo as was done the night before in Buffalo, Lou and Joel exchange words. Gertner slaps Lou, and is blindsided by Cyrus. Joey Styles saves Joel when he returns brandishing a chair.
  • Overall, this promo was done better in Buffalo, and the crowd reaction was much stronger. Perhaps it was being redone to take advantage of the larger crowd. But the crowd heat just wasn't there tonight for this segment.

    Match 8: CW Anderson vs. Rob Van Dam (w/ Bill Alfonso)
  • Things can't look good when an opponent tells the crowd before the match that he's going to have the s*** kicked out of him. That's what CW did, and that's exactly what happened.
  • Look out, Hazel McCallion. Because judging from the crowd reaction to RVD, if he ran for mayor of Mississauga in the next election, he would win hands down.
  • Van Dam takes forever to enter the ring, shaking hands with all his ringside fans, and generally being the whole f'n show.
  • RVD uses most of his arsenal, blending chairshots and martial arts kicks with acrobatics and, of course, lots of posing.
  • To CW's credit, he puts out some effort, but to no avail.
  • Van Dam wins a squash match after a 5-star Frog Splash

    Match 9: Credible vs. Lynn vs. Corino - World Title 3-way Dance
  • Justin is accompanied by Francine, Corino by Jack Victory. Methinks Justin gets the better deal.
  • All three men bleed early in the matchup, Lynn and Corino wearing crimson masks by the end of the night.
  • Good matchup, all three get in some offense.
  • Jerry Lynn looks like he's got it won, but evil referee Danny Daniels refuses the count. Extreme official HC Loc runs in to teach him proper referee etiquette. They end up fighting back to the dressing room.
  • Lynn sets up Credible for a cradle piledriver. Corino nails Lynn with a superkick. Credible capitalizes, and reverses Lynn into That's Incredible for the pinfall. Lynn is eliminated.
  • Credible and Lynn fight it out.
  • Jack Victory goes after Francine when she tries to interfere. She manages to avoid the big man's wrath, and tapes Corino's wrist to the ropes. Credible uses this opportunity to land a few cane shots on Corino.
  • Corino comes back, and has Credible down for the count until Francine interferes again. Dawn Marie hits the ring, and we've got a Caaatfiiight!!!
  • After receiving a beating from Dawn Marie, Francine rolls out of the ring. She has just enough to blast Corino with a cane shot, allowing Justin to hit That's Incredible for the pinfall, thereby retaining his title.
  • After the match, Sandman makes his way to the ring through the crowd, drinking all the way. He only gets a few cane shots in before Justin hits the road (apparently Credible broke a finger during the match, according to what the security guard told Sandman).
  • Sandman celebrates in the ring with three fans, committing what may be a criminal offense on the third, a young lady. And with that, ECW's Canadian debut comes to an end.