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

ECW invades Buffalo


By BOB KAPUR -- For SLAM! Wrestling

 Extreme Championship Wrestling brought its brand of sports entertainment back to Buffalo last night to a packed crowd at the Flickinger Athletic Centre. And, as always, the fans ate it up.

 While it was a younger crowd in attendance than in previous times, they were no less boisterous, excited, and bloodthirsty.

 The card, a taping for ECW's syndicated Hardcore TV, brought out nearly the entire roster of ECW, as the promotion gears up for its upcoming "Anarchy Rulz" Pay-Per-View.

 In the end, the wrestlers were bloodied, the tables were broken, and, judging from the crowd's reaction when the final bell was rung, the fans had a great night of wrestling.

 Rundown of the Card (WARNING - SPOILERS AHEAD)

 - The show started 20 minutes late. During this time, the biggest pops went to any girl walking in the Flickinger Centre, and the biggest heel heat by far went to the guys holding the Canadian flag.

 - Little Spike Dudley was signing autographs at the souvenir stand - he says he's had full reconstructive surgery on his leg, and isn't sure yet when he'll be able to get back into action.

 - Ring announcer Mitch took centre stage for the opening match introductions.

 Match 1: Joey Matthews & Christian York vs. Doring & Roadkill

 - Matthews & York have some really great tag team moves, but could benefit from dropping the Hardy Boyz look.

 - It's great to see that wrestling moves are still appreciated. Both teams were applauded for a long series of reversals and pinfall attempts - a trend which continued for the entire night.

 - Roadkill thrilled as always with his high-impact aerial moves.

 - Doring & Roadkill win by pinfall after a Buggy Bash.

 - After the match, the two teams shook hands in a sign of mutual respect. While this was going on the FBI, current tag team champions, hit the ring and destroyed Doring & Roadkill.

 Match 2: Musketeer vs. Jazz

 - The Musketeer, who has the best entrance music in any promotion ("Ride of the Valkyries" - think of the helicopters flying overhead in "Apocalypse Now") - He cuts a pretty funny promo, challenging anyone in the back to take him on.

 - Jazz answers the challenge, and squashes him quickly. She wins by pinfall after the Jazz Stinger in about a minute.

 - After the match, Chris Chetti pearl-harboured Jazz, then called out Nova. Chetti sounds more like Tazz than ever before.

 - Nova and Chetti brawled for a bit, and then a bunch of guys from the back came out and separated them.

 Match 3: The Baldies vs. EZ Money & Julio Denero

 - Money & Denero were accompanied by Elektra and Chris Hammerick. Money, in his pink tights and green limestone cowboy hat... not that there's anything wrong with that.

 - After a fairly standard tag match, it looked like The Baldies had it won. Elektra distracted the ref, Hammerick interfered, and Money & Denero capitalized for the pinfall.

 - The guy paid to run around the ring, towelling off the ropes between matches, finally gets a decent pop from the crowd... until he stumbles, and is mocked derisively.

 - Joey Styles enters the ring for the introduction of Hardcore TV. He introduces The Prodigette as his special guest.

 - The Prodigette is sick of the women of ECW being seen as merely T&A, and badmouths the women in the back.

 - Dawn Marie comes out, is attacked by the Prodigette, but ducks, and hits a Stunner of her own.

 - Billvis Wesley and The Prodigy come out for the save, and to beat up Dawn Marie, but Steve Corino and Jack Victory come to her rescue.

 Match 4: Billvis Wesley vs. Steve Corino

 - Corino squashes Wesley in a couple of minutes, and gets the pinfall victory. I missed the finish, as I was proving The Prodigette's point by staring at Dawn Marie.

 - Simon & Swinger come to the ring, accompanied by CW Anderson. They inform us that Tajiri is in Japan, therefore the Sinister Minister will have to take his place as Mikey Whipwreck's partner in this tag team match coming up next.

 - SinMin tells them that he's found a couple of guys in the back who will join Mikey for a 6-man tag match. Cue "Big Balls" as Balls Mahoney is joined by Chilly Willy to even things up.

 Match 5: Simon/Swinger/Anderson vs. Mikey/Balls/Chilly Willy

 - Quickly, this becomes a chaotic pier-6 brawl. Many fans' cups of beer are smashed over heads on the outside, while others fight in and around the ring.

 - Eventually, things settle down and action gets back into the ring.

 - The faces hit their finishers simultaneously on their three opponents, and all 3 cover for the pin at the same time.

 Match 6: Psicosis vs. Kid Kash - for the TV Title

 - This match was unfortunately overshadowed by the actions of a girl in the crowd who showed her puppies to the Buffalo fans. Security went to admonish her, and all attention was focused that way.

 - The lack of crowd heat may have affected the in-ring performances (or they were also looking at puppies), because the match really seemed slow, certainly a lot slower than expected given the talents of Kash and Psicosis.

 - Kash wins by pinfall after a vicious double-underhook piledriver.

 - After the match, Kash is assaulted by a Rhino-spear! Rob Van Dam saves Kash from a Rhino-driver, by flipping Rhino off the apron through a table. Rhino gets back in the ring, takes another RVD beating, but avoids getting Van Terminated.

 - Van Dam, probably still the most over guy in ECW right now, celebrates for what seems like ages with the crowd.

 - During the intermission, Nova and Bill Alfonso signed autographs and took pictures with the fans.

 - Lou E. Dangerously introduces "The Danger Zone", with his special guest Joel Gertner. After an inspired dirty poem, Gertner wins the verbal joust with the former Sign Guy.

 - He would have won the physical fight too, if not for a sucker-kick from Cyrus, who attacked him from behind. Cyrus and Lou were about to finish off the Quintessential Studmuffin, when Joey Styles hit the ring, brandishing a steel chair. Styles clears the ring, and badmouths Lou, Cyrus, and TNN to the crowd's delight.

 - Justin Credible gets really upset at the guys beside us who held up a big "Aldo Montoya Fan Club" sign, along with pictures of the ECW champ's former WWF identity.

 - Justin and Rhino, accompanied by the goddess Francine, await the arrival of Jerry Lynn's partner for this tag team match.

 - LSD marches down instead, and introduces himself as the special guest Commissioner for the evening. Seeing that Tommy Dreamer, Lynn's scheduled partner, was injured last night in Ohio, the New York State Athletic Commission would not allow him to fight tonight. (Note: This is likely not a work, as Dreamer was seen wearing a sling backstage, and after the show the story was confirmed by a couple of other wrestlers - whether or not he wrestles on Saturday in Mississauga is unknown at this time).

 - Before Spike can announce a replacement for Dreamer, he is hit by the Rhino-spear.

 - Enter Sandman.

 - It's a major brawl that goes on the floor, outside the building, and all over the arena. Lynn and Credible tear things up outside, while Sandman and Rhino pummel each other with a piece of the steel ring barrier.

 - Sandman may indeed have been drunk, as he mixes up the normal move, and instead tries to slam a table through Rhino.

 - After a while, the brawl moves back into the squared circle.

 - Lynn hits a DDT on Credible, but is Rhino-speared before he can capitalize. Sandman takes out Rhino, and Lynn nails Credible with a cradle piledriver - he only gets a 2-count.

 - Lynn goes for a flying body press off the ropes, but flattens the ref by accident. The replacement ref, the guy who has heat with Lynn from their prior meetings, refuses to count after Lynn hits another cradle piledriver on Credible. Lynn's piledriver attempt on the ref is broken up by Francine. He turns his attentions towards her (who wouldn't?), and receives an Incredible cane shot for his troubles. Lynn receives That's Incredible, but the first referee breaks up the count by the second one. Rhino-spear on the first ref! Rhino and Credible hit a spiked piledriver on Lynn for the pinfall victory.

 - After the match, Credible badmouths the "Aldo" fans beside us again (they get a free souvenir when he throws his wad of gum at their sign... and it sticks!), and the heels leave.

 - Sandman and Lynn celebrate in the ring with some beer (albeit, American beer) with a couple of fans.

 - Later on, ECW proved once again to be a fan-friendly promotion, as most of the guys happily gave autographs to anyone waiting outside the building who asked them.