Hmm, that took a while. But now, the story begins in earnest...
MONDAY NIGHT SCOUTING
- Show opened with a Shawn promo and an interruption by Taker. Fit Finlay got interview time before his match with Steve Blackman, which he won via DQ, when Bradshaw ran in. Kama Mustafa beat One Man Gang. Triple H and Stone Cold ended up getting into a brawl, with HHH trying to make sure Austin doesn't make it to the Royal Rumble, perhaps tipping off who's probably going to win the Royal Rumble. Ahmed and 8-Ball, no contest. Rock IC Title defence against Aguila, no contest. I guess this is Rock's gimmick now. Main event was Shawn and Vader, in a THIRD straight no contest of the show, this one setting up the Rumble on Sunday with a big schmozz.
- Segment with Sable and Sgt. Slaughter. One Man Gang squashed Scott Taylor, literally I can only presume. D-Lo Brown beat Fit Finlay with a Bradshaw distraction. And Henry Godwinn over Bart Gunn in a match two years past it's sell-by date.
- Nash interrupted a Sting promo to warn him that the NWO weren't done with him at the top. Eddie over Chavo. Wrath over Stevie Ray. Davey Boy beat Alex Wright. Hogan and Bret had a confrontation over what happened at Starrcade. Hogan has an 'out' for losing a match and is playing it up to the maximum effect, in a shocking development. Ric Flair beat Rocco Rock. And the main event saw Roddy Piper beat DDP. A fairly standard episode of the show, not too much craziness going on this week.
SAT. NIGHT TAPING
- Booty Man and Lenny Lane segment which I'm sure was a thriller. Kidman over Psychosis. Rude hosted an interview segment with Rick Martel and Alex Wright involved. Wrath over Rey Jr. And Hugh Morrus over Mortis.
ECW HOUSE PARTY 98
January 10, 1998
ECW Arena, Philadelphia, PA
ECW's first Arena event of 1998 promised to live up to it's Party billing, as with Tracy Smothers and Tommy Rich already in the ring, a strange scene surrounded them. Al Snow made his way out to the ring along with Head, to be welcomed by an arena full of Head-a-likes, as seemingly every person inside the ECW Arena was waving a styrofoam head over their own. Snow played up to the crowd, leading the heads in motion, while Smothers and Rich tried to figure out exactly what they'd gotten into and Joey tried to figure out exactly what the hell he was calling.
Al Snow -vs- Tracy Smothers (w/Tommy Rich)
So the night's opening match, accompanied by the sounds of styrofoam heads being banged together reverberating around the ECW Arena, saw two men in very different situations. Al had been on quite the roll ever since getting Head, while Smothers was still trying to regroup from losing the World Tag Team Championships, with the state of the FBI under question from Joey on commentary.
Smothers seemed thrown off by the sea of heads at the start and struggled in the early going, The Big Don's attempts to try and calm Smothers down falling on deaf ears. Partly because, with all the banging of styrofoam, Smothers couldn't really hear anything and was getting more and more would up. Eventually Rich would prove his worth with a grab of the ankle to distract Al, allowing Smothers to attack from behind and turn the tide his way. The vocal crowd support for Snow was still playing on Smothers though and after a missed charge in the corner, Snow was rolling again. Rich looked on despairingly, trying to will Smothers to pull himself together. It never came though and the Snow Plow would seal it for Al, picking up another victory, while the FBI continued to lose momentum.
Winner: Al Snow, by pinfall, in 5:50
Jerry Lynn and Tommy Rogers -vs- Roadkill and Paul Diamond (w/Chastity)
Two teams that had come together in recent months looked to further establish themselves in the next match, with potential eyes on the World Tag Team Championships. Lynn and Rogers had put some impressive wins under their belt recently, over former champions The Pitbulls and The FBI. Diamond and Roadkill were less experienced as a team meanwhile, but both being under the wing of manager Chastity, they were looking to announce themselves here.
Like Lynn and Rogers's match with the FBI recently, this was an interesting mix, with two tag team specialists in Rogers and Diamond, alongside two of ECW's fresher faces in Lynn and Roadkill. And while Rogers and Diamond were fairly well matched, Lynn and Roadkill was a battle of speed versus power. Power won out at first, Roadkill gaining the advantage for his team by using his bowling ball like frame to run through Jerry. Lynn's evasiveness would set up the tag to Rogers though and Lynn and Rogers's burgeoning teamwork proved the key factor. Lynn would return to aid Rogers in fighting off both opponents and with Lynn having taken Roadkill out with a plancha on the floor, Rogers was left with Diamond, hitting the Tomakaze and strengthening Jerry and Tommy's case for a Tag Title shot down the road.
Winners: Lynn and Rogers, by pinfall, in 6:18
Tommy Dreamer, John Kronus and Spike Dudley -vs- The Dudley Boyz (Buh Buh Ray, D-Von and Big Dick) (w/Studley Dudley)
Kronus and Spike had been having their issues with the Dudleys recently and with New Jack not here tonight, they looked to draft in a replacement partner to take them on again. And as replacement partners go, they don't come too much better than the heart of soul of ECW himself, Tommy Dreamer.
Dreamer would enter right into the spirit of the match and picked up where New Jack would have left off, as the match spilled to the floor straight away when The Dudleys attempted a sneak attack, but their opponents were ready for them. The two teams paired off with Buh Buh and Spike, D-Von and Kronus and Dreamer taking the fight to Big Dick, spending a few minutes on the floor before Spike and Buh Buh made their way into the ring and Spike found himself launched into the lights with a high back drop. Things would settle down into more of a traditional tag match at that point, somehow, with The Dudleys focusing their attack on their little half brother. Dreamer would rally the crowd and eventually lead his team back into the match off the hot tag. And with Dreamer clearing the way, along with a Spike low blow to fell Big Dick like a big oak, Kronus ended up hitting a 450 off the top to pin the big man for his team.
Winners: Dreamer, Kronus and Spike, by pinfall, in 7:52
ECW WORLD TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP
Doug Furnas and Phil LaFon (c) (w/Lance Wright) -vs- Balls Mahoney and Axl Rotten
For months, Balls and Axl had been chasing the World Tag Team Championships, held at the time by the Full Blooded Italians. Many times, they'd been close and more than once, the championships were as good as theirs, if not for some bad luck and above all, some shady 'officiating'. At that point, you'd have thought Balls and Axl couldn't have had much more motivation to finally right those wrongs and capture the gold. That was until December, when in a triple threat match, Doug Furnas and Phil LaFon would be helped to the titles, on behalf of the World Wrestling Federation. Now, coming into this match, Balls and Axl weren't just out to win the titles for themselves. They were out to bring the titles back for ECW.
As you'd expect Balls and Axl came out fists flying for this one, all fired up at their chance to finally win the gold. That wasn't a game Furnas and LaFon were comfortable playing and this match was a battle of skill and technique against fire and fury, with the WWF team's attempts to turn this into a wrestling match often winding up with a painful beating for their troubles. Furnas and LaFon are pros and would stick to the gameplan regardless, getting some impressive suplexes in on their challengers and briefly cutting the ring off on Balls while working over the leg. Sheer force of will seemed to be too much though and when Axl ran through both champions and called for the steel chair, the titles looked to finally be coming home to ECW. Unfortunately, Balls and Axl had been here before...
Joey: "Wait a minute... it's Jeff Jones! Who let this idiot in the building again!?"
Jones took assigned official Jim Molineaux's attention, but got Axl's as well, resulting in him being dragged into the ring and sized up for a chair shot instead. Jones begged for his life, but it was a low blow from Furnas that saved him. When Molineaux complained, Jones then resorted to the same tactic and went through the uprights on the actual official, while Furnas attempted to give Axl a taste of his own medicine with the chair. Balls would interject and the two teams began brawling in the ring, at which point Jones tried to call for a double disqualification.
Joey: "Don't listen to him! This man has no authority in ECW!"
No bell was rung and nobody actually listened to Jones. This was the excuse Lance Wright needed to get his champions out of dodge though, the champions leaving up the aisle and engaging in another brawl with Balls and Axl back through the curtain, with no official winner begin announced and another opportunity for Balls and Axl going up in smoke.
Official Result: No Decision, in 8:11
After the chaotic end to the last match the show would take a brief breather before coming back with Joey Styles in the ring to address the crowd. Joey did his usual routine, hyping up the show and talking about how ECW was setting the standard for professional wrestling heading into 1998.
Most of the crowd weren't listening to him by that point though. Their attention was taken by a man, dressed in all black, walking down the aisle with a purpose.
And even Joey trailed off in mid sentence, mouth agape as he noticed just who was approaching the ring.
Owen Hart was in the ECW Arena.
The crowd, understandably, went nuts as Owen climbed into the ring and stood next to Joey, who between the noise of the crowd and his own shock took a minute or so, but seemed like longer, to compose himself. Before, not so eloquently, managing to stammer out the question everybody was surely wondering, "wh-what are YOU doing HERE?"
Owen: "What am I doing here? Something I should have done a long time ago. See I was invited here to ECW to speak my mind... and Joey Styles, I've got a few things to get off my chest."
Joey would shrug and hand over the microphone to Owen, as eager to hear what he had to say as everyone else probably was, leaving Owen to talk about what happened in Montreal a couple months ago and how he'd been sat at home since then. He told everyone that he'd done a lot of thinking over the past month and he had a lot more still to do, but there was one decision that he'd come to.
Owen: "See I've been a company guy for a long time now. For 9 years, I've busted my back, trying to be the best. And I'm sick and tired of being disrespected, so as far as I'm concerned, the bullshit stops here. I'm not going to be some corporate puppet anymore. I'm not gonna sit there and be taken for granted for my loyalty. My brother Bret, Neidhart, Bulldog, they did what they had to do. And now, I'm going to do what I have to do. I'm going to forge my own path and I'm gonna show the whole world exactly what I'm about. From now on, this Hart is going to beat for itself. I'm doing things MY way, by MY rules and I'm going to do it on my own and there's nobody who's going to tell me what to do or when to do it and that includes Vince McMahon and the World Wrestling Federation, because as far as I'm concerned, you can shove it!"
The crowd were understandably behind Owen all the way here and roared their approval for Owen saying that, as he handed the microphone back over and did a lap of the ring slapping hands on his way out, as Joey continued to look stunned at what just happened.
After that shocking turn of events, it was time to regroup a little, as Justin Credible made his way to the ring for his upcoming match, alongside Jason and his new valet, Bobcat. Jason would take the microphone before the match and proclaim Justin as the man who put Mikey Whipwreck on the shelf and the man who would send The Great Sasuke back to Japan with his tail between his legs, for the second time. Justin meanwhile spent the entire time goading the crowd, who's chants of "Aldo" didn't seem to go down well with him.
Justin Credible (w/Jason and Bobcat) -vs- The Great Sasuke
Justin had already shocked the world once against the man considered to be one of the finest junior heavyweights in Japan, if not the world. Last time was a little different though. This time, Sasuke had specifically returned to America because of the disrespect shown by Justin, not just towards himself, but towards Mikey Whipwreck. And with something to prove against the brash upstart, Sasuke came out with a lot more fire than he did in their first encounter.
At the start of the match Credible could barely get any respite, followed to the floor any time he tried to take a breather, either on foot or through the air. At one point a Sasuke baseball slide sent Credible flying over the barricade and into the front row, where Sasuke gave the crowd an even closer view of his devestating kicks before following Justin back inside. It would be a baseball slide that turned the tide in Justin's favour though, sidestepping a second one later on and sending Sasuke into the barricade, before going to work on the knee of the Japanese star. Joey pointed out that Credible was trying to do to Sasuke what he'd done to Mikey, as he used whatever he could to damage the knee, be it ring post, ring apron or even a chair. Sasuke's flying and his kicks were both hampered by the bad knee and it made getting back into the match tougher too.
Sasuke would try and a while he was succeeding, able to pull off some of his awe-inspiring arsenal even on one leg. The knee was always there waiting to be exploited though. And after a kick to the knee to stop Sasuke in his tracks, Credible was able to hit his spinning tombstone. Sasuke kicked out, much to Justin's surprise. A second spinning tombstone followed though and this time it was enough, giving Justin two wins over one of Japan's finest and forcing some begrudging respect from Joey on commentary.
Winner: Justin Credible, via pinfall, in 7:49
Taz -vs- Brakus (w/Lance Wright)
This match had been months in the making, ever since Lance Wright introduced the man known as Brakus as his bodyguard. The powerhouse from Germany had seemingly been on a collision course with Taz every time he appeared, but every time, Brakus was convinced not to fight by Wright. Fearing no man, no matter the size, clearly Taz was more than willing to see what the WWF's hired muscle was made of. The question was, when would Lance Wright relent and let Brakus compete.
Well, the answer was here and the result wasn't pretty for the World Wrestling Federation. Taz had been in this position before and every man who thought they could simply beat Taz with size ended up suffering the same fate. Brakus was no different, getting a few clubbing shots in on Taz at the start, before a couple of suplexes and a Tazmission later, he became just another victim.
Winner: Taz, by submission, in 2:51
Taz celebrated the win after the match, Brakus and Lance Wright making a hasty exit, as Taz stood tall having vanquished another opponent.
Rob Van Dam (w/Bill Alfonso) -vs- Bam Bam Bigelow
1997's November To Remember was headlined by a punishing main event between Bam Bam Bigelow and Shane Douglas for the ECW World Heavyweight Championship, which neither man came out of unscathed. Douglas won the title but left with a shattered elbow, still yet to return and with question marks hanging over his future in ECW. Meanwhile, Bigelow also hadn't been seen since losing the title and on his return to the ring, a tough test awaited him in the athletic and confident Rob Van Dam.
Clearly, dropping the ECW Title had lit a fire under The Beast From The East though as he looked like a monster in the early stages of the match, finally let loose. Van Dam did his best to stick and move to take the fight to Bigelow, but any time he got caught, or took a shot, RVD clearly felt the effects. At one point, Bigelow even teased pressing Van Dam from the ring into the second row, in shades of his monumental feat on Spike Dudley, with only a rake of the eyes saving Van Dam from some unwanted crowd surfing.
Van Dam would be forced to get creative to find a way into the match under Bigelow's onslaught, bringing a chair into play when the match moved outside to even the odds. And having avoided being sent flying into the crowd earlier on, Van Dam would choose to take flight on his own volition, with a jaw-dropping somersault dive from the top rope, over the barricade and onto Bam Bam that popped the crowd. The time away finally started to seem like it had caught up to Bigelow at that point, as RVD pushed the pressure and Joey had to question Bigelow's condition and how close to 100% he came into the match at.
Bigelow still had plenty left in the tank, as it turns out and he fought his way back into the match with big power moves, after catching RVD on a crossbody attempt and delivering a splash. Just when Bigelow seemed on the right track again however, the Triple Threat would hit the ring. Chris Candido and Lance Storm would both try to help RVD out and both get laid out by Bigelow. Sunny then attempted a distraction on the bigman and almost took a trip to Asbury Park for her troubles, but for a low blow from Candido. The two on one ensued, but was brief, Bigelow pressing Candido into Lance and sending both men scurrying to the floor. That allowed RVD to connect with a spin kick for two, but after a combo of strikes, RVD got caught with a clothesline that turned him inside out, before a big powerbomb would pick up the win for Bam Bam, in spite of the Triple Threat's efforts.
Winner: Bam Bam Bigelow, by pinfall, in 14:02
STAIRWAY TO HELL MATCH
The Sandman -vs- Sabu (w/Bill Alfonso)
The main event saw the continuation of the ongoing feud between The Sandman and Sabu and as Joey wondered aloud on commentary, it wasn't clear what it would take to settle the score. Having already faced each other in Singapore Cane, Tables And Ladders and Death Matches, this match would be a first ever, the Stairway To Hell Match. Essentially, this was like a regular ladder match. But instead of retrieving a belt, above the ring hung a loop of barbed wire. And by pulling it down, you didn't win the match, but instead, you got to use it on your opponent.
In the mean time, Sabu and Sandman were content to 'just' use ladders and tables and other assorted weaponry on each other, in a variety of innovative and insane ways, in what was a chaotic contest to close the show. The bar between the two seemed to have been raised at November To Remember, but they may well have topped it here. Sabu would fly in the ring, out of the ring and over the guardrail. Sandman would resort to suplexing inanimate objects into Sabu to cause more damage. Both men would go through tables and the crowd would get an up close and personal view of all of this mayhem, as for a while, the barbed wire seemed a secondary consideration.
Eventually it would be Sandman who made the first climb for it. He'd soon regret it though as Sabu pushed the ladder, sending Sandman careering over the top rope and through another table on the arena floor. Sabu would then retrieve the barbed wire, only to make the mistake of leaping off the top at Sandman with it, only for Sandman to sidestep and Sabu to crash into the barricade.
The barbed wire was now in play, which only turned up the violence. Both men ended up tasting the wire along the way, but still that wasn't enough. Sandman brought his trusty singapore cane into the match. Sabu meanwhile dug into his boot and produced a pair of scissors, in some sort of homage to his uncle The Original Sheik. Both men would be left bleeding profusely by the end of it but particularly Sandman, who looked the more worse for wear of the two, just about. Sabu couldn't find the nutty move to put Sandman away however and the Sandman would hang in the match, long enough to find the cane again and connect.
One more table would be introduced into the fray and thanks to a chair slid in by Fonzie, it would be Sandman set up on it, wrapped in barbed wire, with Sabu climbing to the top of a ladder. Sandman would met Sabu at the top though, still wrapped in the wire. And with a superplex off the top through the table, Sandman mercifully got the three, to end a memorable main event to the show.
Winner: The Sandman, via pinfall, in 14:45
- I'm ecstatic that, even if it's for a short time, we've got Tammy on board and she's a part of ECW. But, with that said, it's such a shame she's so hard to work with and that, apparently, not everyone is so happy to have her around. Her attitude hasn't gone down well with some of the locker room and I had to warn her to play nice, because it was looking like it could turn into a more troublesome situation. Whether it'll get through, I don't know.
- Jerry was once again the star in his and Tommy's tag team match, but Tommy is finding things easier as he re-finds himself as a Wholesome face again.
- We kept Bubba and D-Von strong in the six man tag, including by having Big Dick take the fall. We have to use Big Dick sparingly, because the crowd know how limited he is and aren't shy about vocalising that fact. Even here, with the match being a glorified brawl and protecting how we used him, he still took a ton of heat from the crowd. But, a guy his size is a good win for people to get.
- Sasuke and Credible are a great pairing and Sasuke's been invaluable in setting the foundations for Justin as an upstart heel. Now Justin's 2-0 over him, we probably can't go back to this any time soon. But, something to keep in the back pocket.
- This was it for Brakus. Look, the guy's no good. He's a jakked up bodybuilder and he's green as grass. But this was always going to be the plan. Build up to the match and get it over and done with quickly. Taz gets another giant on a resume and we helped Vince out by giving his pet project something to do for a few months. Any longer than three minutes and we might have lost the crowd for the rest of the show. This was laid out as much as we could have done to get Brakus through it and he still stunk up the joint. Maybe this vocation isn't for you, Brakus. But hey, good luck to you. You have muscles and that's a start.
- I set aside time after the show to compliment Bam Bam, who really delivered with Rob tonight, as well as acknowledging Tommy Rogers and Paul Diamond as good examples for the rest of the locker room. Having that veteran presence on the show is something I value and these guys are solid hands with a lot of knowledge to share particularly when it comes to tag team wrestling. Maybe they're not the kind of guys most people think of when they hear the name 'ECW', but they're an important and undervalued part of things in my opinion.
Last edited by cbacon87 : 05-30-2018 at 06:18 AM.