ECW - The federation as we know it actually began in the early 90's as Eastern Championship Wrestling. It was a typical promotion, not a lot of the violence and stunts that we see now. But, that changed in 1994 when Shane Douglas won a tournament to crown a new National Wrestling Alliance Heavyweight Champion. Douglas was also the holder of the ECW (then known as the Eastern Championship Wrestling) title. In shocking fashion, Douglas dissed the NWA title and declared his ECW title as a true world championship!! He even renamed his title and that fed Extreme Championship Wrestling, thus the birth of the wildest federation on planet earth!
Over the past five years, we have been treated to violence and carnage to be sure but we've also had seen some classic wrestling matches as well. While ECW fancies itself as "The New Revolution", I think it is a throw back to.....the old NWA. Now, before you chew me out about this, think about it. The NWA, particularly the Mid-Atlantic, Florida and Georgia areas, was home to some of the best wrestling action in the world during the 70's and most of the 80's. Men like "Nature Boy" Ric Flair, Terry and Dory Funk, Dusty Rhodes used to defend the NWA World title in some wild bouts. Sure, they are known as classics now but if you will look back at those matches closely, you'll see that they very closely resemble the title matches in ECW.
As far as weapons go, the NWA was prone to have plenty of that. Remember Magnum T.A. and his baseball bat? How about steel chairs? There was also plenty of blood spilled during the glory days of the NWA too.
Another comparison is the specialty matches. Sure, ECW has taken those "gimmick bouts" to another level but the NWA was known for those matches. Contrary to what the WWF will tell you, the first known ladder match took place in 1987 during the Great American Bash when Tully Blanchard and Dusty Rhodes battled for $100,000.00 in a barb wire match where the winner would be the one who could climb a ladder to get the bag of money! True, it wasn't called a "ladder match" but it was a ladder match in principle. ECW has used the ladder match several times since they began their crazy existance. Also, remember when Jim Crockett, Jr. began the WarGames bout? Those were the bloodiest, most violent bouts in wrestling at that time!! WCW's version (especially under its "G" rated regime) will never touch that. If ECW had that bout on its card, you could bet it would be a bloodbath!!
Speaking of which, I once again plucked out $21.95 to watch ECW Living Dangerously last night. While I haven't seen anything from ECW yet that will top ECW Heatwave '98 from last August, ECW Living Dangerously was worth its price tag. The night started of with another classic bout between Tenjiri and Super Crazy from the Aztec promotion in Mexico. These two are sensational!! We then went on to see some new guy challenge anyone to come down to take him on. The poor jabroni got his wish in the form of Balls Mahooney, who preceeded to (putting it bluntly) lay his tired ass out!
From there, we saw the best match on the card as "Mr. Monday Night" Rob Van Damn took on Jerry Lynn (formerly Mr. J.L. in WCW) for the ECW Television Title. This bout saw both men use the best of their respective arsenals. RVD retained the title after a 20+ minute bout but was so impressed by the skills of his opponent that he challenged Jerry Lynn to a rematch as the next PPV called Hardcore Heaven.
The next match was just a plain old street brawl as New Jack laid out his former partner Mustafa in a street fight bout. He once again, like he did last year, performed his splash from the top of the balcony onto Mustafa for the win! The Dudley Boys also made an appearance as they took out Spike Dudley and Super Nova before being laid out themselves by Sid. Sid also performed an awesome powerbomb on Spike from the ring ramp, through a table, and to the concrete floor. There was also an old fashioned tag team grudge match as Shane Douglas and Tommy Dreamer took on Justin Credible and Lance Storm. Douglas and Dreamer defeated this young, arrogant duo but got laid out in the end by Justin's entorage of Jason, Jasmine (I've been told that is her actual name though they haven't officially named her yet), Tammy Lynn Bytch (who is calling herself Beulah these days), The Jackle (who is going by the name Syrus) as well as Storm and Credible.
The main event saw TAZ defend his ECW Title against his arch rival Sabu in a close bout. Sabu's performance was particularly courageous because he had a legit injury in the form of a fractured jaw that he suffered over a month ago in a match against TAZ. He even spat up blood during the bout but kept wrestling. Still, TAZ was too much as he put his away with his katahijimi (TAZmission) sleeper/chokehold for the win.
If you have a question, comments, criticism, or just want to talk pro wrestling, e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
Ervin Griffin Jr. is Solie's resident historian and also contributes to the Ringside Insider on a regular basis. Many of his previous articles are available in the
Scenes from last weeks show open the first hour. Nash, Hogan and Goldberg confront Flair and the big tag team main event is made. Charles Robinson and Goldberg came through for Flair of course to put the nWo team down. Cut to the end of the Hardcore Three Way Dance from the last PPV - Chastity turns on her brother.
Nitro is live from Club La Vela in Panama City, Florida. Sting made a fatefull appearance by rapelling down from a helicopter at this location a while back... The ring floats on a platform in the pool. This is the big annual Spring Break Out program.
Bull Payne vs. Van Hammer - the crowd starts chanting "boring..." about two minutes into this one. I agree... Hammer has the size advantage (Payne is but a shadow of his size of just a few years ago) but experience goes to Payne. He runs it out to ringside where he takes the advantage for a while. Back in the ring, Hammer will have the advantage again as soon as he rises to his full height. Payne gets loose and pulls off a swan splash but it hardly phases Hammer who shakes it off then slams Payne out of a cobra clutch. He applies his (patent pending) "Flashback" - whipping powerbomb move, to get the pin.
Scenes from the Cruiserweight Title match on Nitro - Rey, Jr. takes the belt for the fourth time. Cut to Ricky Rackman interviewing Rey, Jr. who offers Kidman a rematch at Spring Stampede. Cut to commercial.
RR with Disco Inferno - he insults the local talent (tacky Disco...) Ricky rejoins witha a complaint about Disco intrusion into the Konnan video - then they play the disputed video. The point is to build up a Konnan/Disco match for the PPV. Tony does a parody of Lee Marshall that is actually not bad... Cut to commercial.
We come back to a stylized rendition of the split between Buff Bagwell and Scott Steiner. And how many time have these guys "broken up" or been "injured" then ended up revealing it was all a scam..? Cut to more commercials.
Fit Finley pounds of Rick Steiner's trailer door just to make sure he's there for their match tonight. Cut to Ric Flair making his spiel in the ring from Nitro to series of clips that tell the same story as the ones at the top of the show in a little more detail. Same result as before...
A Goldberg tribute is interrupted by Hak (w/Chastity) who wants a match with the monster tonight. RR is a twerp who needs to go back to radio...or whatever...Cut to commercial. They say that Sting is going to be on QVC tomorrow night. That will be his first TV appearance in some time.
El Dandy/Silver King/Psychosis/and a "mystery 4th man" vs. LaParka/Lizmark/Super Calo/Damien - the 4th members of the first team turns out to be La Cucherracha (whoever that is) The newcomer seems to be a bruiser, though its hard to tell because of the baggy street clothes he wears. Damien has some great moments during the first few minutes of the match, later during one of those typical Lucha "lets all make the same mistake" series - every man in the match throws himself off the top only to splash the bare matt one after the other. It is the newcomer, La Cucuracha who finally makes his splash and then pins Damien. Cut to commercial.
The second hour begins with another showing of the opening montage then the usual 2nd hour pyro display. Nitro Grrrrrls are in the stands, pumping up the crowd as Tony hypes the program. Cut to earlier today, Ric Flair and JJ Dillon discussing Ric's appearance on tonight's show. He wants to be seen as challenging the entire company by putting everyone's name in a hat- but rig the procedure so that he will face a good, beatable, opponent - crusierweights are an especial requirement. Cut to Dusty Rhodes on videotape, claiming that Flair made promises to him about Dusty's renewed activity with the company once he assumed control, but it hasn't happened so far and he's upset about it. He manages to cast aspersions on Legandary Larry in the course of his rant. He wants Larry's job..! He reminds Flair that he (Flair) may be "the cock of the walk"but he (Rhodes) is still "the bull of the woods" (grunt..?) Raven shows up on the platform and demands a World Title shot in his whining manner - Flair counters with an offer of a shot at the Tag Team Titles for Raven and Kanyon (who isn't here, of course). Kanyon takes the match as a handicap bout, apparently. Flair says he will wrestle for the Title tonight but the opponent is yet to be named. Cut to commercial.
Fit Finley vs. Rick Steiner - this is an excellent match on paper - two veteran bruisers, hookers both of them, submission wrestling machines, similar styles, size, weight etc. They fight savagely but fairly until Finley delivers a throat shot. Steiner barely flinches, looks him in the eye and says "..huh?" and it starts to break down. Now it is more of a brawl, heavy shots punctuate the action. Tony is taunting Larry with questions about Dusty Rhodes' statements. In the ring the two bulls have settled into a see-saw routine - Finley applies a rear chinlock as we cut to commercial.
Finley has managed to ground Steiner through the break and has a surfboard as we return. He lets loose as Steiner struggles free and then drags his head over to the apron for a smash. Steiner continually struggles free only to get nailed with yet another debilitating shot. Steiner transforms a suplex attempt against him into a DDT and turns the tables for the last time. A bulldog from the top gives him the win. Cut to commercial.
Nitro Grrrrrls on a large stage somewhere...
El Vampiro vs. Juventud Guerrera - the celebrated Mr. V makes his first Nitro appearance since returning to WCW. He towers over his opponent and tries to wrestle the big man's game but Juvie is a little ahead of him and way to mobile to be held down for long. His first full cover is undertaken cavelierly and fails. A running powerbomb puts Juvey on notice so that a second attempt is foiled. Vampiro falls out to the floor and gets splashed there. He paces the outside of the ring stalling for time then gingerly re-enters and calls for a test of strength as we cut to commercial.
Vampiro is delivering chops in the corner as we return. Juvey strikes back with his sudden aerial assault but is cut short by flying DDT. Now Vampiro is working on a leg, Juvey kicks him away with his free leg but Vampiro is right back on it. Juvey is re-energized and thinks he can go for the 450 splash...but is mistaken - he is caught at the top and upset. Vampiro delivers a super gutwrench suplex. Thinks it's over? Not quite. Juvey comes back with a Juvey Driver and takes the pin.
"Miss Nitro" contest finals - Ricky the rack-man at his smarmy best introduces Miss Nitro - a college girl - blonde - Hollywood Hogan and Kevin Nash show up with a bevy of beauties for the nWo "Miss Spring Break" contest - to be determined by audience applause. They introduce an eigth girl - Torrie Wilson is handed into the ring by David Flair. Ricky tries valiantly to re-assert his control of the agenda but is forced to choose Torrie as "Miss Spring Break". Cut to commercial.
Hak (w/Chastity) vs. Goldberg - this could be fun - the Sandman (Hak) is a very powerful, fierce competitor. He attacks Goldberg on the outside, beats him down and chokes him against the railing. Back in the ring, Goldberg asserts himself but Hak just sidesteps him and sends him tumbling to the floor. Hak gets a chair into the ring and uses it to wake Goldberg up. The latter comes roaring back in typical fashion- spear, jackhammer, yatta, yatta, yatta...
Bret Hart answers a summons from Mean Gene in the ring so he can whine about his treatment in WCW. He reminds us that he hasn't had a World Title shot since coming to the promotion. His Rodney Dangerfieldish rant challenges Hogan and Nash and eventually contains the phrase "I could beat Goldberg in 5 minutes..." The challenge is clearly out there. Cut to commercial.
Nitro Grrrls portray their favorite wrestlers is a cleverly arranged routine.
Horace vs. Vincent - just when I thought maybe we wouldn't hear from the B-Team travails tonight...I am disappointed. These two have an uninspired brawl which seems to favor Horace in the early going but gradually shifts over to the more experienced Vincent...until Horace starts to get his second wind. Stevie Ray appears ringside to complicate the mix. He inadvertantly helps Vincent win the match then attacks Vince. Brian Adams runs in but has little affect as all parties scatter. Stevie and Adams seems to be discussing a plan that apparently failed as we cut to commercial.
The Horsemen are in the ring (sans Mongo) and JJ Dillon has a drawing tumbler. They pick #23. In the back, an injured El Dandy gives his number to Rey Misterio, Jr. Flair has a fit when Misterio appears. He accepts the match reluctantly. Cut to commercial.
The Horsemen vs. Raven - Handicap match for the Tag Team Titles - Raven is attacked by both opponents as he enters the ring. They systematically tear him limb from limb until Malenko applies a Texas Cloverleaf. Raven refuses to submit - he yells, "No!!!" to the referee's inquiry. They double team him time and again and have stopped trying to pin him. Perry Saturn walks right into the ring, is warned off, then attacks them both. He is accepted into the match as Raven's partner. Raven lies prostrate on the apron as Saturn takes his place in the Horsemens' clutches. Saturn is knocked to the floor then rolled back in. He is dismantled until Benoit goes up for his big head butt and misses. Raven gets the tag and suddenly comes alive, having been playing possum for the last several minutes - he turns the tide and gives Saturn a chance to put the Rings on Benoit. Raven and Malenko both run in with title belts in their hands and the match is suddenly thrown out. Raven and Saturn think they've won but they haven't. Cut to commercial.
Video review of Flair stripping the US Title from the injured Scott Hall and announcing a tournament to fill the vacant Title is followed by footage from the first tounament match between Meng and Bam Bam Bigalow.
Scott Steiner comes to the ring by his lonesome. His misogynist rant is more suggestive then blatant. His opponent is Chris Jericho who wears a sash with what looks like Hebrew writing on it but fails to explain it's significance. Steiner dominates his light heavyweight opponent from the get go. Jericho gets a flurry of offense which puts Steiner out of the ring - but then misses a suicide dive. Back in the ring he is back on the receiving end of Steiner's supplex machine until he catches BPP's neck on the top rope. Moments later he gets a Lionsault but hesitates to gesture for the crowd and throws away the possible win. Eventually Steiner applies the Recliner and makes Jericho submit.
Rey Misterio, Jr. vs. Ric Flair - WCW World Title match - Michael Buffer is on hand for the introductions. Flair enters first. no doubt in order to secure the ring area before his challenger shows his face. Buffers take on Rey's name is epic. As I have commented before, Flair looks better then he has in years. He refuses to shake Rey's hand and pays for that slur as Misterio hits him from every side. Flair has to lure him to the floor where Arn can deck him then takes it back into the ring. The Champion has his trained referee on hand, Charles Robertson. Now Flair is grounding the youngster pretty effectively for several minutes then Rey gets loose and starts to trash him again. Flair takes the low road to regain the advantage. He tries a series of pin attempts but can't make the kid lie still. Rey escapes again and Flair is on the defensive. He goes up and gets caught there. Rey climbs up and steadies Flair who is overbalanced and threatening to tumble, only to lay a Frankensteiner on him! Before Robinson can finish the count, Arn drags him out of the ring and causes a disqualification. Flair rolls out and then tries to return but Rey cuts him off with a mule kick and sends Flair into the pool. Fade to black.
I'll be back on Thursday with the Thunder report. Until then...
At least that's the way I see it...
Editor, Solie's Wrestling Newsletter
This page is a personal tribute and is in no way connected to any of the wrestling promotions mentioned on it. It is dedicated to the Dean of Wrestling announcers, Gordon Solie. Copyright 1998 - Jump City Productions