Wednesday, 29 November 2017

ECW Barely Legal 1997 Review

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Hello and welcome to a hardcore edition of Seanomaniac Wrestling Reviews, the only wrestling review series on the internet to be more vomit inducing than promo time with Droz! It’s a new arc, we are going to the land of extreme with ECW’s first pay per view Barely Legal 1997. Many are familiar with the history of the brand so I will offer a brief synopsis to clue those who may not now much in: Paul Heyman formerly Paul E Dangerously came to the company after leaving WCW, became head book and took wrestling a new direction. Heyman wanted wrestling to be like music at the time, Nirvana changed the scene and Heyman wanted ECW to change the wrestling scene. Adult heavy content, more violent matches, sexuality filled segments ECW was cutting edge, ECW was The Attitude Era before WWF found its own. So, ECW needed to keep expanding they had house shows and tv and with Barely Legal, they came to pay per view with big talent names all over the card, the question was could ECW knock it out of the park? Let’s find out!


Opening Promo


Joey Styles stands in the middle of the ring with rabid ECW fans chanting and screaming while Styles welcomes everyone to the show. Styles tries to run down the crowd but here comes The Dudley Boyz with Sign Guy Dudley. Styles will have to wait for another time as The Dudleys are here to do their thing.


(ECW Tag Team Championship Match) The Dudley Boyz © W/ Sign Guy Dudley/Joel Gertner vs The Eliminators


The Dudleys were ECW’s top tag team after Public Enemy had left for greener pastures in WCW, The Dudleys were meant to be one big hillbilly family that featured children from many of Poppa Dudley’s one night stands. There was Snot Dudley, Big Dick Dudley, Spike Dudley and Dances With Dudley to name a few. The most iconic incarnation of the group was D-Von and Bubba Dudley, the two would unite as Bubba turned heel to join forces with D-Von. The Dudleys ruled supreme in ECW and this was when The Dudleys were in their element but faced a great challenge in The Eliminators, Kronus was like no other big man, doing flips like they were nothing while Saturn had the look and the skills to be a big deal in the business by himself.


Sign Guy tries attacking The Eliminators, two seconds in we see Total Elimination on Sign Guy. The Dudleys come into the match, powerbomb and headbutt on Kronus for a two count. Sidewalk slam and splash combination on Saturn, Kronus makes the save. Suplex/crossbody combination on Kronus but Saturn saves his partner. Saturn dropkicks both Dudleys, clotheslines to The Dudleys before a huge slam from Bubba stops Saturn. Kronus avoids 3D for a spinning heel kick, enzuigiris on D-Von. Bubba eats double punches and superkicks, stereo scoop slams and moonsaults. The Dudleys bail to the floor while the fans roar in approval, The Eliminators decimate The Dudleys with a Saturnsault to the floor.


Kronus nails a Space Flying Kronuscault, amazing move for a big man like Kronus. Saturn nails a springboard spinning heel kick on D-Von, Bubba eats a handspring elbow from Kronus. Huge Elbow drop by Saturn on Bubba, D-Von eats two kicks to the back of the head. Saturn nails Bubba with a double jump Saturnsault, Kronus nails D-Von with a 450 Splash. The Eliminators drill Bubba  with kicks, they call for the finish. Total Elimination to Bubba and we have new champions, Gertner eats Total Elimination for running his mouth.


Well, the crowd were eating up everything that happened in the match, this made for a great visual for anyone watching at home you could feel the electricity inside of the building. As for the match itself, it came off as a massive squash, The Dudleys were beaten to a pulp after their initial offensive flurry, The Eliminators mowed them down. So, it was not a great match in any sense but it seemed like the perfect way to start off the show.


Winners: The Eliminators over The Dudley Boyz via Total Elimination!


Hype Package For Sandman


In preparation for the three way dance, Styles brings up one of the competitors being The Sandman. Highlights of Sandman drinking, smoking and beating people with canes pops up on the screen. Good way to introduce the character of The Sandman.


Lance Storm vs Rob Van Dam


Chris Candido is injured, Candido is in a sling having done something to his bicep. Candido rambles about the card before in Candido’s place we have Lance Storm vs Rob Van Dam. Storm had made a name for himself in Japan and in Smokey Mountain Wrestling as part of The Thrillseekers with Chris Jericho. RVD is the man facing Lance Storm, RVD had wrestled in WCW and All Japan before making a name for himself in his battle with Sabu in ECW.


We have you sold out chants for RVD as RVD was aligning himself with Jerry Lawler and the WWF in the lead-up to the pay per view as ECW was being promoted on Raw. Storm grabs a side headlock, some nice mat wrestling before a clothesline from Storm. Forearms to the face, RVD escapes a side headlock for kicks and armdrags. Springboard crossbody for two, RVD throws Storm to the floor. Tope con hilo by RVD, RVD poses proud of his work in the ring. Top rope leg drop for two, Storm reverses an Irish whip for an elbow, RVD is hung on the top rope, dropkick to the floor by Storm. Storm misses a plancha and crashes hard, RVD sends Storm into the guard rail. RVD nails Storm with a guard rail moonsault, RVD whips Storm to the corner and smashes a chair off Storm’s face.


RVD poses some more, running dropkick with the chair hitting Storm in the face. Double underhook front slam by RVD, Five Star Frog Splash for two. RVD has a chair, Storm is cracked in the face. Storm dodges a splash and suplexes RVD onto the chair, RVD misses a spinning heel kick but Storm connects with one of his own. Cartwheel splash, springboard clothesline for two. Roll-through Boston crab by Storm, RVD reaches the ropes. RVD elevates Storm to the apron, Storm is tripped by RVD and RVD nails a slingshot leg drop on Storm who lays across the apron. Storm nails RVD with the chair, sit-out powerbomb for two. Storm is up high, guillotine leg drop by Storm for two. Dropkick by Storm, low blow by RVD.


Storm is placed on the top rope, springboard elbow drop by RVD. Two for RVD, German suplex by Storm for two. Storm has the chair, weak chair shot by Storm. Make it two, RVD nails The Van Damnator and a standing moonsault for the win before shooting all over Storm, the match and ECW.


Not too bad, weak in spots with Storm’s chair shots and a botch or two here making the crowd react negatively. Storm and RVD would improve so much over the course of their stay in ECW. RVD was very reliant on hardcore spots to get over his matches at this point, this match did not have a tonne of those kind of spots which left us with a match that was average.


Winner: RVD over Lance Storm via Standing Moonsault!


(Michinoku Pro Wrestling Six-Man Match) Taka Michinoku/Terry Boy/Dick Togo vs Great Sasuke/Gran Hamada/Masato Yakushiji


No Gran Naniwa due to injury the replacement is the young Yakushiji. We get the streamer treatment Japanese style for the wrestlers of Michinoku Pro. The BWO were known as Kaientai DX in Michinoku Pro, they would make a few WWF appearances most notably at King Of The Ring and Summerslam 1998. The biggest names of this match would be Taka Michinoku who many would known from the WWF being their first ever light heavyweight champion and now a member of Suzukigun. After the WWF, Taka carved up a great career for himself in All Japan as a member of RO&D with Jamal, D’Lo Brown, Bull Buchanan and Taiyo Kea before joining Suzukigun. The other big name is Great Sasuke, star of many great matches in NJPW with the likes of Wild Pegasus and Jushin Liger to name a few. Michinoku Pro’s style was puroresu  mixed with lucha libre so expect lightening quick moves, no tags as wrestlers switch as they please and a tonne of crowd pleasing spots.


Hamada and Michinoku begin, armdrag by Hamada. Dropkick by Hamada, snapmare and a scoop slam, in comes Yakushiji. Slam and a leg drop for two, in comes Sasuke. Kicks floor Michinoku, Michinoku clobbers Sasuke and tags Terry Boy. Elbow and senton by The BWO, Sasuke comes in and eats a spinebuster/camel clutch/lowdropkick by The BWO. Elbows by Togo, senton for two. Yakushiji saves Sasuke, Togo rakes the eyes and tags Michinoku. Scoop slam and tag to Terry Boy, knees to the head of Yakushiji. Stalling suplex by Terry Boy, two for Terry Boy. Togo grabs Yakushiji, flapjack by Togo. Yakushiji counters a flapjack for a hurricanrana and headscissors, Togo slides out before Yakushiji wipes out Michinoku with an armdrag.


Hamada and Terry Boy collide, headbutt by Hamada. Armbar by Hamada, in comes Michinoku. Michinoku nails Terry Boy by mistake, armbar by Hamada. Back suplex and tag to Sasuke, double chop and a sleeper by Sasuke. Terry Boy saves Michinoku, beautiful theatrics from Sasuke and Terry Boy before a crossbody by Sasuke. Yakushiji and Michinoku are in, Terry Boy rakes the eyes of Yakushiji. Terry Boy eats a dropkick and a headscissors, Hamada and Togo go at it in the ring. Dropkick by Togo, Hamada and Michinoku are in the ring, chops by Hamada. Triple beatdown by the babyfaces, Sasuke has a single leg Boston crab by Michinoku, Michinoku counters for an enzuigiri.


Corner forearm by Michinoku, Togo and Terry Boy nail a double bulldog. Low dropkick by Michinoku, The BWO pose on Sasuke. Huge dropkick by Togo, Terry Boy applies a spinning toe hold on Sasuke. Drilling tornado DDT by Terry Boy, Michinoku knocks down Sasuke. Brainbuster by Michinoku on Yakushiji, tag to Terry Boy. Big boot and lariat/springboard knee combination on Yakushiji, scoop slam by Togo. Middle rope somersault senton by Togo, backdrop driver by Terry Boy but Hamada saves. Back drop by Michinoku on Hamada, foot choke by Michinoku. Spike piledriver by Togo and Michinoku, Yakushiji eats a triple powerbomb but Sasuke saves Yakushiji.


Sasuke counters a powerbomb, springboard moonsault onto Terry Boy & Michinoku, Asai moonsault onto Togo. Hamada and Terry Boy remain in the ring, inverted atomic drop by Terry Boy. Springboard plancha by Michinoku onto Hamada, Terry Boy and Yakushiji remain in the ring. Middle rope moonsault by Yakushiji for two, knee and swinging DDT by Terry Boy. Chokeslam into a powerbomb for two, Togo powerslams Hamada for two. Diving tornado DDT by Hamada for two, Irish whip with Togo reversing. Pop-up powerbomb by Togo for two, scoop slam and Togo is on the top rope. Sasuke attacks Togo, Hamada capitalizes. Top rope hurricanrana from the top, Yakushiji climbs to the top rope. Diving hurricanrana by Yakushiji, suicide dive by Yakushiji.


Michinoku belly to belly suplexes Sasuke, missile dropkick to the back of the head. Michinoku Driver but Yakushiji saves the match, Michinoku dives into a dropkick. Springboard moonsault for two, Samurai Powerbomb and Tiger suplex by Sasuke for the win.


All I can say is what a match, the match went for a long time and it was non-stop action from bell to bell. It was fantastic stuff at the end of the day, lots of amazing double team spots and triple team spots mixed with some incredible high-flying action. Nobody looked weak, everyone looked like ungodly stars in the eyes of the fans, the fans ate up everything in the ring. It really was the most fun I had watching wrestling in the past few days. Match of the night so far and hard to beat in my eyes.


Winners: Team Sasuke over Team BWO via Tiger Suplex!


Stevie Richards Promo


Could it be Stevie’s coming out party? A chance to be world heavyweight champion, a chance to belong in ECW hangs in the balance for Stevie Richards. His mentor Raven berated and brutalized Stevie on multiple occasions, Stevie could have the ultimate revenge by beating Raven for his precious world championship. Stevie cuts a black and white promo, showing a fire that had not been seen anywhere in his WWE career. Good stuff.


(ECW Television Championship Match) Shane Douglas © W/ Francine vs Pitbull #2


I must say Francine is one of the most underrated valets in all of wrestling, she was stunning. Now, this has a lot of backstory to it so please listen closely. It began with Francine turning on The Pitbulls to join The Franchise Shane Douglas, it got more heated as Douglas would break Pitbull Gary Wolfe’s neck and it would be worked into the angle with Douglas attacking Gary Wolfe in his halo drawing massive heat from the fans, such heat that Francine and Douglas would be spat on and attacked etc. Gary Wolfe is front row for the match which makes it all the much more heated, Douglas was ECW’s centrepiece in many ways, Douglas carried himself like a star, cut promos like a star and drew heat like nobody else in the company at this point. Pitbull 2 wants revenge and we start off hot, there is an extra stipulation with if Pitbull 2 loses, the masked man who has been harassing Douglas must unmask.


Pitbull 2 back drops and nails a spinning heel kick on Douglas, front chancery from Pitbull 2. Low blow by Douglas, front chancery by Douglas. Side headlock takedown by Pitbull 2, Douglas escapes only to fall into a drop toehold and front chancery. Douglas escapes once more, front chancery by Douglas. Pitbull 2 shrugs off Douglas, Douglas is propped on the top rope. Low blow by Pitbull 2, inverted atomic drop and clothesline by Pitbull 2 for two. Pitbull 2 chokes Douglas in front of Pitbull 1, Francine is almost in tears at Douglas being destroyed. Douglas counters a powerbomb for a hurricanrana, Pitbull 2 nails a clothesline to slow down Douglas.


Douglas counters another powerbomb with a hurricanrana and both spill to the floor, piledriver by Douglas. Make it three, snapmare and dropkick by Douglas. Stalling suplex by Douglas, camel clutch in front of Pitbull 1. Pitbull 2 fires back, two-handed throat toss as Douglas bounces off the corner, inverted atomic drop and a huge lariat. Exploder is blocked by Douglas, Pitbull 2 goes for an ugly powerslam through a table. Douglas meets the guard rail and Pitbull 1 attacks Douglas, the riot quad who protects Douglas have detained Pitbull 1. Pitbull 1 is escorted out of the arena, Pitbull 2 has a section of the guard rail. Pitbull 2 is crotched on the guard rail by Douglas, headbutt to the groin.


Douglas drops the guard rail on Pitbull 2’s back, Pitbull 2 is crotched on the guard rail again and is nailed with a steel chair. Right hands by Douglas, Pitbull 2 shakes it off. Right hands by Pitbull 2, knee by Douglas. Elbow by Douglas, scoop slam as Douglas climbs to the top rope. Pitbull 2 catches Douglas as he dives, Pitbull 2 has Douglas on the top rope. Douglas shoves off Pitbull 2, dropkick by Pitbull 2. Double knockdown in the middle of the ring, shoulder block by Pitbull 2. Powerslam for two, back elbow for two. Dropkick for two, military press slam by Pitbull 2. Francine hands Douglas a chain, Pitbull 2 eats two massive right hands and a piece of table to the head of Pitbull 2. Douglas has a chair, chair to the back for two.


Ringbell to the head for two, more table to the head for two. Douglas has his championship, Pitbull 2 is clocked twice. Douglas pulls out a chain, Pitbull 2 catches Douglas for a pumphandle slam. Pitbull 2 has the chain, Douglas is clocked as is Candido. Douglas no-sells the chain to roll-up Pitbull 2, clothesline by Pitbull 2. Belly to belly suplex by Douglas for the win out of nothing.


Holy fuck was this a bad match, this was the total opposite of the last match. It went on and on with nothing happening for seemingly forever. I have never seen a shit-show such like that for quite some time, there was so much wrong to this match. First, Pitbull 2 should never wrestle by himself, he is the perfect example of someone who should be left in a tag team to hide his flaws, that was brutal. As well as that, there is a great example of why Douglas was not the future of the business, Douglas did nothing to help himself in that match. God bless those fans, they tried their hardest to care but Pitbull 2 was brutal in that ring by himself, everything that Douglas did got no reaction. Douglas killed his own gimmick by no-selling his chain and that finish after being hit with bells/chairs/ brass knuckles, it was a belly to belly that finished Pitbull 2 clean in the middle. No fucking thanks ECW, do not do wrestling and stick to what you know!


Winner: Shane Douglas over Pitbull 2 via Belly to Belly Suplex!


Rick Rude/Raven/Taz


Rick Rude attacks Shane Douglas, Primetime Brian Lee turns on Douglas to side with Rude, great pop for Rude and crazy to see him so fired up in the ring. Raven cuts a promo on Terry Funk, Funk was like Raven’s father. Raven hates Funk and wants to end Funk’s career. Taz talks about his match with Sabu, Taz hates Sabu and talks tough. It is alright, Taz was not exactly the super killer at this stage of his career, the gimmick was not super over just yet.


(Grudge Match Of The Century) Taz vs Sabu


Taz broke his neck, Taz came back pissed off like a motherfucker. Nobody was safe, Taz hated Sabu for abandoning him and abandoning ECW.  Sabu chose bookings with New Japan over ECW (Could you really blame him?) and as a result, Heyman fired Sabu. However, Sabu came back and all during that time, Taz had talked trash about Sabu. The moment came at November to Remember 1996 when Sabu finally returned and now the two do battle on the biggest stage possible for ECW: Live on their very first pay per view.


The two slap one another before a clothesline by Taz, Sabu runs back into the ring and almost falls into a tazmission. Sabu escapes but Taz has a hammerlock, Taz looks for a Tazplex but Sabu blocks it, Taz wins the war with a heel hook. Sabu reaches the ropes, Taz talks trash to Sabu. Sabu tries to take the leg, Taz uses huge forearms across the face of Sabu, huge bodyscissors from Taz. Taz is paint-brushing Sabu, Sabu is bleeding after Taz’s forearms. Taz poses for all in attendance, Sabu rolls outside to compose himself. Low dropkick by Sabu, springboard leg drop. Taz powders, baseball slide by Sabu. Sabu has a chair, Taz is in the crowd, triple jump splash into the crowd.


They brawl through the crowd, the camera stays on Alfonso in the ring for a majority of the brawling. Sabu misses a splash, Taz clotheslines Sabu back ringside. Drop toehold with punches from Taz, both men trading blows on their knees. Sabu wins the war before a single leg takedown from Taz, Taz paintbrushes Sabu. Sabu fights back but Taz outwrestles Sabu for the cross armbreaker. Sabu reaches the ropes, enzuigiri and a springboard Arabian facebuster. Right hand by Sabu, chair to the face of Taz. Double Jump splash by Sabu, Taz dodges the second splash for a flapjack onto the chair.


Two for Taz, lariat from Taz. Two again, spinebuster from Taz. Sabu pulls Taz to the floor, triple jump springboard misses by Sabu. Belly to belly suplex by Taz, Sabu spills out to the crowd. Taz has a table setup between the guard rail and ring apron, Sabu takes out Taz from behind. Taz ends up on the table, Sabu jumps at Taz but Taz counters a DDT and Sabu falls through the table. Fist fight on the floor, Taz ends up in control. Sabu kicks away Taz, top rope hurricanrana for two. Top rope leg drop by Sabu, Taz rolls to the floor to recover. Taz has a cobra clutch into a head and arm Tazplex, another Taz plex but Sabu nails an exploder suplex.


Sabu mocks Taz, Taz is up. Sabu locks in the Tazmission, Taz counters for a massive back suplex. Exploder suplex from Taz, Tazmission. Taz wins with his signature manoeuvre, the grudge match comes to a somewhat disappointing end. Sabu is still alive after the Tazmission, Taz grabs the mic to tell Sabu that it was a great match. After the match, Sabu and RVD fuck up Taz with Bill Alfonso turning on Taz too to join RVD and Sabu.


Yeah, the serious of flat finishes continues, the Douglas match deserved to end flat as the match was garbage but this was ridiculous. This was your grudge match, this was a big match you built your pay per view around and I would say it did not deliver. It was sloppy in parts, it was slow with a lot of throwing fists which is nice to see for a grudge match but there was too much of that kind of stuff going on in this match. It is great for the character of Taz to continue to be an absolute killing machine but a lot of this was terrible. Also, Alfonso turns on Taz and joins the two but didn’t bother his arse helping Sabu win the match? What a shit manager, I would not want Alfonso in my corner.


Winner: Taz over Sabu via Tazmission!


(Three Way Dance Match) Stevie Richards vs The Sandman vs Terry Funk (Winner To Face Raven For The ECW Championship)


Three men who are all vying to face Raven for the championship, Stevie Richards who had been constantly mocked and abused by his mentor Raven. You have The Sandman who lost his wife and son to the brainwashing cult that was Raven’s nest and you have Terry Funk, a man who helped put ECW on the map looking to win the championship from a man that sees him as the epitome of his horrible childhood, everything wrong with the rest of the world. Every man has a reason to win, every man wants to win.


Sandman bowls over Richards, Sandman and Funk chop Richards in the corner. Richards fires back at both, everyone is chopping one another. Lots of chops, Funk has Sandman in the spinning toehold, Richards clotheslines Funk. Sandman and Richards elbow Funk, assisted leg drop for two. Sandman back suplexes Richards, neckbreaker by Funk on Richards. Make it four, Richards kicks out at two. Sandman has a ladder, Funk eats it to the head. Sandman suplexes the ladder onto Richards, DDT by Sandman on Richards. The ladder is in the corner, Sandman and Funk battle on the ladder.


Funk moonsaults onto Richards, Sandman dives off the top rope with the ladder onto Richards. Richards is slammed onto the ladder, two for Sandman. Stevie nails a Steviekick on Sandman for two, Richards whips Sandman into the ladder for two. Sandman and Richards are on the ladder, Funk tips over the ladder. Funk does an airplane spin with the ladder, Sandman and Richards are wiped out. Sandman and Funk fight by the ladder, Richards climbs to the top rope and see-saws the ladder into Funk and Sandman’s faces. Stevie calls for the end, Steviekick to Sandman for two. Steviekick to Funk for two, Sandman hurls Richards to the floor, the ladder is dropped on Richards.


Sandman planchas at Richards, Funk and Richards remain in the ring. Suplex by Funk, Sandman has a trash can. Funk and Sandman suplex Richards on the trash can for two, Funk and Sandman spike piledrive Richards. Richards has a ladder place on top of him, slingshot leg drop by Sandman for two. Powerbomb and Richards is gone from the match, another flat one there with the crowd reacting negative to the whole thing.


Sandman batters Funk, Funk sends Sandman to the floor. Sandman pulls out barbed wire, Funk whips Sandman with the barbed wire. Sandman nails Funk with a trash can, Sandman raps himself in the barbed wire and charges Funk. Clotheslines, top rope leg drop for two. Richards is on the apron, Sandman attacks Richards, Funk places a trash can on Sandman’s head. Steviekick and a Moonsault by Funk ends this match, Funk faces Raven.


Winner: Terry Funk over Everyone Else via Moonsault!


(ECW World Heavyweight Championship Match) Raven © vs Terry Funk


Raven sprints out to attack Funk, Raven nails his signature leg drop on the chair. Chair to the head of Funk, Funk is a bloody mess. Raven stomps Funk over and over, the doctor is here with the crowd thinking Tommy Dreamer will step in for Funk. Funk continues, right hands by Raven. Raven drops Funk through a table with a plancha, Reggie Bennett attacks Funk and Raven gets on the mic to insult Dreamer. Dreamer taunts Raven, Big Dick Dudley attacks Dreamer. Raven DDTs the referee, Dreamer low blows Big Dick and Big Dick crashes through the tables. Dreamer DDTs Raven, Funk covers for two. Funk inside cradles Raven for the win, Funk wins the championship.


A beautiful moment in the company’s history for Funk, one of the veterans who always was making new stars to win the championship on their first pay per view. The three way dance was alright, it suffered from the main issue plaguing the show and that was timing. There was not a lot going on, Sandman was AWOL for most of the match and you have these spot that meant nothing. Richards elimination was just meh, they were hitting him with impressive looking moves but it was the least impressive that killed him off. Sandman cannot wrestle and Funk was Funk. The main event was rushed due to time constraints and half of it was Dreamer and interference. The bell ringing too soon killed the magic a bit for me too. However, they made it through and it was successful enough to warrant more pay per views.


Winner: Terry Funk over Raven via Small Package!



That was ECW’s Barely Legal 1997, their very first pay per view and a difficult one to rate at that! The major issue for me was timing, a lot of the matches went far too long which led to your talent which would admit themselves their flaws, having their flaws exposed. Storm and RVD was just not very good, Douglas vs Pitbull 2 was shockingly bad, Pitbull 2 should never ever wrestle in a singles match unless it is 5 minutes long, that match was torture. Taz and Sabu had moments but it went on and on as did the three way dance. I understand you want to fill the time and the slot but give me something, not matches that drag. I did love the Michinoku Pro match, everyone looked amazing and they popped the crowd more times than anyone else on the card, it really was chaotic fun but the rest of the show left me with much to be desired. Not a bad first effort but nostalgia carries this one. Thanks for reading and remember: There’s always another night!



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