Tuesday 5 December 2017

ECW Hardcore Heaven 1997 Review

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Hello and welcome to another edition of Seanomaniac Wrestling Reviews, the only wrestling review series on the internet that is more woke than Matt Hardy! ECW’s Hardcore Heaven 1997, our second ECW pay per view courtesy of the WWE network. We have a famous rematch as Sabu defends his ECW Championship against Shane Douglas And Terry Funk while Jerry Lawler will face Tommy Dreamer as the ECW vs WWF feud reaches its fever pitch in front of the ECW faithful. This also features the likes of Taz, Candido and The Dudley Boyz. Barely Legal had started the ball running but the matches were noting to write home about, can Hardcore Heaven change that perception?

(ECW Television Championship Match) Chris Candido vs Taz ©

Rick Rude has turned heel, siding with the WWF and joining Shawn Michaels and Triple H in DX. Rude is no longer a commentator in ECW so Tod Gordon forces Rude out of the arena which leaves Candido alone against the Human Suplex Machine Taz. Bell rings and Taz does not move, Candido slaps Taz. Candido spits on Taz, this gets a reaction. Clothesline by Candido with no effect, Candido clubs down Taz. Low blow by Taz and a pumphandle Tazplex, Candido powders. Judo throws and drop toehold by Taz, Candido escapes for a hammerlock. Snapmare into a reverse chinlock into an armbar by Taz, Candido has a hammerlock but Taz counters for a cross armbreaker. Candido sprints to the ropes, Blonde Bombshell Powerbomb by Candido.

Stomps by Candido, rights by Candido. Taz trips Candido, Candido rakes the eyes of Taz. Northern lights suplex by Taz for two, enzuigiri by Candido. Leg drop to the back of the neck, stalling suplex by Candido. Multiple leg drops by Candido, Irish whip to the corner and Taz sends Candido to the floor. Candido sends Taz into the guard rail, Candido punches away at Taz. Candido slaps Taz and nails a top rope hurricanrana. Diving Headbutt by Candido for two, clothesline by Taz.

Bow & arrow from Taz, Candido makes it to the ropes and batters Taz. Another powerbomb for two, more slaps from Candido. Candido whips Taz to the corner, Candido wants the blonde bombshell but Taz has other plans. Huge belly to belly Tazplex, series of reversals. German Tazplex, exploder Tazplex. Candido reverses an Irish whip for a powerslam, Candido places Taz on the top rope. Candido poses, Taz recovers and slaps on a Tazmission for the win.

Decent opening match from these two, I liked Candido’s work outside of the WWE. Taz was a killer in ECW, fun to watch him toss people around and this was more fun to watch than his grudge match with Sabu, a lot more wrestling going on in this match. Candido had great facials too, Candido came off as such a goon it just worked so well when you think about it. Anyways, I enjoyed this match if only more Michinoku Pro matches were on this show!

Winner: Taz over Chris Candido via Tazmission!

ICP Performance

Your Boys are here, Shaggy 2 Dope and Violent J. They get their heads kicked in by RVD while Alfonso watches, well that makes me smile.

Little Spike Dudley vs Bam Bam Bigelow

When the WWF jobs you out to a football player and you know your career is going nowhere, you turn to ECW as did Bam Bam Bigelow. Spike was the runt of The Dudley Family, Spike was beloved by the fans due to his size and Spike vs big guy was a great success for Spike’s whole career. This match seems to be based around Spike pinning Bigelow and Bigelow wanting to fuck Spike into the crowd like he did that one time where the crowd bodysurfed Spike around the arena. Forearms by Spike, headbutt ends that quick, Spike is tossed across the ring by Bigelow. Corner splash, Spike fights back with a bulldog and crucifix before a powerbomb ends Spike’s fun.

Bigelow is serious now, Spike is lifted up and tossed onto the ringpost. Spike is military pressed into the crowd, sweet jesus that is insane! Imagine anyone allowing that nowadays, Spike is bleeding all over everyone. Bigelow taunts, Spike is brought back into the ring by Bigelow. Greetings From Asbury Park and a huge Moonsault for the win.

Certainly a fun match to watch while not being competitive, what amazed me about ECW was its ability to take someone who may have been mid-card at best in WCW or WWF and take them to a level where they seemed like a massive star. Bigelow comes in here like the biggest deal on the planet earth, Spike is a great ragdoll for any opponent.

Winner: Bam Bam Bigelow over Spike Dudley via Moonsault!

Rob Van Dam W/ Bill Alfonso vs Al Snow

RVD sold out alongside Sabu to join the WWF and battle ECW stars, Al Snow is here in his leif Cassidy tights due to a talent exchange that saw Droz and Brakkus in ECW. Snow was a favourite of Jim Cornette, doing great things in Smokey Mountain Wrestling where he received his first big break after working in the business for fifteen years. RVD attacks Snow who is distracted by Alfonso, Snow backs away from RVD. We reset with Snow tripping RVD, front chancery with RVD catching the arm for huge kicks to the face. Forearms by RVD, Snow shoulder blocks RVD and nails a wheelbarrow suplex. Kicks by Snow, RVD moonsaults over Snow. RVD monkey flips Snow and taunts, Snow dropkicks RVD to the floor and delivers a plancha.

 Scoop slam on the floor and a running clothesline by Snow. RVD sends Snow into the ringpost, Snow stomps RVD in the ring. Eye poke by RVD, Snow rolls to the floor. RVD misses a baseball slide, Snow nails a clothesline. RVD meets the guard rail, Snow eats a boot and a moonsault from RVD. Tope con hilo by RVD, RVD is crotched on the top rope by Snow. Snow nails a superplex, Snow places RVD on another turnbuckle. Right hands by Snow, RVD knocks off Snow. Dving thrust kick by RVD, standing moonsault for two. Five Star Frog Splash for two, Snow fires up with an alley oop and huge clothesline. Leg drop and ugly standing moonsault from Snow.

Snowplow for two, RVD misses a diving thrust kick. Dropkick from Snow that sends RVD to the floor, plancha from Snow. Chair to the head by Snow, make it three. Snow smacks RVD with the chair and runs to the entrance ramp, RVD counters the clothesline with a chair to the face. Snow is crotched on the guard rail, Alfonso assists RVD in kicking the chair into Snow’s face. Corkscrew leg drop for two, Snow low blows and DDTs RVD. Alfonso has a chair, Snow gets a two. Alfonso throws the chair, Snow ducks but RVD catches and nails The Van Damnator for the win.

A flat one ladies and gentlemen, RVD disappoints for another pay per view in a row. Alfonso might say it best though, RVD is a raw talent finding his feet. RVD is nowhere near the complete package just yet and it will be some time before RVD crafts those matches with the likes of Storm and Lynn that make you think RVD is special inside that ring. Good showing for Snow on pay per view but this match was not going to set the world on fire and do much for either man.

Winner: RVD over Al Snow via Van Damnator!

Jerry Lawler Promo

Good Lawler promo, Lawler was so underrated during the mid 90s in the WWF, a prick with no filter. Anyways, the WWF have Lawler’s back and Lawler plans to tear apart Tommy Dreamer.

(ECW Tag Team Championship Match) The Dudley Boyz © W/ Sign Guy Dudley/Joel Gertner/Jenna Jameson vs PG-13

PG-13 are the challengers for the championships held by Bubba and D-Von, Ice and Wolfie D are the names, it appears I know where Danny Doring got the inspiration for his douchebag look. Ice looks ridiculous with his haircut, Wolfie D and D-Von begin the match. Armbar and tag to Ice, sloppy Hart Attack for two. Side headlock and shoulder block by Ice, lock-up with another side headlock. Criss-cross, Ice tongues Jameson. Hero of the night, Bubba is not happy about this while Big Dick looks on menacingly. Wolfie D and Bubba reset the match, elbow by Bubba. Shoulder block, Wolfie D hurricanranas Bubba. Left jabs and a huge right, Wolfie D misses a middle rope crossbody. Bubba hammers the arm of Wolfie D, Bubba spits on Ice.

D-Von punishes the arm of Wolfie D, Bubba taunts Ice while D-Von wrenches the arm of Wolfie D. Wolfie D sends Bubba into D-Von, D-Von wrenches the arm of Bubba as Wolfie laughs on, Big Dick Chokeslams PG-13 in the background while the referee was distracted. D-Von nails Ice with a spinning reverse elbow, tag to Bubba and a double shoulder block. Falling headbutt by Bubba, Ice backflips out of the back drop. Jameson trips Ice, Bubba slaps Ice and tags D-Von. Middle rope leg drop by D-Von, tilt-a-whirl sideslam by Bubba. Elbow by D-Von, Ice fights back against Bubba. Low blow to Bubba, DDT to D-Von.

Wolfie D hammers Bubba and D-Von, noggin knocked with The Dudleys shaking it off. Double dropkick by Wolfie D, powerbomb for D-Von. Bubba saves the match, scoop slam by Bubba. Bubba sits on the middle rope, Ice holds down Bubba. Wolfie D nails a facebuster, diving forearm by Ice on D-Von. Ice and Wolfie D plancha onto the champions, Ice is sent into the guard rail with Bubba sliding into the ring, this leads to a 3D on Wolfie D for the win.

Solid match with PG-13 reminding me a tonne of Too Cool before there was Too Cool with their dancing and bizarre way of moving around the ring and acting like rappers despite both being as white as white can be. Solid match, much better than The Eliminators vs Dudleys match from Barely Legal. I am yet to see a great tag team match on pay per view from ECW despite the tag team scene being so vibrant and having so many different acts, I hope that changes with the next pay per view.

Winners: The Dudley Boyz over PG-13 via 3D!

Jerry Lawler vs Tommy Dreamer

Lawler plugs the WWF pay per view later in September, massive heel heat for Lawler. The feud between the two was great though, Dreamer stood for everything that ECW was, ECW came to the WWF to promote their pay per view but the ECW faithful never believed that Lawler would step foot into the ECW arena. They were very wrong as Lawler came in alongside Cornette and caned the bejesus out of Dreamer’s balls. Dreamer stood for the extreme while Lawler stood for everything that ECW was not, it is a story that writes itself when it comes to wrestling. Lawler stomps Dreamer to begin the match, Dreamer gets hardcore to gain the upper hand, lid to the head of Lawler. Lawler is bleeding after the first shot, Dreamer smashes Lawler with a beer to the head.

Lawler is crotched on the guard rail, Lawler has a burger shoved in his face. Baking tray to the head of Lawler, Lawler continues to get beaten like a dog by Dreamer. Lawler takes one hell of an ass whooping as Beulah watches from ringside, Dreamer has a chair. Lawler crotches Dreamer on the top rope, Lawler has a chair and Dreamer is shoved off into the chair. Lawler waffles Dreamer in the back, Dreamer is bounced off a steel chair. Lawler pummels Dreamer to the floor, Lawler basks in glory. Dreamer meets the guard rail, chair to the back of Dreamer. Lawler crotches Dreamer on the guard rail, Lawler grabs the belt and decks Dreamer in the face before choking the innovator of violence.

Dreamer is whipped like a dog, a burger is smashed off Dreamer’s face. More choking, Piledriver by Lawler. Dreamer kicks out of the piledriver, right hand by Lawler. Dreamer has his shirt torn off by Lawler, Lawler wipes his ass with the shirt. Right hands by Lawler, Dreamer begins to shake off the damage. Dreamer pulls down his straps, symbolism at its finest. Dreamer fires up Lawler style, Lawler low blows Dreamer and drives his knees into Dreamer’s private regions. Lawler wanted a DDT, Dreamer shoved Lawler into the referee. Lawler DDTs the referee, the lights go out in the arena.

Rick Rude nails Dreamer with a trash can, Dreamer is now bleeding. Two as Dreamer manages to kick out, Lawler stomps the referee. Lawler tries an Irish whip, Dreamer looks for a piledriver but the lights go out in the arena. Jake The Snake clotheslines Dreamer, what the fuck is going on? Dreamer eats a DDT, Jake clotheslines Lawler. Lawler is on top of Dreamer, Dreamer kicks out again. The lights go out for a third time as Sunny appears in the screen and sprays Dreamer in the eyes. Beulah and Sunny battle, Lawler has Beulah. Lawler wants to piledrive Beulah, Lawler hides behind Beulah to avoid a chair shot. Low blow by Beulah, DDT by Dreamer for the win.

Fuck you ECW, you had a feud that I was invested in and wanted to see a conclusion to in that ring. It started so nice with Dreamer bloodying Lawler using his ECW style, Lawler would use his Memphis bag of tricks to counter act Dreamer’s hardcore style. It was meant to come down to who had more heart with Dreamer rising above Lawler and showing that ECW wrestlers could wrestle. I did not get that conclusion, what I got was oh look at all these WWF wrestlers like Rude, Jake and Sunny we can have make appearances. The lights dimming three times was overkill, it was a load of garbage.

Winner: Tommy Dreamer over Jerry Lawler via DDT!

(ECW Championship Match) Terry Funk vs Sabu © vs Shane Douglas W/ Francine

A rematch that was three years in the making, the very match that put ECW on the map. The Franchise Shane Douglas, the supposed future of the company battling against the wily veteran Terry Funk and the crazy man Sabu. Sabu and Douglas battle while Funk watches, side headlock by Sabu. Douglas does not want Sabu, Douglas tries to tell Sabu that they should get Funk. Funk nails both his attackers, Funk meets the guard rail. Scoop slam by Douglas, Sabu splashes Funk for two. Leg drop by Douglas for two, slingshot leg drop by Sabu for two. Funk is abused by Sabu and Douglas, not being allowed to build any momentum. Leg lariat by Sabu in the corner for two, another leg lariat in the corner by Sabu. Douglas turns on Sabu with a chair shot to the back, German suplex by Sabu on Douglas.

Sabu dropkicks Douglas out of the ring, Funk is nailed with a chair by Sabu. Sabu sets up for a springboard onto Douglas but Douglas moves out of the way, Sabu baseball slides Funk. Asai moonsault by Sabu, Douglas nails Sabu with a spinning suplex for two. Sabu assaults Douglas, Funk works on Sabu. Neckbreaker onto two chairs by Funk, Sabu kicks out at two. Sabu gets up and starts swinging the chair before Douglas dropkicks the knee of Funk.

Sabu dropkicks Douglas, neckbreaker by Funk. Two as Douglas kicks out, Piledriver by Funk on Sabu. Douglas has a guard rail, Funk headbutts Douglas. Sabu has the guard rail in the corner, Douglas is whipped into the guard rail. Sabu back drops Douglas onto the guard rail for two, Douglas fires up with clotheslines and a belly to belly suplex for both. Sleeper three man spot, a call-back to their original match. Triple Jump Moonsault by Sabu on Douglas, Sabu misses his moonsault on Funk. Funk headbutts Douglas down, Triple Jump Moonsault on both men. Two for Sabu, in a really weird spot we have Sabu putting Alfonso and Tod Gordon through a table with a leg drop.

Sabu has a ladder, Douglas and Funk eat the ladder to the face. The referee is knocked out but here comes Sandman, Sandman brutalizes Sabu with a slingshot leg drop with the ladder, Sabu kicks out of course but Funk and Douglas roll-up Sabu. Sabu splashes the cops holding Sandman, we have a massive pile-up in the ramp. Francine attacks Funk, Funk chases down Francine. Douglas smacks Funk with a piece of a table, Funk counters with a trash can. Funk is slapped by Douglas, Funk fires back at Douglas. Belly to belly suplex by Douglas for two, piledriver by Douglas. Douglas has a table, Francine is in the ring. Francine slaps Funk in the face, Dory Funk Jr. is in the ring and uppercuts the shit out of Douglas.

That was another bizarre appearance, Francine is chased out of the arena. Roll-up by Funk for two, back suplex by Douglas. Funk rolls to the apron, Douglas wants a belly to belly through the table. Funk hammers off Douglas, back suplex through the table? Kind of? I am not sure but Funk threw Douglas and it looked like shit, Belly to belly suplex by Douglas for two. Make it three, Funk continues to stay alive in this match. Inside cradle by Funk for two, a fourth Belly to belly with Douglas scoring the win.

Not the classic like the first match but it is hard to recreate magic and capture lightening in a bottle for a second time. The match was a bit long for my liking, there were aspects which I liked, I liked the breath between eliminations, it gave you plenty of time to enjoy the story of the match and let the workers do what they do best and wrestle. Some aspects were not as great, Sabu not being pinned by Sandman’s doing was ridiculous, why did Sabu get pinned seconds later? It was unnecessary especially if you are building to Sandman vs Sabu, have Sandman directly cost Sabu the championship. It was very chaotic as well, no real flow to the match with hurts it a lot but there was not many triple threat matches going on at the time so you have to factor that into the match. A more successful main event than Barely Legal but cutting it a few minutes short would have been nice and the show goes off the air with the babyfaces massacring The Dudleys? Ok!

Winner: Shane Douglas over Terry Funk via Belly to Belly Suplex!

That was ECW’s Hardcore Heaven 1997! A step up from Barely Legal, it has to be said. I thought a lot of the card was enjoyable to a point, the opening match was a lot of fun with Candido playing his role to perfection, Bigelow and Spike was a fun breather between bigger matches. The tag team championship match was fun from the wacky PG-13 and I enjoyed parts of Dreamer vs Lawler and the three way dance. I thought the booking could have been better, particularly for Dreamer vs Lawler with the multiple blackouts reaching Russo levels of cringe with me going oh for fuck sake really with each blackout. Seriously though, three? Why? The length of the main event hurt the match for me and RVD for all his flashy moves should have been protected better if they were pushing RVD so hard. Snow is a good worker but RVD could not be led to a good match at this point. So, there is nothing of note on this show in particular, it was a nice pay per view of wrestling. Thanks for reading and remember: There’s always another night!

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