Friday 15 December 2017

ECW Heatwave 1998 Review

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Hello and welcome to another edition of Seanomaniac Wrestling Reviews, the only wrestling review series on the internet that has more of a chance of winning the WWE Universal Championship at The Royal Rumble than Kane! Back to the land of extreme as it is time of ECW’s Heatwave 1998. Judging by the card, this show is absolutely stacked with imports for what many would consider Japan’s counterpart to ECW aka FMW with the likes of Mike Awesome, Hayabusa and Tanaka while also featuring Michinoku Pro’s Jinsei Shinzaki who would have wrestled in the WWF as Hakushi and even made to NJPW. By 1998, a lot of the FMW roster had gotten greater exposure through working with AJPW, Shinzaki and Hayabusa had competed in the World’s Strongest Determination League in 1997. Anyways, you get the picture I think the world of these wrestlers and their styles should fit perfectly with ECW. Our main event pits The Dudley Boyz against Tommy Dreamer, Sandman and Spike, Dreamer is out for blood as The Dudleys broke Beulah’s neck. Engaging storylines so let’s sink our teeth into ECW.

Jerry Lynn vs Justin Credible W/ Jason/Chastity/Nicole Bass

Credible continues to be pushed as an upper mid-card heel with Jerry Lynn starting to make a name for himself in ECW after debuting alongside Tommy Rogers. The Franchise is on commentary due to injury, his arm is so heavily taped up it is ridiculous. Credible talks trash to Lynn, they lock-up. Armdrag from Lynn, another lock-up. Arm-wringer from Credible, Lynn escapes for an arm-drag. Credible is not happy, knee by Credible. Chops by both men, sunset flip out of the corner for two. Crossbody out of the corner for two, Lyn continues stomping away. Credible is caught with a victory roll for two, headscissors by Lynn who finishes up with a clothesline to the floor. Lynn ascends to the top turnbuckle and scores big with a high crossbody to the floor.

Two for Lynn, front suplex by Lynn for two. Side headlock takedown by Lynn, Credible escapes but eats a shoulder block before countering a tilt-a-whirl slam for a reverse DDT. Credible smacks Lynn in the corner, Credible jaw-jacks with the fans. Stomps in the corner, Jason holds a chair in Lynn’s face. Running knee in the corner by Credible, Credible pulls Lynn out of the corner for a powerbomb. Two for Credible, Jason and Bass put the boots to Lynn as Chastity distracts the referee. Chops by Credible, Lynn fights back on the floor. Jason helps Credible take control, Lynn meets the guard rail. Credible smacks Lynn with a beer, Credible jaw-jacks some more with the fans.

Lynn makes Credible do the Flair flip, clothesline from the apron by Credible. Credible misses a double axe handle as Lynn nails a flapjack. Scrapbuster slam by Credible to cut off Lynn for two, reverse chinlock by Credible. Lynn fires up, sunset flip for to. They trade pins before a powerbomb by Lynn, two for Lynn. Top rope hurricanrana by Lynn for two, sidewalk slam by Lynn. Lynn is on the top rope, Lynn tries a hurricanrana but Credible nails a powerbomb. Credible has a chair, Lynn DDTs Credible on the chair for two. Lynn elevates Credible to the apron, hotshot from Lynn.

Lynn has Credible on the top rope, hurricanrana through a table by ringside by Lynn. Chastity distracts the referee, in comes Jason. Lynn sit-out powerbombs Jason, Bass is in the ring. Lynn low blows Bass, Lynn smashes Bass with the chair. Chastity is in the ring, Chastity kicks Credible in the balls by mistake. Tombstone by Lynn, Lynn has Credible on the top rope. Lynn wants one more hurricanrana, Credible counters for a That’s Incredible from the middle rope, Credible wins the match.

If you take out all the nonsense of beating up women at the end of the match, this was a lot of fun. Lynn wrestles like he wants to steal the show, Lynn is so good in that ring that he made Credible look good which was not accomplished by Mikey Whipwreck or Tommy Dreamer. Although, the booking in those circumstances did not help Credible. The two best opening matches on the pay per views that I have watched so far have both featured Jerry Lynn, that is a damn good sign of things to come.

Winner: Justin Credible over Jerry Lynn via Super That’s Incredible!

Chris Candido W/ Tammy vs Lance Storm

Lance Storm and Candido were tag team champions, both men were in The Triple Threat. However, Storm was dropped in favour of Bigelow which meant it was curtains for Storm. The two brawled for a bit at the last pay per view when we were in the midst of Al Snow Mania. This is the first big match between the two, clean break from Storm after a lock-up. Candido shoves Storm to the corner, Storm grabs a side headlock. Shoulder block by Storm, right hand by Storm. Spinning heel kick by Storm, chops by both men. Corner clothesline and elbow by Storm, low seated dropkick. Storm paintburhses Candido, Candido pulls Storm into the turnbuckle. Stomps by Candido, Candido knocks Storm to the floor. Candido dives onto Storm with a crossbody, surfboard by Candido.

Storm mulekicks out, Tammy trips Storm who shakes it off and leg lariats Candido. Clothesline to Candido, Candido nails Storm with a running Ligerbomb for two. Delayed vertical suplex by Candido, Candido scores with a middle rope leg drop for two. Swinging neckbreaker and reverse chinlock by Candido, Storm escapes but eats a massive powerslam for his escape. Candido drops Storm rib first across the top rope, Storm avoids it the second time and suplexes Candido to the floor. Baseball slide by Storm, springboard crossbody by Storm into the crowd.

Tammy is freaking out, Storm and Candido brawl on the floor. Candido eye pokes Storm, they trade blows in the ring. Both men bang heads, Candido falls on Storm for two, Candido is on the top rope. Storm superplexes Candido, Storm is on the top rope. Diving Spinning Heel Kick by Storm, Storm nails a sit-out powerbomb for two. Storm dives into a powerslam from a springboard for two, Candido whips Storm to the corner. Storm reverses with a back elbow, Candido has powder. Storm knocks powder into Candido’s eyes. Referee is down, Tammy crotches Storm. Comedy ensues as Tammy is ripped out of her top and Candido school boys the referee. Candido stumbles into The Blonde Bombshell for the win.

I liked this match a lot until the end of course. Here we have another case of ECW shooting itself in the foot, you have a very serious feud between the two that waged on for months and months. The match is physical as the two wrestle to see who is the better man, Candido is a cheating dickhead so why do we have to see Tammy’s top come off and the referee rolled up? What is the point of the powder? Silly and no reason for it in the slightest, it takes away from what was a very entertaining wrestling match and for what? You have a few fat fucks cheering as Sunny’s tits are out? Lame!

Winner: Chris Candido over Lance Storm via Blonde Bombshell!

Masato Tanaka vs Mike Awesome

Here we have the introduction to American wrestling fans to one of FMW’s top feuds, Tanaka vs Awesome. Tanaka and Awesome were both heavyweights in FMW, battling it out in some of the toughest and hardest hitting matches you might ever see. Tanaka bombed in his ECW debut against Furnas, Furnas did not do himself any favours though. Hoping this match lights the crowd on fire, they lock-up as Awesome nails Tanaka with a huge backward elbow. They trade blows, side headlock by Tanaka. Huge belly to belly suplex by Awesome, Tanaka elevates Awesome to the apron. Tanaka runs off the ropes, Awesome counters with a slingshot shoulder block. Splash by Awesome for two, clothesline to the floor.

Suicide Dive by Awesome, diving clothesline by Awesome for two. Tanaka dodges a corner clothesline, Awesome nails a German suplex but Tanaka shows fighting spirit and drills Awesome with a springboard clothesline. Tanaka runs the length of the ramp and drills Awesome with the chair to the head. Missile dropkick for two, Awesome has Tanaka on his shoulders and drops Tanaka to the floor. Chair wars with Tanaka winning, Awesome is cracked across the back. Awesome lays against the guard rail, Tanaka is backdropped into the crowd. Springboard splash by Awesome, Awesome poses in the crowd. Awesome Bomb for two, Alabama Slam by Awesome.

Awesome Splash for two, two brutal chair shots to the head. Tanaka fights through the pain, Awesome nails one more chair shot but Tanaka continues to be absolutely ungodly. Running Awesome Bomb, Awesome has a chair and stands on the top rope, chair to the head. Clothesline by Awesome, Tanaka wriggles free of an Awesome Bomb. Roaring Elbow and Awesome is powerbombed through the table. Tanaka has Awesome in the ring, massive elbow and a huge Roaring Elbow for two. Tanaka has a chair, Awesome is sentenced to death as Tanaka wins the match with a beautiful tornado DDT on the chairs.

This was a condensed collection of all the best spots of the wars between Awesome and Tanaka. As a result, the fans and I eat it up all week long. It was very enjoyable with the mix of Awesome flying around like no other big man while chucking Tanaka around like he was nothing. Tanaka was no slouch himself showing hearts and badassery surviving chair shots to the head, powerbombing  Awesome to the floor and throwing elbows second only to Misawa to finish off Awesome. Like I said, this was a highlight reel of all their best works, the fans loved it and so did !

Winner: Masato Tanaka over Mike Awesome via Tornaod DDT!

(ECW Tag Team Championship Match) Rob Van Dam & Sabu © W/ Bill Alfonso vs Jinsei Shinzaki & Hayabusa

So, we went from tag team champions who did not get along to tag team champions who do not get along. Yeah, this is a little strange considering Sabu and RVD worked fine before as two wrestlers who had defected to the WWF. Anyways, RVD’s arrogance has pissed off Sabu but somehow they pull it together to kick ass. Their opponents tonight are FMW’s top star Hayabusa teaming with the man who came to save him from the clutches of Mr. Gannosuke and Fuyuki, that being Jinsei Shinzaki. This is not the first meeting of some of these wrestlers as Sabu had competed against Hayabusa before in FMW. They are all wrestlers who use a high-risk, high-flying style inside of that ring so this could be a tonne of fun for the fans and I.

RVD and Hayabusa start, Hayabusa takes the arm of RVD. Leg trip by RVD, Hayabusa rolls through but RVD applies a single leg Boston crab. RVD stomps Hayabusa, side headlock by Hayabusa. Botched armdrag thing from Hayabusa, RVD talks with Sabu. Japanese armdrag by RVD, kicks by Hayabusa. Spinning kick from Hayabusa, cheap shot to Sabu who wants to kill Hayabusa. Shinzaki comes in, uppercuts and a scoop slam. Splash by Shinzaki for two, huge sole butt from RVD. RVD poses for everyone, kick to the back of the head by Shinzaki. Shinzaki walks the ropes and nails his chop to the back of the head of RVD, RVD ducks a clothesline and avoids a knee drop.

Spinning heel kick and a corkscrew leg drop by RVD, tag to Sabu. Springboard leg drop for two, elbow and kicks by Sabu. Clothesline by Sabu for two, arm-wringer from Sabu. Hayabusa tags in, low dropkick and slingshot moonsault for two, side headlock by Sabu. Dropkick by Hayabusa, Sabu rolls to the floor and throws around chairs. Dropkick to the knee by Sabu, Sabu grabs onto the ankle. Hayabusa reaches the ropes, Sabu continues to hold control with a crossface. Snapmare into a camel clutch, low dropkick by RVD. Springboard dropkick and plancha by Shinzaki. Rolling sole butts by Hayabusa, baseball slide and Asai moonsault by Hayabusa. All four men are in the crowd before Sabu grabs a chair and dives into the crowd.

RVD has Hayabusa on the guard rail, corkscrew leg drop to the back of the head of Hayabusa. Shinzaki and Sabu are in the ring, Shinzaki is taken down by a dropkick. RVD uses the surfboard for a Romero Special, Sabu drives a chair onto Shinzaki’s chest. Hayabusa saves Shinzaki, Hayabusa throws Sabu to the floor. Double bulldog by the challengers on RVD, scoop slam by Shinzaki. Springboard hilo/knee drop/moonsault by the challengers, leg lariat in the corner by Sabu on Hayabusa. Hayabusa eats a spinning heel kick from RVD, Shinzaki saves Hayabusa.

Sabu is kicked around before a German suplex by Hayabusa, Sabu nails Shinzaki with a huge top rope hurricanrana. Five Star Frog Splash by RVD for two, Shinzaki Powerbombs RVD. Hayabusa nails a 450 Splash, Sabu saves the match. Sabu snapmares Hayabusa, Rolling Thunder and slingshot leg drop by the champions for two, Sabu has Shinzaki in a Boston crab. Top rope leg drop by RVD for two, RVD forearms Shinzaki to the floor. Sabu has a table, RVD kicks Hayabusa into the corner. Shinzaki nails a diving shoulder block for two, dragon screw leg whip by Shinzaki.

Hayabusa gets caught on the top rope, RVD kicks a chair into Hayabusa’s face. Dragon screw by Shinzaki on RVD, Hayabusa keeps down Sabu. Scoop slam by Shinzaki, Sabu is kicked down by Hayabusa. Shinzaki holds down RVD, frog splash by Hayabusa for two. Sabu brings in another table, Arabian Facebuster to Hayabusa. Van Damnator for Shinzaki, Hayabusa is placed on a table. Shinzaki is placed on the same table and the champions nail stereo leg drops crashing through the tables. Sabu covers Shinzaki and our champions retain the titles!

While ECW may try to past this off as a classic, I just cannot call it a classic. There were a lot of sloppy points in the match, Hayabusa did not have a great night with screw-ups in the early part of the match and the tables collapsing helped neither team. Yes, there was some cool spots in the match. RVD and Sabu had the makings of a great team with all their double team offense, I just wish they could have been a little cleaner and crisp in their execution of this match. Great finish though, they absolutely nailed that for sure!

Winners: RVD & Sabu over Hayabusa & Shinzaki via Leg Drop Through The Table!

(ECW FTW Championship Match) Taz © vs Bam Bam Bigelow

The continuation of the feud between Taz and The Triple Threat, Taz lost his television championship to Bigelow. Bigelow would go onto lose the championship to RVD which led to Taz abandoning his pursuit of Bigelow. However, Bigelow made it extremely clear tat Taz would not be able to get to Shane Douglas without going through The Beast In The East. Taz rallied and in the meantime, created his own championship which was the fuck the world championship.

Bigelow powerbombs Taz, Taz no-sells and judo throws Bigelow. Two huge lariats, Samoan drop by Taz. Bigelow is out on the ramp, right hands by Taz. Kicks by Taz and Bigelow falls into the crowd, Taz dives into the crowd with a crossbody but Bigelow catches Taz and Taz meets the guard rail. They brawl in the crowd, right hands by Taz. Bigelow whips Taz into a pile of chairs, Bigelow is exploder suplexed by Taz. Two for Taz, Taz applies a cross armbreaker but Bigelow is not worn down enough. More brawling in the crowd, Tazmission in the crowd but Bigelow escapes with a jawbreaker. Chair to the back by Bigelow, powerbomb by Bigelow. Bigelow brings in a table, Taz is whipped through the table.

Clothesline from Taz, Taz grabs Bigelow and nails an exploder Taz plex through the remnants of the table. Bigelow pops up with a clothesline, Taz is bleeding everywhere now. Bigelow has Taz on the ramp, Bigelow wants a powerbomb but Taz counters for a massive DDT through the ramp. Bigelow crawls out of the hole just like living dangerously, Taz is up and Taz jumps on Bigelow for a Tazmission. Taz chokes out Bigelow, Taz is your winner.

An uninspired rematch from these two, the majority of this match played out in the crowd through brawling, the laziest way to kill time for a match. A tonne of brawling in the crowd does not make a good match, it makes for a very boring match. The finish was a play on their previous encounter which made for fun at the end with Taz gaining retribution for his loss at Living Dangerously but this was not a good match folks!

Winner: Taz over Bam Bam Bigelow via Tazmission!

(Dudleyville Street Fight Match) Spike Dudley/Tommy Dreamer/The Sandman vs The Dudley Boyz/Big Dick Dudley W/ Sign Guy Dudley/Joel Gertner

The Dudley Boyz broke Beulah’s neck, writing her out of ECW until its closure (Beulah wanted time-off to raise a family and have a real job). Dreamer wanted to kill The Dudleys, Sandman had been put in the hospital by The 3D while Spike had been in a constant war with his brothers for many months at this point. The Dudleys cut a heel promo that goes on and on before we have our babyfaces bringing ladders and beers to brawl.

Dreamer and D-Von start the match, Dreamer pummels D-Von. Sunset flip does not work for Dreamer, they trade pins in some nice wrestling. Dreamer places D-Von on the top rope, neckbreaker by Dreamer. Tag to Bubba, Dreamer tags Spike. Bubba tosses Spike twice, Spike comes back with forearms. Ten punches in the corner, Spike’s hurricanrana is countered for a powerbomb. Spike is shoved into the corner and choked by The Dudleys, clothesline by Bubba. Back body drop by Bubba, slap by Bubba. Scoop slam by Bubba, Bubba misses a splash. Spike runs into a powerbomb attempt, hurricanrana and one-handed bulldog by Spike for two.

 Tag to Big Dick, Sandman tags into the match. Lock-up, clean break. Sandman pushes back Big Dick, clean break. Right hands by Sandman, clothesline to the floor. Big Dick pulls out Sandman, brawl on the floor. Big Dick meets the guard rail, Bubba and Sandman are in the ring. Sandman nails Bubba with a top rope hurricanrana, clothesline by Sandman. Dreamer is crotched on the guard rail, Sandman has a ladder. Spike climbs to the top and dives onto everyone at ringside. Sandman places a ladder on D-Von, Rolling Rock from Sandman. Big Dick back drops Sandman onto the ramp. Bubba places a ladder on Dreamer, senton from the middle rope crushing Dreamer.

Acid Drop by Spike on Bubba, D-Von saves Bubba. Sidewalk slam on the ladder, Big Dick is crotched attempting a moonsault. All three Dudleys are in the tree of woe, Dreamer tries snapping the leg of Sign Guy Dudley, Jeff Jones eats a piledriver and Gertner eats a chair to the face courtesy of dropkick by the referee. All Dudleys eat the dropkicks, Emerald Flowsion by Dreamer for two. Big Dick nails Dreamer with Total Penetration, Spike tries an Acid Drop but Big Dick shoves Spike through a table. Sandman cracks Big Dick with his kendo stick, Bubba nails Sandman with a chair. Dreamer avoids a splash from Bubba and nails a Dreamer DDT for the win. Jack Victory attacks Dreamer, New Jack comes out as the hero as we go home happy.

Well, it was a brawl with a spot or two mixed in with all the weapon shots, if you like that sort of thing, this is the match for you. Otherwise, you will watch this match like I did and think I love the story of Dreamer getting revenge on The Dudleys for breaking Beulah’s neck but there was no real story-telling or psychology to the match. It was just a big brawl, there is not a whole lot I can say about it sorry!

Winners: Team Dreamer over The Dudley Boyz via Dreamer DDT!

That was ECW’s Heatwave 1998, a card that was stacked on pay per view but failed to deliver in my eyes for many of its matches. The ridiculous over the top booking sucked  a lot of joy out of this pay per view for me, Candido and Storm could have been something but it was really dumb with Sunny’s top coming off and powder plus referee bumps in an organization that uses weapons. Like has there ever been a DQ in ECW? I would find it hard to believe if such a thing could happen, the same silliness ruined Credible and Lynn with Lynn becoming the champion of beating women by the end of the match only to walk into a That’s Incredible.

Tanaka and Awesome did deliver, they showed off all of their best spots for the fans, the fans ate it up and I did too because they kept moving, they were always building to something bigger. I did not enjoy the tag match, it was sloppy and just awkward at times, it never built to anything. The finish was well executed but there was not a lot that I loved, Taz and Bigelow was disappointing even if the feud had a satisfying conclusion. The crowd brawling was far too long, there was nothing going on for that match. Finally, the main event had a lot of nothing happening too for stretches of the match. I cannot pay attention to every detail when most of the time they are walking around just hitting one another so I would call this disappointing more than anything else. Thanks for reading and remember: There’s always another night!

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