Friday, February 27, 2015

ECW Crossing The Line Again: February 1, 1997

This is our first ECW arena show together, you and I. I remember, roughly 15 years ago, spending far too much time, effort, and money, trying to amass an unrivalled VHS collection of every wrestling program that ever aired in the history of the universe. This particular show was my first eye opener that there were some slippery people in the tape trading world. I, man of my world, traded someone a money order for roughly $25. They, in turn, traded me the finger. I never did wind up with my copy of Crossing The Line Again; though if you’d asked me to be patient for a decade and a half, and that one day everything I ever dreamed of could be digitally sought out and placed on a hard drive the size of one VHS tape, I could have invested thousands of dollars into my future and … who am I kidding, I wasn’t waiting no 15 years.

We start with a passionate speech from PAUL HEYMAN, promoting their first ever pay-per-view in April. THE ENTIRE ECW LOCKER ROOM is with him, though some of the more heely heels are located in the upper bowels. Taz is booked against Sabu to no surprise (but gets a 2 litre pop regardless). Paul then thanks all the fans for having his back when the PPV companies didn’t want to carry them (ignoring the fact HE allowed a 16 year old kid to get maimed on his watch), and the place explodes. Nobody can ever deny the charisma of a fired up Paul Heyman, and it’s his Us vs The World stuff that had wrestlers literally willing to die for him in the name of keeping the ECW brand alive.

JOEY STYLES hosts, because OH MY GOD nobody else is willing to work for free.


LANCE STORM vs. BALLS MAHONEY

This seems to be joined in progress, but it’s not far along because Balls isn’t sweaty. Balls no sells a lot of the early offense, but a spinning heel kick takes him off his feet. Balls tries one of his own, but Storm sidesteps and he twists his knee up between the ropes and the fall to the floor. A slingshot senton from Storm keeps Balls down, but back in, Mahoney turns the tables with a gutshot to stop a flying attack. A legdrop gets 2, while a t-bone gets nothing but probably hurt like hell. The Vaderbomb connects, and Balls grins sheepishly about his impending victory, but Storm kicks out. Balls whips Lance to the corner, by a springboard back elbow knocks the big guy down, and Storm gets back on the attack with his speed. A beautiful missile dropkick, with Storm’s rattail flowing like a beautiful golden sunset over a pristine lake setting gets 2. Balls recovers fast, and piledrives the small guy and goes for an elbowdrop off the second rope. It misses, and Storm quickly finishes with the spinning heel kick off the top at 5:22. This was a fun small man / big man clash, and probably about as good as anything you’ll get out of Mahoney. **

RICKY MORTON (with his Girlfriend) vs. BIG STEVIE COOL (with Hollywood Nova and The Blue Guy)

Wrestling, being the spectator sport that it is, relies on a specific criteria for its lady managers. Unfortunately, Ricky Morton does not understand this, bringing his very real girlfriend to the ring for god knows what reason. She looks like one of the rejected girls who didn’t make it to TV from last week’s Cedar Rapids Miss nWo contest. Thankfully, the Blue Guy knows exactly how to handle the “SHOW YOUR TITS” chants.


Morton takes a lot of heat, not getting anywhere near the old school respect that Terry Funk commands. And it’s for that reason Morton tells them to kiss his ass, and starts in with his antiquated offense. Stevie hits a clothesline, which kicks off a loud “BWO” chant. Morton plays possum and tosses Stevie outside, but Meanie was waiting for him and slams Morton’s face into the ring post. Back in, the Emerald City Slam gets 2. Stevie tries a cross arm breaker, but Morton wriggles out and stomps on his face. Morton punches Richards in the pooter, but Stevie only sells for a second before mounting Ricky in the corner and playing the 10-punch count-a-long, complete with face-fucking on 9. The Jackknife Powerbomb only gets 2, so Stevie warms up the band and finishes with the Stevie Kick at 5:35. Morton’s girlfriend joins the bWo after the match, wearing the t-shirt like a diaper thong. Totally one-sided, exactly as it should have been en-route to establishing Stevie as a legit challenger to Raven. *1/2

AXL ROTTEN vs. “DR. DEATH” STEVE WILLIAMS

Blink and you’ll miss this one. Axl starts in with the kick punch crap, but Williams has no time for amateur hour. 3 Point Stance sets up the Oklahoma Stampede for 2, and a backdrop driver finishes at 1:49.

JOEY STYLES heads down for an interview with Williams, and he wants a title shot. RAVEN arrives, and tells him if he wants the belt, then he’s gonna have to take it. I wouldn’t exactly encourage that, Raven just spent the last month chasing around The Sandman trying to get it back from the drunken klepto. The pair starts to brawl, so TOD GORDON shrugs and makes it a title match.

RAVEN vs. “DR. DEATH” STEVE WILLIAMS (for the ECW world heavyweight title)

Raven wastes no time in throwing Williams face-first to the ring post, and smashes a chair over the Doc’s back. Styles does a fantastic job selling Williams as the most dominant North American wrestler of the last decade, even though the only reason he hasn’t been pinned since the late 80’s on US soil is because he’s been hanging out in Japan and doing minimal high profile work in the States. Raven sets Williams on a table by the guardrail, but he rolls away as Raven flies in with a legdrop off the top and through the table. Williams grabs the chair, and gives Raven a shot to the face that would draw the ire of every medical professional in America today. Both guys are busted open, but Williams refuses to sell the pain, tossing Raven back into the middle of the ring. A powerslam gets 2, and a couple of fans were gasping there thinking that was it. Doc throws a series of clotheslines, and just as Raven escapes the third and looks to be on the move, Williams throws him halfway across the ring with a release German for 2. Raven staggers around, completely lost, and Williams nails a top rope shoulderblock for 2. He goes up again, and Raven throws a bunch of desperation haymakers to stop the attack. Williams is stunned just enough for Raven to jump up and hit the superplex. Charged with momentum, Raven jumps up in his pose to a massive reception … and passes out. THE BLUE WORLD ORDER, complete with TYLER and LORI FULLINGTON, make their way down to the ring. A confused Raven asks Stevie what the deal is, and the next thing you know they’re throwing punches at each other. He forgets all about Richards, who punches Raven in the back of the head, and he falls forward, noggin to noggin with Richards, knocking both men out. The Doc gorilla presses Raven into the entire bWo at ringside, except for Richards who’s still in the ring and offering his shirt to Williams. Williams tears it apart, so Richards gives him the Steviekick, but Williams pops up! A second one yields the same, and Death tells him to bring it on. The fans chant “ONE MORE TIME”, but this one’s blocked. Williams spins him around, and Stevie manages to snap off that third Steviekick. Williams isn’t getting up this time. A bloodied Raven sees his opportunity, hits the Evenflow, and retains the title at 8:27. A shame this was a one shot deal, Williams was put over like the birth of a hardcore Hulk Hogan, and he easily could have done a series with Raven. ***

THE SANDMAN vs. D-VON DUDLEY

D-Von manages to sit through Sandman’s entrance for roughly 45 minutes before he grows bored and jumps over the top to attack. I figure that was just to get the damn match started before his next birthday. D-Von grabs the stick, and smashes it over Sandman’s face repeatedly, and he’s already bleeding. D-Von sticks to the basics of punching Sandman in the face and jawing with the fans, but Sandman eventually figures to have had enough and kicks a field goal. The fans chant their rallying cry of “FUCK HIM UP SANDMAN, FUCK HIM UP!”, and Sandman obliges with a hotshot onto the guardrail, followed by a spinning heel kick off the apron. A table has been helpfully left at ringside, so Sandman smashes it over D-Von’s head and retrieves his Singapore cane. Repeated shots wind up breaking his toy, so Sandman whips him in the face with the splintered cane and DDT’s him. Bored, Sandman grabs a chair, drapes it across D-Von’s face, and drops a leg onto it from the top to score the easy win at 5:31. Sandman stares on, looking completely lifeless following the loss of his family, and doesn’t seem to particularly care that he won. The Sandman is probably one of the most tragic characters in wrestling history, because clearly feeds off of, and lives for the adulation of a group of fans who only love him because he’s a violent miserable drunk. But once that bell rings, he returns to his broken home, where you KNOW his fridge is stocked with about 400 cans of beer, and a half empty squeeze bottle of mustard. He’ll eventually pass out in his arm-chair, to the quiet flicker of late night infomercials from spirit-healing priests just begging you to send them money in exchange for miracle spring water, before he wakes up in a fog and returns to do it all again tomorrow. He’s the wrestling embodiment of an award winning short-film director who once said “don’t cry for me, I’m already dead”. *

JOEL GERTNER makes his way into the ring in the aftermath of this mess, and has the audacity to announce D-Von as the winner by a final score of 4-2, so Sandman knocks him out cold with a shot to the head with the cane. D-Von’s awake again though, and steals the cane, beating down the Sandman until BUBBA RAY and SPIKE DUDLEY come to knock it off. Face to face with their estranged brother … Bubba grabs a chair and smashes it into Sandman’s face! Spike can’t understand what the hell is going on, as both Dudleys break into grins. Spike attacks his brothers, dropkicking the chair into the face of Bubba, but two-on-one is far too much, and Spike gets nailed with a “double Bubba Cutter” which would in fact be the first appearance of the 3-D. Sandman takes a half dozen more chair shots and cane shots to the head until DA GANGSTAS clean house with a household worth of weapons. D-Von nearly gets killed with a messed up backdrop/Samoan drop thing which sends him face first into a chair via New Jack. Still, the Dudleys are the new hot team of the hour, and they come back, beating the former champs down and standing tall.

So, that was a lot of stuff for one segment. Far too much actually, Da Gangsta’s stuff could have been saved for a future show easily, instead of dragging that segment out for another 5 minutes.

THE ELIMINATORS vs. SABU and ROB VAN DAM (for the ECW world tag-team titles)

A freshly shorn Saturn starts with RVD, who struts around looking far too comfortable in his own skin right now. A spin kick knocks down Saturn, but he comes right back with a gorgeous dropkick to the face for 1. Kronus tags in and shows off, but he’s in there with the biggest show-off of them all, and Kronus is taken down with a bunch of martial arts kicks. A double-team slingshot splash introduces Sabu to the match, but Kronus hits a spinning heel kick to keep him at bay. A pumphandle suplex gets 2. Sabu hits a springboard back elbow off an Irish whip and turns matters back to Van Dam. Kronus rakes the eyes, and Saturn joins the fray as they hit stereo spinning heel kicks for 2! Sabu quickly holds Saturn hostage in a camel clutch, allowing RVD to hit a baseball slide dropkick to the face. Gory special is applied mid-ring, and Sabu flies off the top with an elbow to Saturn’s ribs. Kronus barely saves at 2, but it’s enough for Saturn to come back with a dropkick to the face. Saturn tries to block a tag by throwing a knee to Van Dam’s ear, but he manages to get there and Sabu heads in … right into a Saturnbomb for 2! Kronus and RVD throw down outside the ring, while Saturn drops Sabu with a Diamond Cutter. Everything breaks down now, and guys wind up in all parts of the outside area. Sabu dives at Saturn in the front row, drawing an “ECW” chant when he clears the guardrail. They head back in, and Sabu works a single leg crab while RVD drops a leg for 2. Rolling Thunder is complimented with a legdrop, and that gets 2. Saturn tags in his buddy, and Kronus greets Van Dam with a pump kick. Top rope splash gets 1 before Sabu saves, but he doesn’t see Saturn flying in next with a splash, and THAT gets 2. The show gets stopped with a quick scoop slam, and the challengers hit a top rope legdrop/splash combo for 2. Kronus tries to DDT Sabu, but it’s reversed into a hammerlock. Saturn breaks it up, Kronus hits an enzuigiri, and Saturn drops a leg for 2. Another enzuigiri sets up a superkick, and Kronus gets 2. A second rope senton backsplash has Kronus fired up and saying Bad Words, but he’s a little too full of pip and zip, getting backdropped to the outside by Sabu. Sabu sets up a table with Kronus on it, gets in, and goes for the triple jump legdrop; except Saturn’s too close and trips Sabu up while going for the top rope springboard. Sabu uses a leg lariat to fight off Saturn, while Van Dam brings the table into the ring. The Eliminators clean house before anything comes of it, but it remains in the ring, lurking like a bad dream. Saturn adds to the mess by getting a short painter’s ladder, but when he heads up to attack Van Dam, Sabu dropkicks it from behind and he falls on his partner instead! Both guys are wiped out with ladder shots, and they try for a dual pin. Both guys kick out, so the challengers climb each side of the ladder, giving the champs just enough time to get up and nail the ladder with Total Elimination to bring them crashing back down to reality. The fans are on their feet chanting “ECW” as Styles fills with company pride, while Saturn sets the ladder up ON the table. The table doesn’t look too sturdy, and as Saturn slowly makes his way up for whatever the hell he has planned, Van Dam kicks him off and nails him with the Van Daminator! Kronus barely saves the day, and once Sabu tosses Saturn, he’s left alone with the challengers. With nowhere to go, he fights as best he can, but succumbs to the numbers. The Triple Jump Moonsault misses, because Saturn just barely returns to shove Van Dam in the way, and Total Elimination finishes RVD off at 20:03. So, this match has been heralded a classic in some circles, but it didn’t do it for me. There were a lot of nice spots, but it literally felt like “ok, I did my move, now it’s your turn”, with very little selling of any kind, and absolutely no storytelling at all. Where Sabu’s concerned, you either love him or you don’t, and you can find me in the Don’t section. **

So after Sabu eats Total Elimination, cuz why not, TAZ shows up with BILL ALPHONSO. This is probably bad news for the fallen challengers. True to his word, Taz beats down RVD with a chair in retaliation for Van Dam’s previous assault, and locks on the Tazmission to prove that his hands are even MORE lethal than the steel. The Eliminations hold Sabu hostage, and Taz readies to strike with the chair … but he drops it and just spits in his face instead. Sabu tries to wiggle loose, but he’s dropped with the Total Elimination again. Taz tells him he doesn’t actually need the tag-team champs to do his bidding, because what he REALLY wants is for Sabu to grow a pair of balls and show up at the pay-per-view.

TERRY FUNK vs. TOMMY RICH

Really? This needs to be paid off? The fans use a surprisingly witty “YOU SUCK COCK” chant which gets a laugh out of me. Funk soaks in the love while Rich heads into the crowd to feed it to the locals, instead of getting fed as was the style in 1981. Terry busts him open with his left hands all of 3 seconds into the match, and Rich is on weak legs. They head outside, where Rich tries a kneelift, but he hits the guardrail instead of Terry. Funk smashes a chair into Tommy’s leg a dozen times or so, and Rich hobbles around like Zack Gowen. Back in the ring, Terry takes a seat on the chair, and starts lecturing Rich about respect while bitch slapping him over and over. Then he tosses the chair away cuz that’s not how Funk do; but that turns out to be a mistake because Tommy finds his wild fire and gives it to Terry. Funk is introduced face to face with the ring post, and dropped into the front row. Rich gives Terry a couple of REALLY weak chair shots to the head, and they head back in. Rich works a half crab across the top rope, while the fans give him the love via a “YOU FAT FUCK” chant. Tommy uses it for inspiration, and clotheslines Funk until he starts to bleed. A DDT looks to finish, but Funk won’t stay down. A second DDT gets another 2, and Rich finally has enough of the ref’s “slow” counts and DDTs HIM too – twice! Terry rolls to the “safety” of the table set up at ringside, but Rich grabs a chair and drives it into Funk’s knee. Rich gives himself a standing ovation, but Funk’s not down til he’s down, and starts throwing his desperation windmill punches. Rich sweeps Funk’s legs, and tries to finish Terry with the spinning toe hold – how heelish! Terry escapes and drops a knee to Rich’s junk, and now HE works the spinning toe hold until Rich gives it up (again?) at 10:51. Funk celebrates with another kick to the plums, and stands victorious with the fans. **1/2

THE TRIPLE THREAT (with Francine) vs. THE PITBULLS and TOMMY DREAMER

The babyfaces are stupid enough to stand on the buckles and pose when the heels are standing in the ring, in THIS company, and they wind up getting attacked. Brilliant work, boneheads. Douglas destroys #2 with chairshots to the head, and they make their way back in to celebrate. Of course, now THEY’RE the morons with any kind of premature celebration, and everyone spills back out to the floor and pair off. #2 winds up back in the ring with Lee and Douglas, but he successfully beats them both down until Dreamer’s able to join him with a bent piece of the guardrail. Lee is tossed into the railing, and Candido’s dumped, leaving Douglas alone with all his biggest enemies. “BREAK HIS NECK” scream the ever human fans, and lord do they try, press slamming Douglas into the guardrail, causing it to fold up on itself. On the floor, Dreamer grabs the Pitbulls chain and drives it into Candido’s face. They wind up back in the ring, and Candido crotches Dreamer across the broken guardrail piece. Tommy eats a spike piledriver while Douglas threatens to throw the guardrail at the fans. The Pitbulls wind up completely incapacitated, and the Triple Threat converge to work over Tommy with a bunch of chairs. A vertical suplex THROUGH a couple of chairs make it so that those won’t ever be used again, while Candido catches Pitbull #2 with the chain, and ties him up by the neck around the ringpost, trying to choke him to death. He’s a bloody mess, and probably not getting involved again for awhile. Candido gives Dreamer a snap suplex, and a kneedrop from Lee gets 2. The Bulldozer launches Candido off the top, right onto Dreamer for a super splash. Candido wants to finish now, and goes for the top rope powerbomb. Dreamer blocks it with a backdrop, and nails the DDT for 2. CLOUDY (?!?!) shows up now, but BEULAH’s right behind the nasty creature, upending it with a chairshot and dragging it back to the locker room. Really, Cloudy? Dreamer is held hostage by Lee with a chair, but he squirms loose JUST as Douglas and Candido come flying in with dropkicks, and the Bulldozer is down! The distraction lets the Pitbulls FINALLY re-enter the match, and they dump Candido to get their hands on Douglas. He’s tied up in the ropes, but Candido saves before anything happens. #1 is alone with Douglas now, and cracks him with a chair – but Candido dives back in to save his buddy from more. Everyone winds up back in, and the heels hit a trio of Rude Awakenings and start wiggling their hips, drawing a “you have GOT to be SHITTIN’ me” from THE MASKED MAN, who makes his way to ringside.. He tells the “fuckin’ assholes” that not only do they have no idea who he is, but they don’t know how to do the Rude Awakening. “Look behind you, assholes.” Too late, of course, with Lee and Candido dumped and Douglas tied up in the ropes, unable to do anything. #2 gives Douglas a press slam, and #1 hits the Rude Awakening while the Masked Man hangs Francine over the top rope and spanks her to the mother of all pops. Once she runs off to safety, Masked Man helps them set up a table and the fans want a Superbomb. In ECW, you want, you get, and #1 is powerbombed off the top through Douglas and the table to win the match at 16:23. This was a little better structurally than the tag-team match, but it was still disjointed mess, with all the emphasis on the weapons instead of the wrestling. **

Both Douglas and Pitbull #1 need to be stretchered, but this is ECW and there’s only 1 stretcher available, and Dreamer makes damn sure it’s HIS partner that gets it. Lee carries Douglas to the locker room while Styles signs us off.

So much for the hot streak! There was so much missed opportunity here, as evidenced by the fact that the best matches of the night were all put on by the older guys. The fact is, guys like Williams and Funk understand how to make a match violent, without resorting to all the stupid props and tricks. Hell, Terry managed to tell a fantastic story with a completely washed up Tommy Rich.

The young guys need to take something away from this. The locals will always pop huge for chair-shots and bloody messes, so it’s not like anyone’s going to be hurting for adulation; but longevity is brought on by making the fans want to see more instead of repeating the same spots week after week. This applies not only to ECW, but the nWo – and while hindsight is always 20/20, it’s not a wonder that the only group who successfully adapted was also the only one left standing at the end of the war.

134 comments:

  1. lariatoooooooooooooFebruary 27, 2015 at 1:27 PM

    "During his prime you could basically throw him in there with ANYONE and Shawn would get himself over."

    What about getting the other guy over? That's the problem I have with Shawn's carry jobs. The focus isn't on making the other guy look good, it's on making sure everyone sees how hard Shawn is working to make the other guy look good. On that note, picking the Hogan match as an example of his carrying ability seems rather strange considering Shawn went out of his way to make Hogan look like shit in that match.

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  2. lariatoooooooooooooFebruary 27, 2015 at 1:30 PM

    "He's GOAT top 10"

    If you're looking only at guys who spent their careers in the US, sure.

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  3. The most enjoyable thing about that Hogan program was seeing Shawn get completely outclassed at his own political games by the original master. And all he could do about it was throw a whiny kayfabe-breaking hissy fit in public.

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  4. Belee_Matt!_INDEED!!!February 27, 2015 at 1:32 PM

    "If you're looking only at guys who don't slap sweaty chests in Tokyo, sure."


    FTFY.

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  5. I've noticed a lot of the "Shawn is GOAT" proponents don't really bother to put forth an argument supporting their opinion. They just act as though it's self-evident and anyone who disagrees is either a.) a contrarian just for the alleged desire to appear "cool" when it comes to discussing guys in their underwear pretending to fight, or b.) some "Japanese wrestling elitist."

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  6. No, that didn't need to be fixed, as a valid point was made above and below.

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  7. This. He can be such a mark for himself that he couldn't acknowledge the simple fact that Hogan was a much bigger star

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  8. I love shawn but man did he make sure everyone knew he carried guys who werent to good by what he did in the ring.bret always worked at the guys level and helped.while shawn would fly everywhere and make guys look like they couldnt keep up.that kotr 96 match with davey boy smith is a good example.it was a sprint resthold match because davey couldnt keep up.

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  9. in all seriousness is there anyone that could keep up with shawn in his day.maybe dynamite kid or benoit..

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  10. 83-88 metallica or everything black album and beyond?

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  11. besides the all japan 5 who would you say is better than shawn? im being serious

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  12. Where's Hartkiller to come up with a lame excuse for Shawn doing that and find some way to blame the Hart Family for the Holocaust in the meantime?

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  13. what his match with mankind in april was great it needed some blood.and his match with vader in july was really good.id say taker 97 was the best guy in wwe.at the time

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  14. he was only 32 though so he was pretty young. sheamus is like 37 38

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  15. Not sure if that is controversial. So me HBK's Tom Magee match and we'll talk. HBK could put on a show and get himself over. Bret could that, and convince promoters that his opponents were worth a shit. Big difference. . .

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  16. from a match/ athletic perspective shawn was amazing.but his fueds werent that great.and he didnt have much offense.but he was the smallest main event guy at the time so it makes sense that he wasnt suplexing guys and tossing them around

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  17. As with a lot of ECW shows the actual top to bottom cards aren't always the best because you can't really edit the shows like you do TV. If memory serves me correctly the big tag matches don't make it to TV but Raven/Death does. Still, this show is unlike anything on TV at this time and I love this era more than any era in wrestling history. Please do more ECW reviews.

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  18. When did you start reviewing ecw chris?

    What show?

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  19. I'm not sure who are worse: defensive Bret Hart fans or defensive Shawn Michaels fans

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  20. I think Bret was actually pretty overrated in that regard. Every Undertaker match he had was a stinker. He was definitely a only as good as his opponent kinda guy overall.

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  21. One Night Stand?

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  22. I think this is the first ECW show he's reviewed here. He has been reviewing WWF & WCW weekly TV and PPV and I guess he's going to start throwing ECW into that mix too.

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  23. I wonder if it's a gimmick at this point. I've noticed there are times when he's defending HBK and makes sure to denigrate Bret when Bret has nothing to do with it. It's crazy

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  24. I've been covering Hardcore TV since the January 4th show. I took on all 3 companies at the start of the year.

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  25. HartKiller acts like it's 2001 and you have to be either Team Bret or Team HBK

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  26. The Ghost of Faffner HallFebruary 27, 2015 at 2:33 PM

    That is the best description of he Sandman I've ever seen.

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  27. I look at all these hundred of ratty old VHS tapes now and all the time I spent recording shows off WWE 24/7 in the early years, and all the old PPVs and Raws and Nitros....and I realize how much time in my life I've wasted on that same pursuit man. Now I have spindle after spindle of DVDs, probably thousands of them with everything from WWE, WCW, TNA, ROH, CZW, NJPW, AJPW, IWA-MS, CHIKARA, FMW, etc etc etc and I realize the exact same thing because I could have just bought a god damn external hard drive.

    Lucky for you you weren't reviewing the original show with this title, because I pity anyone who has to sit through that damn triple threat match. One of the worst, most boring matches of all time and easily the most overrated match in ECW history.

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  28. I'm going to eventually start pimping my website, I swear, but I'm slowly moving all the shows over there first.

    I just updated the ECW archive because it was a couple of shows behind so that you could go back through what's been covered so far.

    http://www.kickoffear.com/ecw.html

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  29. Damn. I was so close.

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  30. Reason why i was asking because i have ecw from 1993 and was thinking abt reviewing up until you started.

    Maybe.

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  31. I agree.

    Axl could work and talk but both of them could never get the break and shove.

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  32. Bret Carried the "most expensive piece of luggage" in the WWF

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  33. Funny how a parody like the bWo was more over than most of the current WWE roster, which gets 1000% more airtime than ECW is the mid 90s.

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  34. Virgil's Gimmick TableFebruary 27, 2015 at 3:05 PM

    All of it.

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  35. In Jericho's recent podcast with Shawn, he talked about how he didn't want to drop the title to Bret at 13 because he said if Vince believed Shawn to be the guy, he should have pushed him all the way.

    Kind of conveniently forgets dropping the title to Sid.

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  36. Shawn michaels isn't in your top 50 of all-time? Are you fucking insane?

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  37. To be fair, no ones seen that Tom Magee match.

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  38. Belee_Matt!_INDEED!!!February 27, 2015 at 3:14 PM

    Nah, I'm good with fixing it, thanks.

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  39. Belee_Matt!_INDEED!!!February 27, 2015 at 3:16 PM

    Mmm...sweaty chest slapping.

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  40. I think it's just their styles. Bret's slower and more technically so if he's it there with a slug it may seem boring.

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  41. Why has it continually been the narrative for nearly 20 years that that stupid Mass Transit kid was some poor helpless victim who got hurt at the hands of a heartless criminal? He lied about his age to get booked, lied about having wrestling experience, and allowed himself to get bladed by an opponent, something that always results in excessive gore (see also WM13). How about blaming the kid and his dad who apparently helped him get booked? Personal responsibility doesn't play ANY factor here?

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  42. Shawn in his comeback didn't care about political games.

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  43. Axl had a chance when WWECW started and decided not to show up, only himself to blame. Balls was definitely never given enough credit

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  44. Dropping it to Sid to set up winning it back is different than giving it back to Bret to be the top guy again.

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  45. He ripped on Bret for not wanting to lose the title on his way out of the company.

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  46. Yeah, the Hart's are such a well adjusted family I'm way out of line criticizing them.

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  47. But how can you explain his immature actions and cartoonish selling at summer slam?

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  48. There are things Shawn's ripped for that you can just as easily apply to Bret. For example all the 1994-1996 reviews where every clique match is "yeah clique working together of course" when you could just as easily complain about the various Hart family feuds.

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  49. Hogan was supposed to win one lose won and changed it to winning both so he was probably pissed about it but it's not like he was playing politics from 2002 until he retired, he jobbed all the time.

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  50. Sure...and most of us acknowledge that. No one is really a Bret guy or Shawn guy anymore. Even Shawn himself said in that Jericho podcast that what he did to Bret was the worst thing he's done to someone in wrestling.

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  51. Sure...but again, he acted like an unprofessional.

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  52. Montreal? Yeah, he's not proud of it because it goes against the trust guys have to have with one another but at the end of the day Bret should have just done what he was supposed to do and not put anyone in that position.

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  53. Consider the audience.

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  54. Yes, and Michaels refused to lose belts on several occasions and also only wanted to put the titles on his friends. He had his own belt mark issues.

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  55. I am on Team Brawn or Team Shet now. I love and miss them both.

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  56. Business was not good with Shawn Michaels as champion. Vince had every right to ask him to drop it to Bret Hart. Vince TRIED running with Shawn and the nWo-led WCW was killing them.

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  57. Both "Brawn" and "Shet" sound like something you do in the bathroom

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  58. And Bret would have set the world on fire? From the time Bret was asked to drop the belt to Shawn he was the one suggesting he win it back, he was just as much in Vince's ear as Shawn was.

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  59. Did he try to leave the company without losing the title?

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  60. Bret was a returning star and the feud between the two was hot. The idea was Bret win the title and Shawn wins the blow-off.

    I know the cynic laughs at the idea of Bret dropping it back to Shawn but geez...the guy put the Mountie and bob backlund over.

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  61. Which is coincidentally where I watch some of their matches on my tablet.

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  62. Wasn't he trying to squirm free in 1993?

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  63. But it never seemed to be as set in stone as Bret makes it out to be. Even in his own book it sounds like he's the one repeatedly suggesting it. And Bret was the guy who got the belt to hold things over until Vince found his next star, going back to Bret is a lateral move.

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  64. Shawn or Bret? Bret only tried or threaten to leave in 88, 91, 94, 96 and 97. Shawn was also suspended immediately for a failed drug test in 1993 and stripped of the belt so I don't see how that's him refusing to drop the title.

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  65. No, and I'm not going to argue with you which is worse. They were both whiny belt marks in 1997.

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  66. Nah, Sunny actually came pretty cheap....

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  67. According to his book, Bret had plenty of em....

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  68. Nah. Their 1997 matches were pretty good, even on house shows. Pre1996 it was impossible to have a good match with Taker because of his style.

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  69. He seemed to care when it came to the Hogan match....

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  70. He probably wouldn't have. But Shawn Michaels wasn't doing good business as champion in late 1996-early 1997, so why not give someone else a chance? Maybe Bret Hart could've dropped the title to Austin earlier, who knows.

    It's ridiculous to suggest that Vince McMahon didn't have any right to take the belt off Michaels with what ratings and buyrates were in late 1996-early 1997. They had to paper the Alamodome for the Rumble to ridiculous levels and it is Michaels' hometown.

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  71. So was Hogan for insisting on going over with his broke down ass. Shawn's cartoony overselling was on the same level as the putrid shit Hogan tried to pass off as offense.

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  72. Me too. My two favorites of all time.

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  73. One Night Only was terrific *and* Bret dragged a good match out of ZombieTaker at the 1/92 MSG show. No excusing that Royal Rumble match, though.

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  74. See, like I said earlier, this is all the pro-Shawn group has. They act all shocked and bothered like a Victorian-era housewife, instead of actually offering up a discussion.

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  75. I always thought the "he tried to hard to look good" argument weak. It depends on who you want to criticize. If Bryan outclasses Reigns and everyone comes away talking about how much better than Reigns he is everyone would point to that as the reason Bryan deserves the push. In Bret's book he admits that he wanted he fans to be left thinking he was the better man at Summerslam 92 and WM12, who's that different than Shawn showing what he could do in his first WM main event? And I'm not criticizing Bret for wanting to put on a show at Summerslam but wanting to leave the impression that Shawn wasn't the better man at WM12 is basically the opposite of what he was supposed to do.

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  76. Hogan had Creative Control - what's unprofessional about using it validly, much less against SHAWN MICHAELS of all people?

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  77. Foley no showed the next night as a protest, then Cornette told him “Two whiny millionaires are butt hurt over who is making more millions and winning fake fights – and meanwhile your [sic] missing paydays over some moral grounds that the principal players don’t really give two fucks about!” (Paraphrased).

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  78. How about...Bret-Davey at SummerFest 1992?

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  79. One big notch on Hogan's belt is being the only person to out-politic all five members of the Clique.

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  80. I dunno, X-Pac of all people may have gotten one over on him with that post-WM14 rant. That was a big, big deal.

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  81. New Jack took advantage of that kid, even though the kid should be punished for lying about his age. Paul deserves blame only because New Jack is under his watch.

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  82. That about sums it up right there

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  83. ECW had the smartest fans in American wrestling in 1997. Thanks for commenting though.

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  84. Saw RVD v Balls at a house show in 98(?), and Balls held his own big time. He definitely was an extremely gross wrestler though.

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  85. I suppose it's a receipt (a very potato-y one) for being bounced out of WCW, and it was far more effective than Shawn's tantrum on Raw.

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  86. Indeed. The dude was untouchable

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  87. Maybe I should have been more clear. The audience adopted the gimmick because it was familiar with the gimmick. That's all I was saying.

    And you're welcome npavlou22.

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  88. Them's fighting words

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  89. Sorry, you're comment seemed snarky. My bad. No idea about the last part.

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  90. HHH had quite a few good matches in '04. Don't recall him having any notable stinkers either.

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  91. To settle this once and for all: both Shawn and Bret are great but overrated talents.


    There.

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  92. MaffewOfBotchamaniaFebruary 27, 2015 at 5:40 PM

    He put everybody over in the comeback tour!

    Kennedy, Masters, Cena...

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  93. No, actually. He was more than willing to leave the company losing the title.

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  94. Bret was more than willing lose the title, which you always ignore.

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  95. Bret did what he was supposed to do. He offered to job the title over and over. He invoked a clause put in his contract.

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  96. But on cases where we're arguing what HBK did, it doesn't matter what Bret did, but you constantly bring him into the conversation when there's no need to or just distort facts to suit your narrative.

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  97. You're just proving his point.

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  98. Well you're wrong at worst and at best incredibly ignorant .

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  99. Yeah, they agreed to win a match each and Hogan changed his mind after get started the program. Why shouldn't he be pissed at that?

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  100. Agreeing to one thing and changing your mind after the program already started? If he had creative control, cool, he had every right to dominate WCW like he did then.

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  101. Yes, just not to Shawn. Or in Canada. Or both. Or either one.

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  102. Belee_Matt!_INDEED!!!February 27, 2015 at 6:04 PM

    Actually, I don't care, and sweaty chest slapping jokes amuse me. There's nothing about wrestling that I have a hard lined opinion about it. I can easily be swayed at any time because, like I said, I don't care.

    I think getting all pissy about who's the best fake fighter is pretty funny. It's like, "who is the best actor". It's unbelievably subjective and based on highly subjective quantifications.

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  103. Because the internet narrative is Shawn is bad, in particular because he screwed with Bret, who was good. Shawn was the champion and Bret was whining and complaining he wasn't, maybe that started it all? Shawn worked with his friends? Bret worked with his family. Nobody makes a point to mention Owen only got his push because of who his brother was when his matches are reviewed 20 years later.

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  104. Because Shawn had the same attitude. Plus, Bret had creative control.

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  105. It's not 2001 anymore. You can like both. It's okay.

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  106. Shawn Michaels put on a good match at WM11 but intentionally absorbed every last bit of face heat Nash had gained to put himself over


    SummerSlam93, pissed off at Perfect for figuring out that Shawn screwed over Marty Jannetty at Rumble 93, intentionally had a crappy match and worked harder to get his bodyguard Diesel over... Perfect bailed on the company shortly after


    and I don't have to list every title Shawn refused to drop after winning it with a pinfall over someone else a lot more professional


    ... you have to be a pretty big prick to have to become "born again" to avoid owning up to it when everyone calls you on it later in life

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  107. I don't think it's silly at all. I think it's silly when someone lays out a well thought argument against HBK and the response is always NO YOU ARE INSANE.

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  108. And when "praise Jebus" doesn't do the trick, Shawn also has an Alberto Gonzalez/Kenneth Lay-esque capacity for not being able to recall any details about his behavior.

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  109. So you're saying Perfect faked a back injury and got a huge insurance settlement because Shawn supposedly intentionally had a bad match with him on purpose?

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  110. Belee_Matt!_INDEED!!!February 27, 2015 at 6:30 PM

    Guy says something, guy gets response, guy makes a joke, guy gets snapped at for the joke, guy says he's joking, other guy keeps going for some reason. This is where we part.

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  111. Man I just knew Sid at Survivor Series was gonna be mentioned haha. That's the one I first thought of.

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  112. The guy has basically said any shitty thing you want to accuse off he probably did. He makes no bones about the person he was, maybe he just doesn't take this shit so seriously anymore? There's a story in his new book about him being embarrassed to admit he looked at porn on the internet - the guy isn't proud of who he was and probably just doesn't want to talk about every detail over and over.

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  113. He put Hardy over clean on Raw.

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  114. I seem to recall you fervently defending Shawn convincing Vince to change the finish at One Night Only almost literally at the last minute. How is that any different?

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  115. So if Shawn had creative control and used it to go against wrestling tradition to suit himself that would be okay with you to? There's no logical reason Bret shouldn't have to lose there other than his personal issue/ego.

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  116. Well that's assuming Shawn forced Vince to change the finish, which is just one of those things Bret and the internet say. I don't see anything wrong with One Night Stand still. I didn't say how Shawn acted was professional in 2005, I said he didn't care about politics. The Hogan thing pissing him off doesn't necessarily mean it was his ego or whatever people think, isn't Hogan routinely shit on here for being difficult to work with?

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  117. Balls was the "world champion" of my local indie fed, and I was amazed at what he could actually do.

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  118. Me too, and it depresses the fuck out of me.

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  119. Adam "Colorado" CurryFebruary 27, 2015 at 8:05 PM

    That triple threat match is fucking AWFUL.

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  120. As opposed to the gentle, nuanced holds he'd do on everyone else? Yes, as the "veteran" (who had been in the business all of a whole year at that point) he should have backed off when he saw how much juice the fatso had gotten. But it was ECW and people bled all the time. If the kid had actually been a trained, knowledgeable wrestler he might have known not to let someone else blade him because it never goes well. I just dont get how he's made out to be some tragic victim. If you drove your car onto the track at Daytona and got in a wreck you wouldn't blame Kasey Kahne for killing you, so why is it different here?

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  121. I'm literally the biggest ECW apologist in the world. I'll be the guy who defends the crucifix angle till I die but what Jack did was uncalled for. You have to protect your opponent to some extent and Jack nearly killed him.

    Not sure who were referring to as only being in wrestling for a year though... Jack had 6 years plus under his belt before the Mass Transit incident.

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  122. Huh? New Jack debuted in 1992.

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  123. Balls could actually work when he gave a damn, which wasn't often.

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  124. Yes! Go for it! The more old ECW, the better!

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  125. Raven was so good in his original ECW run. Nearly everything worked. It was incredible.

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  126. I know what you mean and think you have a lot of great points. I also think Heyman should have done a better job vetting the kid rather than just taking him at his word. He also shouldn't have put any new guy in the ring with New Jack.... There's a LOT of blame to go around there.

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  127. Storm/Balls reminds me of Storm's comment on his website about guys that are tough to work with. He says that guys who can't work at ALL are awful to wrestle, but "the one guy who COULD work that I had trouble with was Balls Mahoney". He says they could just never gel and get things working.

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  128. "Ween" Dean AndrewsFebruary 28, 2015 at 5:08 AM

    Kick Off Ear?

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  129. " it literally felt like “ok, I did my move, now it’s your turn”" -- This is how I feel when I watch PWG.

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  130. Even the wrestlers would agree with you on that. PWG is a promotion run by the wrestlers for the sake of having fun shows and matches against guys they want to fight. They have practically no angles and it's a lot of guys having matches against other guys for the fun of it.

    Given all that, you can still hate it. I'm just happy you even gave it a shot.

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  131. I didn't hate it, but it I couldn't get into it the same way a lot of people have.

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  132. CruelConnectionNumber2February 28, 2015 at 2:16 PM

    Where's the opening match? "Louie Spicolli pinned Mike Awesome in the opener and after the match Awesome gave ref Jeff Jones a power bomb." (Observer 2/10/97)

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  133. CruelConnectionNumber2February 28, 2015 at 2:18 PM

    PWG is for today's ADD-type video game wrestling fans. ECW was eons better storytelling and atmosphere, IMO. Just an opinion from someone lucky enough to have attended both Philly and Reseda at the height of both.

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