graves9: The BWO was so awesome back in the day and Heyman did the impossible and got Raven's lackey, who Joey Styles would call a clueless putz and turned him into the most over face in the promotion. Stevie really should have stuck around, but he followed Raven out the door and WCW blew past Raven and Stevie's history in a month, and had Raven beat him rather easily at the Clash of the champions. Stevie soon after disappeared before doing a few ECW shows and going to the WWE and never really getting pushed again. Wat could have been for Stevie. If he could have done it again I bet he would have stuck around.
Tenken347: Having also rewatched this stuff pretty recently, I was able to put my finger on exactly what it was that I liked about the bWo. While the nWo angle was something that went on to redefine the entire industry, it was all just so serious all the time. Stevie and Meanie coming along to take the piss out of it just wound up being a real breath of fresh air, and not coincidentally became about the only real opportunity Stevie Richards got to show the world how good he really could be.
The genesis of Stevie Richards from lackey to top-level threat was, as graves9 alluded to, nothing short of a miracle. Now, Stevie was never so low he was perceived as a modern day Virgil; but he definitely looked like a guy who was never going to get much further than playing “and the challenger…” for the TV title.
What Paul Heyman did better than anyone else, was recognize when something worked, and push the hell out of it. The bWo was supposed to be a one shot deal; another parody as they’d done with KISS or the Jackson 5. But the reception it got screamed money, and Heyman let them run with it. It’s this kind of grass-roots stuff that really makes pro-wrestling so much fun (and so bloody frustrating in the modern era). The creative freedom the mid-card acts had in the mid to late-90’s to just keep throwing stuff at the wall until something stuck was always fun; from Crash Holly and his 24/7 gig, to Mr. Socko, to Chris Jericho Conspiracy Victim, there was rarely a dull moment.
However, since we just ran through Crossing the Line Again, tonight’s show may in fact be a Dull Moment, since we’re likely to be rehashing the bulk of that and viewing very little new content. But, for the sake of giving us the complete picture of the year that was 1997, let’s see what we’ve got.
Paul Heyman’s passionate pay-per-view announcement is replayed in full.
THE TRIPLE THREAT promote an upcoming re-match against the Pitbulls and Tommy Dreamer. Douglas promises people will be talking about their team for centuries to come. Well, I’m looking at this in the 21st century, so he has a smidgen of hope.
JOEY STYLES welcomes us to the ECW arena, and introduces the phenomenon of the Blue World Order. Unfortunately, it’s the re-hashed Ricky Morton (with Ugly Girlfriend) match against Stevie from CTLA. It’s still *1/2.
Here’s more from SHANE DOUGLAS and FRANCINE, with a message directly for Gary Wolfe. He’s tired of hearing from Joey Styles about all the “awful” things he did to Pitbull #1, considering what he did to Douglas’ reputation. He points out that seconds before he broke Wolfe’s neck, Gary was on the verge of giving Francine a piledriver like he’d have done to a man. And, Wolfe was the same moron who attacked HIM while in a neck brace, all he did was defend himself. So, since he hasn’t given it up, the next time we see Pitbull, he’ll be getting wheeled around like Christopher Reeves. Hey, as much as I can’t stand Douglas, the mark of a great heel is to believe what you’re saying, and the guy brought up some fantastic (if one-sided) points to defend himself.
The Dr. Death / Axel Rotten match, followed by his immediate World Title shot against Raven is replayed. Williams was well past his prime at this point, but his brawl with Raven is fantastic stuff, and should have been the start of a career re-birth in North America.
THE ELIMINATORS didn’t think their match with Sabu and RVD at November to Remember could be topped; but they did at CTLA last Saturday. I wouldn’t call a 20-minute ** match anything worth bragging about; but that’s probably the max you’re getting out of any match featuring both John Kronus and Sabu. Anyway, apparently they’re doing this again. Crikey.
The main event is the D-Von Dudley vs. Sandman match that was only 5 minutes long bell to bell, but with all the run-ins and nonsense, went on for well over 25. The Dudleys homecoming is fantastic, but there is just way too much stuff going on here, between Bubba’s heel turn, Spike getting sacrificed, the Gangstas running in and having a mini-match with the Dudleys, all while Sandman refuses to stay down and keeps wildly swinging away like Casey at the Bat.
And that’s it. No surprise they used their supershow footage since it hadn’t been syndicated, and this gives everyone awake at 2:30am on a random Thursday a chance to see what’s been happening at the ECW arena. New content next week, which is leading us right into CyberSlam on the 22nd.