Thursday, April 30, 2015

ECW CyberSlam: February 22, 1997

ECW online nerds collide in their annual geekfest! ECW Cyberslam is actually what the modern day Axxess is (albeit on a much smaller scale). Starting with Double Tables in 1995, the February event became the yearly chance for rspw regulars to meet up, mingle with the wrestlers, attend a Q&A, and watch a little wrasslin’. CRZ and others who actually attended some of these events can provide a lot more background and context than I can do justice – but the long and the short is that this was geared entirely towards your online crowd.

There’s little chance they’ll be able to top Brian Pillman’s “smart marks” debut from last year – but being ECW, lord only knows what they’re got in store.

This is actually the second night of a two night event – and this was the one commercially released. My copy is absolutely ass, but we make do with what we got.

JOEY STYLES graces us, all by his lonesome as usual.


THE ELIMINATORS vs. SABU and ROB VAN DAM (in a tables and ladders match for the ECW world tag-team titles)

 Saturn sucks up to the locals, reminding them he plays for them, team ECW! At least until WCW makes him a bigger money offer, then he’s outta here. Slow going off the bell, as RVD and Saturn feel each other out a bit. RVD hits the first blow with a dropkick, but Saturn ties him up in a headscissors. Kronus enters and nails Sabu with a Rock Bottom for 2. Sabu tries a half crab, but Saturn flies in off the top with a boot to the face to break it up. Both guys hit spinning heel kicks on opposite sides of Sabu, getting 2. Van Dam quickly tags in as Sabu locks on a camel clutch, allowing RVD to dropkick Saturn in the face. Saturn crotches RVD on the top rope, and hits a springboard crossbody, careening them both to the floor. Everyone starts fighting over a ladder on the floor, and they’ve spilled all over the place. If it seems to you, the reader, that it’s literally “one team hits one move then the other team hits a move”, that’s EXACTLY what’s happening, and it’s aggravating me – despite the fact the crowd is positively rabid for every bit of it. Both teams brawl all over the arena for awhile, but little happens, and the action returns to the ring. Sabu throws a chair in the face of Saturn, setting up the triple jump moonsault – but he hurt his ribs and can’t go for the pin. RVD enters, and eats a brainbuster from Saturn for 2. Sabu grabs the ladder, and slams Saturn on it, allowing both guys the chance to tee off with sentons and legdrops, getting a 2 count. Saturn stands up and hits a spin kick – because selling has no place in this match. RVD is whipped into the ladder, where Kronus crushes him with the handspring back elbow for 2. The Eliminators toss the ladder into the awaiting arms of RVD and Sabu, and dropkick it back into the both of them. Saturn finds a smaller ladder outside the ring, and tosses it at the skull of RVD. That’s sold for approximately no seconds, before Saturn gets locked in a surfboard while Sabu dives off the top with a stomp to Saturn’s ribs in mid-air. An Arabian facebuster with the ladder gets 2. RVD nails a double underhook front suplex, and slams the ladder on Saturn, getting another 2. And after that kind of excruciating beating, Saturn clotheslines both guys and tags in Kronus. Stereo superkicks drop Sabu, and a senton from Kronus gets 2. A lovely Juvi Driver gets 2 from Saturn, and moments later Saturn’s dumped into the front row where Sabu’s able to hit a springboard assault over the guardrail. RVD comes off the guardrail with a moonsault on Kronus, while Saturn is already recovered and hitting a Frankensteiner on Sabu for 2. Saturn sets up the smaller ladder and splashes Van Dam off the top, but Sabu’s right there to break up the party. Kronus is placed on a table outside the ring, and Sabu nails a senton bomb through it. Meanwhile, RVD is hitting a split legged moonsault on Saturn, through a ladder, a move with such dire implications that it factors in this match in no way. Sabu hits Saturn with the whisper in the wind, but Total Elimination comes out of nowhere on Van Dam twice to score the pin at 20:42. Holy hell, I hate *both* these teams. They’re both loaded with an amazing array of gorgeous tag-team manoeuvres, but none of them can stop themselves from sucking each other off long enough to ask “how can we make this look realistic?” They’re fully capable of a 5 star match, even under hardcore rules – but they’re so far up their own asses that the tunnel vision has blinded them from remembering there’s an art to professional wrestling. I’m sick to death of Harlem Heat, but I’d rather watch them execute the same bland match time and again than continue to watch these teams flush their potential down the toilet for the sake of getting their stupid spots in. *1/2

Post-match, Sabu agrees to shake the hands to both guys, but Van Dam isn’t interested; a throwback to the lack of respect RVD showed Sabu early on, resulting in their feud (and subsequent friendship when Van Dam learned a little class). Sabu berates him for being a dick, and the fans shower him with “ASSHOLE” chants, but RVD’s having none of it, walking off.

JOEY STYLES riles everyone up with a PITBULLS appearance. #1 wants Douglas to stop behaving like Shawn Michaels and actually face his maker. Oh no he didn’t! SHANE DOUGLAS and FRANCINE show up at the top of the ramp, and Douglas tells the lot of them to kiss his ass. “I don’t give a fuck about Monday Night RAW, I don’t give a fuck about ECW, what I give a shit is you Gary Wolfe, running your mouth.” Douglas demand he never be compared to a fucking asshole like Shawn Michaels, and if the Pitbulls want a piece, they can have at him right now.

Of course, the Pitbulls charge, where the TRIPLE THREAT is waiting in the shadows. Brian Lee puts #2 through a table, while Candido chokes out #1 with his own dog chain. The brains are not particularly functional for that pair, are they?

LITTLE GUIDO (with Tommy Rich) vs. CHRIS CHETTI

Rich talks about his history with the Mafia, and introduces the world to his new family – the Full Blooded Italians. After coining “do you smell what I’m cookin’” which fails to catch on, the crowd treats Rich to a “YOU SUCK DICK” chant. That one gets me every time. Guido bitch slaps Chetti, which starts a foot race around the ring, going nowhere. Back in, Chetti hits a rana for 2. A gutwrench gutbuster turns things back for Guido, and an elbow to the face gets 2. Chetti tries to fire back, but an eyerake stops that, and Guido dumps Chris into the awaiting arms of Rich. Chetti gets crotched across the guardrail to no surprise; Rich always loved to work the groin. Guido drops a knee for 2, and follows with a nasty powerbomb for 2. Chetti refuses to die, and it’s getting to Guido now, who shows a little frustration as he heads up. A kneedrop misses, and Chetti dives in with a cradle for the massive upset at 5:52! Rich was the one who’d coaxed Guido into using more top rope manoeuvres, and he’s not happy about it. The fans politely request “FUCK HIM UP GUIDO, FUCK HIM UP!” However, Rich reminds Guido they’re a pair of Full Blooded Italians and need each other. To the fans, “FUCK EVERY ONE OF YOU!” *

BALLS MAHONEY vs. BIG STEVIE COOL (with Da Blue Guy, Hollywood Nova, and 7-11)

Balls gets the fans going in a “BALLS” chant, which Stevie completely one-ups when he starts a “BWO” chant loud enough to break the sound barrier. Stevie plants Balls with a dropkick to the mush, and works an armbar. The fans break into “SHOW YOUR TITS”, which Meanie happily obliges. A fujiwara armbar doesn’t do a lot of good because Stevie can’t get a lot of leverage on the big man, and Balls is on his feet and pounding away on Richards seconds later. Richards ducks a clothesline and hits a crossbody to regain control, and he goes back to the armbar which is silly because it was completely unsuccessful the first time. Our second go is no better, but Richards keeps on Balls with an early rendition of the Stink Face. Balls has no use for THAT, and clotheslines Richards with enough force to send him into the next zip code. A spinning heel kick against the ropes sends Richards barrelling over the top, and Balls is fired up, warming up the band for god knows what reason since that isn’t his move. The bWo tries to snap Richards back into it, so Balls just picks Stevie up by the hair and gives him a Stunner across the top rope. A second rope elbowdrop leads to an arrogant cover, but Balls drops a leg before the ref can finish counting anyway. Richards throws a desperation kick, and follows with a dropkick off the second rope. That’s stopped dead with a Nut Cracker, and Stevie’s wails around with his plums in hand while Balls does the Memphis strut around the ring. A legdrop off the top looks to finish, but Stevie rolls out of the way, and the fans rally Richards back into it. Stone Cold Stunner (called as such by Styles) gets 2. That doesn’t keep Balls down for the long, and he hits a fallaway slam while doing Da Blue Guy’s “me me me” routine. Balls drops the straps as the fans scream “SHAVE YOUR TITS”, but his powerbomb fails as Stevie rolls off the back, and a field goal to the Mahoneys sets up the Stevie Kick and the win at 12:16. Richards bounces around like Shawn Michaels while a FEMALE ADMIRER hops the guardrail to dive at ECW’s boy-toy. She’s hauled off by security, while Richards leaves through the crowd, a hero, despite the awful match. He should probably be on top of the promotion right now, and the bWo milked for everything it’s worth while it’s sizzling. Given the revolving door of this place, they don’t have time to dick around with red hot gimmicks. *

AXL ROTTEN vs. SPIKE DUDLEY

Spike charges around the ring like a bull in a china shop, throwing his chair wildly at absolutely nothing. Axl, using his pea-brain to his advantage, crouches behind the stairs and clotheslines Spike’s head plum off – but he’s made of lego so he’ll be ok. The fans chant for Axl, while he parades around like the special needs cousin of the Bushwhackers, but a blind charge misses and Spike starts gnawing on his forehead. Rotten hit the floor, but Spike’s right behind him with a somersault plancha off the apron, and he rushes back in to hit a plancha off the top rope a few seconds later. They head back in as Spike goes to the well once too often, and he takes a clothesline on his way down. A bulldog is shoved off by Spike, and he quickly hits the Acid Drop! THE DUDLEY BOYS rush down and attack, and while Spike manages to fight them off, it gives Rotten time to recover and hit the Dominator for the pin at 4:29. What is this company’s affinity for useless fat guys? 1/2*

So the Dudleys beat Spike into a pulp, but a familiar beat comes over the house and takes us right into …

THE DUDLEY BOYS (with Big Dick Dudley) vs. DA GANGSTAS

Axl sticks around long enough to get bloodied up by New Jack, while Mustafa and Bubba square off in the ring. By the time we check back in on New Jack and D-Von a few seconds later, D-Von’s already squirting blood. I’m gonna save you and I a whole lot of time: Everyone swings weapons for awhile, and The Dudleys win with a Bubba Cutter on a diving New Jack at 14:22. This was nothing even close to resembling professional wrestling – and if we’re even going to compare it to some of the other hardcore templates from years gone by, this isn’t close. It doesn’t take a ring magician to make a hardcore match work; for god sakes Brian Knobbs and Jerry Sags have been involved in some absolutely phenomenal street fights. But I expect, if nothing else, for there to be some level of intensity, a little story-telling, and a real reason that both teams want to win. Much like the rest of this show, this match had *none* of that. It was just 4 guys swearing at each other and throwing things around between forehead gigging. I get the feeling the ECW crowd is gonna be calling for my head after this review, but this show sucks. DUD

TAZ (with Bill Alphonso) vs. TRACY SMOTHERS

Taz actually came back a few weeks ago, but I think this is the first time he’s been fully televised. Tracy’s making his ECW debut here, and I’m not thinking it’s going to go very well. A number of bitch slaps from Taz draws an irate Smothers into try and tackle him, but Taz is a wrestler’s wrestler, and he rides Tracy like a classy escort – with energy and vigor. A clothesline shakes Smothers to the core, but he manages to hit a crossbody for 2. An enzuigiri drops Taz for 2, and Smothers starts throwing elbows to the jaw of the little orange pitbull. The jaw jacker gets 2, and Styles is beside himself selling this one right now. Taz finally finds a base, and launches Smothers with a German suplex. T-bone sets up the Tazzmission, and Smothers taps immediately at 3:30. Unbelievably, in just 3 minutes, Taz has set the bar for match of the night. **

RAVEN and BRIAN LEE vs. TERRY FUNK and TOMMY DREAMER (with Beulah McGillicutty)

Lee is of course part of the current Triple Threat – so it’s a bit of an odd alliance with Raven when you consider that Douglas is likely to eventually set his sights on the World Title. He’d be better served to back Terry Funk, seeing as how he’s 104 years old and probably an easier mark than the psychotic Raven. Raven reminds Dreamer that they’ve known each other since they were 12, and Tommy’s never beaten him at anything. So tonight, he’s prepared to lay on his back and let Tommy pin him, no games, no tricks … if Tommy’s prepared to cost Terry Funk his title shot at the pay-per-view. “COME ON TOMMY, PIN ME! YOU’VE WAITED YOUR WHOLE LIFE FOR THIS! YOU DON’T HAVE THE BALLS DO YOU?” And with that, Dreamer dives at Raven and beats the shit out of him for being such a smarmy asshole. Funk tags in, and Raven sits up laughing. “Come on Tommy, why didn’t you pin me? You couldn’t hurt your mentor, could you? Bring on the old man!” Funk approaches … and Raven immediately tags out to Lee. Tommy heads back in, and takes a pounding from the Bulldozer. Once Dreamer’s down, Raven happily comes back in and drops a fist to Tommy’s babymaker. Dreamer, angrily, hits the Evenflow, but he goes for the pin … before realizing that’ll cost Funk, so he tags in Dreamer. Funk rushes as fast as he can, but Raven’s recovered enough to kick out. Lee heads back in, but Funk’s running on adrenaline, and he throws as many fists as he can. Lee wants out, but Raven won’t tag in so long as Funk’s in the ring. Dreamer comes in to double team Lee, and as soon as Funk returns to his corner, Raven comes in. All four guys spill out to the floor, and Funk grabs a hold of Raven, throwing those old calloused fists at Raven’s head. The quartet head into the front row, while Funk smacks Raven over the head repeatedly with a chair. Raven, dizzy, feels his way back into the ring, but Funk’s hot on his trail. Raven does the only thing he can – uppercuts Funk in the Double Cross Ranch, and happily starts talking trash again. “Is that all you’ve got old man?” He slams Terry’s face into the mat over and over, as the crimson mask from the earlier chair shots starts to develop some character on Raven’s face. Funk fights to his feet, throws a few punches, grabs the mic, and calls Raven a bitch. Terry starts to set Raven up to finish, kicking away at Raven’s leg, and as he collapses, Terry slaps on the Spinning Toe Hold. Raven screams he quits … but the referee is too busy trying to get Brian Lee to lay off Tommy Dreamer, who has been quietly kicking his ass from North to South Philly and all points in between during the entire Raven / Funk exchange. The ref comes back to check, but Lee’s right behind with a trash can to save the day – and because no one heard Raven submit, the match rolls on. Lee hits Funk over the head with the trash can a half dozen times, and every time Dreamer crawls to the apron, he’s met with a shot to the face courtesy Oscar The Grouch. Lee remains merciless, and neither guy can stand. Tommy begs Funk to give it up, as he’s bleeding and completely off balance. Funk shoves him away and calls him a son of a bitch for even suggesting he quit. MEDICAL STAFF hits the ring to haul Terry away, as Dreamer tries like hell to protect him. Wild eyed and confused, other than the fact he knows he’s in the middle of a fight, Dreamer is dragged to the gurney, swearing the entire way. They start to wheel him off, but Funk hops off and battles his way back to ringside, with Dreamer desperately trying to hold him back. “FUCK YOU, TOMMY!” Styles calls this officially the end of Terry Funk as he’s finally wheeled off backstage, while Raven and Lee pose in victory.

BIG STEVIE COOL storms down to the ring, with TYLER and LORI FULLINGTON right behind. Raven begs Richards for a Steviekick – and as Richards warms up the band, he’s goozled and given the Prime Time Slam from the man he was completely ignoring. A trash can over the head cements the message, so Lori comes in to ask what the hell is wrong with Raven? An Evenflow DDT is the quickest way to shut her up, but now Dreamer’s on his way back in. He makes a bee line for Raven, again missing the fact that Brian Lee’s in there too, and a Prime Time Slam takes him out again.

Tyler disappears backstage … re-emerging with THE SANDMAN of all people, who’s carrying his son on his shoulder. Sandman looks happy for the first time I can ever remember, with Tyler holding his Singapore Cane high in the air for everyone to see. Of course, he’s got a beer, and stops to chug it before doing anything else. Lee goes to stop him as he does everyone else, but Sandman smacks him with the cane to break the choke hold. Raven’s after him now, but a couple of shots from the cane, followed by the Evenflow … and Sandman gets the pin at 18:55?!? Sandman and Tyler re-unite, sharing a huge hug, and while it’s a little confusing, I’ll accept that maybe the Evenflow from Raven on his mom was enough to break the spell. Sandman throws Tyler’s bWo shirt away, and they head backstage together holding each other.

This is a hard match to rate, because from a story perspective, it was phenomenal. However, there were so many dead periods, and the match ended when someone not even involved somehow got a pinfall – so from a traditional wrestling standpoint it was completely and utterly ridiculous. Let’s go about halfsies and hit it ***, for a really entertaining 20 minutes.

CHRIS CANDIDO vs. SABU

 Yes, Sabu’s pulling double duty tonight – and Candido’s fired up for this one. He’s pissed that Sabu’s already looking past him, focusing on Taz and putting himself through a tables and ladders match on the same night he’s booked against Candido. “You can’t wrestle your way out of a paper bag, so get your ass out here!” Sabu goes for the camel clutch almost right away, but Candido wiggles away and flips him off. “FUCK HIM UP SABU, FUCK HIM UP!” Sabu obliges, knocking Candido to the floor and using a baseball slide dropkick to send him into the front row. A fan tosses Sabu a chair, and the triple jump leap into the front row … goes nowhere, as Candido rolls away and Sabu crashes into about 10 chairs. Candido heads back in, and with Sabu down, he’s able to hit a crossbody off the top, into the front row, with them rolling backwards into the chairs again. They head back in, and Candido drops Sabu with a spike piledriver. A second piledriver should do it, but Candido takes his sweet ass time because he wants to embarrass Sabu. Dude, haven’t you read wrestling tropes? That NEVER works! Still, he keeps the pressure on with a brainbuster off the second rope, and heads outside to grab himself a table. No, no, NO! That’s wrestling a Sabu match – big mistake kiddo. Sabu gets back to his feet and dumps Candido over the top, with nothing to break his fall. Sabu, of course, is right behind with a suicide dive, with both guys crashing into the steel barrier. Sabu grabs the table now, but Candido doesn’t want him to get to it first, and they wind up fighting over it. Sabu wins the exchange and lays Skip out – but he takes too much time to set up the legdrop inside the ring, and by the time he flies over the top, Candido’s moved and Sabu crashes though. Candido seems to have Sabu well scouted … just sit on the outside, wait for him to do something stupid, and roll away. I’m convinced I could beat this guy using that template. Back in, Candido works a headlock, and Sabu does an excellent job of selling the holds, looking like he’s in a world of pain as he gets stretched back and forth. Of course, he’s never gonna tap, so this is more to wear him down than anything else. Back to action, a swinging neckbreaker drops Sabu, and Candido wipes his hands of this before going for the pinfall, but it only gets 2. Having fun with this now, Candido grabs a microphone and asks the fans what they think of Mr. Hardcore now … before beating him down with the microphone, making a sweet “thud” with every impact. To the apron, Candido goes to knock Sabu to the floor, but Sabu grabs him and snap suplexes Chris all the way to the floor. Of course, Candido knows exactly what to do – hanging out by the guardrail until Sabu launches his body at him, at which point he sidesteps once more, and Sabu eats steel. Candido heads back in, but Sabu throws a chair in his face to set up Air Sabu into a rana for 2! Great sequence. Sabu tries a springboard back elbow, but Candido steps forward to catch him on his shoulder and drop back with the backdrop suplex. They fight to the top where Candido’s superplex is blocked by a faceplant, followed right behind with a somersault legdrop for 2! Sabu heads up once more, but Candido cuts him off and nails a super Frankensteiner for 2. Candido decides now to use Sabu’s own playbook against him, setting up the chair in the middle of the ring .. .but before he can even pick up a head of steam, Sabu’s already flying off the chair with a leg lariat. They battle back to the top, where Sabu launches Candido across the ring with a backdrop. The triple jump moonsault is blocked with the knees, and Candido hits a quick Doctor Bomb to keep Sabu down. The swandive is blocked with a chair to the face, and a triple jump legdrop scores the pin at 18:26. Chris tells him that he got beat at his own game, and “you’re a better fuckin’ wrestler without that bullshit”. He shakes Sabu’s hand, and they share a hug. I wait for the Triple Threat to kick Sabu’s ass, but it never comes.

Candido did a better job of keeping this together than the opener, so it was a little more fluid – but of course Sabu always means a spot-fest, so it went back and forth between a hard fought wrestling match, and a spot-for-spot match, depending on the segment. Sabu has a niche, but main eventer probably isn’t it. **1/2


This was the tale of two shows – as the first half was an absolute drag. The Raven show steals it, much as it did at last month’s Crossing The Line Again, and he’s become so adept at telling a story that he has to be one of the 5 best overall workers in North America at this point. ECW arena shows remain hit and miss, and this one was a miss. However, with Monday Night RAW and a PPV on the horizon, the sky remains the limit for these guys. Personally, I’d run Stevie against Raven at the pay-per-view, but it’s pretty clear at this point they’re setting Raven up for a showdown with Terry Funk. Given Terry’s connection to the ECW crowd, and his overall name recognition, that’s probably not the worst decision in their first run at a national pay-per-view audience. What’s nice here is that they have plenty of main event options, all of them interesting, which is far more than we can say about what’s happening with either of the Big Two companies at this point. How they’ll gel with the RAW roster is another story … and I can’t wait to see it play out.

92 comments:

  1. Adam "Colorado" CurryApril 30, 2015 at 10:20 PM

    "Holy hell, I hate *both* these teams. They’re both loaded with an amazing array of gorgeous tag-team manoeuvres, but none of them can stop themselves from sucking each other off long enough to ask “how can we make this look realistic?” They’re fully capable of a 5 star match, even under hardcore rules – but they’re so far up their own asses that the tunnel vision has blinded them from remembering there’s an art to professional wrestling."

    I LOVED these guys in 1997. I was also 14 when this show aired. I've since grown to hate all of them. The above quote pretty much says it all.

    Also, wasn't 7-11 from the bWo Rob Feinstein doing a really shitty parody of Sean Waltman?

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  2. Adam "Colorado" CurryApril 30, 2015 at 10:24 PM

    I kind of agree with him. Raven was nowhere near the in-worker that Bret, Shawn, Austin, the WCW cruiser guys, etc... were, but to me he was the most entertaining guy in wrestling overall in 1997 between his ECW work and the Flock.

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  3. Raven was a product of his time, but I think with a lot of ECW, his stuff doesn't hold up.


    But with the talent pool at the top of the WWF and the deep roster WCW had, not to mention lucha libre workers, a statement like that is patently absurd

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  4. Adam "Colorado" CurryApril 30, 2015 at 10:36 PM

    Eh, it depends on what you define "worker" as. Raven as far as actual wrestling goes? Yeah, that statement is absolutely ludicrous. But Raven-Tommy is my favorite angle ever, and while I thought the Tyler stuff was over the top even at the time Raven-Sandman is right up there too, and I loved the Flock stuff.


    Put it this way, if WWE released a comprehensive Raven ECW DVD I'd instantly run out and buy it. Actually buy it, not "buy" it. But I'd also be buying it for the promos and angle stuff and would likely skip most of the actual matches. Take that how ever you want.

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  5. Raven is a great worker the same way Jake The Snake Roberts is a great worker. Masters of sucking you in with strong emotions and playing out a story in the ring.

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  6. Dylan Waco's thoughts on Raven:

    I've said my piece on Raven a thousand times, but after watching all the ECW under the sun there are very few wrestlers who I would rather watch less at this point than Raven. As a character I am close to agreeing with Loss. I would deviate a little in the sense that I think Raven had a good look for the era and body language that fit well with what he was going for. Most of his promos I found boring when I was watching ECW in real time as a teen, and absolutely horrid watching them back years later, but I will grant that some people have an attachment to them. I agree that the guys around him added far more to his act than he added to theirs. Yes you could argue that Richards would not have "gotten over" as a big enough star without Raven (I don't really agree, but I don't think it's impossible to argue the point), but Raven wasn't making Richards more entertaining and watchable. I will say that the common ECW talking point of "fun at the time, but the shit does not age well at all" did not apply to me at all for the most part, but with Raven I find it to be very true. I didn't loathe him as a kid, but I was disinterested in him. Looking back I can see the argument that he was a "timely" character, but it's not a character that plays well in 2013 at all. In the ring? I can't think of any Raven ECW standout performance. This is particularly amazing when you consider how much ECW I watched. Even Lance Storm who I thought was transparently shitty had one match I can point to offhand where I thought he had a really strong performance (v. Dreamer Hardcore Heaven 99). I can think of Raven performances where he was decent, but nothing standout. I can't think of any run of really good Raven matches or even GOOD Raven matches. I can't think of a single thing Raven did particularly well in the ring. Was he as awful as your Tiger Jeet Singh's or Bob Brown's? No. Was he bad? I would say yes and he certainly was a lot worse than even I was expecting. I am not really a fan of Raven in WCW, but I have argued many times about the fact that he was very over and it seemed to me that they didn't go far enough with him. I think his best run as a worker was there too though even then he just seemed like a guy who was in good situations. I still can't put to a marquee Raven performance. Maybe it exists but nothing stands out and I'd have to be convinced. WWF stuff was not very good by any metric as I recall. It's possible if I went back and watched WWF b-shows my mind would change. Unlikely. Oh and why Sandman wasn't a great wrestler, I think he was much better in ring than Raven

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  7. Adam "Colorado" CurryApril 30, 2015 at 10:48 PM

    That's a pretty good comparison, though I'd say Raven was far better on the mic and in the ring than Jake was.

    Ever see the Jake Roberts DVD? The second disc with the matches is just brutal to watch. You could put a 8 or 9 match collection of Raven's stuff where everything is *** or above, I don't think one match on Jake's collection even hit **.

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  8. Adam "Colorado" CurryApril 30, 2015 at 10:51 PM

    He said Sandman is better in the ring than Raven, that alone means he's an idiot, me and you are better in the ring than Sandman is. And I'm a Sandman mark.


    Anyway, that's the opposite of how I feel about Raven, his stuff is about the only thing from ECW that still holds up to me.

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  9. Dylan Waco knows his stuff about wrestling, and as someone who never got into Raven, I agree with him.

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  10. Adam "Colorado" CurryApril 30, 2015 at 10:52 PM

    Who the hell is Dylan Waco? I've never heard of him until just now.

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  11. I don't think Raven is anywhere near as good as Jake on the mic and I love Raven's mic work but Jake was pretty damn awesome.

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  12. He hosts the wrestling culture podcast.

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  13. Adam "Colorado" CurryApril 30, 2015 at 10:58 PM

    Different times I guess, Raven was just getting started when I got into wrestling, by that time Jake had been flushed from THIS BUSINESS save for his awful WWF comeback in 1996.

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  14. Yeah Raven was interesting character he never really had too many great promos in WCW which is a shame he had plenty of mic work but it was always right before match. Did he even really have a meaningful feud after he lost the U.S title? I guess he had that whole freedbirds deal with Kanyon and Saturn was it in early 99.

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  15. Adam "Colorado" CurryApril 30, 2015 at 11:56 PM

    You mean once Goldberg squashed him (which in hindsight was a smart move)? Nah, he was pretty much done after that, and was back in ECW not too long after. I think at that point his drug issues were totally out of control and Raven was almost certainly working hurt, so IIRC it was an amicable split.

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  16. Not hyperbole.

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  17. I don't care what he hosts if he said sandman is a better worker than just about anyone he doesn't know anything. I love sandman hell I even love hardcore Hak it yeah that's just insane to say.

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  18. Cyberslam 99 was the best Cyberslam.

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  19. Raven as a storyteller in the ring was awesome, for sure. Hearing some of his stuff re: booking and understanding wrestling on his shoots make me wish he wasn't blackballed, because he understands the sport so well.


    Never got the thing for Van Dam, always hated how he would stop selling willy-nilly. Drove me nuts, it's one thing that I definitely agree with Grand Poobah Keith about. I confess that I was a huge Eliminators mark, though.

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  20. LANCE STORM was "transparently shitty"? Fuck this guy with a telephone pole.

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  21. Dylan Waco, apperatly knows little about professional wrestling.

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  22. Grand Poobah Keith. I like it.

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  23. MaffewOfBotchamaniaMay 1, 2015 at 3:37 AM

    I agree with that bit too because I remember being so excited for the match and...yeah.

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  24. Almost positive this show has New Jacks first balcony dive, so that's a positive.

    This is a better show than reviewed, of course.

    And Raven/Richards was destined to make a ton of money for ECW but it was never meant to be.

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  25. It's funny, all the things I loved 14 I still love, regardless if time hasn't been kind. I wonder why.

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  26. Name 5 better all around workers in February of 1997? You can't.

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  27. Hogan didn't like the Raven WCW intro promos.

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  28. Pretty angry at myself that I know what a Dylan Waco is now.

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  29. No, he's a moron.

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  30. Do you have the RF Video set of the Raven/Dreamer angle? Every match, promo from their feud ever. I got the Raven/Sandman set (I like that feud a small bit better) and it's the greatest thin ice ever bought.

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  31. Strange that their first one-on-one encounter would be a throwaway match at the final WCW Clash of the Champions event later on year.

    As much criticism as WCW gets ( and deservedly so), let's not forget that they were also the first company to give us the long-awaited Ric Flair vs. Hulk Hogan dream match on the big stage when WWF never quite pulled the trigger on it

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  32. Raven blackballed? When did this occur?

    I just figured Raven largely disappeared from the wrestling scene due to advanced age and a desire to work small indy shows where he could call his own shots.

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  33. Sandman out on some wildly entertaining brawls, but as a bonafide wrestler, he was absolutely terrible.

    Not in this or any other universe could the argument be made that he was better in the ring than Raven.

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  34. Belee_Matt!_INDEED!!!May 1, 2015 at 6:02 AM

    "Oh and why Sandman wasn't a great wrestler, I think he was much better in ring than Raven."

    What a great writer. I can see why you like him. Below is a proper proofread for him. You can give him that.

    "Oh, and WHILE Sandman wasn't a great wrestler, I think he was much better in ring than Raven."



    lolwut? Zubaz Joe with his half moonsault of shitty terror and his DDT of weak sadness? Hilarious.

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  35. Very disheartened by that. I always felt they should have ran Raven/Richards at Wrestlepalooza and then Raven/Dreamer at Hardcore Heaven (obvs Raven left so Paul had to have that match sooner).

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  36. Raven certainly could be asset on NXT, he has a great mind for the business.

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  37. Austin, Bret, HBK, Mysterio, Benoit, Guerrero, El Dandy, Malenko, Jericho, Regal, Furnas, Lafon, Juvi, Ultimo, Regal, Finlay, Foley, etc.

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  38. No, he's awesome

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  39. Lance Storm is overrated

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  40. It was a message board post, not an article

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  41. Clearly telling stories, invoking emotion and microphone skills were not included in your evaluations. Nice try tho.

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  42. Are you an ECW apologist? Just curious

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  43. Raven and Vince don't get along due to his partying with Shane when Shane was underage, his overall attitude and I assume the past drug use. Probably mostly corrupting Shane though.

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  44. It was. He did it for free too if I remember right, mostly because of the tape deal.

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  45. I'll give you most of them are better actual wrestlers than raven in their own style, but of those quite a few weren't the whole package like raven was at the time. He could talk, wrestle passably, so hardcore, tell a story in and outside a ring and had a hot gimmick that echoed the times and attitudes of a large amount of people.

    Drugs are the reason raven never remained on top, and his past mistakes why wwe didn't want him around.

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  46. I mean, are you a WCW apologist? You listed 1997 Chris Jericho as being better than ECW Raven.

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  47. He was an eh promo and he couldn't properly swing a chair to save his ass, but don't tell me he was a bad wrestler.

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  48. So you're list was a thinly veined troll posting? Or are you Dylan Waco?

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  49. I figured out ECW is one of those things...most people are in two camps: either you love it, and everything about it, or you hate it with a serious passion. Most people arent really indifferent, or kinda like some of it.....if you HATE The Eliminators and Sabu & RVD, then that says it all. I dug both teams back then, and still like now (though not nearly as much) for their athleticism - even if their matches turned into spotfests.....I mean really - would you seriously rather see these 2 teams....or Harlem Heat vs. The Blue Bloods? (Or for that matter, The New Day against....well....ANYBODY)?

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  50. No matter what you think of ECW, or Paul E. as a person, this just shows how much of a genius this guy was.....who else would get guys like Axl Rotten or Spike Dudley over???????

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  51. You are list? Are you Dylan Waco?

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  52. I'm not saying he's bad, just not really that good

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  53. I just never got into his character or his promos and it's stuff that really does not hold up well. At all.


    Those guys on the list all blow Raven out of the water, I could probably name more if I wanted to

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  54. Yup, you got me on autocorrect, fuck. I'm so embarrassed. I mean, I'd be more embarrassed if I had posted your list of wrestlers, but embarrassed nonetheless.

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  55. New Day v. Kidd/Cesaro, hell yea

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  56. Who the fuck hired Raven?

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  57. For what? They can only do the same finishes so many times (a distraction, somebody gets rolled up or hit with the finish.....or a DQ). Waste of talent really.

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  58. No, that's a pretty great list. ECW still means a lot to people, I get it. But I don't think Raven even comes close to these guys. If I knew more about lucha, I'd probably name even more guys

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  59. I'd rather watch New Day v. Kidd/Cesaro over an RVD Eliminators wankfest.

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  60. Which goes back to my earlier point: Either you absolutely LOVE or absolutely HATE the old ECW stuff. Some people see all the spots and automatically crap on it, some dont. It's not like the Midnight Express vs. Rock & Roll Express, where everybody agrees its awesome

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  61. Take Raven out of this; putting El Dandy on your list is trolling. You're trying too hard. Nobody on earth but you would put El Dandy, or any of the other low rent luchadores, anywhere near the top of any list in 1997. Please stop.

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  62. Holy shit, you really don't know what you're talking about regarding El Dandy.

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  63. And, holy shit, you don't know what you're talking about with Raven. You're trying to be "that" guy, and I get it, everyone wants to stand out from the crowd in their own way, but seriously. El Dandy sucks.

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  64. He does? How do you explain the numerous MOTYC he had in Mexico?

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  65. As noted below, it sucks that Raven is blacklisted, because In his prome, he had everything: unique look, good promos, decent worker, good finish. Add to that his knowledge of wrestling and his psychology in the ring, and he could be a big asset to someone as a booker or trainer.

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  66. You asked me to name a list of guys I deemed better than Raven at the time. There you go.

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  67. They should have done Dreamer over Raven at Barely Legal, then Raven could have put Richards over at Wrestlepalooza on the way out. (Was Richards already out with the neck injury at that point? If so, nevermind)

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  68. Ok, whatever you say, bud.

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  69. Many of the names you listed were laughable.

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  70. Yes, Richards was scheduled to get a world title shot against Funk at Wrestlepalooza but he was injuries a few weeks before that show. The title shot went to Candido.

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  71. IIRC, Bischoff had a meeting with the talent in '99 and said "anybody who is unhappy is free to go." Raven immediately got up and left the company.

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  72. Dandy's awesome.

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  73. Sorry, I never sipped Paul's Kool-Aid. I admire what he was able to accomplish

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  74. His hair combing gimmick was awesome. His in ring skills were fat and his charisma non existent.

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  75. You've spent the majority of the afternoon defending the skills of El Dandy.

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  76. Did you see El Dandy's work in Mexico?

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  77. Because he's one of the best out there. Raven's a guy I never saw the big deal over.


    I admire he was able to get himself over in TNA and was furious when Jarrett beat him. He was unwatchable in the WWF.

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  78. The OP was Raven in 1997. I'm not talking about TNA or WWF. El Dandy could've been the Mexican Hulk Hogan for all I care in some random year not named 1997 but in 97 he sucked and Raven was better.

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  79. No, give me an El Dandy match that I should watch.

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  80. What about his feud with Santo in 96?

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  81. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6WIc62hVvGw

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l0fLKAa3QFU

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uMpe0N7GRvg

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ga7GQP0R8U0

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o8IJh6AaF-Y&pxtry=1

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WINhp1agEBQ

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  82. Adam "Colorado" CurryMay 1, 2015 at 9:52 PM

    Didn't a couple other guys quit too?

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  83. Adam "Colorado" CurryMay 2, 2015 at 12:35 AM

    Raven hates the backstage stuff though, that's why he left the WWF when he was Johnny Polo. If he can't wrestle he'd rather just stay home.

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  84. Adam "Colorado" CurryMay 2, 2015 at 12:38 AM

    I've never heard of him being blackballed. I mean, Vince doesn't really like him, but that never stopped him from hiring people before. Besides, he's pretty much retired as a wrestler and has no interest in any backstage work, so why would he even want a job with WWE?

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  85. Adam "Colorado" CurryMay 2, 2015 at 12:42 AM

    Because you turned 15 last week?


    All kidding aside, I kind of like the same movies but my tastes in pretty much everything else has changed. Music, books, women, wrestling, food...

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  86. Didn't he book WCW's tag division for a little while? He always did have a mind for the business.

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  87. Adam "Colorado" CurryMay 2, 2015 at 12:49 AM

    Austin: absolutely

    Bret: never been a fan, would have to go with Raven. Personal bias here thoigh

    HBK: he's the GOAT, so yeah

    Rey\Benoit\Guerrero\Malenko\Jericho\Dragon\Juvi: better in the ring, useless otherwise, at least in 1997. And I always thought Dean and Juvi sucked

    Furnas\Lafon: terrible as singles guys

    Foley: Raven was better

    Finlay: was he even around in 1997?



    Regal & Regal: meh...

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  88. Adam "Colorado" CurryMay 2, 2015 at 12:54 AM

    You could have said that about me and I'd upvote "fuck this guy with a telephone pole", it's that funny. I'm definitely stealing that one.

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  89. Adam "Colorado" CurryMay 2, 2015 at 12:55 AM

    I have to agree, wasn't ever really a fan.

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  90. I want 60% of the t-shirt sales.

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  91. Bret: That's fine, but come on Bret's best stuff, Raven's not even remotely close to that level.


    The WCW guys: I think their tremendous ability in the ring outweighs Raven's perceived ability on the mic, which I was never a big fan of. In the ring, they obviously destroy Raven.


    Huge fan of both Dean and Juvy. Dean was one of my favourites growing up


    Furnas and LaFon: I dig those guys.


    Foley: I think Foley did Raven's style a lot better than Raven. Much better at hardcore wrestling and much better on that mic. Foley's stuff holds up very well.


    Finlay: I thought he was. Either way, Finlay is one of my favourites. I love that style.


    Dandy: It's a shame how a one-off promo by Bret has overshadowed his entire career.


    Regal: See finlay.

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