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Lou Pickney
Extreme Championship Wrestling TV Tapings
Huntington, WV
Huntington Civic Arena
August 4, 2000

I'd estimate the crowd at 2,500, give or take. They took an arena that holds hockey, ran a split down the middle, and put everyone on one side (though there were people in floor seats on the other side). It looked full to me, and hopefully it'll come across well on television. There were families there, young couples, etc., in short a much more mainstream type crowd than you might expect at an ECW show.

The only notable no-show was Jerry Lynn, who despite Lou E. Dangerously promising his appearance on the WSAZ morning news on Friday did not wrestle or even appear (unless he was a part of the run-in shmozz after the Jazz match, though I didn't see him then). Anyway, onto the matches.

The show was scheduled to start at 8:00 PM, but didn't get underway until 8:20. Trademark ECW there, though the air conditioning was blasting in the building (unlike how it is at many ECW shows). The ring was VERY loud when the wrestlers would take bumps, probably the loudest ring I've ever heard.

1. Red Dog pinned Michael Shane in 5:32 with a rollup. I'm not familiar with either of these guys.. but Paul Heyman needs to give them both a big push right away. Shane reminds me of a third Hardy Boy (without the crazy hair), both in appearance and in workrate. He was billed as being from San Antonio, Texas, so I wonder if he might be a student of Shawn Michaels. Red Dog came out to a Snoop Dogg song, and had some Japanese tattoos on his chest (though he was clearly not of Japanese heritage). These two put on an outstanding match, especially considering the time constraints. Dog hit a powerbomb. Shane nailed Dog with an AWESOME tope. Dog hit Shane with a great throw-away slam a la Razor Ramon. Dog hit a rock bottom. Shane nailed a springboard cannoball into Dog in the ring. The finish saw Shane miss a splash in the corner, and Dog got the clean rollup for the pin. Dog had some great crowd heat (all of which he generated on his own, as he got a face pop at the beginning from the hyped-up crowd). It's too bad this was a dark match.. though a ringside camera was present from here on out to record the action.

2. Danny Doring and Roadkill beat Prodigy and Belvis Wesley in 9:54 when Doring pinned Prodigy. Prodigy was accompanies by Prodigette. Belvis is an Elvis Presley rip-off gimmick that landed him surprisingly good crowd heat. Roadkill in particular got a face pop, and he seems to be getting very smart about knowing what to do when, particularly when it comes to comedy spots (i.e. an eye poke that he waited just long enough to do to get the right crowd pop). Belvis stalled and got some nice heel heat early. Roadkill hit a Vader-bomb style elbow drop for a nice pop. Doring and Roadkill hit a Hart attack to another strong pop. Belvis used a cool looking Muta-lock on Doring. Prodigette drew the usual "show your tits" chant. Roadkill hit an impressive spot, climbing to the top rope in the middle (i.e. not in a corner) and hitting a double clothesline on Belvis and Prodigy. The finish was cool, as Roadkill lifted Prodigy like he was going to hit him with an inverted powerbomb (has Roadkill been watching Vader tapes?) and then Doring hitting a top rope legdrop to get the win. Solid match. Doring and Roadkill looked the most "major league" that I've ever seen them, especially Roadkill. After the match, Doring kissed Prodigette.

3. Yosihiro Tajiri pinned EZ Money in 5:08 after a springboard elbow. Money was accompanied by Chris Hamrick and ?Juan? Danero, both of whom I was unfamiliar with. Solid mat wrestling early by Tajiri and Money. Tajiri went for the tarantula, but Hamrick interfered and Money then hit this great sit down drop with Tajiri caught in what can be best described as a still sunset flip position down on his head. Tajiri hit Money with some really stiff kicks. Danero then interfered. Money locked Tajiri in a modified surfboard, which had some of the smarts in the audience applauding. Hamrick later tried to interfere again, but Tajiri instead kicked Hamrick's chair into his head. A springboard elbow then led to Tajiri getting the pin on Hamrick. After the match the trio of heels attacked Tajiri, but he green misted Danero and locked Hamrick in the tree of woe and kicked him in the face. Little Guido then did a run-in, but then in came Mikey Whipwreck and the Sinister Minister, with Mikey holding this huge torch that was on fire, which he hit Guido with to run him off.

Security at the show was ridiculously light, as there were people literally sitting on the stairs next to me in the aisle. Good thing the building didn't catch on fire or something, as there was no way that was "safe" having people blocking the exit paths.

As this point came some loud "We Want Gertner" chants. But last night, neither Joel Gertner, Joey Styles, nor Cyrus appeared.

4. Jazz vs. muscular woman in a pink outfit with dyed blonde hair who was not announced and who I didn't recognize. This match lasted all of one minute, until C.W. Anderson ran in and left both women laying (hitting Jazz with a cool spinebuster). Anderson said: "I don't like watching women wrestle, because I'm an Anderson!" Tommy Dreamer then ran in, and he and Anderson brawled. I really like the idea of a feud between those two -- it would elevate C.W. and give Dreamer something fresh. At this point the locker room comes out in a total shmozz (as Bret Hart would say). I noticed Nova coming out, and he didn't wrestle at all last night, but I looked for Jerry Lynn and didn't see him, though it is possible that maybe I didn't spot him. They seemed to be building up for their tag team title tournament with the run-ins.

Finally Sandman's music hit and the place went wild. It took Sandman literally four minutes to get to the ring (I timed it). He did get the crowd going crazy, though. Waiting in the ring were Little Guido and Tony Maranera. Sandman sat on the top rope when he *finally* made it to ringside.. and then in ran Chilly Willy, who hit Guido and Maranera with a with a double clothesline. There was no bell to start the match, so I had to approximate with the time.

5. Chilly Willy and Sandman beat the FBI in 5:35 after Willy hit Maranera with a modified powerbomb for the pin. Sandman was way over, as I mentioned.. and he was bleeding from smashing beer cans against his head during the run in. Willy blew a spot against Maranera for the first true blown spot of the night. FBI hit Willy with a cool double-team spot: Maranera had Willy in an armbreaker, then Guido came off the top rope and on the landing put the other arm in an armbreaker as well. Sandman may have injured his left arm/shoulder early, as he was indicating through his body language that it hurt (and he got his cane and didn't take any bumps the rest of the way out). Willy hit a modified powerbomb on Maranera and got the win. After the match Sandman said "Since you all know I drank about 26 of these, I think there's someone in this ring who deserves it more than me. Anyone want to see Chilly drink a beer?" Chilly chugged the beer, much to the delight of the crowd.

6. Rhino pinned Mikey Whipwreck (with Sinister Minister) in 4:11 after goring him through a table to retain the ECW Television Title. The crowd was starting to die down a bit at this point. They did pop when a table was brought in. The best spot of the match was Whipwreck hitting a crisp Frankensteiner on Rhino. Credible ran in, receiving very little heat, and caned the Sinister Minister. Mikey hit a dive onto Credible, then got his cane and caned Rhino. Rhino soon after ended up goring Whipwreck through the table and getting the pin.

-Lou E. Dangerously came out. Up to this point, it had been a relatively tame show by ECW standards. Things were about to change. Lou got a nice crowd pop at first, possibly from his appearance Friday morning on the WSAZ morning newscast and his interview in the Huntington paper. But the cheers soon turned to boos.

Dangerously insulted the fans and the area of Huntington itself, calling the fans inbred and in general questioning the educational status of the audience and the area. He was then PELTED with debris. The 1996-97 nWo had nothing on this. It was ridiculous how poor security was at this show. If there had been the need for an evacuation, I don't even want to imagine what would happened. At a normal show, when people throw things in the ring security deals with them... but this wasn't happening. To make matters worse, Dangerously then said that he'd leave if it didn't stop, which just encouraged it further. Ugh.

He then introduced the "Danger Zone" on TNN, a play off the old Paul E. Dangerously Danger Zone interview segments that I loved in the old WCW days. The old manager interview segments have been dormant for far too long in my opinion. Steve Corino (with Scott Anton) was the guest for the inaguaral ECW "Danger Zone". The ring was littered with debris and cups. Corino said "I don't give a fuck what the network feels," breaking out the strong language. We learned through Corino that Credible and Rhino would be representing the network in the ECW World Tag Title Tournament. Corino mentioned how he and Anton helped Credible and Rhino both capture their respective singles titles. Credible came out then to zero pop. Credible grabbed the mic and began to retort, but then a fan threw a strike and nailed Lou in the back of the head with a mostly full drink. This interrupted the interview and clearly angered all involved. Credible said, "If you assholes throw that shit again, this fucking show is over." Luckily the fans didn't take him up on his threat. Credible said he didn't care about Cyrus, Rhino or the tag tourney, but when he heard his name mentioned that was where his problem was. Credible started to do his catch phrase, but Corino interrupted and made fun of him, calling it the worst catch phrase in wrestling. Rhino ran in, and he and Credible beat up Corino and Anton. Finally officials ran in to break things up. After that, Anton and Corino were left in the ring as almost de facto faces, with Anton leading the fans in "The Clap" and them responding as if he was a "good guy". Weird.

It was then time for "the first of two main events"...

7. Justin Credible and Kid Kash battled to a no-contest (Credible retains the ECW Title) in roughly 6:15. The ring was soaked with soda and beer that had been thrown in cups, and Francine slipped in the ring. Not good. She got a pop coming out, and the crowd booed Credible some. Kash got a nice reception, though if they're trying to make him a clone of Kid Rock, shouldn't he be from Detroit and not Johnson City, Tennessee? Anyway, early on Kash did a nice springboard dive to the outside. He threw Credible into the first row.. then hit a running jump and elbow off the guard rail. The crowd loved that. Later, Credible hit Kash with a perfect superkick that popped very loud. Credible caned Kash and got a 2 count. Francine picked up what looked like a metal case and tried to hit Kash, but accidentally hit Credible and Kash got a near fall that the crowd popped big for. Kash hit a top rope frankensteiner, but Francine broke up the count. Kash then picked up Francine, threatening to piledriver, so the crowd was treated to a nice view of her ass. So we enjoyed that great sight.. until Credible made the save. Rhino then ran in to ruin what had been a good match, goring Kash.. but then Rob Van Dam made the save to a big pop. After the match, RVD gave a high-five to Kash.

-After this match, officials came out to try and further dry out the mat that the unruly fans had doused with their pelting of the Danger Zone.

At this point, I was really really hoping for an RVD/Jerry Lynn main event. I figured it had to be -- I hadn't seen RVD wrestle yet, and Lynn hadn't appeared at all. But then "Big Balls" by AC/DC played, so I knew that wouldn't happen.

8. Rob Van Dam pinned Balls Mahoney in 19:13 with the Terminator. This match was a true main event, ranking in the ***1/2 range in my book and was clearly the best match of the show. I've never seen these two wrestle before (though I know they have on PPV and elsewhere), so I can't compare it.. but this was a real crowd pleaser and a great way to end the night. The fans went crazy for RVD, with signs and major reaction for him. Before the match started, some front row fans started an "It's 4:20" chant, and Van Dam, in a hilarious spot, acted like he believed them and was trying to convince the ref to let him leave the ring to go smoke up. Great stuff. After that, Balls got a beer from a fan and drank it (wonder if Sandman got mad about that). Then the bell ring and the match started. After a lockup and exchange they ended up shaking hands. "Good sportsmanship," RVD told the front row 4:20 fans, which was also funny. Van Dam cracks me up with his little stuff like that. Early on there was some solid mat wrestling. Balls came back with his punches (with the crowd chanting "Balls" along with him). Balls went for a spinning leg lariat into RVD, but they both got tangled in the ropes in the only real blown spot of the match (and the crowd got on them about it with a "You fucked up" chant). They then began brawling outside the ring. Balls nailed RVD with the ring bell, and he started acting like a heel, throwing RVD into the crowd and also Alfonso into the crowd. There was a portion here I couldn't see due to them being in the crowd. They ended up eventually back in the ring.. but then back out as RVD hit a plancha on Balls. Balls bladed at that point. RVD did a somersault on a chair. Not much psychology, but these two had some great, crisp moves here. Balls hit a monsterous top rope legdrop that rocked the ring. Balls hit an impressive running sit-out piledriver (a la Rikishi, except doing it while running) for a near fall. Balls hit RVD with a super stiff chair shot, which the crowd really ooohed and aaahed for, to give you some idea how hard it was. A "holy shit" chant ensued. Balls got a 2 count when Alfonso made the save with a chair. Balls then hit an amazing top rope sit-out piledriver, which was unbelievably loud and which drew a well-deserved amazing pop. I've never seen anything quite like it, and I was afraid for RVD's health there for a minute. But RVD kicked out at 2. Balls controlled, then went to the top rope, but RVD hit him and crotched him on the top rope. At this point Balls clearly called for Van Dam to move a chair that was in the way of their next spot in the ring, and RVD obliged. RVD then superplexed Balls right where the chair had been. Balls ended up in the corner with a chair next to his head, and the crowd went wild, sensing the Terminator was near. Having not seen their last PPV, I wasn't privy to what it exactly was, other than it was Van Dam flying across the ring. But sure enough, RVD climbed to the top rope in an opposite corner from Balls (not directly across the ring, but one post over), and I thought no way, he can't make it. But somehow RVD flew across and nailed Balls with the Terminator into the chair and got the pin. What a great match. After the match, RVD high-fived the fans, and the crowd filed out. Balls Mahoney laid in the ring for four minutes before finally getting up.

It was an enjoyable show and a fun time. If ECW would have come when Marshall was in session they might have drawn more fans, but overall it was a good performance. I hope the intensity of the RVD/Balls match comes across as well on TV as it did live.

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