Thursday, July 10, 2014

Random Network Reviews: Guilty as Charged 2000

Guilty as Charged 2000
1/9/00 – Boutwell Memorial Auditorium in Birmingham, Alabama

2000 was a wonderful time to be a wrestling fan. I was ten years old and loved the WWF but I was actually partial to ECW. I would go to my first and only ECW show in the summer of 2000 and hearing that their shows would be available on the WWE Network got me pretty excited. Despite that, I've had the Network now for a few months and I haven't really watched any of their Pay-Per-Views except for two or three. Let's jump in and see what ECW was up to at the start of the new millennium.

Joey Styles and Cyrus “The Virus” are in the ring to welcome the fans to the show. Cyrus is in full “Network” mode tonight. Joel “The Quintessential Studmuffin” Gertner interrupts to a big pop. “If I wasn't right here in Birmingham, I'd be licking Heather Locklear and porking Heather Graham.” He continues with some very vulgar comments. He literally only came out to say his piece and he leaves before the intro video plays. Styles plugs the “Hardcore Revolution” video game, which I waited in line to buy that year. I met Tommy Dreamer and Rob Van Dam then so that was cool. My mom took me out of school that day for that so thank you mom. 

CW Anderson w/ Lou E. Dangerously and Bill Wiles d. Mikey Whipwreck in 4:41
Big fan of CW Anderson and Whipwreck was kind of going through the motions before dying his hair red and joining the Unholy Alliance with Tajiri and the Sinister Minister. I never really got the Lou E. Dangerously gimmick. I know it was a Paul Heyman parody...but they never explained why. Wiles jumps in instantly but it backfires like four times before he exits. Whipwreck takes a tough bump outside before CW takes control inside. The most impressive single arm DDT that I've ever seen gets CW a near fall. Mikey comes back with a Russian leg sweep and a flying clothesline but doesn't get three. He tries a backslide but CW nails him with a stiff left hand. Mikey hits the Whipper Snapper from out of nowhere but Lou E pulls out the official. Wiles enters and hits a body slam on Mikey and CW still only gets two. Whipper Snapper on Wiles, but a shot from Dangerously's cell phone and an Anderson spinebuster ends it. That wasn't very good and it did nothing for CW Anderson. *1/2

Danny Doring, Roadkill and Simon Diamond w/ Mitch and Elektra d. Nova, Kid Kash and Jazz in 9:58
The WWE Network dubbed generic music sucks but I understand why it's happening. I don't remember Elektra with Doring and Roadkill at all. Doring overpowers Jazz and is very proud of himself, but Jazz comes back and earns a near fall. Roadkill and Kash tag in and I was a HUGE Kash mark. He's wrestling with a broken jaw which is badass. Some double team moves for the faces work until Dick comes out. Simon hugs his Dick until Kash dives to take them out. Plenty of Dick jokes are being made as Jazz chokes him. Nova hits a new move and they reference how you'll see it on Monday night tomorrow. Nova did have some cool moves. Jazz, Simon, Dick and Kash all fight to the back, leaving Doring and Roadkill to take Nova apart. Nova kicks out of everything as his former partner, Chris Chetti arrives and gets in Nova's corner. Chetti gets the tag and dominates before we get everyone diving outside. The referee doesn't like that, so he dives out onto everyone. I kid you not. Back in the ring, Roadkill pins Chetti. Not bad, but it was a clusterfuck. Kept me entertained though. **1/2

Bo Dupp and Jack Dupp, THE DUPPS, arrive and beat down on Roadkill and Chris Chetti until Nova and Danny Doring chase them with chairs.

Mike Awesome and Judge Jeff Jones cut a promo in the back about Awesome beating up on Spike Dudley's girlfriend. 

Between this and Steve Austin hitting Molly Holly with a Stunner, girls should stay away from Spike. Mike Awesome was an effin beast. Like seriously. I see why Jeff Jones was his mouthpiece. Cut to Spike and his girlfriend and she's really missing teeth. He curses a lot and says that he's going to hurt Mike Awesome. 

Dream Partner Tag Team Match
Yoshihiro Tajiri and Super Crazy w/ Steve Corino d. Little Guido and Jerry Lynn w/ Big Sal
 in 12:37
HES SUPER! HES CRAZY! HES SUPER CRAZY and he is super over. Steve Corino confuses everyone when he puts the two guys who were supposed to pick partners, on the same team. Little Guido shows up saying he wants to wrestle and Paul Heyman comes out to curse out Corino and everyone. He picks Jerry Lynn and that's how this match comes about. Fun standoff between Crazy and Lynn is appreciated by the fans. Tajiri and Guido now enter and do some mat wrestling of their own. Tajiri and Lynn go for some and its surprisingly sloppy. The action spills outside as Tajiri hits a sweet moonsault. As he baseball slides into Lynn, HES SUPER! HES CRAZY! HES SUPER CRAZY! Hits a balcony moonsault onto Guido. Lynn hits a sunset flip bomb for two. Tajiri and Crazy work together even though one speaks Spanish and other Japanese. Things break down and everyone attacks their partners, allowing Tajiri to put down Lynn with a BRAINBUSTAAA! Action packed and never a dull moment even if the booking was strange. ***

Steve Corino, Jack “High Spot” Victory and somebody who I can't quite put my finger on, beat down on Lynn. Corino runs down Dusty Rhodes and the BULL OF THE WOODS HIMSELF shows up behind him. Bionic Elbows for the world as he takes out everyone. Rhino shows up and ruins all of the fun. They put the boots to the American Dream until the locker room comes to the rescue. Even the heels because kayfabe means nothing when it comes to a legend. 

I used to think New Jack was cool until I learned about the terrible things that he's done. Anyway, he cuts a promo about his friend stabbing him in the ass with a knife and him leaving it there for a week. Somehow this ties back to him wanting to beat up Da Baldies. 

Angel w/ Devito and Vic spams d. New Jack in 8:48
Oh WWE Network, dubbing over New Jack's original Ice Cube theme is necessary but awful. To be honest, if you've seen one New Jack match, you've seen them all. He's a horrible wrestler and this is just him beating the crap out of Da Baldies with every weapon imaginable. New Jack hits his trademark spot off the balcony but still manages to lose to Angel again. I remember originally watching this whole feud and hating it. The heels just kept going over and, actually, no heel has lost so far tonight. Interesting. *

Bill Alfonso is shown earlier tonight backstage annoying the hell out of everyone. He goes into RVD's locker room and it's very clear that Van Dam just finished smoking. He clearly looks like he was too. He hits us with a gem, “Is Mexico in our continent? Find out Fonzie.” He brags the rest of the way to end the promo. Alfonso finds Sabu, who is already in full ring gear. Alfonso promotes Sabu the same way he did RVD. I feel like I saw this same storyline at WrestlePalooza 1998. And right as I type that, they add that if Sabu loses, he will walk out. 

ECW World Television Championship
Rob Van Dam (c) d. Sabu in 18:40
 to retain the title
RVD's generic music sucks, couldn't they have given him “One of a Kind?” RVD wins the first exchange between the former Tag Team Champions. He nails his ridiculous cartwheel back flip for a near fall after some brawling outside. Sabu launches RVD off the top and into the guardrail. Sabu follows with leap into the crowd that he misses for the most part. Sabu sets up a table outside, which gives RVD time to recover and hit a corkscrew guillotine leg drop from the apron. Always liked that move. The spots are coming fast as RVD somersaults over the top and to Sabu outside. Sabu takes control due to RVD's need to showboat and splashes him through the table outside. Back inside, things have evened out. Alfonso gives each guy a chair and they duke it out with them, RVD misses the Van Daminator and Sabu throws the chair into his face. Camel clutch from Sabu followed by a leg drop. ECW has the nerve to do a referee spot as Sabu takes him out and hits the triple jump moonsault. The referee is up rather quickly and RVD fakes a Van Daminator only to hit one anyway. RVD thinks Five Star Frog Splash but Sabu stops it and goes for a top rope hurricanrana. RVD blocks it and hits the split legged moonsault for two. RVD wants a chair from Alfonso but he won't give it to him or Sabu, so he does what everyone has wanted to do since Beulah did it and he takes out Alfonso with a Van Daminator. He blocks a move from Sabu, hits the Five Star and retains the Television Championship. Mostly a spot fest but a fun one with the story of Alfonso not being able to pick sides. Some botches hurt the score a bit. ***

The Impact Players cut a promo in the back with Dawn Marie and Jason. Lance Storm channels Daft Punk and says that they're harder, better, faster, stronger than Tommy Dreamer and Raven. “That's not just the coolest, that's not just the best, that's from Calgary, Alberta, that my friends is Justin Credible.” I loved this team and that sign off. 

ECW World Tag Team Championship
The Impact Players w/ Dawn Marie and Jason d. Tommy Dreamer and Raven w/ Francine in 10:38
 to win the titles
Francine is dressed like a total whore. Cyrus calls both her and Dawn Marie, the hottest woman on the planet. Brawl to begin because this is ECW. They continue to sell Tommy Dreamer wrestling with herniated discs in his back. The Impact Players get tosses off of the stage and trough tables before the Champions pose together. Seeing Dreamer and Raven on the same side will always seem wrong. In the ring the Champions bust out a double team move as the match has calmed down. Dreamer ducks a superkick from Credible only to get one from Storm. The crowd pops hard for a regular near fall because Francine got on the apron and bent over. Storm gets thrown headfirst into a chair for two. Justin gets heat by going for a headlock over using the steel chair. Dreamer hits a neckbreaker onto the chair so not a good idea Justin. Match breaks down into a brawl again as Dreamer and Raven dropkick chairs into the challengers. Justin nails That's Incredible but Raven kicks out. Tommy then kicks out of a piledriver and then back body drops Storm through a table, though he only breaks it with his feet. Catfight busts out between Dawn and Francine and ends with a bronco buster. Raven pushes Francine out of the way of getting hit with the singapore cane and That's Incredible ends it. See Raven? Don't help the ladies, it cost you the straps. Typical ECW brawl and this wasn't bad. **

Some backstage interviewer that I've never heard of catches up with Steve Corino, Rhino and Jack Victory in the parking lot. They brag about what they did to Dusty Rhodes. Rhino uses foul language and I hope he doesn't kiss his mother with that mouth. He stakes his claim for the ECW World Heavyweight Title. 

ECW World Heavyweight Championship
Mike Awesome (c) w/ Judge Jeff Jones d. Spike Dudley
 in 14:22
Spike Dudley is billed as the Giant Killer, but to be honest, I don't think he should be in a main event. He sets up tables all around the ring. Spike is press slammed from the ring through a table outside before Awesome even takes off his belt. He gets in the ring and is hip tossed through two tables outside. This might get ugly. Awesome continues the abuse because Spike continues to kick out. Spike reverses an Awesome Bomb with an ugly hurricanrana and hits the Acid Drop on the guardrail. He continues to botch by missing a suicide dive. The crowd chants you fucked up and Awesome starts chanting it with them. Top rope hurricanrana doesn't effect Awesome who hits Spike with a lariat. Awesome leaps from the ring to the crowd in an impressive display, but the concrete is soaked from beer and Awesome slips hard when he lands. Spike is still alive as he hits the Acid Drop through a table outside. He goes for another one and is thrown through a table. So, this has been Awesome beating the hell out of Spike for more than ten minutes. He tries to fight more but an Awesome Bomb off the top through a table mercifully ends that. A really, really long squash. I get that Spike was the fighting underdog who wouldn't give up, but this shouldn't have gone on last. *3/4

Overall: 4/10; I remember enjoying every ECW Pay-Per-View but this didn't hold up. The main event is lackluster, there's a lot of filler and even RVD's match wasn't up to par. Plus, with the exception of RVD/Sabu, which featured two faces, all heels won here. All in all, this is a relatively skippable show. My next Random Network Review will be none other than In Your House: Beware of Dog.

Top 10 Thursday: Things About the WWE Network

Unfortunately, I was unable to get any requests for my Top Ten Thursday so I decided to go with one of my own. I didn't want to do one that the WWE Countdown show has done so far and I didn't want to do a huge one like "Top Ten Superstars". In the end, I chose to do the "Top Ten Things About the WWE Network" since I've been enjoying it immensely since February.

10. Chris Benoit

Now, this may not be the most popular choice but it's something I've liked seeing on the WWE Network. Chris Benoit was among my favorite wrestlers during his career and the above moment at WrestleMania XX with Eddie Guerrero was something special. However, we all know what went down in 2007 and since then, the WWE has not made mention of Benoit and have not really released any of his matches on DVD. So, with the WWE Network, going back and watching Chris Benoit has been awesome. Whether it's on ECW Hardcore TV, WCW Pay-Per-Views or all over WWE shows from 2000-2007, getting to see one of the best ever is classic and something that I cherish.

9. Original Specials

This would be higher if there were more. The WWE Network Original Specials have been great. The "Journey to WrestleMania: Daniel Bryan" was an outstanding documentary even if it was about an hour long. It gave an in-depth look into Bryan's career including stuff from before he signed with the WWE. The Ultimate Warrior one was just as amazing during the Network's special "Warrior Week" following the Hall of Famer's untimely death. The Vickie Guerrero Countdown was decent, but according to the schedule for the upcoming week, there will be a Special on the WrestleMania 13 classic between Steve Austin and Bret Hart. If that's anywhere as good as it can be, it'll be must see television. 

8. Legends House

Reality TV done right. I grew up watching Roddy Piper, Jim Duggan, Mean "BY GAWD" Gene and the rest of the cast of Legends House. The first season is already over and there's rumors of not doing a second season but that would be a travesty. Legends House was hilarious, just look at the above GIF. Where else would see a LARPing Roddy Piper? Despite it being funny as hell a lot of the time, the show hit home with a lot of emotion. Especially the final episode where each cast member revealed a heart-breaking story and Pat Patterson came out of the closet officially. All in all, it was a great part of my Thursday nights and I miss it. Plus, that Ashley <3. The former Pussycat Doll looked great on every episode.

7. Legends of Wrestling Roundtable

These Legends of Wrestling Roundtables were a big part of the old WWE 24/7 Classics on Demand service and they've moved over to the WWE Network. While they have yet to add any new ones, the old ones are incredibly entertaining. Usually featuring guys like Jim Ross, Michael Hayes, Tazz, Mick Foley, Eric Bischoff and more, the viewer gets a lot of insight into the backstage workings of the industry. We are treated to a lot of stories that we've never heard before. It's also funny how most of the legends on this show smoke cigars during these. Some of my favorites include Monday Night Wars, Monday Night Raw, Heatseekers and the nWo. The only thing I want, is for new ones to emerge. They can't be too expensive to film.

6. Raw Replays

Starting with the very episode on my 3rd birthday, January 11th, 1993 and continuing through early 1995 as of today, the WWE Network has been uploading every episode in the history of Monday Night Raw. For those keeping track, there has been over 1100 episodes. Slowly going through the early years has allowed me to re-watch these and it's a ton of fun. Add in that they upload "Best of Raw" episodes from random years like '98, '01 or '06 and every Raw since 2012 and there is a lot of enjoy. Let's not forget that while it's not Raw in particular, the "Best of Smackdown" episodes, every single Clash of the Champions, Hardcore TV and Saturday Night's Main Event. There's so much to watch and so much to upload like Nitro, Thunder, Livewaire, Superstars, etc.

5. WWE Countdown

There are a lot of WWE Network original shows, including Legends House that I mentioned earlier and WrestleMania Rewind. However, there is none that I enjoy more than WWE Countdown. As a sucker for top ten lists, I knew I'd enjoy this. Some episodes are hit or miss, but the very best part of this show isn't even seeing what number one is each week. It's the talking head segments with the Superstars/personalities. Seeing non-wrestling people like ESPN's Michelle Beadle or comedian Judah Friedlander is cool. However, getting to see people like Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins, CM Punk, Daniel Bryan, Cesaro, Renee Young or AJ Lee talk, you can tell how they were big fans growing up. It's a blast to see them mark like we do.

4. Main Event

Before the WWE Network, Main Event was a pre-recorded show that was skippable along with Superstars. However, when the live stream for NXT Arrival (the first live event on the Network) went out, WWE knew they needed to test more live shows before WrestleMania. Enter Main Event. It would now air live on Tuesday nights at 8PM and because it was now live, it became must see television. It actually has probably surpassed Smackdown as the B show. Not only are you treated to an hour of good wrestling, but you also get big announcements like Seth Rollins informing the fans of the second Money in the Bank match. The WWE having to test more live streams has turned Main Event into my second favorite weekly show and I tend to enjoy it more than Raw.

3. Live Pay-Per-Views

At a price tag of $60 per event, I would never order all 12 of the WWE Pay-Per-Views in a calendar year. I'd normally get Royal Rumble, WrestleMania, Money in the Bank and SummerSlam. However, with the events being included in my $9.99 per month subscription, I've watched every Pay-Per-View on the WWE Network. WrestleMania, Extreme Rules, Payback and Money in the Bank. You can't beat that price and the quality has been good for the live stream. Also, nearly every show has been really good to great, though the recent Money in the Bank was the worst of the Network era. Getting to see every Pay-Per-View and not having to pay $60 for each is amazing.

2. Archived Pay-Per-Views

Since getting the WWE Network, I've been having a tremendous time going through the archived Pay-Per-Views. Some of them I had on DVD like the SummerSlam and Royal Rumble collections, but getting to see things like classic WCW, ECW and WWE shows in high definition can't be beat. I can go back and watch Canadian Stampede, Starrcade or November to Remember any time that I want. I've been using this feature to write my reviews and I've yet to even scratch the surface of the amount of Pay-Per-Views. Over 400 events keeps things fresh and allows me to watch some absolute classics. Bret Hart vs. Steve Austin? Check. Shawn Michaels vs. The Undertaker? Check. Ric Flair vs. Ricky Steamboat? Check.

1. NXT

Thursday nights are my favorite nights for the WWE Network and NXT is the main reason why. Yes, there's Legends House/Total Divas and Superstars with Renee Young but NXT is amazing. Their Arrival and TakeOver Specials are must see things on the Network and the amount of talent down there is insane. Sami Zayn, Tyler Breeze, Adrian Neville, Sasha Banks, Bayley and so many more. Even people who have left NXT like Paige, Emma, Bo Dallas and Big E were awesome. The presentation, talent, booking and just everything about NXT is special and something that I'm so glad to be able to watch. I look forward to seeing NXT each and every week and I can't wait until they deliver another special. Easily the  best thing going in the WWE.