Thursday, August 14, 2014
8/2/98 – Hara Arena in Dayton, Ohio – Attendance: 4,440
I've mentioned before that growing up, ECW was the coolest thing in the world for me. Heatwave 1998 was a show that I've fondly remembered and consider it the best ECW Pay-Per-View of all time. Now, from reviews that I've read in the past, this show has a mixed response. Some agree with me, and some say it's overrated. Now, it has been a while since I've seen it so it'll be interesting to see how it holds up and if my view on it changes.
Joey Styles, my favorite commentator or all time, opens the show as usual in the ring. He won't be alone tonight though as he will be joined in the booth by the ECW World Heavyweight Champion Shane Douglas and Francine. Two things I want to point out. One, Francine is just wearing underwear and a sheer robe and two, Douglas was in the midst of the second longest arm injury of all time. Only “Cowboy” Bob Orton had a worse one, with Owen Hart in third.
Joey Styles on Bass, “we should call her Russia because she's so much bigger than Chyna.” Credible has his badass “got blood?” shirt. Lynn gets an early sunset flip and cross body for near falls. He gets caught for That's Incredible but counters it. Lynn sends him out with a head scissors and follows with a splash. Francine chimes in dynamite analysis on the match throughout. That was sarcasm by the way. The fans stop to pay attention to something besides the match for a few. Justin hits a powerbomb onto a steel chair for two. He throws Lynn outside, allowing Jason and Bass to beat on him. Back inside, Credible goes for a double axe handle but gets caught with an atomic drop and flapjack. Credible fights back with the Boss Man Slam for two. REST HOLD time as Credible applies a headlock. Lynn breaks out and we get a series of quick near falls before Lynn plants him with a tiger bomb. Top rope hurricanrana gets Lynn another near fall. Lynn gets caught in a mid air powerbomb but ends up hitting a DDT on a steel chair. Chastity puts Justin's foot on the rope when he gets pinned. Big spot time as Lynn hurricanranas Credible from the top through a table outside! Inside, Jason hits Lynn with a steel chair but ends up getting a tiger bomb. Bass attacks him but he low blows her hilariously. Chastity jumps in and takes a tombstone. Lynn places Credible on top and calls for a hurricanrana but gets hit with a low blow. Credible then steals the show with a second rope That's Incredible to end it.
Good opener. You could tell that they had wrestled a lot by their chemistry. This was spot after spot but it was fun and the finish was great.
This was the return of Tammy Sytch to ECW. Since Candido is sporting Rick Steiner like headgear after an ear injury, he runs around the ring barking which is a nice touch. They give each other clean breaks early on before showing off their athleticism. Chops galore earn “Woos” from the crowd, which I'm sure eats away at Douglas who is quiet through all of this. Storm removes the headgear to expose his surgically repaired ear. Candido dives outside and takes out Storm. Surfboard in the ring works until Storm dropkicks out of it. Tammy trips up Storm but it does nothing because he still gets to Candido. He chases Tammy, which allows Candido to hit the third tiger bomb of the night. British Bulldog like stalling vertical suplex from the former Skip. Storm fights back to get a near fall with a super kick but Candido connects with a neckbreaker. Candido impresses again with a powerslam for two leading Tammy to tell the referee that he sucks. Storm suplexes Candido from in the ring to the outside and you just hear a sick thud as he hits the concrete. Storm springboards out onto him but I'm still in awe of the sound of the suplex. Back inside we get a DOUBLE NOGGIN KNOCKER! Gorilla Monsoon would be proud. Storm hits a superplex and climbs to the top right after with a diving spinning heel kick for two. Storm springboards from the apron and Candido totally telegraphs a powerslam counter. Tammy gives Candido powder but Storm knocks it into his face. Tammy gets in and knocks Storm onto his crotch on the top. The referee and Tammy get into a shoving match, causing Tammy's top to come down. Candido climbs to the top and hits the Blonde Bombshell, which is an impressive top rope powerbomb to win.
Another good match with another good finish. I don't know how I feel about back to back top rope finishers, but I enjoy both guys and this match.
Joey takes us to an incident in the parking lot earlier where New Jack got into a fight with Jack Victory, who he was scheduled to wrestle tonight. The match is canceled for some reason, but I'm not mad about it. We cut to a promo with Bill Alfonso, Rob Van Dam and Sabu. RVD, as always, calls himself three quarters of the Tag Team Champions. Yes, RVD is a double champion here. RVD sneezes the word Hakushi, because Jinsei Shinzaki is Hakushi. RVD had the biggest ego in the world in ECW.
I love the matches these two put on. Awesome shows how agile he is with a flying back elbow in the beginning. Awesome catches Tanaka mid leap frog with a belly to belly before hitting a slingshot shoulder block before Hernandez and Sheamus made it cool. Awesome flies over the top like Undertaker which is impressive. Tanaka is a MAN who gets up instantly from a release German suplex. Tanaka runs to the entrance and back before leveling Awesome with a steel chair. Outside they have a sword fight with chairs that Tanaka wins with a shot to the back. Awesome backdrops Tanaka into the front row and then decides to springboard fro the ring into the crowd. This is not a man ladies and gentlemen. They go back to the ring and we get a sitout Awesome Bomb that only gets two. HAVE YOU NOT BEEN WATCHING THIS SHOW? NORMAL POWERBOMBS DONT WIN MATCHES! Awesome Splash from the top only gets two again. Awesome gets a chair and hits Tanaka twice, but he gets up nearly instantly before getting the chair dented on his head for the third shot! He kicks out though. Running release Awesome Bomb is hit and he sets up a table outside. Awesome leaps of the top with a giant chair shot but doesn't cover. He goes for the Awesome Bomb through the the table, but Tanaka wriggles free and powerbombs Awesome through it! OH MY GOD! Awesome kicks out though. Tanaka hits the Roaring Elbow but Awesome kicks out. Tanaka hits a tornado DDT onto two steel chairs to finally earn the win.
Just like all of their other matches, this was badass. Two guys just beating the hell out of each other and it works beautifully.
Taz cuts a promo in the back saying that his FTW Title is the only one that means something. Not Austin, not Goldberg and not Mike Tyson. The Taz character is easily one of Paul Heyman's greatest creations. Cut to a Dudleys promo next as Bubba Ray makes it a religious like promo. Good stuff.
I'm going to call him Hakushi for the duration of this match. I also don't get why they don't just dub over RVD's ECW theme with “One of a Kind”. Lots of showboating from RVD, angry stares from Sabu and whistle blowing from Alfonso in the early stages. RVD and Hayabusa have a “who's more athletic” competition but they botch some stuff. Hakushi comes in and completely upstages any Undertaker Old School ever by walking halfway around the ring on the rope. Sabu gets the tag and comes in hot but quickly cools off with some slow offense. Hayabusa gets the tag and they promote a history between these two as Sabu dropkicks the knee and hits the Arabian Press. Hayabusa causes Sabu to take a breather outside. Sabu applies the camel clutch on Hayabusa leading to RVD doing a pointless back flip before dropkicking Hayabusa. Hakushi doesn't like RVD showboating so he springboard dropkicks him. Hayabusa baseball slides Sabu outside and nails the Asai moonsault. As things spill into the crowd, Sabu dives out onto them. RVD puts Hakushi in a bow and arrow as Sabu comes off the top with a chair shot to the ribs. Hayabusa breaks the count and we get double team moves on RVD including a springboard swanton, followed by a springboard knee drop and then a moonsault. The spots are out again tonight. Superkick/German suplex isn't enough to put away Sabu. Sabu hits a top rope hurricanrana on Hakushi and it's instantly followed by RVD leaping from out of the screen with a twisting frog splash. The height he got on it is absurd. The pin is broken, leading to Hayabusa hitting the 450 splash but Sabu breaks that pin. Tag team Rolling Thunder hits and it was always cool as a team move. Sabu puts Hakushi in a Boston crab as RVD hits a top rope leg drop for two. A table is brought into the ring and psychology is useless because these dudes get stuck just standing around at times. Hayabusa ends up crotched on the top and eats a big Van Daminator. Sabu gets a splinter from the table and goes down like a ton of bricks, which is funny considering how tough he is. Hakushi catches a chair stupidly and eats a Van Daminator. DID YOU NOT SCOUT BEFOREHAND? Hayabusa and Hakushi are laid head to head on a table when Sabu and RVD hit double leg drops off the top, through the table to finish it.
As a kid, this was one of my favorite matches ever. It's not as great as I remember it, but it's a fun spotfest that continues this show's strong run so far.
Bigelow is introduced as the “self proclaimed Taz killer” which is badass. The very first move is a powerbomb from Bigelow and it's got to be like the 25th powerbomb of the evening. Taz is all like NAPOLOEON RAMPAGE because he eats the powerbomb and gets right up like Masato Tanaka before they fight out onto the aisle. Taz kicks Bigelow into the crowd and goes to splash him but gets caught. Taz must have smoked with RVD before the show to try something like that. The fight goes deeper into the crowd for a while. Tazplex gets hit on the concrete near the entrance. They finally get back into the ring and Bigelow hits another powerbomb. Instead of trying to pin Taz, he sets up a table in the corner and throws Taz headfirst through it. He takes the broken table to the other corner and sets it up again. Taz fights back and we get a t-bone Tazplex through that table. Things now spill to the aisle again as we are reminded that falls count anywhere. Bigelow attempts a T-Bone suplex into the crowd, but Taz counters into a tornado DDT that sends both men THROUGH THE AISLE! Shane Douglas is all like “they're dead!” As both men are dying under the aisle and on the concrete, you can hear a guy going “ECW! ECW!” in a weird voice. Bigelow is first out of the wreckage as he stumbles towards the ring. NAPOLEON RAMPAGE because Taz gets up and he's pissed. He chases down Bigelow and locks on the Tazmission! Bigelow clearly reaches for the ropes but it's called a tap out.
The worst match of the night so far, but that doesn't mean that it was bad. This was a fun brawl with a big spot to end it that one upped their previous bout.
Taz gets a microphone and tells Shane “Beat me if you can...survive if I let you.” I've got to give it to Taz, that was a sweet catchphrase. We get a short video package starting from when the Dudleys broke Beulah McGillicutty's neck with a 3D. Joey Styles gets all enthusiastic about his hatred for THOSE DAMN DUDLEYS.
The Dudley Boyz and their entourage come out as Joel Gertner steals the show. “Hotter than a heatwave and harder than Chinese algebra” is followed by “I always leave them sore, yet they keep coming back for more.” Great stuff. He also introduces Sign Guy Dudley as the “quiet behind the riot and the innovator of silence.”
Sandman busted himself open with a beer can before the match begins. Even though this is billed as having no rules, we start with actual tagging and such. We get a loud “Spike” chant as he comes in to a bigger pop than he'd get anywhere else. Boring start to this street fight as we're just getting normal wrestling. Man, Bubba has really slimmed down over the years. Spike counters a Bubba Bomb into a hurricanrana before Sandman strikes Bubba with a beer. WEAPONS! We finally get some outside action as things are starting to turn into more of a fight. We get a FrankenSander before the Sandman sets up a ladder in the ring. Spike climbs it and dives off onto his big brothers and Tommy at ringside. Soon after, Bubba puts a ladder on Tommy and hits a second rope senton on it. Acid Drop from Little Spike Dudley turns the tide. Sign Guy comes in and gets put in the figure four with his hurt leg. Jeff Jones comes in and piledrives his Beulah blow up doll, so Tommy piledrives him. The three Dudleys and Gertner are put in trees of woe in each corner. The three faces and the referee all deliver baseball slides to them. Yes, the referee too. To be fair, he only hit Gertner, who badmouthed him before the match. Big Dick plants Tommy on a ladder and puts Spike through a table. Bubba tries a splash on Tommy but misses and catches the ladder. Tommy DDTs him on the ladder and it's over.
Again, a fun brawl but the last two matches of this show were the worst on it. It was still enjoyable.
Jack Victory arrives and stops Tommy's celebration with a guitar shot. This, of course, brings out New Jack and an even bigger brawl ensues. Victory takes a guitar shot and things are more interesting than they were during the main event. The show closes with the four faces posing, the Sandman, Tommy and Jack on top of ladders and Spike at the bottom.
Overall: The best ECW Pay-Per-View of all-time is what this show stays being in my memory. Despite the fact that the last two matches are the worst, they're both entertaining and fun brawls. The undercard featured good wrestling and good brawling. I recommend this as a fun way to spend nearly three hours. My next " is going to be