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Retro Wrestle Respawn – ECW Barely Legal 1997

“I am the beer drinkingest, cigarette smokingest, cane swingingest, kick ass son of a bitch in the ECW. Politically incorrect, and damn proud of it!”
The Sandman, April 1997

So with the WCW Reboot Trilogy finally coming to a much welcome end with last week’s article, I decided to cheer myself up by indulging in some 1997 era ECW action for the next few weeks. I was a huge fan of ECW back in the day, and 97 was a year when the company still had a bright future due to having some genuine top talent and Paul Heyman calling the shots before he horrifically burnt out.

This week we’ll be looking at ECW’s first foray into pay per view. This show had originally been due to air in 1996, but due to New Jack butchering rookie wrestler Mass Transit in gruesome style, pay per view companies backed out and Heyman had to beg a plead just to go back on the air. Sadly the company was just beginning to cool off from its 94-96 peak period, but it still had enough good talent to put on a decent effort. Would Barely Legal live up to the considerable hype? Well, let’s have a look and find out!

The event is emanating from the ECW Arena in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Calling the action is Joey Styles all by his lonesome

Joey starts us out in the ring and tries to run through the card when the Dudley Boyz (D-Von, Bubba Ray and Sign Guy) and Joel Gertner interrupt. D-Von calls the fans pieces of garbage and declares that it’s time to Testify.

We get the ECW opening video package, complete with the Harry Slash ECW Theme.

Back to the ring we go, where Gertner introduces The Dudleyz for the upcoming match

Opening Match
ECW Tag Team Championships
Champions: The Dudley Boyz w/ Sign Guy and Joel Gertner Vs The Eliminators (Perry Saturn and John Kronus)

I do love The Eliminators music. Sign Guy tries to attack the challengers early and ends up on the wrong side of TOTAL ELIMINATION! This allows the champs to come in with a Bubba powerbomb and D-Von diving head butt on Kronus for two. The Dudleyz get a suplex/cross body combo on Kronus but Saturn is there to break it up and then runs wild on the champs with clotheslines, until Bubba cuts him off with a Bossman Slam.

Both Dudleyz end up the wrong side of spin kicks and then get hit with stereo twisting splashes off the top rope. The champs end up outside and the challengers follow them out with a Saturn moonsault and a Space Flying Tiger Drop from Kronus. Back inside we go, as this is basically just a tornado match with no tags. Kronus gets a handspring back elbow on Bubba in the corner and Saturn follows with a big elbow drop from the top, as the big moves keep coming.

The Eliminators continue the beat down with Saturn squishing Bubba with a Quebrada, whilst Kronus heads up top with a lovely 450 splash onto D-Von. D-Von rolls outside after taking the 450, which allows the challengers to hit Bubba with TOTAL ELIMINATION!! Not surprisingly, that’s enough to pick up the win.

WINNERS AND NEW CHAMPIONS: THE ELIMINATORS
RATING: **

More or less a high tempo squash to make The Eliminators look like dominant champions. Sadly Saturn would be in WCW by the end of the year, thus killing the team after The Dudley Boyz had been thoroughly sacrificed to build them up. Gertner tries to come in and claim that The Dudleyz actually won the match on the “Studmuffin Scoring System™” (By a narrow score of 86-83) and thus are still champions. The Eliminators are good sports about this and decide to congratulate Joel on his cunning ruse by nearly taking his head off with TOTAL ELIMINATION!!! And thus, you now know the story of Gertner’s eternal neck brace.

We go to Joey in the eagle’s nest who sends us to a promo from The Sandman, set to “Lust For Life” by Iggy Pop. Sandman delivers the line from the top to footage of him destroying people and then hits himself with a cane until he bleeds.

We go back to Joey, who says that Chris Candido can’t wrestle tonight due to a torn bicep and sends to Candido in the ring. Candido says he was on the first ever show in the ECW Arena back in 1993 and he’s bummed he can’t wrestle tonight and says he’ll be out later at some point. This segues into the next match.

Match Two
Lance Storm Vs Rob Van Dam

So RVD is subbing for Candido here, and was legitimately annoyed in real life that he’d been left off the show. The storyline here was that RVD was thinking of leaving ECW, so fans chant “you sold out” at him. Nice opening sequence to start, with both men countering each other’s holds and attacks. RVD low bridges Storm to the outside and follows with a big plancha to the floor.

Back inside, RVD gets a leg drop from the top, but makes a lackadaisical cover and Storm is able to kick out at two, before drilling RVD with a top rope back elbow. Storm sends RVD outside and goes for a pescado, but RVD is able to move and he hits the concrete. RVD gets a moonsault off the guardrail onto a standing Storm and then throws him back inside, not before grabbing a chair first.

Now back in the ring, RVD whips Storm into the buckle and then flings the chair into his face as he stumbles out of the corner. RVD follows by dropkicking the chair into Storm’s face whilst he lays slumped in the corner. With Storm down, RVD heads up for the Five Star Frogsplash, but it wasn’t his finisher yet at this stage and it only gets a two count.

RVD tries to monkey flip Storm onto the chair, but Storm blocks it and then suplexes RVD onto the chair and then drills him with a big spinning wheel kick. Handspring splash in the corner sets up a big shoulder block from the top, which nets Storm a two count. Storm goes to the Canadian Maple Leaf, but RVD is able to make the ropes to break.

RVD comes back with a slingshot leg drop whilst Storm’s neck is on the apron and tries the Van Daminator, but Storm hits him with a weak chair shot and then sit out powerbombs RVD onto the chair for two. Storm heads up top and then leg drops RVD on the back of the head as he tries to pick up the chair for two.

RVD low blows Storm and then crotches him on the top rope and follows with a slingshot kick, but slips and has to improvise by turning it into a back elbow. Storm gets a German Suplex for two and then hits RVD with some really weak chair shots which, though nice for RVD, don’t endear him very much to the blood thirsty ECW audience. Storm holds onto the chair for too long though and this allows RVD to deliver the Van Daminator to pick up the win.

WINNER: ROB VAN DAM
RATING: **1/2

Not bad. All action and RVD got some good character work in. Storm was a good athlete at this point but was lacking in character. I know Storm was trying not to hurt RVD, and bravo to him for that, but in a company like ECW if you’re not prepared to hit someone with a chair then just don’t use one. I’d have preferred him just to swing and for RVD to duck if they had to finish with the Van Daminator.

RVD refuses to shake hands with Storm after the match and complains about not originally being on the show. He says this win makes him worth more money in ECW and also worth more money elsewhere, which the fans don’t like the sound of at all. Yeah, how dare RVD try and get paid more money instead of destroying his body in front of you ungrateful tossers for buttons! Bastard!!

Back we go to the eagle’s nest, where Joey throws to a Paul Heyman narrated video package on Terry Funk, showing clips from a banquet the night before where Funk was given a lifetime achievement award. We see Funk visiting his father’s grave and Heyman declares that Funk wants to win the title tonight so he can dedicate it to his father’s memory.

Joey says we’ll now see a match featuring wrestlers from Michinoku Pro Wrestling and hypes the fast paced style of the promotion. Michinoku Pro was a company that ran in the North East of Japan and generally featured smaller guys who couldn’t get into the big companies for whatever reason.

Match Three
Taka Michinoku, Terry Boy and Dick Togo Vs Great Sasuke, Gran Hamada and Masato Yakushiji

You can tell Joey has done a lot of research for this match, and even gives a shout out to Dave Meltzer of all people for helping out with information. Kaientai are all wearing bWo shirts, as they are the international wing. Fans throw streamers into the ring to try and make the Japanese wrestlers feel at home, which is actually one of the few times they weren’t insufferable turds, so bravo!

Taka and Hamada start us out, and I’m sensing that this match might be a tad difficult to do play by play for as they immediately start out at 100 miles per hour with countless strikes and slams. The baby face side take it in turns to work over Taka but he’s able to fight off a Sasuke suplex and then tags his friends in for some triple teaming. Yakushiji comes in to help Sasuke, and is quickly subdued by the heels himself.

Terry Boy gets a nice hanging vertical suplex on Yakushiji, as the fans annoy me by chanting “Power Ranger” at him due to his outfit. You know, they did a nice gesture with the streamers and then ruined it by being cocky punks like always. Yakushiji gets some lovely rana’s and flying arm bars on the heels before tagging in Hamada, who has a good old fashioned slug fest with Terry Boy and goes to a Fujiwara arm bar, that Taka has to break up.

Hamada is pretty awesome, as he’s clearly the veteran of this crew but is keeping up with the younger guys admirably well. Sasuke and Terry Boy do a fabulous sequence, that ends with Sasuke getting a handspring cross body on his foe. The fans rightly applaud that. Everything they’re doing here is so smooth and looks great. Hamada actually gets an awesome rana on Dick Togo, but Taka breaks up the pin.

The faces go to the old school Demolition style clubbing on Taka and Sasuka twists him in unnatural looking positions in a single leg crab, but Taka is able to wriggle out and get an enziguri. Sasuke gets triple teamed liberally by the heels and they form a human pyramid with him at the base in a great display of heel dickery. Terry Boy goes for the spinning toe hold on Sasuke and gets kicked off, but follows up with a leaping DDT.

Yakushiji is next in to get battered three on one by the heels. This is great but you really have to like the Michinoku/Toryumon/Dragon Gate style to not get annoyed by stuff like the ref or Yakushiji’s teammates not trying to actually stop any of this. I can see why for some this would be an acquired taste. Hamada comes in now and also gets worked over, as we’ve essentially had three heats without an actual hot tag.

Triple Team Powerbomb by the heels on Yakushiji, but when they try it on Sasuke it goes awry and he fights out of it. Sasuke gets an Asai Moonsault on Togo on the outside, at which point Taka dives out onto Hamada, leaving Yakushiji and Terry Boy inside. Yakushiji gets a moonsault on Terry for two, who then fights back with a swinging DDT and a choke slam but Hamada breaks up the pin at two.

Togo powerslams Hamada and then gets a snap powerbomb for two. Togo slams Hamada and heads up for the seated senton splash but Sasuke stops him and then Hamada brings him down with a rana. Yakushiji sends Togo outside and dives out onto him, which leaves Taka and Sasuke in the ring. Taka gets the Michinoku Driver but Yakushiji breaks the count at two. Taka disposes of him, but when he goes for a move off the top onto Sasuke he catches him in the air with a dropkick and then drills him with a powerbomb and Tiger Suplex for the win.

WINNERS: GREAT SASUKE, GRAN HAMADA AND MASATO YAKUSHIJI
RATING: ****

An excellent match that introduced this style of wrestling to a new audience.

We get a Stevie Richards promo to camera in black and white to hype the main event. Stevie laments the days he spent working for Raven and vows to do away with that side of him for good tonight when he claims the ECW World Title. It was a very good promo actually. Blue Meanie has a quick cameo at the end saying that Terry Funk and Sandman are going to dance tonight, but Stevie is going to lead.

Joey hypes the main event later, a three way dance between Sandman, Funk and Stevie, with the winner getting an immediate shot at Raven straight after.

Match Four
ECW TV Title
Champion: Shane Douglas w/ France Vs Pitbull #2

So the story here is that Douglas won the title in the summer of 1996, thanks to Francine betraying The Pitbull’s and becoming his new “head cheerleader”. In that match Douglas also gave Pitbull #1 a severe neck injury due to a DDT on the title belt. This match represents a chance for Pitbull #2 to avenge his partner’s injury. We see that Pitbull #1 is in the crowd watching.

I’m honestly not too excited for this match as I remember it being a real snorer. Douglas grabs a microphone pre-match and essentially recaps the storyline for anyone who might be watching for the first time. He actually mentions something I’d forgotten, which is that a mysterious man in a mask has been messing with him and has said that he’ll unmask if Douglas wins tonight. It’s heavily implied that the masked man is “Ravishing” Rick Rude.

Pitbull runs wild to start and goes to front face lock, with an aim to injure Douglas. The ECW fans, caring souls that they are, chant “break his neck” during this. Pitbull actually works a side headlock for a while and even pulls out a drop toe hold and float over back to the face lock. It looks wrong seeing Pitbull try his hand at technical wrestling and it doesn’t really suit the build up to the match.

Douglas gets crotched on the top rope and Pitbull shakes them for added measure. Pitbull goes to powerbomb Douglas, but he punches to block and then rana’s him over the top to the outside. Back inside, Douglas delivers three piledrivers to weaken Pitbull’s neck and then delivers a hanging vertical suplex.

Douglas goes to a camel clutch, right in front of Pitbull #1, and sends insults his way whilst doing so. Pitbull #2 shrugs this off and then delivers a reverse atomic drop and a clothesline to The Franchise. Douglas goes for a second rope cross body and Pitbull tries to muscle him up into a powerbomb, but can’t get it so puts him down and then simply flings him over the top through a table instead.

Outside we go, where Douglas stumbles over to where Pitbull #1 is sitting. #1 predictably attacks Douglas but then gets dragged off by riot police. During the commotion, Pitbull #2 finds a spare piece of guardrail under the ring (As you do) and throws it into the ring. Douglas tries to crotch him on the railing, but botches it, so throws Pitbull outside instead and drops it onto him.

Outside the ring Douglas is able to crotch Pitbull on the railing this time, and adds a chair shot to the back for good measure. Back inside, Pitbull starts Hulking Up and unloads with some right hands, but a Douglas knee to the gut puts a stop to that. Douglas heads up top, but Pitbull catches him coming down and then sets him up in the corner for a superplex. Douglas is able to shove Pitbull off, but ends up jumping down into a Pitbull dropkick when he tries a cross body.

Pitbull starts the comeback for real this time, getting a powerslam for two and a back elbow for another two. Francine hands Douglas a weapon of some kind and he hits Pitbull with it a couple of times and then hits him with a shard of table to boot, but this only gets two. Shots with a chair and the ring bell respectively still only earn Douglas counts of two, as Pitbull #2 won’t stay down.

Pitbull starts no selling but walks into a couple of belt shots to stun him momentarily. Douglas tries to grab a chain from his boot, but Pitbull interrupts this with a Pumphandle Drop and grabs the chain for himself. Pitbull whacks Douglas with the chain, at which point Chris Candido runs in to help Douglas and gets clocked as consequence. The distraction allows Douglas to get a school boy, but Pitbull kicks out, only to then walk into a belly to belly suplex to finally stay down.

WINNER AND STILL CHAMPION: SHANE DOUGLAS
RATING: *1/2

Not quite as boring as I remembered, but still not great and there was a distinct lack of crowd heat. The two had a much better match at Doctor is In 1996, so I’d recommend getting that instead if you have a strong Shane Douglas Vs Pitbull #2 itch you’d like to scratch.

The masked man comes out to reveal his identity, wearing Rick Rude’s robe, but turns out to be a SWERVE and it’s actually Brian Lee, who was a current stablemate of Douglas at the time. Whilst Douglas is distracted by this reveal, one of the riot police takes off his helmet to reveal Rude. Rude clocks Douglas and Lee adds a choke slam for good measure.

We cut to a Taz promo, who says he’s ready for his match tonight and that Sabu is afraid of him.

Match Five
Taz w/ Bill Afonso and Team Taz Vs Sabu

Where to start with this one? Taz and Sabu were a tag team in 1995, but Sabu skipped an ECW show to work in Japan and was fired in the ring by Paul Heyman as consequence. However, Sabu eventually came back at November 2 Remember 1995 to much fanfare. This caused an embittered Taz to turn heel and call Sabu out for over a year. Sabu eventually answered the challenge and we have this match.

Sabu rushes down to the ring and doesn’t even wait for his music, but then patiently waits to be introduced. Both face off to start and have a brief brawl, which Taz wins with a clothesline. Taz goes for the Tazmission but Sabu is able to counter it, only for Taz to get him back on the mat with an ankle lock. Sabu manages to make the ropes, so Taz offers up his leg and, when Sabu goes for it, he counters and starts unloading with some cross face punches.

Sabu appears to have been busted hard way from that, but fights back with a dropkick to the leg and a springboard leg drop. Outside we go, where Sabu flings Taz into the front row and then dives into the crowd from inside the ring. Both men wander into the crowd as the camera tries, and fails, to keep track of things. Taz clotheslines Sabu over the guardrail back into the ringside area and goes to a modified STF back in the ring.

Taz ground and pounds and when Sabu tries fighting back he counters into an arm bar. I feel this sort of offence would be more greatly appreciated today considering more people watch MMA than watched it back then. I do like the story they’re telling though, with Taz having the advantage in grappling and submission style wrestling so Sabu is continuously trying to make it an extreme brawl to take him out of his element.

Case in point, Sabu brings another chair in and has some joy with it, until Taz is able to dodge an attack in the corner and drop Sabu face first onto it with a flapjack for two. Taz nearly takes Sabu’s head off with a lariat, but he is able to kick out at two. Sabu tries to hit Taz with a dive to the outside, but Taz dodges and then overhead belly to belly suplexes Sabu right into the front row in an awesome spot.

Back inside we go, where we see a table has been set up between the guardrail and the ring by Team Taz. However, Taz ends up on it instead, as irony proves to be a cruel mistress. Sabu tries a springboard……something onto Taz as he stands on the table, but botches it and instead just walks onto the table. Taz tries to suplex Sabu, but Sabu fights him off and goes for a DDT, but Taz shrugs him off and sends him crashing through the table.

Both men are hurting now, and scrap desperately back inside the ring, as Taz appears to be selling his left shoulder. Sabu gets a top rope rana and then gets a big leg drop from the top as well. Taz spoils both moves by being up so quickly on the outside however, which is disappointing. Taz spikes Sabu with a head and arm Taz-Plex and then gets a release northern lights suplex as well. Sabu actually comes back with a suplex of his own and actually mocks Taz!

Sabu goes to the Tazmission on Taz, but Taz knows that move better than anyone else and is able to counter with a Saito Suplex, followed by a T-Bone Taz-Plex. With Sabu stunned by the Suplexes, Taz is able to lock in the Tazmission and that’s enough for the clean win as Sabu passes out.

WINNER: TAZ
RATING: ***

At the time this was a disappointing match, as there’d been so much incredible hype for these two men to finally face each other, and ultimately what we go was a basic Taz Vs Sabu match. Looking back on it with 21 years of perspective, I can appreciate what they were going for here, with Sabu trying to use hardcore tactics to take Taz out of his comfort zone, only for Taz to ultimately be too proficient for it to work.

It’s not a classic match or anything, but it told a decent enough story and the work on the whole was okay. Some of the no selling was annoying though, with both men taking big moves on more than one occasion and being up again mere seconds later. That may have been the result of time constraints meaning they had to just get through this as quickly as they could.

Following the match, Taz and Sabu both shake hands and hug, to audible boos from some sections of the crowd. However, it ends up to be a SWERVE, as Sabu, Fonzie and Rob Van Dam all team up to put the boots to Taz. It turns out that Alfonso actually had his money on Sabu and not his man Taz, so Taz winning cost him money.

Here’s what I never got about this match. If you’re doing a double turn, and if the big swerve is that Alfonso had his money on Sabu all along, why not simply have Alfonso turn on Taz during the match and help Sabu win? That would have made for a stronger angle and would have also left room for a rematch, as Taz would have been screwed. With Taz already beating Sabu clean like that, why do we really need to see another match between them? Sabu winning thanks to Alfonso and RVD running in would mean we have another reason to see Taz and Sabu fight, because we’d been denied the clean finish. That’s always baffled me.

Joey Styles welcomes Tommy Dreamer and Beulah to the commentary desk for the upcoming match, although I don’t think Beulah says a single word whilst she’s at the desk.

Match Six
Winner gets an ECW Title Shot against Raven straight afterwards
Big Stevie Cool w/ Da Blue Guy, Hollywood Nova, 7-Eleven and whatever the name of the Denis Rodman once was supposed to be
Vs
The Sandman
Vs
Terry Funk

7-Eleven, the “Syxx” parody member of the bWo, is actually RF video’s very own Rob Feinstein, who would eventually go on to start ROH with Gabe Sapolsky once ECW folded. It’s been so long that I’ve seen Sandman’s proper entrance with non-dubbed music. It’s amazing how less impressive it is without Metallica playing over it. Sandman busts himself open with his cane and beer cans before the match even starts.

Sandman, Stevie and Funk all have personal beef with Raven here. Sandman because Raven tried to indoctrinate his son against him, Stevie for being his abused lackey and Funk for Raven brawling with him in the locker room because he reminded him of his abusive father. So yeah, everyone in this match would very much like to dethrone Raven later. Dreamer was actually supposed to be in this match but gave up his spot to Funk.

Sandman offers Funk a beer pre-match, but Funk declines, so Sandman takes a swig and spits the beer into Stevie’s face. This is elimination rules, as was ECW tradition. Everyone takes turns chopping each other to start, which ends with Stevie getting a school boy on Sandman for two. Stevie and Sandman team up on Funk with elbow drops, as Dreamer says it’s hard to watch Funk get beaten up, but he gave his word that he wouldn’t interfere tonight.

Funk gets four Rude Awakening’s on Stevie for two, as Sandman brings a ladder into the ring. Sandman hits both of his opponents with the ladder and then sets it up in the corner. Sandman climbs up one side of the ladder but Funk climbs up the other and slugs away on him before coming off the top of the ladder with a moonsault onto Stevie. Sandman clobbers Stevie with the ladder from the top rope for added measure.

Stevie manages to Stevie Kick the ladder into Sandman’s face, but he kicks out out at two. Sandman sets the ladder up in the corner and tries to whip Stevie into it, but Stevie is able to reverse it and send him into it instead. Stevie and Sandman brawl atop the ladder, but Funk stumbles into it, sending both men tumbling down. Funk now puts the ladder over his head and starts wind milling it into his opponents, in a spot that never fails to get over. I loved how you could do that on one of the old WWE games actually.

Funk and Sandman fight by the ladder and Stevie jumps off the top rope to send it seesaw style right into their faces. Steve nails Sandman with a Stevie Kick, but he’s out of the cover at two, so Stevie hits it on Funk for another two. There’s definitely a contingent of fans rooting for Stevie here. Outside we go, where Funk hammers both men with a series of chair shots. Funk gets a vertical suplex on Stevie in the ring, as Sandman comes out with a trash can and flings it right onto Funk’s head.

Funk and Sandman suplex Stevie onto the trash can, but he manages to kick out at two. Funk and Sandman follow up with a spike piledriver and then Sandman slingshot senton’s Stevie with the ladder over him. Despite this, Stevie is still able to kick out. Stevie keeps bravely fighting but gets hit with a spiked powerbomb by Funk and Sandman and they both pile on top of him Wrestle Fest style to finally eliminate him.

Despite losing, that did quite a lot for Stevie as he looked gutsy in defeat and it took a two on one effort to finally put him down. This leaves us with Funk and Sandman. Sandman heads outside the ring to grab some barbed wire, but a bunch of streamers from the Michinoku Pro match have stuck to it, which ruins the effect somewhat.

Funk whips Sandman’s back with the barbed wire, but Sandman hits him with the remains of the trash can and then wraps himself in the wire for a leg drop from the top for two. Funk puts the trash can over Sandman’s face and Stevie comes back in to Stevie Kick him, which allows Funk to come off the top with a moonsault to pick up the win.

WINNER: TERRY FUNK
RATING: ***3/4

A fun brawl which, despite the barbed wire, wasn’t particularly that dangerous but featured good spots and told an interesting story, with Stevie trying to prove himself and Funk weathering the storm to hold on despite being in there with two younger fighters. If you want “grizzled veteran fighting from underneath whose just too bloody minded to stay down” then call Terrence Funk!

This immediately segues into;

Main Event
ECW World Title
Champion: Raven Vs The remains of Terry Funk

Raven hits Funk with the title belt right from the off and then brings a chair into the ring for the drop toe hold. Dreamer says he can’t do commentary for this, as Funk is bleeding and the doctor comes in to check on him. The fans chant for Tommy, but he reiterates that he said he wouldn’t help. Raven works over the cut as Funk swings wildly to try and fight back.

The doctor keeps trying to check on Funk, as Raven drops a table on him and then sets another table up on the outside. Raven lays Funk on the table and then splashes Funk through it from inside the ring. Raven decks the doctor and then calls the Flock down to the ring, including woman’s wrestler Reggie Bennett, who botches a powerbomb on Funk.

The Flock start setting up a stack of three tables, as Raven gets on the mic and tells Dreamer that he’s going to put Funk through them and end his career. That’s finally too much for Dreamer and he gets up from the commentary desk with an aim to go down and face Raven, only to be jumped from behind by a returning Big Dick Dudley.

Big Dick tries to choke slam Tommy through the table stack, but he fights back and sends him through them instead. Tommy takes out the Flock and heads down to the ring, where he catches Raven with a DDT. Funk makes the cover but Raven kicks out at two. Raven goes for a DDT on Funk, but The Funkster turns it into a small package for the win and the title.

WINNER AND NEW CHAMPION: TERRY FUNK
RATING: ****

More of an angle than a match, but it was a **** angle, so that’s the rating it gets. I like how Funk only got a two from the Tommy DDT and ended up getting a move of his own to win it. Apparently the power generator went out mere seconds after Funk won, so they only just managed to get the finish in before the pay per view feed would have cut out.

Final Thoughts

Scott Keith recently said that he thought this was still ECW’s best pay per view but, even though I enjoy it, I’d still have to put it behind Heatwave 98 and Anarchy Rulz 99 on the all-time list. That being said, it’s a very enjoyable show and one I’d heartily recommend. It’s a very easy watch with a variety of different match types and a cracking one-two punch at the end with the Three Way and Raven/Funk.

I was going to do the other two ECW pay per views from 1997, but I didn’t really fancy watching either of them as both of them are a bit of drag, so I’ll instead be looking at two ECW house shows from the era, starting with Buffalo Invasion next week and Born To Be Wired the week after. I hope you can all join me for these extreme trips down memory lane!

Thanks for reading, and thanks to Adam Matters for the veritable nightmare fuel that was this weeks featured image

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