ECW November to Remember 1999
by Erick Von Erich
Thanksgivin' Thumpin' sounds likes a name ECW actually would've used. I'll admit, this show wasn't my first choice to review, as I had hoped WWE Network had the complete 1995 "November to Remember" on tap. No luck, so I went with the last time I kinda'/sorta' followed ECW; during their late 1999 TNN era. We're live from the prestigious Burt Flickinger Center in Buffalo, NY on November 7, 1999. It looks like we have in upwards of 3,000 people in the crowd! But with so much going on in Extreme Championship Wrestling, let's get down to ringside for...
Joey Styles is in the ring with Cyrus "the Virus" to kick things off. Cyrus has rubber gloves on, as he says Buffalo is the infectious disease capital of the world. Joel Gernter walks out to interrupt and deliver some rhyming R-rated limericks that would make a 14 year old boy chuckle. Next, Taz comes out to interrupt and he has a beef with Styles's recent commentary of him. He threatens to choke out Joey, so he leaves. Taz then chokes out Gertner because he's a pissed-off bully. Cue the opening graphics package! Extreeeeeeeme .... Championship .... Wrrrrrrrrestling!
Simon Diamond and his buddy, Dick Hertz are in the ring. Wait... really? They go for some ambiguously gay duo "comedy", until Jazz interrupts them. She goes after Simon, but Hertz plants her with a spinning face-first airplane spin or F5 thingie. Cyrus's creative commentary: "Joey, is that the biggest Dick you've ever seen"? Yes... people paid to watch n' hear this. Simon proclaims Dick a "giant killer". This leads to another interruption as Li'l Spike Dudley has ISSUES with that name and arrives to hit Dick with his Acid Drop (reverse neckbreaker/bulldog from the top rope). Simon and Spike go at it, as they have what sorta' passes as a match. Spike launches himself with a somersault shoulderblock to the floor, then they brawl around ringside with Simon cutting himself open. Spike gets the "win", but we're not done, as the Full Blooded Italians of Little Guido and Sal E. Graizani hit the ring to squash Spike. We're still not done-- Nova then hits the ring as we kinda' have....
Nova vs. Little Guido (w/ Sal E. Graziani)
They start quickly with Nova delivering a faceplant. Guido with a "famouser" for a quick 2, then he goes up top for whatever. Nova climbs up, underneath him, and turns it into a top-rope Samoan drop. Both guys hit the mat hard, but Guido gets his arm over for a 2 count. They set-up for what appears to be a powerbomb, but Nova flips Guido into the air and connects with an RKO/diamond cutter/reverse neckbreaker. Sal E. Graziani gets involved (honestly: did he EVER wrestle a full match on his own?) and eats a top-rope tornado DDT from Nova. Guido's quick to capitalize and hook Nova in his "Tomikaze" reverse underhook facebuster... or what the kids call an "Unprettier", today. Guido gets the 3 and we finally have a (impromptu) match of record.
But we're still not done... Chris Chetti runs in to attack Guido and Sal. With absolutely NOBODY chanting: "one more run in", we get Danny Doring and Roadkill in the ring to attack Chetti. After a beatdown on Chetti, this segment is finally over. Maybe. Heck, why not have the entire PPV be one continuous segment with run-ins from the entire roster? We could be over-and-done in less than an hour! What the hell have I gotten myself into?
Jerry Lynn vs. Yoshihiro Tajiri (w/Steve Corino & Jack Victory) vs. Super Crazy
Hey, remember when Tajiri had a last name and a nickname ("The Japanese Buzzsaw")? Elimination rules, by the way. They start like a trio of artistic dancers, working the negative spaces, as Tajiri goes for a pop-up powerbomb and Super Crazy turns it into a crossbody on Lynn. They tumble outside, where Lynn hits his own crossbody on Crazy. Not to be out-done, Tajiri flies off the apron with a moonsault to knock down both guys. Tajiri lands on his feet and works the crowd to a good reaction. Back inside, Tajiri gets Crazy in the tarantula, but Lynn makes the save. Lynn goes for an Irish whip, but it's quickly reversed into another tarantula. All 3 brawl into the crowd, where Crazy ascends the balcony and connects with a moonsault from the balcony. Crowd really loves that. They walk back to the ring area, with eveyrone getting tossed into the railings for good measure. Into the proper ring area, as Crazy hooks an inverted surfboard on Tajiri. Lynn bounces off the ropes and bulldogs Tajiri. Several pin attempts, but the third man keeps making the save. Cyrus brings up a good point, as he wonders WHY they're trying to stop the pinfall when it's elimination rules. Finally, Lynn hooks his Cradle Piledriver finisher on Crazy. Tajiri with a drop-kick to Lynn's face, then he plants Crazy with a brainbuster suplex to steal the 3 count. Crazy's been eliminated and gets a nice ovation from the crowd as he heads to the back.
The remaining two reverse German suplexes on each other, then Lynn gets locked in the "tree of woe" (upside down in the corner). Tajiri with a lightning-fast baseball slide drop-kick and his sprinboard reverse elbow. They try going up top, but Lynn turns it into a tornado DDT for two. Tajiri unloads with his kicks, finally targetting Lynn's taped ribs. Lynn just shrugs it off, loses his temper and fights back with straight foreram shots. Lynn applies his Cradle Piledriver and cleanly pins Tajiri. After the bell, Corino and Victory try attacking, but Lynn clears the ring. Some of the sequences looked way too choreographed (like the opening), but this was a fast-paced, enjoyable match.
Da' Baldies (Angel, DeVito, Skull & News) vs. New Jack, Axl Rotten & Balls Mahoney
Huh huh...wouldn't it be cool if Balls wrestled Dick Hertz? Huh huh... huh huh. We get a flashback of when Angel staple-gunned New Jack in the eye. The eye! Balls and Axl try to take on all 4 Baldies by themselves, but get clobbered. New Jack arrives about two minutes later with a trashcan full of STUFF. Including an old-school Nintendo system with "NEW JACK" spelled out in electrical tape on it. Now that's hardcore. New Jack goes right after Angel, attacking him with a golf club, then crotching him with the Nintendo and a vacuum cleaner. New Jack, Axl, DeVito and Angel all then decide: "hey, let's go into the crowd and do ECW stuff". They do. New Jack climbs to the apex of a converted basketball backboard and drops a big elbow on Angel, through a table. Back in the ring, News and Skull execute a double vertical suplex on Balls. Skull flies off the top rope with a big elbow as Joey tries to spin it into a shot at "Macho Man' Randy Savage and WCW. Okay... but Skull appeared on WCW Nitro a few weeks after this as "Big Vito" of the Mamalukes. New Jack returns and staples Angel in the hip... which Joey sells as: "Oh my god! I just saw a guy get stapled in the nutsack". New Jack hops into the ring to staple Skull's umm...skull. Angel manages to sneak in, grab a guitar, brain New Jack with it, and steal the pin. I think every ECW telecast from 1995 to 2001 was required to have a "garbage brawl".
Sabu (w/Bill Alfonso) vs. Chris Candido (w/Tammy Lynn Sytch)
Fonzie cuts a pre-taped promo for Sabu, who's dedicating this match to his departed friend, "Ticho". On the opposite side, who's showing more buns, Tammy or Candido? They hit the ropes and Sabu tries a springboard leg-lariat, but doesn't get enough elevation, so Candido lifts him up into a modified belly-to-back suplex. Whip into the corner, as Sabu backdrops Candido, who over-sells it almost comically and flies out to the floor. Sabu leaps onto his, form the apron, as both guys wallow on the floor. They make it back in, where Candido performs a delayd vertical suplex, then a top-tope legdrop ("New Jersey Jam") for a 2 count. Northern Right suplex from Candido, but he misses a diving headbutt from the top (Cyrus's inane commentary: "many people have compared Candido to the legendary Dynamite Kid"). Quick DDT from Sabu for 2. Fonize tosses in a chair and they do Sabu's triple-jump-springboard-legdrop for 2. Sabu hops out to get a table, but Candido and Tammy prevent it, for now. Candido tries a big splash from the top, but Sabu counters and crotches him on the ropes. The table then makes it into the ring and Candido breaks it with a legdrop. Sabu goes for the camel clutch, then more triple-jump chair antics for 2. Candido hops out and Sabu baseball-slides him into, then over, the railing. Again, Candido did a an over-sell as he took the move, then paused and leaped over the rail. Sabu launches himself off the chair and into the crowd to cue the "E-C-Dub" chant. They return to the ring, where another table is set-up. Sabu with a flying legdrop through the table, but ony for 2. Sabu goes for a springboard moonsault, but misses, allowing Candido to do a release powerbomb for 2. Piledriver a superplex each get 2 for Candido. Sabu goes up top, but Tammy interferes, allowing Candido to perform a top-rope hurracanrana. He follows it up with a successfull diving headbutt, this time. Piledrvier from Candido is still not enough, so he brings in another table. Fonzie and Tammy run around and fight for position on the table. Tammy ends up on it, so Candido musters up some chivalry and runs over to push her off. Candido is sure to linger and bend over the table long enough for Sabu to crunch him with a legdrop. Arabian facebuster with a chair, then Sabu cinches in the camel clutch (but with only ONE of Candido's arms hooked into it). Sabu gets the clean submission victory. From a distance, this looked like a cool match, but their chemistry wasn't 100% and it showed, at times. Still, if you love/hate Sabu, then you'll love/hate this match.
Pre-recorded promos from earlier in the day from Masato Tanaka, then "Judge" Jeff Jones with Mike Awesome. Jones is awful and seems like a cheesy character from the indy scene. Awesome isn't much better. Tanaka does a bi-lingual promo, while running on a treadmill.
More footage from earlier, when "Dangerously" entered the building, firing everyone in sight. Turns out, it's not Paul Heyman, but Lou E. Dangerously; the former "Sign Guy Dudley"; mimicking all of Heyman's mannerisms.
ECW World Heavyweight Championship:
Sorry, but I feel "Mike Awesome" is still one of the worst ring-names ever cooked up. Reminds me of "Bob Bitchin" from Cheech & Chong. Backstory to this match stems from their matches in Japan and FMW, where Awesome wrestled as (presumably masked) "The Gladiator". The entrance music for most of this card has been dubbed-over by WWE Network, but it sounds like Awesome's music is replaced with a custom song. It mentions "6-foot-6, a modern day Gladiator" and "Awesome! That's his name!"...so sometime, somwhere, somebody made a custom tune specifically for Mike Awesome. This is a very hard hitting heavyweight match, as they start off brawling and clohteslining the snot out of each other. Tanaka goes for a bearhug, but Awesome turns it into a release, overhead, belly-to-belly suplex. Tanaka goes to the outside and Awesome flies out onto him with a shoulder-block ("The Awesome Missile"). Back inside, Awesome tries braining Tanaka with a chair, from the top-rope. But Tanaka no-sells it and wants more! Chair is tossed into Awesome's face, then Tanaka connects with his Roaring Elbow (tornado elbowsmash or "bull hammer"). That sequence just made me a Masato Tanaka fan. Chair-aided drop-kick and a tornado DDT each score 2 for Tanaka. Anotehr DDT gets countered into a powerbomb from Awesome. A table is set-up, outside the ring...so you know that's coming. They fight on the apron, as Awesome powerbombs Tanaka onto the table and to the floor. Awesome appears to have cut or bruised the back of his leg from that. Move gets a Holy Shi*t Chant and Standing O from the crowd. They make it back in, as Awesome tries to set-up a powerbomb from the top rope, but Tanaka reverses it into a super-plex through a table for a 2 count. Tanaka hits his Diamond Dust manuever from the top-- it's sort of like a "reverse blockbuster" or a form of a diving reverse neckbreaker...and yeah, I'm sure some pureoso fan is flinging poo at the monitor because my description isn't entirely accurate. Roaring Elbow misses and Awesome is right back with a release German suplex...but Tanaka WILL NOT GO DOWN! Awesome with a leaping clothesline and a top rope splash, but only for 2! They fight back to the top, again, and Awesome finally ends it with a top-rope sitdown powerbomb for 3.
Mike Awesome (c) (w/"Judge" Jeff Jones) vs. Masato Tanaka
Top-notch match, here, as both guys came off looking like beasts. Awesome had the goods, but had a ridiculous ring name, terrible manager, goofy face and an outdated mullet. That's a LOT to modify, but you can see why fans and bookers were thrilled with the guy in 1999. I think this was the first full Masato Tanaka match I've seen and it makes me want to see more.
ECW World Television Championship:
If I remember correctly, they were doing a slow build for Van Dam as the next ECW World Champ. Things took a decided detour when he broke his ankle a few months later. Well-known that Taz was on his way out and to the WWF. Cyrus: "can you imagine Taz going up to New York with that belt? My old boss would appreciate that". Depends on whether or not that ARBY's you used to work at is still open, Cyrus. They start off with some waistlock counters, and sit-downs, ducking each other's attacks, then a "stand-off to milk the crowd applause". More dodging as Taz ducks RVD's enseguri attempts. Taz mocks RVD and flips the bird to the crowd, cueing the "f*ck you, Taz" chant. They go corner-to-corner, throwing kicks, as they don't seem to be have any chemistry. Split-leg sunset flip from the corner gets 2 for RVD. Punchy/kicky, then Taz backdrops RVD to the floor. Brawl on the outside and RVD gets flung into the railing. Reverse atomic drop introduces Taz's juevos to the railing. Fonize distracts as RVD leaps from one railing to the other, tackling Taz into the crowd. RVD celebrates back in the ring, until Taz charges in and takes out his knee. Punchy/Kicky and more potty-mouthing from Taz. RVD tries to counter into the corner, but Taz catches and flap-jacks him. Full Nelson suplex or "tiger Taz plex" connects. Spinning drop-kick and Rolling Thunder senton gets 2 for RVD. Corkscrew legdrop to the external occipital protuberance. RVD somersaults, but Taz knocks him down with a nice clothesline. A table is set-up in the corner and Taz does a "cradle Taz plex" to send RVD through it. Fonzie distracts with a chair, allowing RVD to recover with a flying dropkicked chair to the face for 2. They try for a t-bone superplex, but they blow it and fall off the corner. RVD quickly saves the botched spot with a split-legged moonsault for 2. Taz goes for a belly-to-back, but RVD flips out and hits a leg-lariat. Up top for the Five Star Frog Splash as RVD gets the 3 count and retains. You could see Taz looking up and scootching over to get in place for the splash, even. Sloppy ending and an awkward match, overall. Their styles didn't mesh and Taz made every Irish whip look uncomfortable and telegraphed.
Rob Van Dam (c) (w/Bill Alfonso) vs. Taz
Rhino, Justin Credible & Lance Storm (w/Jason and Dawn Marie) vs. Raven, Tommy Dreamer & The Sandman (w/Francine)
Dawn Maire and Francine are trying to out-slut the other with their outfits. Dreamer and Raven are the reluctant ECW Tag Team Champions, by the way. I had forgotten that the Sandman had also recently returned to ECW, after a short stint as "Hardcore Hak" in WCW. I think they backstory to this match was just that the "up-and-coming" duo of the Impact Players (Storm and Credible) wanted to make a name for themselves. Overall, the introductions and entrances take about 10 minutes. Joey does a good job of running down the dynamic and history between Dreamer, Raven and Sandman. With his Singapore cane, Sandman psyches Storm, so he lets Rhino start. They try to muscle each other around, until Sandman executes a Greco-Roman Hairpull Takedown. Dreamer comes in to bounce the ropes with Storm. Credible eats a top-turnbuckle bulldog from Dreamer. Mild mix-up, outside the ring, until action resumes with Rhino thumping on Sandman. Cane shot allows Credible to take over for a bit. Storm comes in for a cartwheel splash into the corner. A triple-team powerbomb gets 2. Storm with a super-kick, but he misses a top-rope splash. Raven comes in for some punchy/kicky and a very awkward backdrop on Creidble. All 6 guys enter and Rhino GORES Raven for 2. Storm, Rhino and Dreamer all fight at ringside, while Raven DDT's Credible in the ring. Raven talks Dreamer into going for Sabu's triple-jump senton to the outside... but just like Lucy and Charlie Brown, he does a single takedown and Dreamer goes face-first into the chair. More 6 man chaos, more GORES and the obligatory "Catfiiiiight". Sandman plants a big wet one on Dawn Marie, in the confusion. Raven comes in, "accidentally" canes Sandman, which allows Credible to hit his "That's Incredible" tombstone piledriver and steal the 3 count.
A quick video summary of the event, as Joey Styles signs off. Plunk down your dough in two months for Guilty as Charged 2000!
Why'd You Watch This?
First off, I enjoyed this show much more than I thought I would. Yet it would've benefited fom having Beavis & Butt-head on commentary. Joey Styles was always exceptional and could tell a story by himself, but holy cats, Cyrus was terrible. He kept using "smart" terms like "get over", "heat", "kayfabe" and even "smarks". Ooooh! Clever! As it is, this telecast was perfectly suited to the 18-34 Male Demographic of 1999. There's no way to tell, but I'll give you $5 (in DWS Bucks) if you can spot someone in the crowd who does NOT meet this requirement. So give credit to ECW for knowing their audience and marketing to it.
In terms of match quality, Candido/Sabu and especially Awesome/Tanaka are worth watching. Lynn/Tajiri/Crazy is good too, but it seemed like the average "cruiserweight action" we'd see from 1998 to 2002. Three-way matches are always a tough sell for me, anyways. The opening sequence is just garbage and the main event is a waste. RVD/Taz was supposed to be a "dream match", but didn't work at all. I don't think you'd want to seek out Baldies vs. New Jack & Friends, either... so call this a two-and-a-half match show.
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