ECW ON TNN
Justin Credible . . . puts on a very watchable performance considering his reputation as being a boring worker who was never any good!
Super Crazy . . . shows how he got his name by gushing blood like a water faucet and taking some gratuitous bumps.
Yoshihiro Tajiri . . . finally gets something of a reward for routinely being one of the best workers in the company.
There’s a short clip of Rhino beating Kid Kash, after the Gore and a piledriver. It’s not really worth mentioning on its own, but it’s notable that Kash’s rise over the summer would culminate in him taking the TV Title from Rhino in August.
LANCE STORM/JUSTIN CREDIBLE © vs. CHRIS CHETTI/NOVA (ECW World Tag Team Titles)
For all the talk that nobody here (aside from Storm) was any good, this is a shockingly decent TV match. The exchanges are noticeably smooth, especially those between Credible and Chetti, and Credible damn near bounces like a pinball after Nova makes the hot tag. The only portion that really drags is the heat segment on Nova, and even that is pretty good because of how much Storm and Credible heel things up. They certainly aren’t on the level of a Kanemoto or SUWA, but they do a good enough job of showing Nova his place in the pecking order versus theirs, and they drum up some nice crowd support for Nova to make the tag. The only thing really missing from it was something to suggest that Nova was in danger of losing the match. Storm’s rolling crab wasn’t established as a finisher until he jumped to WCW, and it’s only there to give Credible the opening for a legdrop to the back of Nova’s head.
In addition to being surprisingly good, considering the promotion and those involved, I suppose that this would also qualify as being surprisingly smart, especially the way that the lone table is used. Storm sets it up in the corner, seemingly to send Nova through it, but the delay gives Nova a chance to recover, and he surprises Storm with the Novacain and crawls over to make the tag, while Storm rolls over and makes his own tag. The table is used a bit later, after the match breaks down, with Nova using it to assist in his DDT and Chetti putting Credible through the table with a hip toss, essentially negating him being the fresher man in the match. There’s another smart moment when Chetti ducks a double lariat from the heels, and Nova trips Storm from the floor to even the odds and give Chetti a chance to win. The finish is all action, with interference from Dawn Marie and Jazz evening the odds, a great near fall when Credible uses the cane on Nova, and then Storm using the belt on Chetti so they can steal the win. Hindsight being what it is, with Storm’s impending departure and Credible about to win the World Title, they really ought to have changed them here, or a couple weeks later in Philly at the latest. It’s certainly better than them being vacant for four months. Plus, changing the titles here, along with what was about to happen with Tajiri and Super Crazy as well as the memory of RVD’s win over Bigelow, would cement Buffalo as a place where title changes happen. ***1/4
Now we’re shown footage from the house show the night before this aired (4/13/00 – three years to the day after the first PPV) to see Tazz winning the World Title from Mike Awesome. It’s sort of a cool footnote that a WWF wrestler won the ECW Title from a WCW wrestler, but that’s the most interesting thing about this match. Well, that, and the shot of one of the security guys grabbing a dude in the front row by the collar as Mike was leaving.
SUPER CRAZY © vs. YOSHIHIRO TAJIRI vs. LITTLE GUIDO (ECW World Television Title)
It seems odd to think that the three-way portion of this, before Guido’s elimination, is the better part of the match, but here it is happening. If someone is familiar with all the tropes of three-way matches, then there’s not much here that will surprise anyone. The wrestlers conveniently find themselves (and sometimes put themselves) into the right or wrong position at the right or wrong time for a spot or sequence to come off seamlessly. The only real storytelling element is Crazy’s gusher, which comes after he takes a nasty looking faceplant on the floor, and Crazy is excellent at showing how much the bump and subsequent blood loss is taking out of him. Tajiri shows a mean streak that’s right up there with the Mexican Death Match from a couple of months before, and it’s not a Tajiri match unless he does something that seems to be almost borderline insane. He sends Crazy to the floor but does so by sliding him under the ropes, so he takes a flat stomach bump to the floor. The blood loss from Guido and Crazy only makes Tajiri’s kicks seem that much more devastating. The spot to eliminate Guido is a bit on the contrived side, although Crazy is the one who mucks it up. Tajiri sets Crazy on a table, with Guido prone underneath with the idea to do his diving stomp to Crazy and also onto Guido. Crazy moves, so that Guido takes the whole thing, and then they both pin Guido. Crazy would have been just as well taking the stomp and then rolling away to sell it, or to just roll off the table and continue selling while Tajiri pinned Guido. All that Crazy does by joining in is ruin the moment.
Tajiri and Crazy have worked together enough times over the past sixteen months to be able to put on an engaging match, and this is certainly not it. There’s one nice sequence, where Crazy charges and gets caught in the spinning bow-and-arrow and then Tajiri gets a near fall with a German suplex. Crazy seemingly having the match won after the foul and his powerbomb and moonsault isn’t bad either, but that’s all they’ve really got as far as good or smart work. The rest is futzing with a crowbar, the ref bump, and Rhino running in to lay out Crazy and letting Tajiri steal the win. Afterwards, we get appearances from the Sandman and then RVD, which would have been more effective during the match in order to neutralize all the heels and set it back to Tajiri versus Crazy. They’ve traded wins more than enough times that the result wouldn’t be considered a foregone conclusion, and it gives the impression that Tajiri actually earned the title and can beat someone cleanly on his own.
Conclusion: This certainly isn’t a bad TV show, and the issues with the TV Title match are more about the booking than they are the wrestling. This isn’t must-see stuff, but it’s a pleasant enough way to kill an hour.